Alberta Historical Cemeteries Project

  • Alexander Martin MacEwan University


Cemeteries are not only repositories of the dead: they reflect individual and group identities and attachment to place. Moreover, they play a central role in the social and political history of local communities. Although numerous community organizations are working to locate and document Alberta's cemeteries, each group has its own focus, e.g., headstone photos, genealogical information, or transcription indexes. As such, these records contain only limited information on the social, historical, and environmental contexts of the graves and cemeteries, making the data useful for genealogical research but of limited value for the investigation of how burial practices reflect patterns of settlement, kinship, and economic prosperity. In addition, the record formats from different organizations are often incompatible, and many records have been collected in file formats and on media that are becoming obsolete. Through collaboration between university researchers and students, the provincial government, and numerous community organizations, the Alberta Historical Cemeteries project is creating a centralized digital database of Alberta's historical cemeteries. This database will (a) enhance the ability of researchers and students to investigate the important social role played by Alberta's historical cemeteries and (b) serve as a centralized repository of information that can be used to shape policies and activities related to the management, protection, preservation, and commemoration of Alberta's cemeteries.

Discipline: Computing Science

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicholas  Boers