Submitted by Admin on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 13:13

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the lists of graves in Hong Kong Cemetery.

Q1. Where is this list from?

A. This list was compiled by Patricia Lim with the help of Cliff Atkins. It is part of the research for Patricia's recently released book, Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery. Thank you to Patricia for generously letting us publish the list so that everyone interested in Hong Kong's history can benefit from it.

Q2. How do I find the person I'm looking for?

A. Start by looking in the List of Burials ordered by Name. You can use your browser's 'find' feature (<ctrl>-F) to search for their name.

If you find a match, you can then check the inscription from that person's gravestone. First make a note of the Plot from the right-hand column. Then look at the left two digits of the plot, which show the Section of the graveyard the Plot is in. Then look in the relevant list Section's list below to find your Plot, and read off the inscription:

Q3. What information is in these lists?

A. Here's a brief explanation of each column:

  • "Age" gives the age of the person when they died, if known.
  • "Date of death".  This uses the format YYYY-MM-DD. Many dates end ....-01-01. In some cases this means the person died on 1st of January, but for most it means that only the year was shown on the gravestone, no month or day.
  • "Family" and "Given" are the names of the person buried in this plot. Note that more than one person can be buried in one plot. This is especially true for memorials to servicemen, which list the names of several people. Some plots don't have any name given. Either the name was illegible, or no name was given (eg paupers' graves).
  • "Inscription". An exact copy of the words engraved onto the gravestone. Often the older inscriptions are worn and difficult to read and the difficulties of deciphering the inscriptions are compounded where they are in for example Dutch, German or Scandinavian. Problems have occurred when collecting data from tombs whose inscriptions are in languages not known to those collecting and inputting the data. The authors would like to apologize in advance for the inevitable mistakes that have occurred and the sometimes garbled versions of the languages in question that may be present in the data-base.
    When found on the tomb, the name of the undertaker/stone mason is given below the inscription as is the number under which the incumbent is entered in the burial register of St. John’s Cathedral. This number is preceded by the # sign.
  • "Plot" gives the location of the grave's plot of land within the cemetery, and uses a Section/Row/Number format. For example, Sir Robert Hotung’s entry is numbered Section 11B/Row 13/ Number 2 and will appear in this list as 11B--/13/02-.
    The section numbering follows the standard used by the cemetery staff, with the exception that some of the larger sections have been further divided to make it easier to record them. eg cemetery section 16C appears as sections 16Ci and 16Cii in the list. The location of each section within the cemetery can be found on this map. Further maps will be provided to identify the location of given rows and columns within each section.
  • "PL-Ref" identifies each grave within Patricia's original database.

Q4. Can I quote this information?

A. Yes. Please quote Patricia Lim as the source (and a mention of Gwulo.com is always appreciated!).

Q5. Where is the Hong Kong Cemetery?

A. The cemetery itself is in Happy Valley, which is on the north side of Hong Kong Island. You can see its location on this map.

Q6. When was this list compiled?

A. The first round in the Cemetery began in Nov. 2002. But there was a second round financed by the Hong Kong Memory Project beginning Oct 2008 when we checked every grave for change and accuracy which ended April 2010. It is certain that there will still be a few inaccuracies!