logofinalmixjpgIf this is your first visit:

Discover great facts and stories about 272 Chicago area cemeteries. Many cemeteries have vanished or no longer outwardly resemble a place of burial.   You will be surprised to find where the dead have been  in and around Chicago.

What you can find

803 cemetery listings:.  Thumbnail information of 272 cemeteries,  258 cross references all found in the “list of all cemeteries” pages,as well as over 300 Jewish cemeteries  within other cemeteries, the majority in Jewish Waldheim

The blog posts are my best and most interesting feature stories and topics. Don’t miss some of the earliest blogs like a liquor license in a cemetery or an elevator. Check out the cemetery under the Bowmanville pickle farm. Check back often as I have so many more stories to tell about the 272 cemeteries, as well as cemetery related topics. click on the “recent posts” on the right.

Cook County Cemetery at Dunning,  the incredible story of how we lost and rediscovered  a cemetery containing 38,000 souls. Click on the link at the top of the page for part of the story, but for the whole story, visit www.cookcountycemetery.com 

A GOOD READ about Cook County Cemetery (Dunning): Grave Mistake by Harold Henderson Sept 1989 https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/grave-mistake/Content?oid=874451

If I can help with your question on a burial location of a  lost relative, understanding a death certificate, or any cemetery question in general, email me and I will be happy to help : Barry A Fleig  bartonius84@hotmail.com

If you are a returning visitor

Welcome back. I hope you find more blogs and information. Hopefully I will have added since your last visit. I have much to add, limited only by time constraints. If there is a particular topic you wish to see, tell me and I will do my best to post on your request Write me at Bartonius84@hotmail.com


And for all readers

This website is the modern version of a cemetery book research project began about 1988. After visiting hundreds of cemetery sites, libraries, and other resources, I had decided to document all burial places in Chicago and Cook County. So instead of  writing about the just most obvious and large cemeteries,

There is an urgency for us to know and appreciate all of these burial places and their stories. The landscape of Cook County, Illinois is constantly changing, often at the expense of our cemeteries. Chicago and Cook County continues to reinvent and rebuild, leaving behind a rich history.  Farmland has given way to shopping centers, expressways, toll roads, airports and subdivisions. Neighborhoods, and communities of yesterday have been replaced with new construction, altering our land and disguising our rich history.


Saint Johannes Lutheran Cemetery within O’Hare International Airport, perceived by the City of Chicago to “be in the way”. The entire cemetery was disinterred and all graves were moved elsewhere.

Many of our community burying grounds and churchyard cemeteries have been pushed aside, neglected or have vanished altogether, often in the name of “progress”.  Commercial development poses a constant threat to cemeteries that are perceived to be “in the way of progress”. Cemeteries that were once well outside city limits have now found themselves surrounded by urban development. Of the many cemeteries that have managed to survive, weather and vandalism has taken their toll. Under intense geographic and economic pressure, our valuable cemetery history continues to fade, and with it, an important part of our own heritage and culture. I hope that through this website you will discover, learn, and celebrate the city’s history beneath the ground..

Please come back to this website often and enjoy!

I always welcome and appreciate your comments and inquiries.

Please subscribe to receive email updates. Please write me, Barry Fleig at bartonius84@hotmail.com  Thank you!



Famicity, based in France,  posted November 24 2017 written by Erin Harris.  https://blog.famicity.com/2017/11/preserving-cemeteries-in-chicago-illinois/?lang=en

DNAinfo was a great print and electronic media in Chicago. Check out their Oct 29 2017 Article  https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20171030/west-ridge/barry-fleig-cemetery-blog-sheiners-picnic-grove




Chicago area Undertakers

Hundreds of small undertakers operated in Chicago and Cook County out of storefront establishments providing services and funeral merchandise.

Many early undertakers were in downtown storefronts on Madison, Wells (formerly Fifth Avenue) as well as main arteries and streets such as Clark,  State, Halsted, Lincoln, Milwaukee, Archer, North, and Wells wright


Although the undertaker had a small storefront, for many years their services were performed in the home. Using portable equipment, hey would wash and embalm the body and then place the body in the casket for viewing. The casket was placed in the largest room, usually in the front parlor.   Folding chairs were provided by the undertaker to seat the family and friends. For a large funeral, the undertaker often would rent funeral chairs from a small rental company.


