Norris City Cemetery

Sources of Information

This website began in 2013 presenting the information that appeared on the markers found in Norris City Cemetery. To help round out the record, in April 2021 an additional source of information was added: records from the Norris City Cemetery Company. Then in March of 2023, additional records from the cemetery company were added. While additional data sources provide the appearance of a more accurate data set, they also highlight, through differences from one source to the next, the difficulty facing genealogists in piecing together the historical "truth."


Information from the grave markers in the cemetery have strong credibility, being chisled in stone, as they are. While some stones have held up well over the years and their inscriptions remain clearly visible, many others, particularly the marble ones, have deteriorated to the point that their inscriptions are no longer legible, or are only partially legible. Further, over the years, stones have been lost to breakage and perhaps vandalism. Lastly, not everyone who is buried in the cemetery has a stone marking their grave.

The result is that the set of names and vital statistics derived from the gravestones remaining in the cemetery is incomplete, and is likely to be somewhat inaccurate (from mistakes made reading eroded inscriptions). Simple typographical errors during the transcription process likely remain.

Another interesting source of inaccuracy is the stones themselves, which on rare occasion contain typographical errors of their own. See the markers on this gravesite for an example of a misspelled name.

Improving the transcription of difficult to read inscriptions is a ongoing effort, and some of them will eventually yield to focused attention and the information here will be updated.

Cemetery Records

One might assume that the records of the Norris City Cemetery Company would be the best and most complete source of information about who is buried in the cemetery. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

The cemetery company went defunct in the middle of the 20th century and left the cemetery and its associated records in disorder. East Norriton Township rehabilitated the cemetery grounds and received a set of index cards which represented the entirety of the remaining records of the cemetery company. It appears that someone had modernized the actual original records to create these index cards. Unfortunately, the actual original records do not appear to be available.

East Norriton Township then digitized the content of these index cards into a DBase database file in the late 1980s. Occasional updates to the DBase file were made as new information came to be known. At some point, a printed report was created, and at some point thereafter, the DBase file could no longer be used and may not have been preserved. The printed report became the primary data source.

Thus, there remain two overlapping but imperfect sets of cemetery records: the original card file and the printed DBase report.

The card file exhibits the following characteristics:

  • The names were not carefully captured from the source records in many cases. Spelling errors exist, and sometimes first names were not captured ("Mr.").
  • The cards do not represent all of the interred, judging from the existing tombstones.
  • Some of the lot locations appear to be incorrect, judging from the existing tombstones.
  • The items of information on the cards is not consistent (but may faithfully represent the source information).
  • Sometimes there is more than one card for the same individual.

The printed report is not a faithful representation of the card file, either. In particular:

  • Some cards do not appear in the printed report, particularly cards representing people buried in the poor ground, but also some others. However, additional names appear on the report that are not in the set of cards.
  • The report did not print all of the information on the cards. Age and middle initial were omitted in all cases. Sometimes the cards note date of burial, which is not tabulated on the report.
  • Dates. The report (or the underlying DBase data) did not handle two-digit years properly, so many dates in the 1880 - 1899 period appear as 1980 - 1999 on the report. Worse, incomplete dates (such as October, 1888 or simply 1888) had to be entered as 10/1/88 or 1/1/88 because the data entry form insisted on a valid and complete date.
  • Typographical errors appear to have been introduced during the transcription process. Additional duplicate records were introduced along the way (but duplicated cards were faithfully entered).

This graphic includes a fragment of the printed report, and highlights instances of some of the issues noted above.

Finally, the transcription of information from the paper records that the Township provided was subject to additional risk of error when importing the data into this website.

For all of these reasons, the Cemetery Records do not live up to the hope of a complete and accurate listing of those buried here.

For this web site, the data on the two lists were merged into a single data set. First, each distinct entry in one list was matched to a corresponding entry or entries in the other list. Differences in names and dates were rationalized as well as they could be. This work was done mostly without regard to the data that appears on the grave markers themselves, except: 1) Marker data were used as a tie-breaker if conflicting information existed between the two lists; and 2) Physical gravestone location (lot number) was substituted whenever the record matched someone with a grave marker.

This cleansing and rationalization is one of the places where judgment was applied to the data. (Generally, the intention is to present all the information as-is and allow the researcher to make sense of it. In this light, all of the raw records are accessible from the main pages of the web site.)

Other Sources

The primary additional source of names of those interred in Norris City Cemetery is a list of veterans that the Township passed along. It contains only name and war, no vital statistics.

Additionally, contributors will occasionally send supplemental information using the contact form. This information has been included in the Other Sources table as well.

Correlation Among Sources

The goal of this web site is to expose the most complete information possible about those buried in Norris City Cemetery, from any of the sources and without an explicit attempt to adjudicate conflicting information. But making sense of these disconnected, overlapping, and incomplete lists is difficult (if not impossible), and some further analysis was required in order to create an effective presentation of the information.

This took the form of a correlation among the lists: presenting entries that appeared to represent a single person, on a single line in a table of search results or lot occupants. It was not possible to automate this process. Judging the correlation was a line-by-line manual decision.

This manual correlation (name matching) across the lists is the other area where judgment had to be applied, and visitors to this site should understand that the grouping (or lack of grouping) that appears is little more than a best guess. There were certainly errors made in correlating the sources, but hopefully enough information was included to allow the detection of these errors or areas of ambiguity by those who know more. Please use the contact form to recommend corrections.


The numbers below are approximate but may illuminate the state of agreement across the entire data set.

Breakdown of people documented in cemetery records
Cemetery Cards: total2484
Cemetery Cards: distinct people2375
Cemetery Report: total lines2839
Cemetery Report: distinct people2540
People both on cards and in report2217
People on cards but not on report158
People on report but not in cards323
Cemetery Records: total people2698

Agreement is fairly good. Most of those on the cards but not in the report appear to be individuals whose burial location is not in a formal plot (poor ground, etc.) and is an artifact of the way the report was created. The additional people in the report are likely to have resulted from entries made after the database was created from the cards.

Breakdown of people between markers and cemetery records
Grave Markers: total1850
Grave Markers: distinct people2257
Cemetery Records: distinct people2698
People both in cemetery records and on markers1412
People in cemetery records but not on markers1283
People on markers but not in cemetery records836
People from other sources25
Total number of people (all sources)3556

There are over one thousand names in the cemetery records for which no marker exists, and almost one thousand names on markers that do not appear in the cemetery records. Many unmarked graves (particularly of children) account for much of the former situation. But it is harder to rationalize how those appearing on physical grave markers escaped inclusion in the records.

After the name correlation process, across all three sources, over 3500 individuals appear to be represented in the combined data. The true number of interred may be larger or smaller than that.

Breakdown of lots and lot occupancy
Total lots in plan1590
Lots with grave markers768
Lots with grave markers only (and no unmarked graves)60
Lots with unmarked graves914
Lots with unmarked graves only (and no markers)206
Total occupied lots974

Here is a Venn diagram that shows the overlap between the people appearing on grave markers and those appearing in the cemetery records: