St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley [1848- ]

Submitted by Admin on Sat, 02/05/2011 - 23:01
Current condition
In use
Date completed

Notes from Patricia:

The research I'm doing at the moment has meant that I spend a lot of time in St Michaels.  I've found the ladies in the office really helpful - they don't have much English, but if you're friendly and gentle, and write names and dates down, and say its your family, they'll look it up on the database they have.  This is only as good as the transcription from the original burial books (which they'll then bring out in order to identify the grave).  Try other spellings as well!


Photos that show this Place


Notes from Jill Fell:

[If you visit this cemetery,] it's as well to go armed with birth and marriage certificates or anything that links you to the person or people you are looking for. I have also found the archivist at the Canossian Convent very helpful, but it's best to be able to visit in person. She may be able to put you in touch with her male counterpart too.

My Daughter and I recently visited the cemetary to place flowers and a photograph of my late wife at her fathers grave. It must be about 12 yrs since my late wife and I visited but it was the first time for my daughter. My father in law Michael Francis O'Sullivan was buried there in 1960. He died in St Matildas Hospital. During the war he was on the North Atlantic convoys. In later years he sailed as a Captain ( I believe ) with I think the Hong Kong and Shanghai Shipping Company. When on shore he would stay at the Merchant Navy Officers club. We know very little of his life in Hong Kong but know that he had a friend at the Officers Club being Lancelot Loo who worked there. It was Lancelot who signed his death certificate. It would be of great interest if anyone knew of my father in law.or of Lancelot Loo.

The grave is suffering so I wonder if anyone could guide me to a company that would be prepared to renovate the base of the grave. I have photos of the grave if I can find a way to put them on this post.Is it possible to add a photo to this post?

About nine years ago the then custodian at St Michael's put me in touch with The Hong Kong Marble Company who did a wonderful job of renovating my grandfather's grave. It had become blackened and had partly sunk into the ground since 1923. In the absence of the original receipt for the grave, I had to provide evidence that I was the rightful descendant and swear an oath to that effect at a government office beforehand. Thereafter it was a question of signing a contract and paying half the fee. When the work was done they sent me a photo of the result and I then sent the rest of the fee. The current ladies at the office mentioned by Patricia (above) should be able to help you in the same way, but if not I can probably dig out a business card from The Hong Kong Marble Company.


Hello Jill

Thank you very much for that information, it is really good to have advance knowledge of procedures to be met. I have found a translated web site for the comany and Bob and David have sorted the e mail address for me. Did you have any language difficulties? Do you mind me asking how you paid the fee? was it by cheque or card? I am hoping that it can be paid by credit card as then I would have some protection. I am so lucky to have found this site as I did not know how to get started on this project.

Many Thanks


Hello Bernard,

I don't know what opportunities you have for visiting Hong Kong. It took me two trips to complete the formalities of the grave renovation. On the first I met the cemetery custodian and found my grandfather's grave with his help. He also explained the procedure. On the second I produced my documentation, took the oath and paid the deposit in cash. I'm afraid that everything in Hong Kong seems to need cash or banker's draft. I had to send a banker's draft for the second half of the fee. Maybe things have changed though. I think I did have language difficulties with the reps of the Hong Kong Marble Company. I had a photo of my grandfather's grave when it was new and I think I left a copy with them. The only other problem was the removal of a tree whose roots were causing the grave to go lopsided. I think I used the cemetery custodian as my interpreter to explain that. It's fairly obvious from your photo what needs to be done. Do apply for an extension of the grave's lease. St Michael's is so much more crowded than the Protestant Cemetery that a lot of the older graves are being removed. We now have a lease of 999 years. Good luck!



thanks Jill

It seems a more complicated project than I thought. I am able to travel to Hong Kong as am lucky to have BA Staff Travel concessions having worked with them for 40 yrs. I think as a first step I will write to cemetary admin and see what they say. My father in law's friend Lancelot Loo signed the deathe certificate and most probably arranged the funeral ( father in law and mother in law separated for many years with little or no contact ). All the info I have received on Gualo .com has been verr very helpfull. Thanks so much


