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A Better Place describes the practices around death and burial in 19th-century Ontario. Funeral rituals, strong religious beliefs, and a firm conviction that death was a beginning not an end helped the bereaved through their times of loss in a century where death was always close at hand.
The book describes the pioneer funeral in detail as well as the factors that changed this simple funeral into the elaborate etiquette-driven Victorian funeral at the end of the century. It includes the sources of various funeral customs, including the origins of embalming that gave rise to the modern-day funeral parlour. The evolution of cemeteries is explained with the beginnings of cemeteries in specific towns given as examples.
An understanding of these changing burial rites, many of which might seem strange to us today, is invaluable for the family historian. In addition, the book includes practical suggestions for finding death and burial records throughout the century.