Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sympathy Saturday ~ A Death Followed by a Birth

In researching the Sam Handler family, and finding Sam Handler's Naturalization Papers, I discovered that Sam and Sadie had a third child after Esther (b. 1910) and Arthur (b. 1912). According to his Petition for Naturalization, Alfred was born on August 16, 1914.

However, I had not found him in subsequent census records, which showed Sam and Sadie with only two children, Esther and Arthur, so I checked "Ohio Deaths 1908-1953" at FamilySearch and found a death certificate for Alfred Handler who died July 30, 1919, of Acute Lymphoid Leukaemia, just a few days before his fifth birthday.

According to Sam's brother Josef Handler's naturalization papers, Josef and Lena Handler's son Alfred was born on August 10, 1919, less than two weeks after his cousin's death. With the tradition in Jewish families of naming children after deceased relatives, I wonder if this Alfred was named after his recently deceased cousin.

From the naturalization papers for Josef Handler


  1. Enjoyed your post. Ashkenazi Jewish naming patterns definitely provide another clue (albeit sometimes circumstantial) for linking ancestors.

    Cousin Alfred might have been named for the deceased child (if the parents weren't superstitious about naming after someone who died so young). Considering how close in age they were, it's also possible that both boys were named for the same deceased relative. My father's family is full of Annettes and Anitas born within about 10 years of each other and all named for their deceased grandmother, Chana.

    The trick, I think, would be to find their Hebrew names on their headstones and then see if there are any earlier deceased relatives with the same Hebrew name.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Emily,
      I know that they each had a brother named Arthur and their paternal grandfather was Aaron (whom I always figured was who the Arthurs were named for). I will have to see if I can find out where each cousin is buried (this one likely in Cleveland, the other in Akron) and make a request through Find-A-Grave.

      Thanks for reading and for the suggestion!