Hello again, Bernard,

Good idea to write to the cemetery admin and see what the current rules are. There used to be a scale of fees pinned up for all to see. Grave renovation and maintenance represent an important part of the cemetery income. They will organise the contract with the supplier. It might save you a lot of trouble if you can obtain the original grave receipt from Lancelot Loo or his family. I recollect that the signatory of the receipt is the rightful "owner" of the grave. The Loos could probably organise the repair, if willing. Failing that, can you get a letter of permission from your father-in-law's immediate descendant? What they don't want is a relative turning up and launching a law suit against them. It might also be good if you could recruit a local Cantonese speaker to plead your suit.

Hurray for BA! I would never have been able to manage the renovation without piggybacking on my husband's annual BA concession.

Whatever you can do by way of preparation and gathering of marriage certificate/letters of consent before your actual visit will be time well spent. Don't despair!


I have noted with great interest Jill's efforts to obtain approvals for a grave renovation from the authorities. I was faced with the same dilemma when I embarked on my project - limitation of time. I started my project in August 2011, and completed the project by November the same year. This is what I did. I sent out email enquiries after researching the websites. With the enquiries I included a specification to include obtaining approvals/permits as required. I learnt that there is no fee for a permit. Approval was obtained by my contractor from FEHD (Food & Environmental Hygene Department - Cemeteries and Cremation Section). It would appear that there would be an extra "hoop" to hurdle if it was a military gravesite, but in my case this was not an issue.

The renovation for my project was quoted at HK$15,000. I paid a cash deposit of $5,000 on October 6, and the balance in cash on completion after an inspection on November 11. I was in Hong Kong to meet the contractor and to pay the deposit, and a friend of mind living in Hong Kong ably handled the rest of the contract.

Joni of Marble Work was instrumental to source the actual contractor to do the work for me. When I met her in Hong Kong she very graciously offered her help with no payment, and I owe her. She even paid for my lunch at that meeting. I followed up by a visit the following year and was very satisfied with the work done.

Bernard, I will be quite happy to share any documentation with you, including exchanges of emails that helped to finalize this project so successfully for me.

You can negotiate payment the way Jill did, or you could do it like I did by entrusting cash with a trustworthy local contact, or leave sufficient funds with a local financial institute. They might accept credit card payment, something I hadn't thought of at the time, but this might mean leaving credit card info with the contractor.

Good luck. Bob


The land for the Wong Nai Hung Catholic Cemetery was granted on the 7th January 1848. The burials from the old Wanchai Cemetery were moved here

To Patricia;

I have an entry from Carl Smith Card under Inscriptions, Happy Valley Roman Catholic Cemetery showing: Anne Hunter, b. 8 Sept 1854 d. 31 Jan 1937. This coincides with the information I have on "Anna Hunter" alias Goot or Kot  Choy, died same date, but do not know where she was buried. Do you happen to know a contact number or e-mail that I might be able to contact them for a search of their records. I'm in Canada so doing things in HK are not possible for me. I would apprevciate any help or suggestions.



Thanks Annelise,

I looked at the Find-a-Grave site and even to have views of the gate is nice. I hope it's not misleading to list Anne Hunter there without actually checking the records. All I had was the Carl Smith card and it's under a heading with other Hunters, so I'm not positive she's there yet.It sure would be great to find her though. I'm 99% sure that she is my great grandmother, so she's a huge piece towards solving my puzzle.


Revising this...I'm now sure she is in Grave 6399 Section 3 at St Michael's. Now I just need to get a photo if there is still a grave there. I hope so!

Anna Hunter Burial Feb 1 1937 Hong Kong St Michaels grave no 6399 sec 3.jpg
Anna Hunter Burial Feb 1 1937 Hong Kong St Michaels grave no 6399 sec 3.jpg, by Brian Beesley

November 19 2020: I just received an answer to an e-mail I'd sent to St Michael's Cemetery re my GGMs grave. I am told Anne Hunter was buried in 3I-21-6 on 1/2/1937. I am still rying to obtain a death certificate. 


