Stella Loterijman, who's based in the UK, had been trying to find her grandfather's first wife, Mary Constance Reilly, since 1979. All she knew was that Reilly was born in 1869, married Dr. Charles William Reilly and died at age 20 of dysentery, while he was on a tour of duty with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Hong Kong.
Then last month, Loterijman was resuming research into her family tree when she found Mary's info on Gwulo: "In loving memory of Mary Constance Reilly, wife of Captain Reilly" in section 18.
In an e-mail to CNN, Loterijman described being "thrilled and elated."
Craig Bissell also credits Lim and Gwulo for helping solve a years-long mystery over Miller Robb Dickson, the favorite brother of his Scottish grandmother, who has always said he went off to Canada to join the Hong Kong Police Force and died unexpectedly. Even so, Bissell, who lives in Toronto, Canada, could never find evidence of Dickson's ever being in Hong Kong until it suddenly appeared on Gwulo one day.
"It was a marvelous breakthrough," Bissell wrote, adding, "It solved a mystery no one else seemed terribly concerned about." Dickson's listing identifies him as a police sergeant for the Hong Kong Police Force from Dundee, Scotland, and who died in 1928 at the age of 30.
Nicholas Belanovsky and his wife, Tatiana, are among 108 Russians buried in the cemetery. All that was known of him for decades was that he had escaped for China after the Russian Revolution, said his grandnephew, Dmitry Belanovsky, in an e-mail from Moscow.
Then in 2004, Dmitry typed "Belanovsky" into a browser -- and to his "amazement" discovered that Nicholas' name appeared as an engineer for the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Surety of the Sinners in Shanghai during the 1930s. With the help of a Russian priest, he found the grave and subsequently learned that Nicholas' work with the British Cigarette Company had taken the couple to Hong Kong in 1948. He lived to the ripe old age of 88 on the second floor of a Kowloon apartment building, surviving Tatiana by nearly 30 years and leaving his entire estate to his longtime amah, or maid.
Having been regarded as "stateless" and the "people's enemy," Nicholas had never gotten in touch with his family in Russia apparently fearing harm would come to them, said Dmitry.
He has since posted the info on Gwulo in hopes of learning more about Nicholas Belanovsky's life.
"It's full of stories, this cemetery," said Lim, who now splits time between Hong Kong and England. "They are like old friends, yes."
For now, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department operates the cemetery, which has yet to attain heritage status.