Keidaner Cemeteries: A database and guide
Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of genealogist Ada
Greenblatt, researchers now have access to a comprehensive
database of names and other inscriptions from the tombstones
in Keidaner cemeteries both in Keidan itself (Kedainiai,
Lithuania) and elsewhere.
What data is included:
This database contains about 1,500 tombstone inscriptions
from seven cemeteries: one in Keidan, five in greater New York,
and one in Chicago.
The one Jewish Cemetery that is still in existence in Kedainiai,
Lithuania, containing 582 gravestones. On September 4, 1997,
Ada Greenblatt, with her Lithuanian Jewish guide, the wonderful
Regina Kopilevich, spent 9 hours in the cemetery going from tombstone
to tombstone, which Ada transcribed as Regina read from the Hebrew.
They were able to do all but about 120 of them. Those 120 or so
require more time and/or rubbing material in order to decipher, or
are otherwise illegible. Some of the other tombstones have sunk
into the ground and a shovel is needed in order to determine the
date and in several cases, even the name. The hours of daylight in
Lithuania are 2-1/2 hours shorter in September than they are in June,
so at 7:30pm they had to quit. But they covered all the tombstones
that have surnames, plus all the others that are easily readable to
the naked eye. Also Regina gave each tombstone a number in order of
row and grave number (A-1, A-2, etc.) so that they can be located
and identified by whomever visits the cemetery.
The burial data in the following Kedainer landsmannschaft plots in
New York and Chicago were personally recorded solely and exclusively
by Ada Greenblatt. Ada went to each cemetery with a tape recorder
and dictated all the information that was on the tombstone (including the
Hebrew name) into that recorder. Then she went home and transcribed
it (not in the same day). Ada has also submitted the burial data
for these particular American Kedainer plots to the
Project database, c/o Arline and Sidney Sachs, where it will be
available on CD-ROM for purchase at the LA Seminar.
The landsmannschaft plot for the Kedainer Association, located in Block
76, Gate 379/S in Montefiore Cemetery, 121-83 Springfield Blvd.,
St. Albans, Queens County, NY 11412. Tel. 718-528-1700.
The plot contains 446 burials dating from 1911 through 1993.
This plot is still being used and now contains some new burials that
have occurred since Ada recorded the burial data in November 1995.
The landsmannschaft plot for the Kedainer Association, located in
Section 5, Post 509 in Washington Cemetery, 5400 Bay Parkway at
MacDonald Avenue, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY 11230.
Tel. 718-377-8690. This plot contains 160 burials from 1902-1995.
The most recent burials in the plot are those of Russian immigrants
from the post-war Soviet period and their tombstones have Cyrillic inscriptions.
They may not necessarily have roots in Keidan. Ada recorded this plot in
The landsmannschaft plot for Congregation Bnei Israel Anshe Kadan,
located in Section 1, Post 144 of Washington Cemetery (same location and
phone as above). This plot contains 86 burials from 1888-1997, almost a 100
year period, representing some of the earliest immigrants from Kedain to
have come to America. Ada recorded this plot in October 1997.
Another landsmannschaft plot for Congregation Bnei Israel Anshe
Kadan, located in Section 3, Post 287 of Washington Cemetery
(same location and phone as above). This plot contains 72 burials from
1903-1978. For some unknown reason, there are several people who were
born in Yassy (Iasi) Roumania who are buried in this plot.
It says so on their tombstones. Some of them, notably Haimowitz and
Usherson, even served as officers of Anshe Kadan, as listed on the gates.
In fact, the parents of several of the people who are buried in this plot
are buried in a Roumanian landsmannschaft plot that is directly adjacent
to Anshe Kadan. Ada recorded this plot in October 1997.
The landsmannschaft plot for Chevra Bnei Israel Anshe Keidan, located in
Block 57, Path 2 of Mt. Hebron Cemetery, 13-04 Horace Harding Expressway,
Flushing, Queens County, NY. Tel. 718-939-9405. This is the same society
as Congregation Bnei Israel Anshe Kadan at Washington Cemetery. This plot
contains 49 burials from 1914-1991. For some unknown reason, the spouses to
some of the people buried in this plot are buried in the Kovner Unt. Verein
plot which is directly adjacent to Anshe Keidan. Perhaps the plot was
subdivided at one point into two separate plots, but Ada has no way of
knowing. For genealogical purposes, where known, Ada has included in the
database the spouse who is buried in the adjacent Kovner plot and has noted
it accordingly. There may be other spouses and/or offspring in the Kovner
plot for those buried in Anshe Keidan that Ada is unaware of. Ada recorded
this plot in November 1997.
The landsmannschaft plot for the Kadaner Unt. Verein at
Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. This society
was affiliated with Congregation/Chevra Bnei Israel Anshe Keidan in New York.
The plot contains 94 burials from 1937 through 1996 and is still being used today.
The Sexton for this particular plot is Woodlawn Cemetery Association, 1800
South Harlem Avenue, Forest Park, Cook County, Illinois. Tel. 708-366-4100.
Ada recorded this plot in November 1997.
What fields are in the database:
There are four fields in the database, as follows:
- Full English name (as listed on tombstone).
- Full Hebrew name (as listed on tombstone).
This contains the deceased's father's name as well.
Examples: "Avraham ben Yitzchak" or "Chana bat Yosef".
There are several cases where for unknown reasons a deceased's
Hebrew name is not on their tombstone.
- The dates field. This contains in almost all cases,
the date of death and age. In many cases, particular in cases of
those who died from the 1960s onwards, the date of birth is listed
in lieu of the age. In some cases in the Kedainer landsmannschaft plots,
where only a year was listed on the tombstone, Ada was able to get the
full date from either the cemetery office, or the New York City death
index, or the Social Security death index. When only the Hebrew date
of death was listed, Ada converted it using the Zmanin Hebrew calendar
conversion software. In the case of the tombstones in the Kedainiai
Cemetery itself, mostly only the Hebrew date is given, consisting of
mostly the month and the year (there wasn't the time to get the specific
- The notes field. This field contains the English inscription on the
tombstone, mostly things like "beloved husband, father and grandfather" or
"beloved wife, mother and grandmother". Ada recorded this particular
information because she thought that it was important for genealogical
purposes as to whether or not the deceased had descendants. Ada has also
included in this field the relationship of the deceased to other people in
the plot with the same surname. In many cases the spouse was easy to
determine because husband and wife shared a joint tombstone or if buried
separately, they shared an identical looking tombstone, or one was directly
next to or in back of the other. There were some cases where Ada thought
that some people were related, but she wasn't sure, so she mentioned it with
a question mark. In the case of the Kedainer Association plot at Montefiore
Cemetery, Ada was able to look up the death records of all those who died in
New York City prior to 1949 and she used that data to determine family
relationships that were not easily determined by the tombstone alone. Ada
has submitted a more detailed listing of this particular plot, including
maiden names of spouses and the deceased's mother, to the AJGS Cemetery
Project. Ada has also noted descrepancies, where known, between the age
listed on the tombstone and the age listed on the death certificate. This
was a frequent occurrence.
Please be aware of the following:
As we can see by the example of those born in Roumania who are buried in
Bnei Israel Anshe Kadan at Washington Cemetery, not everyone that is buried
in these Kedainer plots was from Keidan. The deceased may have been married
to someone from Keidan or he or she may have just had friends from Keidan
and thus chose to associate with a Kedainer society.
Contrary to that, not everyone from Keidan is buried in a Kedainer
landsmannschaft plot. Someone born in Kedain may be buried in a plot
affiliated with a synagogue, a lodge or fraternal organization, an
occupational plot, or in the same landsmannschaft plot as his or her
non-Kedainer spouse. So if your bubbe or zayde, whom you always thought to
be from Keidan, is not buried in a Kedainer society plot, it doesn't
necessarily mean that they weren't from Keidan after all.
Note that husband and wife and/or offpsring may be in two different
Kedainer plots. For instance, Wolf Greenblatt, who died in 1939, is buried
in the Kedainer Association plot at Montefiore Cemetery. His wife, Esther,
who predeceased him, is buried in the older plot of the same landsmannschaft
at Washington Cemetery.
The database contains burials of people who do not have tombstones,
people whose tombstones are too old and faded to read, or those of babies
and children whose tombstones are sinking into the ground and cannot be
read. Ada was able to get this information in the cemetery office by
looking at the particular ledger books for the Kedainer society, arranged in
chronological order of death. This was particularly true in the case of
Washington Cemetery, which contains the oldest Kedainer burials and thus
those which were the hardest to decipher. Because some of these burials
were just a name and a date in a book, and no tombstone, Ada was able to
look up the deceased's New York death cert. and get additional information
which she included in the database. As opposed to Montefiore Cemetery,
mentioned earlier, for Washington Cemetery, Ada looked up the New York City
death certificates only for those burials who did not have tombstones or in
cases where the tombstones were illegible. Not all of the deceased had a
death certificate on file in New York City.
Please note that Ada Greenblatt is unable and unwilling to do the
following on your behalf:
- go out to the various cemeteries and take pictures of these
- make personal or telephone inquires to the cemetery office
about any of these burials
- look up death certificates or any other documentation on any
of the deceased
- provide anyone with any genealogical information about any of
the deceased (other than Ada's own particular surnames of research
as listed in the JewishGen Family Finder).
For more information about Keidan, see the
Kedainiai (Keidan) Page.
To search this Keidan cemetery database, just type a surname
into the space indicated below.
You can search for a precisely-spelled surname (e.g. "Cassel");
or look up surnames that sound the same using the "Daitch-Mokotoff
Soundex" system — This will return all variant spellings of
a particular name, such as Cassel / Kessel, Cohen / Kahn / Kohen / Kaan,
Horowitz / Horowicz / Gurvitch, etc. You can also do a
Global Text search of the entire database for a text string
(good for looking up first names or patronymics).
Last Update: 30 May 2003 MT
Data Copyright ©1998 Ada Greenblatt