Hello Brian

no, to answer your oriignal question, i don't have any good contact details for St Michaels, and haven't managed to get any infomration without being on the spot.  But its great to see that you have a copy of the interments record.  I know quite a few graves in Section 3, both before and after this period, so I think it should be there.  If not, it will have been moved to Chai Wan Catholic Cemetery.  I'll find the photos I have of graves in that section and compare numbers. 




Thank you vey much, that would be great. I was so lucky to have found that Cemetery information as at least I now have a new starting point. Only a few months back we didn't know she even existed! I am hopeful that she is still there.


Brian has found details of burials at the website:…

Patricia notes:

St Michael's Catholic Cemetery - lists prior to 1907 appear to be copies of Carl Smith individual cards, rather than the cemetery lists themselves.

I'm curious about the source, too, since the books I've seen had more information for specific burials. 

I see what you mean....ond on mine pertaining to 1937 the handwriting seems to be the same person's for all the entries on the two pages that I posted, like they were copied, but we have to remember that there was no photo copiers back then; it was all done by hand. Birth certificates, marriages etc, were certified government copies but hand written. If they needed more than one copy of an entire records book maybe it would be assigned to someone to just write it out, copying from the original. That could explain the uniformity of the writing and possibly the omission of data that the writer deemed unnecessary.Just a guess, but I know all my old documents are that way; handwritten copies of entries in various record books. 

Anna Hunter 2.jpg
Anna Hunter 2.jpg, by Seemex

I'm really messing this up with the photo but I just wanted to thank everyone for the help in locating the grave of my great grandmother. A little over a year ago,I didn't know she existed, let alone her name or origins. I now have all of the information as well as her final resting place and photos of the grave, which were taken by Chris Nelson this last week. It's been an amazing search, and when one considers that it was all done without leaving home, I think we can all appreciate the savings afforded by the internet and sites such as David's which has become my starting point, as well as a constant source of reference. Thank you to all who contributed to my discovery.


PS: My next task is to try to arrange for a clean-up of the stone to get some of the years of black off....but for now, I'm very pleased with what I have.

Anna Hunter 1.jpg
Anna Hunter 1.jpg, by Seemex

I was recently asked again for advice about contacting St Michael's Cemetery and found a phone number that I had used in the past. It is 852 2572-6078. This turned out to be still valid. There are currently three young people who speak English on the team and who are apparently very helpful. I think the office hours are 9-5 Mon-Fri. 



I found this site after reigniting my 20 year search to find out if my brothers grave still exisits, and if so where! I am assuming he would have been buried in St Michaels as we are catholic. He died Feb 1973 after only a few days of life. My mother was too traumatised by his death to attend the funeral or make a subsequent trip to his grave. However, as she is now getting older she really wants to visit his grave and my father and her are planning to visit HKG early 2018. My dad cant recall the funeral (age and trauma i think), but remembers the cemetary being very steep, so this further adds weight to my assumption that it was probably St Michaels.

I would love to be able to let them know where he is buried, if his grave does still exist.

Can anyone offer any guidance on how / who to get started with this information?


               It seems that the link I supplied in a previous post, no longer works from private computers. It may be acceessible through one of the LDS Family Centers, or maybe through I guess if they see a way to profit from the searches, they add them to the paid list. Probably wansn't much traffic on Hong Kong cemeteries up until now, but I suppose there's now enough for them to turn a buck. I did try the link, and it works but it won't give access and I see there's a link to "1973" so likely there's a listing. If I find a way in I'll post it.


Hi Brian,

Thanks for this, really appreicate it. I did try the familysearch site and like you say the access is restricited, which is frustrating! Why is everything about making a dollar these days!?

Furthermore, i am now not sure if he was buried in a catholic cemetery. I contacted who tell me they have no record of my brother (i did supply the wrong middle name but assume this wouldnt make much difference).

