This topic has been discussed at considerable length on jewishgen.
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You can find some good explanations by searching for "landsmanschaft"
in the archives.
The short explanation is that these organizations were originally
established by people >from a certain town or district, but they were
not exclusively so, and people joined for other reasons as well (so
they are not necessarily a reliable proof of their town of origin).
The members paid dues, and the societies also had social functions.
Being buried in a landsmanschaft section is not an indication that
they couldn't afford to pay for their funeral.
....... tom klein, toronto
Naomi Leon <nimleon@...> wrote:
I have recently come across burial records for some of my relatives
who were buried in New York in the 1920s, and in the 1950s. The
records include details of their 'burial societies' - the NY Coat
Pressers and Rymanower Young Men. I understand that these were
benevolent associations tied to particular 'landmanschaftn' (home
town associations), synagogues, family circles, fraternal
organisations and labour unions. However, I am hoping someone will
be able to shed more light on the signficance of these societies
generally and those of my relatives in particular.
I am curious to know whether you had to pay a fee to be part of a
burial society, whether the involvement of a burial society indicated
that the deceased could not afford to pay for their own funeral or
burial and where I might be able to locate records.
I am slightly puzzled that my relatives were buried by the Rymanower
Young Men (which I assume was tied to the town of Rymanow in SE Poland),
since they came >from Rawa Mazowiecka and Lodz.