Gravestone over a Baby's Grave #general


Stanley and Shelda Sandler
 

Dear Genners,

Is there any religious or non-religious reason why a baby's grave
(approximately about 100 years ago) would NOT have a gravestone to mark the
site of the grave? I am searching for the graves of two babies, both born
to my great-grandmother. One of the babies died >from a medical condition;
the other baby was stillborn. I know the names and locations of both
cemeteries. One cemetery is in good condition; however, I was told that I
would not find many gravestones for children there, although sections for
children were noted on a diagram in the cemetery office. The second
cemetery does not have a record of the burial; however, I have a copy of a
document titled "Return of a Death" which ncludes the name of the cemetery
and the name of the mother of the stillborn. That cemetery is badly
overgrown, and volunteers are working to clear away the debris in order to
identify graves and gravestones. To date, the gravesite for which I am
searching has not been located.

Might the reason for not erecting a matzevah over a baby or child's grave be
because the parents could not afford a gravestone? Or could there be some
other reason, religious or otherwise?

If any Genner knows the answer, I would greatly appreciate a response.

Thanks in advance, and a very Healthy and Happy New Year to all. L'Shana
Tovah.

Shelda Sandler
U.S.A.
stanshel@msn.com


A. E. Jordan
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Shelda Sandler stanshel@msn.com

To date, the gravesite for which I am
searching has not been located.
Might the reason for not erecting a
matzevah over a baby or child's grave be
because the parents could not afford
a gravestone? Or could there be some
other reason, religious or
otherwise?


I do not know about religious reasons but it could be affordability issues.
Also a lot of child stones were done of softer, less expensive materials
and stood closer to the ground. The end result the child stones did not
stand the test of time the same way adult stones. I have seen this in the
NYC area a lot of times even at well maintained cemeteries.

So may not be an issue of did a stone exist but instead Did the
stone survive the years.

Allan Jordan


Barbara Mannlein <bsmannlein@...>
 

You may not be able to locate a marked grave.

Traditionally, according to Halacha (Jewish law), no funeral or formal
mourning period was held for an infant that did not survive for 30 days.
(While that may seem harsh to us, we must remember that, until relatively
recently, infant and child mortality were extremely high. Funerals
were not held, no marker was placed on the grave, and parents might not
know where the grave was located.
It made sense: Otherwise some families might have been mourning almost
continuously. Today only the most strictly Orthodox are that strict about it -
as infant mortality has decreased, there is recognition of the
parents' need to mourn.

Shelda Sandler stanshel@msn.com
wrote:

Is there any religious or non-religious reason why a baby's grave
(approx 100 yrs ago) would NOT have a gravestone?
snip..............


Joseph Hirschfield
 

Babies who died 100 years ago of usually had a gravestone. It often was
much smaller than that for an adult. Many of these were not of the now more
familiar, durable granite, but often of sandstone, limestone or marble
which can crumble or deliminate over time and may not be legible or even
completely crumble.

Joseph Hirschfield
Portage, MI
HIRSZFELD, HERSCHFELD, HERZFELD, LINDENBAUM, BUXBAUM, BUCHSBAUM-Skwarzawa,
Gliniany, Jaryczow Nowy-GALICIA
MINOWITZKI, MINOWICKI, MINOFF-Brest Litovsk, Vysoko Litovsk-BELARUS


Is there any religious or non-religious reason why a baby's grave
(approximately about 100 years ago) would NOT have a gravestone to mark
the
site of the grave?
snip..........


Ira Leviton
 

Dear Cousins,

Shelda Sandlers asked whether there any reasons why the grave of a baby who
died about 100 years ago would NOT have a gravestone...

My answer is that if a baby did not have a grave marker 100 years ago, most
of the time it was because of expense. When marked, a stillborn baby
or infant that survived only several days, not long enough to be named, might
have a stone that says (generically) "Baby [Surname]," or "Baby Boy/Girl
[Surname]," or "Child of [Father and Mother Surname]," sometimes with a date.

However, according to Jewish religious law followed by everybody at that
time, stillborn babies and those that died within 30 days of birth were not
viable births. There was no funeral, kaddish, shiva, or other mourning,
and if the parents weren't at the cemetery to attend the burial, they may
not have even known the grave location within their society plot unless they
later asked in the cemetery office, so there was often no marker. This is
still the Orthodox religious law. Conservative and Reform law nowadays
is to have funeral services for babies that die any time after birth, and
it's almost universal for even infants to have grave markers, usually
granite like everybody else. I'm not sure about the religious law is for
Conservative and Reform religious law is regarding stillbirths.

Finally, 100 years ago, grave markers for babies were often made of
sandstone or other inferior materials that eroded over time - I have seen
many children's sections, usually located at the back of a landsmanshaft plot,
with small grave markers that are often worn and sometimes completely unreadable,
or broken with just a small base remaining.

Ira

Ira Leviton
New York, N.Y.