So, i guess im back to the drawing board trying to find a steep cemetery where children of RAF personal would have been buried. I may see if contacting the RAF bares any fruit.

THanks once again.

Siobhan, I don't know what time zone you're in, but do try contacting St Michaels Cemetery by phone - Monday to Friday, 9.00-5.00, as this worked very well for someone else just recently. The phone number is 00-852 2572-6078. They will at least tell you from their data base one way or the other if the person you are looking for is  or is not buried in the cemetery. Middle names do actually matter where computers are concerned. I drew a blank with Births, Marriages and Deaths at the Government Immigration Dept. when I was only able to supply a first and last name. The record was finally found when I asked them to try the search with a third name.

Let us know what happens.


Hi Siobhan

From the description your father gives it does not sound like your brother was buried in St Michaels. The cemetery is not actually that steep and the hillside is mainly hidden by trees. Currently there are five Catholic cemeteries in Hong Kong. These are: 


St. Raphael's Catholic Cemetery

Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon.Tel: 2741-5283


St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery

Happy Valley, Hong Kong. Tel: 2572-6078


Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery

Cape Collinson, Chai Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: 2557 4213


Cheung Chau Catholic Cemeteryc/o St. Raphael's Catholic Cemetery Office 

Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. Tel: 2741-5283


Saikung Catholic Cemeteryc/o St. Raphael's Catholic Cemetery Office 
Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. Tel: 2741-5283




It is very unlikely your brother would have been buried in either Cheung Chau or Sai Kung these would have been cemeteries for local inhabitants of those areas. Holy Cross at Cape Collinson would be my guess as it is on a very steep, unvegetated hillside. A photo can be seen here and despite the location's name on Gwulo there are actually six different cemeteries at Cape Collinson each run by a different organisation/denomination. Furthermore there was an RAF base right next door called RAF Little Sai Wan. If you could provide more information on what your Father did in the RAF it may be possible to find out where he was based.


It is also possible that your brother was buried at St. Raphael's in Cheung Sha Wan. There is a photo of the cemetery here. The main RAF base in Hong Kong was out RAF Sek Kong; this is the closest Catholic cemetery to there.


I don't know if any of the cemeteries keep a list of burials - I could not find one online. You could try emailing the various cemeteries using the above contact details to see what information they can provide. I would imagine that there is a master list of burial somewhere, if only to know which graves can be reused and which can't. 


I hope you manage to find information you are looking for and please do let us know how you get on.

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               You might try Find-a-Grave if you haven't already. They have a quite a lot of listings in Hong Kong and I checked mine this morning and it still works. Also, Gwulo has inscription listings for many graves at Happy Valley and elsewhere but not sure how recent. I know I've found listings into the 1960s. I will be at the LDS tomorrow, the only day they are open here in the summer months, and I'd be happy to do a search for you if you want to either post your brother's particulars or send to me by private message if you prefer. My e-mail is



Thank you all so very much, you have all given me some amazing pointers. I may not get any work work completed tomorrow as im going to be on the case with this!

I really appreciate all the detailed responses, this means so much to me so i really cant thank you all enough.

My brothers name was Mark John Keleher, he died on 23rd Feb 1973 and was buried on either 26 or 27th of Feb.

My father was stationed at Tai Mo Shan on the mainland and we lived mostly in Kowloon Tong.

My parents are sure of one thing, that Mark was buried on Hong Kong island. 

Once again, thanks SO SO much all. I will keep you updated on progress.



I hope this will help. I looked through St Michael's and some others and no luck but you may want to look further and taking more time than I had. I went to Family Center this evening but was able to get again from home just now so maybe it was just a glitch!

How to get to the Cemetery List on Family Search.

*You need to be a member but you can join for free.

