Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Gitel (Slupsky) Dudelsack (1831-1906)

Generationally, the oldest family tombstone in America, on my father's side, is that of my great great great grandmother, Gitel (Slupsky) Dudelsack.

Transcription: Gitel daughter of Reb Simcha Zelig died on the 16th of Av 5666. [August 6, 1906]

Her tombstone says she was born in 1831. Her death record says she was 60 years, five months, and 21 days when she died. That converts to Feb 13, 1846. Taking into consideration when her children were born, 1831 is more likely.

From the tombstone I learned my great-great grandfather, Selig, was named after his maternal grandfather.

Gitel is buried in the Feinstein Plot at Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. Her stone is in the front row on the far right.

Gitel immigrated in 1891 under the surname Feinstein, with her daughter-in-law Annie, and several grandchildren. Her son, Selig, had immigrated in 1890 under the original surname Dudelsack. The reason behind the surname change is uncertain. Family lore said that Selig changed it to match the person in front of him in line at Ellis Island. One problem with this is that Ellis Island wasn't open yet, and Selig went through Castle Garden. I've searched through the Castle Garden records to see if there were any Feinsteins who arrived at the same time as Selig, and I didn't find any. It's actually possible that Selig's mother or wife were responsible for the name change, or Selig changed it upon arrival, and wrote to them and told them of the change before they made the trip.

* Gitel's memorial at FindAGrave.

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