Sunday, December 30, 2018

Thanks, JewishGen: My Great-Great Grandmother's Surprise Burial Location

My great-great grandmother was Rochel Fuchs Rutner.  Although she never lived outside of what's now Subcarpathian Ukraine (although it was Hungary when she was born and Czechoslovakia when she died), I actually have gathered quite a bit of documentation about her life.

But I never knew exactly when she died.  I have the death records from Kolodne and Dulovo, where she lived from the time she married, and her death was not recorded.  I did have a window of when she would have died; she was alive in 1920 when my grandmother's older brother came to America, and she had a granddaughter named for her in 1927.  In addition, when her husband died in 1928, he was listed as a widower.

I had been in Kolodne back in 2016, and I photographed what is left of the Jewish cemetery.  When I got home, I transcribed all of the tombstones, and sent the transcriptions and associated photos to JewishGen's JOWBR.  The other night I wanted to check on a particular tombstone to see if it correlated with a lead I was following (more to come on that lead in a future post), and I was being lazy, so instead of searching through my computer, I just searched for Kolodne graves on JOWBR.

And this is why being lazy can pay off!
Partial JOWBR Listing for Kolodne

All of the stones were ones I had photographed--but I happened to notice that the last entry was for someone actually buried in Berehove, but which came up when I searched for Kolodne--plus Boruch Hirsch/Tzvi is a common name in my family.  So I clicked:
Ruchel bat Burech Zvi's JOWBR Entry
Ruchel, the daughter of Burech Zvi died on November 19, 1924 and was buried in Berehove.  This is my great-great grandmother!  And that date of death was right in the window I'd estimated.  JewishGen has a KehilaLinks page for Berehove, and that page has photographs of the cemetery.  And look what's there:
My great-great grandmother is described as a modest woman, Rochel daughter of Baruch Tzvi from Kolodne who died 22 Cheshvan 5685.
Distance between Berehove and Kolodne

But why is she buried in Berehove?  So far as I know (so far), she didn't have immediate family who lived there.  Berehove is quite a distance to Kolodne; even today, Google Maps says this 103kM/64 mile distance is a 2-hour drive.  And she was born even further to the east of Berehove than Kolodne is.  Looks like I now have to do some Berehove investigations to figure this one out!  And I'd love to get there to get a better photo--or if anyone reading this might be in the area and would be willing to take a photo, I'd greatly appreciate it.

This shows the power of JewishGen and its volunteers.  I never would have looked through Berehove's cemetery for my family members, since I didn't know of any connection to that town.  But because someone took a photo and someone else indexed it and sent that to JewishGen, I was able to find where my great-great grandmother was buried and when she died.

So thanks, JewishGen.  I've just sent them a donation, so hopefully they'll be able to host JOWBR and all of their other databases for a long time to come.  If you've benefited from JewishGen, thank them--plus you'll get in a 2018 tax deduction!

You can now like my page on Facebook:

or .


  1. FIrst time reader here. I have family in Minsk I am wondering if you can help me find. Please email me so we can discuss my family and all that. Thank you.

  2. Amazing. But how did the person who listed it know where she was born? Does the headstone include her birthplace? I have a somewhat similar circumstance. A relative was buried in a town about 15 km from where he lived---and I can't figure out why. His wife was buried where they lived. Not as distant as your ancestor from her home, but still puzzling.

    1. Yes, the headstone includes the town (which isn't her birthplace but is where she lived most of her adult life, post-marriage).