At the main page on the right side you see:

Browse all published collections

On the left is: 


Africa (26)

Asia and Middle East (58)

Click on Asia

On the right will be:

Historical Record Collections

China Cemetery Records  1820-1983

Browse Images in this Collection

Click on: Browse 72,747 images

Then: click on: China, then: Xianggang 香港  then: Xianggangdao

This will bring up a list of all the cemeteries in Hong Kong and Kowloon


OMG....i spent today just going through each cemetery record on familysearch thanks to the directions above, looking at the feb/mar 1973...and i found where my brother is buired. Cape Collinson Military cemetery. He is not named on the record hence the issues searching on name. My fathers name is given.

I am over the moon, and slightly teary.

I owe you all an immense gratitude.

Anything i can ever help of of you with (im in the UK in Norfolk), let me know.

Hi Siobhan,

                   I'm so glad you found what you were searching for. I know only too well, that feeling when you make the discovery. I had initially passed over these records, as the introduction and first few links seemed to be in Chinese, but one day I decided to just click on the various headings, even though I coudn't read them, and then, all those cemeteries, and in English! I was looking at St Michael's and my great grandmother died on Jan 31, 1937 so I thought I may as well start with Feb 1 and there she was! Anyway, I'm glad to have been able to help someone. I've gotten so many good tips from Gwulo, so David is the one who ultimately deserves credit!

Cheers, Brian


Glad you managed to locate the grave. If you are planning to visit note that there are two Military Cemeteries in Cape Collinson. The most well known is the Sai Wan War Cemetery which is where soldiers who died in World War 2 are buried. A few hundred metres down the hill is the Cape Collision Military Cemetery. Here is the Google street view of the entrance: 

Hello Siobhan

As soon as I saw the RAF connection I had a feeling that your brother could well be buried in the Cape Collinson Cemetery. This cemetery is where many dependants of the British military who died in Hong Kong Post - WW2  were buried.

I stand to be corrected, but probably the last burial in this cemetery was that of Jack Edwards - a famous Hong Kong personality who died here a few years ago.

A word of caution though. I have found, from experience, that there is no problem accessing the Cape Collinson Military Cemetery in Sai Wan, which is a few hundred metres up the hill from the one in which you are interested (as Herostratus has pointed out).

The one in which you are interested, however, is normally kept locked and access is not so easy. It can be accessed - just might take a bit of effort, that's all.

Best regards.

Hi There,

According to this site the Military Cemetery seemed to be managed also by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  The passage at their site reads


This cemetery is 270 metres from Sai Wan War Cemetery. 

It opens Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 17:00 and is closed weekends and general holidays. The gates are usually locked with a combination padlock outside of the opening hours. Visitors can either telephone Sai Wan War Cemetery or walk the short distance to seek assistance as indicated by the sign displayed outside the cemetery.

End Quote>>

But it did not mention the phone number.  Anyway, maybe contact the Commission way ahead of your trip could help.


Dear seemex,

I want to thank you for providing these instructions - I stumbled across this chain of conversation whilst searching for my great grand parents' history, and because of these instructions on the website (quite convoluted, I have to say, and would have never found the logbooks myself if it were not for your detailed step-by-stepinstructions), I finally found my elusive great grand mother's Chinese name! I've now added information onto her page on gwulo, and acknowledged this chain here. 

Mary Ablong (nee Leung Wai Ting)

Thank you so much!

Best wishes, Vanessa

Hi Vanessa,

                     I'm pleased to have been of help with your search. It can certainly be a maze to navigate and so much info is missing today. I had a look at the log book page that you posted and I wonder if any of the other names have any significance? I notice quite a few "Chan" and multiples of a couple of others. Sometimes families can get grouped in a plot or at least buried near other family or even the same section. I have a couple who actually have their graves cross-referenced in the log ( strangely the woman and her mother in law ) If you don't live in Hong Kong maybe you can use Find a Grave to get a photo taken. I was able to get picture, however, had I known of the cross-referenced grave, I'd have asked for some shots of some of the graves nearby as well. Despite all the info I've found ( name, DOB and DOD, aliases etc ) I still don't know who my great grandmother was or where she came from or her actual heritage. I did confirm one detail recently through mitochondrial DNA testing of a female cousin who is in an uninterupted direct line from our GGM. She is C7a2 which is means that GGMs mother also carrtied the Chinese DNA. So, a step closer, but still miles to go.  My search goes on :)

