Waldheim Jewish Cemetery" #usa
Many thanks for these links, Martin. I have made a number of treks to the Waldheim Cemetery complex in search of relatives' graves, some successful, and some not. The Waldheim staff has been very helpful providing whatever details they have in their database about gravestone locations, but I have run into several recurring problems: sometimes the gravestones are simply not where they are supposed to be (perhaps they were removed later, per family requests?); the database gives grave locations by "gates" (named sections of the cemetery), but many of the gate name signs have long gone missing. In a cemetery this size, that leads to lots of wandering. Out of frustration I searched online and over the years have found a number of "official" as well as informal lists and hand-sketched maps that have proven extremely useful, which I have loaded to my GoogleDrive for anyone who is interested (see link below).
The cemetery appears to be pretty well maintained these days, although the threats of encroachment from surrounding commercial and highway pressures are clear. Nearly 100,000 of the almost 200,000 graves have been photographed and entered into the Find-a-Grave database at https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/108709/waldheim-cemetery-co. Unfortunately, some of gravestones have been vandalized over the years, especially the wonderful photo portraits that are mounted on some graves (you will see instances of this in the FindaGrave images that provide multiple photos of gravestones taken over the course of five or ten years). During one of my visits in a remote part of the cemetery where my grandmother was supposedly buried, I was happy when a local police car appeared within minutes to see what I was up to--it seems that they are making an effort to keep the cemetery protected from vandals.
I've loaded a number of lists and maps of Waldheim's many "gates" and burial societies to the following shared folder on my GoogleDrive, for anyone who would like to see them. (I will keep them there for the next few months, and will add more Waldheim material as I find it). If you are trying to locate specific graves in the vast Waldheim complex, by all means use these lists and maps--they might save you a lot of effort during your search! And if you have a chance to visit Waldheim, consider adding photos to the FindaGrave gravestone database or other similar databases for the benefit of others.
I am attaching here an interesting 2016 article in the Chicago Jewish Historical Society's newsletter on Waldheim Cemetery and the Haymarket Martyrs Memorial there.
With best wishes,
Robert Murowchick <robertmurowchick AT gmail.com>
Researching these family links: