PolishOrigins Forum

 FAQFAQ    SearchSearch    MemberlistMemberlist    ProfileProfile    Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages    Log inLog in    RegisterRegister 
Author
Message
mattyj1202



Joined: 09 Feb 2018
Replies: 8
Location: Caldwell, NJ

Back to top
Post Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:31 pm      Post subject: Help Needed - Calling Cemetery in Poland for Locating Grave
Reply with quote

Hi there,

I have what I believe to be the name of the cemetery in Lodz where my grandaunt is buried. Unfortunately, I did not receive a reply to the email I sent to the cemetery for information (about 2 months ago). I live in the US and don't speak Polish, so I'm looking for someone to call the cemetery for me and ask a short list of questions in attempts to locate my grandaunt's grave.

If you speak Polish (or know someone who does) and are willing to make a brief phone call for me, please let me know - I'd greatly appreciate the help.

Thank you very much!

Matt
View user's profile
Send private message
gdeborski



Joined: 30 Dec 2011
Replies: 68

Back to top
Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:55 am      Post subject: Cemeteries in Poland
Reply with quote

Matt,

When I visited Poland a few years ago, I learned that the cemeteries there do not operate as they do in the US. Families must pay fees for the use of the plots. When the fees are no longer being paid, a different family may pay the fees and use the plot and replace any markers that are there. I learned that my ancestors remains are most probably still there, somewhere, but any old markers are long gone. The cemeteries I visited were filled with many of the surnames I am researching, but few were older than 30 or 40 years. The records of deaths are a much better source of information.

Best of luck,
Gary D.
View user's profile
Send private message
Send e-mail
mattyj1202



Joined: 09 Feb 2018
Replies: 8
Location: Caldwell, NJ

Back to top
Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:58 pm      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Thanks very much for the tip, Gary!

I would guess though: even if a marker is no longer present at a plot for someone, it's probable that the cemetery still has a record of the person's interment, as well as the location/details, correct? The interment would've been in 1903, so did the practice you outlined below apply at that time, or is this a more recent practice?

M
View user's profile
Send private message
gdeborski



Joined: 30 Dec 2011
Replies: 68

Back to top
Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:30 pm      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Matt,

I don't think this is only a recent way of doing things. My ancestors lived in the same villages/parishes from at least the 1820's until they left Poland for the US around the start of the 20th century. I have found many records of births, marriages, and deaths in the parish records. When we visited those same parish cemeteries, there were no markers. Our guide said that the ancestors remains were still there, but the plots were now being used by those currently paying the fees.

I suggest you try to find your ancestors in the church parish records. If the cemetery is at the parish, that simplifies things. If the cemetery is at a smaller, local church or chapel, you'll need to figure out which parish it was associated with at the time of the burial. Many of the parish records were microfilmed by the LDS church and you can look for the records there under the parish. Records are also stored in various archives in Poland. I am not much of an expert on those, but others on this forum can possibly help there also.

I'm afraid I'm not being much help, but it's what I know about going about finding records.

Good luck,
Gary D.
View user's profile
Send private message
Send e-mail
Sophia



Joined: 05 Oct 2014
Replies: 304

Back to top
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:20 am      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Hi Matt,
I have to agree with what Gary has said. The church death records that I have seen do not indicate where, within a cemetery, someone was buried. In the case of a cemetery that I visited, none of the pre-WWII grave locations could be determined. Everyone knew that their deceased relatives were in that cemetery, but there was no longer a way of knowing where. What many families do, in such a case, is to put up a family marker when they have a new burial, and on this marker they include the name of the person whose grave is no longer locatable. It does not mean that person's remains were moved to the new grave, simply that the family wishes the old family members to be remembered. However, I do not know what the specific situation is for the cemetery in Lodz where your grand-aunt is.
Best of luck in your search,
Sophia
View user's profile
Send private message
dnowicki
PO Top Contributor


Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Replies: 1574
Location: Michigan City, Indiana

Back to top
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:25 pm      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Sophia wrote:
Hi Matt,
I have to agree with what Gary has said. The church death records that I have seen do not indicate where, within a cemetery, someone was buried. In the case of a cemetery that I visited, none of the pre-WWII grave locations could be determined. Everyone knew that their deceased relatives were in that cemetery, but there was no longer a way of knowing where. What many families do, in such a case, is to put up a family marker when they have a new burial, and on this marker they include the name of the person whose grave is no longer locatable. It does not mean that person's remains were moved to the new grave, simply that the family wishes the old family members to be remembered. However, I do not know what the specific situation is for the cemetery in Lodz where your grand-aunt is.
Best of luck in your search,
Sophia


Matt, Gary, & Sophia,

I agree that parish death & burial records from 1800 on usually do not mention the specific location of a burial. As far as I know, the reason for that omission is that the records from that time period [which are available on LDS microfilms (now online at Family Search) and the records housed in the various Polish National Archives] are all civil transcripts which were commissioned by the rulers of the partitioning powers. Their interest in the records was as vital stats and not as records of burial locations. However, Church records from before the partitions (which were generally filmed in the diocesan archives where the records are housed) sometimes do give the burial location, at least in general terms. From experience I know that this is true for some burial records from what were later the German and the Russian Partitions.

Here are several examples from the parish of Głuchowo (powiat kościański) from the first half of the 18th Century. Several records specify that the burials took place in the northern part of the cemetery “where those from Jarogniewice are buried”. Another record gives the location as “near the chapel”. The most informative burial record states that the burial took place near the ossuary (prope ossuarium). Those two Latin words tell us quite a bit about the practices in that cemetery (and by extension, most likely in other cemeteries in Poland). An ossuary was commonly known as a “charnel house” in English. Burial plots in cemeteries in Europe and in the British Isles were recycled/reused and sometimes bones from earlier burials were unearthed when new graves were dug. The custom was to place those bones in an ossuary for storage until Gabriel blows his horn. Generally the bones from the various burials were mixed together in an ossuary.

Reusing burial plots is not something limited to Europe. It also has been done in the USA, although on a much smaller scale due to the large amount of land available here. An example of re-purposing cemetery land which comes to mind is what was done along the lakefront on the near North Side of Chicago. The area where Lincoln park is today was an early city burial ground. Eventually the land was converted into a park and whatever skeletal remains were unearthed were transferred to a mass grave in another location.

An even better example comes from my own personal experience. I had a summer job during high school in the early 1960s at Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois. The cemetery was founded in the 1890s as a Polish & Slovak Catholic Cemetery. The cemetery had two types of burial spaces: 1) family plots aka perpetual care plots; and 2) term graves. Term graves were basically “rented” for a term of 25 years. After the term expired the family had the choice of either transferring the remains to a family plot or doing nothing. Some opted for transfers, but most did nothing. The grade of the section was then raised and eventually the section was used for new burials. Two sections which had been “baby sections” had the grade raised while I worked there. In fact, one of my tasks was to hold the survey rod/pole so the engineer/surveyor could shoot the grade. Once the grade had been raised sufficiently so that the old baby graves would not be disturbed, the sections were converted to permanent family plots and within the last 20 years or so have been used for new burials. The former baby sections which have been converted and reused are Section 19 and the eastern portion of Section18 labeled “Sacred Heart” on the attached map. The adult term grave sections where all markers have been removed and depressions caused by wooden coffins rotting away have been filled in are the sections labeled 8 and H on the map. Thus far those sections have not been reused for new burials.

The comments about practices in the USA are not identical to practices in Poland, but I believe that they are somewhat analogous.

I hope these comments may offer some food for thought.

Dave



Holy Cross Cemetery.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  377.54 KB
 Viewed:  0 Time(s)

Holy Cross Cemetery.jpg


View user's profile
Send private message
looking for clues



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Replies: 62

Back to top
Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:33 pm      Post subject:
Reply with quote

I found this article about cemeteries in Poland interesting http://www.ipgs.us/iwonad/artdirectory/cemeteries.html

In part it said:
"Many graves were destroyed as a result of legal regulations in the 1950s, when a statute was enacted stating that graves neglected, abandoned, and not paid for, according to the rates in effect, were to be eliminated, and the plots were to be reused for new burials. According to the regulation, one could bury the next body in place of the previous one after 20 years had passed. In practice it seems this meant the old plates were removed and the next body was buried on the remnants of the old one. The descendants of emigrants from more than a century ago have little chance of finding the graves of their great-grandfathers. If the whole family emigrated, and all that remained were old folks and distant relatives, then in time there would be no one left to care for the graves of ancestors.

The oldest graves in rural and district cemeteries date from the mid-19th century. You do find older ones, mainly those of local landowners and priests. Only their monuments have withstood the test of time."
View user's profile
Send private message
harufam



Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Replies: 39
Location: Normantown, WV, USA

Back to top
Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 2:55 am      Post subject: Preserving graves in photographs
Reply with quote

I, like all of you, have witnessed the problem also. The more you come to know about cemeteries everywhere, the more you realize what was once thought to be your final resting place is not. I discovered this in my search for my ancestors. My search in Poland is mostly in the Lomza area of Podlaskie. There is really no good solution regarding the graves that are no longer there, but there is a solution going forward. I, and a few online friends in Poland, are determined to photograph all of the graves there right now, so at least we can preserve what remains. Had this been possible 100 years ago, we would not be having this conversation. To date, the Cemeteries of Maly Plock, Katy, Dobry Las, Losewo, Lachowo and Poryte have been photographed completely. Zbojna and Jedwabne are underway. After the photos are taken, I upload them to FINDAGRAVE.com, then transcribe them. There is still much work to do, but more are completed each day. Unfortunately, this only solves the problem today, and does nothing for the future. I have tried to enlist the aid of local communities to make sure each loved one that is interred from this point is entered in F.A.G., but it would only work if a group like local funeral directors would make that part of their service they perform for families. It seems so simple to me. It is a service they could offer for free that would provide a truly perpetual place to be memorialized. In the interim, I would suggest to everyone they should organize the photographic record of cemeteries they are interested in ... soon you will not have the chance.
_________________
Researching the Lomza area (Kolno, Poryte, Dobry Las etc) for Charubin, Zonak, Koldys, Siwik
View user's profile
Send private message
Send e-mail
Visit poster's website
mattyj1202



Joined: 09 Feb 2018
Replies: 8
Location: Caldwell, NJ

Back to top
Post Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:13 am      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Thank you ALL very much for your help - this is very helpful to know, although like you've all mentioned, finding the actual burial location may be difficult if not impossible.

For me, the most important thing would be to know the location in a certain cemetery, but even if I knew that the burial "somewhere in cemetery X," that would absolutely suffice. I'm amazed that I've been able to find what I have to this point, so the rest would all be a huge bonus.

As luck would have it, my coach partner on my son's teeball team is able to help - his parents are Polish-born, fluent, etc, and are very happy to make a few phone calls on my behalf.

I appreciate everyone's help - thank you!

M
View user's profile
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PolishOrigins Forum Index -> In search of relatives / Poszukiwani krewni All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB ©

© 2018 COPYRIGHTS BY THE OWNER OF POLISHORIGINS.COM