Lithuania SIG #Lithuania RE: Surnames on matzevas in Lithuania #lithuania

Jon Seligman

Very few of the Matzevot have surnames, especially before WWI, though the
situation seems to be better the further west you are in Lithuania (Prussian
influence?). After WWII all the markers include surnames. It is usually very
difficult to identify specific gravestones for genealogical research during
the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Jon Seligman
Zur Hadassa, Israel

LITVAKSIG Digest for Monday, July 02, 2018.

2. Surnames on Matzevas in Lithuania


Subject: Surnames on Matzevas in Lithuania
From: "Adam Cherson" <adam.cherson@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2018 09:00:56 -0400
X-Message-Number: 2

Dear Litvak Researchers,

I am considering a plunge into matzevah research in Lithuania. The other
day I saw a collection of digital images >from the Merkine cemetery
dating >from about 1875-1905 (most >from around 1890) and noticed
something I would like to open up for brief discussion.

In this library of images there are around 234 legible markers. To my
count, only 6 of these (2.5%) included the surname of the deceased.

The other 97.5% were typically like this: "Here rests Shimon son of
Arye. [He passed away] on the 14th of Heshvan, year 5634 (November 4
1873). May his soul rest in Eden."

So my question to those who have some experience with Lithuanian Jewish
cemeteries is this: with regard to surname inclusion, how typical is
this Merkine example of matzevah practices in Lithuania during the 19th
and early 20th centuries?

This is an important question for me to consider because if the absence
of surnames is generally widespread throughout Lithuania over these 100
or so years, that is going to make genealogical identification using
matzevas quite a bit more difficult and may affect the cost-benefit
equation of pursuing such a research strategy.

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Adam Cherson

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