Monday, August 1, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Selig Feinstein - March 12, 1915

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe?  I provide my three reasons in the linked post.  You may find others.  If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.


This week, I look at the obituary for my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein. The obituary appeared in the March 12th, 1915 edition of The St. Louis Jewish Voice.

St. Louis Jewish Voice
March 12, 1915

--Mr. Selig Feinstein, aged 51 years, passed away last Friday morning, after a lingering illness, and was laid to rest on Sunday morning from his late residence, 1941 Burd avenue. Besides his wife, he leaves four sons and one daughter to mourn for him. Berger, the undertaker, conducted the funeral, which was largely attended.


1) There actually isn't a lot of information in this obituary, and some of the information is wrong.  When Selig passed away, he left behind five sons, and two daughters.  One of those sons did marry outside of the faith; it is possible he wasn't counted intentionally.  However, it could equally be a clerical error, as I am certain is the case with the number of daughters. The age and address is correct.  His death certificate indicates he died of Chronic Interstitial Nephritis, and was overseen by a doctor for six months, so 'lingering illness' is appropriate.

2) Not every death in the community was noted in The Jewish Voice.  The names who appeared in the "Locals" section often were the same.  While the obituary wasn't long, it does indicate his passing was considered noteworthy.  I already knew he was active in the Chesed Shel Emeth Society and Thefharas Zion Talmud Thora Association, so in a recent trip to the local library's microfilm archives I went looking for his obituary specifically.  I found a few other items, including the Standard Oil Menorah Candles advertisement I shared last week.

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