Good luck, Brian

Hi Brian

I read your other post about James Hunter, Mrs Emma Hunter, and Ellen Hunter (whether she is 霍淑華 or 吳霍淑珍). Seems very unlikely that the scribe would make such a big transcription error as to confuse 華 and 珍, whether in writing or in hearing, given those 2 words are so different in form and sound.  吳霍淑珍

(Ng Fok Suk Chan) - this form is typical for a woman who had married a husband with the surname "Ng",

and then the last 3 letters would be her own name. I've not heard of women putting their father's surname

in front of their own, because, by definition, her father would have the same surname as her own.

I'm going to St Michael's Cemetery in Happy Valley HK next month to visit my great grandmother

and great grandfather's graves - let me know if you want me to take some pictures for you. It will likely be

a day trip to get to the bottom of some of our family's missing bits of info!

Best wishes, Vanessa


I recently found the location of my great grandfather's gravesite via FamilySearch archives. The document has his burial location in St. Michael's cemetary but it also has several sets of numbers below his entry. It's the only entry in the archive like that and I was wondering if anyone knew what those numbers indicate. His gravesite is #5578, sec 1 but below his name are the numbers 487, 2898, 6574. Are those other gravesites? I'm trying to determine if his wife Helena Foegal Castro is also buried in the cemetary or perhaps they might share a grave. I'm trying to track down her dates and locations of birth and death. Her husband died at age 45 in 1931. I'm assuming she must have died after that. Any insight is appreciated.





Hi Allison

Yes, it means he was co-interred with 3 other relatives in the very same grave  (those are their individual registration  numbers). You can then locate their records by virtue of those numbers - they should be chronological. I’m usually able to figure out who those other relatives are by looking up the same online records according to those numbers 


best wishes



              The numbers under generally refer to related graves, other relatives etc. The #6574 corresponds to Joseph Castro buried Jan 20,1938. The other two numbers might be errors in transcription. If you go to the #2898 in the 1907-1918 list it's for Remedios but has the further ref #497 instead of # 487. It could be references to some exhumed remains. #6574 looks to be one of your Castros

I just had a second look and I see now that #487 is a Peter Heriskson ( spelling may be incorrect ) age 34, buried Dec 20,1867. I see middle name on your #5578 Castro entry is Henderson, so this is probably correct. #487 is cross-referenced to the other three numbers, 5578, 6574, and 2898



Great! It looks like one of his sisters, one of his brothers and his grandfather are all keeping him company in there. But I have no idea where his wife ended up. Any ideas on how to find her?

Her name is Helena Foegal but I don't know when she was born or when she died.  Her first child was born in 1909 in Shanghai so I would imagine that she was born some time around 1890. Her husband died in 1931 in HK, when he was only 45 years old, so I would assume she died after him. I haven't been able to find anything about her at all. Before my grandmother passed, she mentioned that she thought her mother's name was Nellie so its possible that she didn't use her given name.

Unfortunately, I have no idea. I only heard her name for the first time last year. My grandmother moved to the states in the 50s. She never went back and she never mentioned anything about her parents.

When my grandmother was already in her 90s and suffering from dementia, was the only time I ever thought to ask about her family in HK. She said she didn' know her father's name or where he was born. Through some recent research I discovered that he passed away when she was just 18 years old so its not surprising that she didn't have very strong memories of him. When I asked her the name of her mother she said Nellie and when I asked her where her mother was born, she said India. I thought both those responses were way off and completely batty. I just figured dementia had worn away her memories so I didn't press her any further. But when I saw Helena's name on my family tree, I remembered that last conversation with my grandmother almost 15 years before. I have since discovered that Nellie is a nickname for women named Helen and that my DNA results show that I'm 9% south Asian. So, I guess she wasn't completely nuts, after all. That being said, I'm on a personal quest to find out more about Helena so I can better piece together the puzzle.