Female Maiden Name on Headstone #belarus #general #russia #names #translation

Steven M. Greenberg

Greetings!  I have encountered a headstone of one ESTHER URETSKY whom I suspect is the sister of my great-grandmother ROSE URETSKY.  But, I may very well be mistaken because I noted her maiden name URETSKY remains on the headstone.

This raises the question for me, in Soviet times (she died in 1973 in Kalinkovichi, Belarus), was it customary to engrave the maiden name of the decedent, or the married surname?  I see no reference to a spouse on this headstone. 

But clearly she had a son Aizik who appeared to perish in WWII:

Irina Fridman

In Soviet Russia some women preferred to keep their maiden name and not adopt the name of their husband. It was a common phenomenon. Sometimes, the husband would take the wife’s name, as was the case with relatives. My uncle’s wife retained her maiden name throughout the marriage. When moving to America, the uncle adopted his wife’s name.


I found a family stone in Ukraine from 1911 that is on the website of this organization:  Chesed Shel Emet.  

I can only translate part of the stone at this point, so I wasn't sure what to do.

Does anyone know anything about this organization?
Has anyone had any dealings with this organization?  They offer to clean the stone, paint the fence, etc  for a charge. 

Thank you,
Avivah Pinski
near Philadelphia

Avivah R. Z. Pinski ,  near Philadelphia, USA

Steven M. Greenberg


Thank you that is very helpful and not easily searchable information, so I appreciate the expertise.

One final question.  This particular headstone says "Esther Elyevna" which I have learned is the female patrynomic for Esther daughter of Eli?  Or is this possibly understood as Esther the Levite or Esther the Levi?
I am not sure how Russian headstones addressed this common Hebrew custom of calling out the "tribe" on the headstone.

Best regards,



"Levite" or "the Levi" is a designation given only to MALES, not to women. (it is passed down from father to son and originated with Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob).

Fredel Fruhman
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Stephen Weinstein

A woman's maiden name and married name can be the same if she marries someone who has the same last name as her father did.  For example, (Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt, was the daughter of Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt and married Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so her maiden and married surname were the same.

It's also possible for that she never married.  Having a child does not conclusively prove that a person married.

On Sun, Jul 5, 2020 at 08:42 AM, Steven M. Greenberg wrote:
Y.  But, I may very well be mistaken because I noted her maiden name URETSKY remains on the headstone.

This raises the que