Sunday, June 28, 2020

My Great-Great-Great Grandmother's Grave

I have only one great-great-great grandparent who ever came to America, Mira Alpern Lefand Marienhoff.  Her death certificate from Pittsburgh says that she died in Pittsburgh in April 1913, less than seven years after coming to America.  The certificate notes that she was buried in "White Hall."  What was then known as Whitehall Cemetery is now divided into Beth Abraham, Shaare Zedeck and Shaare Torah cemeteries in the Carrick section of Pittsburgh.

Mira had children buried in Beth Abraham and Shaare Zedeck.  When I was in Pittsburgh a few years ago, I spent hours going through these very large cemeteries trying to find Mira's grave, but I never found it.  Pittsburgh's Jewish cemeteries seem relatively well-indexed on JOWBR, but she was not listed there.  I assumed that perhaps as new immigrants, her family was unable to afford any sort of gravestone for her.

Just in case, I put up a request on FindAGrave, in hopes that someone would enable a miracle.  And that miracle has occurred.
Grave of Mira Alpern Lefand Marienhoff!
A volunteer named Richard Boyer found Mira's grave!  It is only in Hebrew (so perhaps that is why it wasn't included in JOWBR), but I don't know why I didn't see it when I was hunting

Her surname actually looks like Tarienhoff (rather than Marienhoff).  Since her children's first language was Yiddish, I'm not sure why this wasn't ever caught and fixed.

The grave says:
(Abbreviation for) Here lies
Our dear mother Mrs.
Miriam daughter of Mr Yitzchok
Marienhoff (Tarienhoff?)
Died 14 Nisan in the year
5683 in the days of her life
(Abbreviation for) May her soul dwell in everlasting life

Thank you again to FindAGrave volunteers for helping someone who isn't local!

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  1. Congratulations on the find, Lara. You’ll have to make a trip back now that the marker has been located.

    1. I'm teaching at GRIP in 3 weeks. So I was supposed to be quite nearby--but now it's virtual. :(

  2. You should also be able to get a copy of her death certificate, if you don't already have it. That might give you her mother's name, depending upon who provided the information and how interested they were in being accurate.

    I have a very similar story - I started my genealogy project in 1994, when my paternal GF's youngest brother, then 87, came to the US from Ukraine with the last of his children to leave. I got a wealth of information from him (and ended up meeting my wife in Mexico via an introduction from some distant cousins - that's a whole other story). I also visited with my GF's last wife, then in her late 80s, to see if she had any information. She didn't...except that she mentioned that my GF's own GF (who I knew had to be maternal) was buried in Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn. Well, after 22 years of searching the cemetery and every index imaginable, with every variation on his first and last names, I had hit a brick wall. Until, that is, I typed in his last name in Find-A-Grave, and up popped my GG GF! He wasn't in Brooklyn, but in Staten Island. I happened to be making a trip to the area a couple of months later, so of course I found and visited his grave. The date of death was off by 2 months (due to a VERY worn stone) vs. the internet information, and that allowed me to track down his death certificate. The interesting thing was that he had lied about his age upon immigrating (making himself 10 years younger), was utterly consistent in the 1910 Census, and when it simply didn't matter, whomever provided the information for the carving of his stone kept up the lie. The death certificate, however, showed his true age. But I know that all of the other information was a lie because his eldest son was here in the US (and I know a lot about him), and he would have been only 10 when that son was born if the age he claimed was accurate.

    Glad that you finally broke down that brick wall - it is always very satisfying, plus you feel like you've done something for the person by not forgetting them.

    1. Thanks; I have it, which is where I had "White Hall." I have her marriage record, her parents' death records, all in now-Ukraine. But this gravestone was just a gap in the US which bothered me!

  3. Thank You Lara. You have given me hope of finding the grave of my great uncle who died 1n 1907. I've got the death certificate and place of burial, but JCAM unable to locate the grave. IF, I can ever get outta Florida I'll be back up to MASS to look for him but in the mean time will give "FIND-A-GRAVE" a try. Stay well. Stay safe. Cindy

  4. Oh, how exciting! Don't you love Find A Grave and the volunteers! :)