B. E. Arntzen Undertaker storefront at 810 North Clark Street and ambulance

In the 1920’s John Sbabaro’s Funeral Parlor at 738 N. Wells, embalmed and held services for many gangsters, including Dion O’Banion, Hymie Weiss, and Vincent “The Schemer” Drucci. William Schofield’s Flower Shop, located at 738 North State, directly across the street from Holy Name was the florist of choice for gangster funerals. It was owned in part by Dion O’Banion.imagesZWVKT7OE


Later they became a neighborhood fixture largely serving an ethnic or religious community and often in the shadow of a church or synagogue.




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As funerals, especially those of notable citizens required a larger facility or church, undertakers began building larger funeral parlors capable of holding more mourners than could be accommodated in a family home. In later years, the funeral tended to move to the undertaker’s establishment, the “funeral home” where the needs of the funeral process could be better accommodated. No longer would the undertaker need to bring a portable embalming table to the house, or carry a heavy casket up three flights of stairs to a cramped front parlor.

mt clair 6901 belmont


Today’s  funeral home operation has well outgrown the neighborhood storefront. Most are operated in large modern and comfortable facilities.. Most family-run funeral homes are no longer privately owned but are now owned and operated by large corporations. The original family name is often retained, but it is now part of a large conglomerate. In larger metropolitan areas, embalming is now done in one central location for dozens of funeral homes within the same ownership chain.

One of the first undertakers still operating today was Fred H. Drake, who began in 1897 at 440 W. Chicago Ave.

drake 2221 n lincoln.jpg

then in 1929, they moved to  2221 N. Lincoln, (shown above) Drake-Braithwaite Funeral Home where six of the seven T. Valentine Day massacre victims were taken.Then Drake moved to the large Budlong mansion on the NW corner of Foster and Western. Drake, now owned by a conglomerate, is currently at 5300 N Western

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Just in 1908 alone, there were over 350 undertakers in Chicago. If I ever find the time, it would be a great project to research as many of these as possible.

Adams and Blake,-238 E. 2 corner of Archer Ave

Adams Henry- 3734 Archer

Ahigrim, Arthur- 507 Blue Island

Alberti J 940 West 63rd Street

Allen and Teetzel, 1258 Ravens Park

Allen R. A. And Co 284 North

Arntzen B.E. 251 North Clark

Atkinson C. F. 609 West 69th

Bacigalupo C. 394 South Desplaines

Backer Bros – 562 West Madison

Barnes Undertaking CO -293 South Lincoln

Barnes Undertaking Co 96 E. 22nd

Bartlett and CO- 251 North Clark

Bentley and Son- Lincoln Ave, 1273 North Clark, Evanston

Best H, and Brother- 1412 Wrightwood

Bickley C. R. 360 West Fullerton

Bilber Chas. F. Successor Watkins- 5133 Lake Ave

Bilger Chas f. And CO – 2317 State

Birkenkamp J. C. 6339 South Halsted

Birren and Son, 402 East Division

Birren Cornelius, 283 North

Birren P. A. 842 Lincoln Ave

Blake Michael, 708 31st

Bolger Wm and Son, 18 North Western, 879 Sheffield Ave

Borcherdling and Son, 959 31st

Bouchard L.Z. 92 Blue Island Ave

Bouffleur H.P. 1985 West Madison

Bowen T. C. And CO 3913 Cottage Grove

Bowman J. W. 2130 Archer

Boydston Bros. 4227-4229 Cottage Grove

Brachtendorf A. J. 464 Larabee

Brooks J. W 5400 Wentworth

Brooks John J. 6905 South Halsted

Buckett and Hagadone, 4449 State

Buffum and Perrigo, 1722 Wabash

Burmeister Chas, 303 Larrabee

Buscher Fred, 597 Wells

Buss George J. 559 South Ashland

Butzow Julius R. 526-530 Ogden Ave

Byrne Patrick, 828 87th

Camlott C. C. 50 west 19th

Carroll John, 203 North Wells

Cary James, 1852 Milwaukee

Cary John, 568 West 21st

Cermak John and Son 604 Throop

Cervak John, 1149 South Albany

Chalifoux Joseph, 481 West Harrison

Cleveland S. E. 1455 West Madison

Clifford Wm E. 5537 West Wentworth

Cocbran S.H. 1277 West Ravenswood Pk

Coleman Bros. 1211 Milwaukee

Conboy Richard 621 Grand

Cooke and Southon, 982 W. 12th, 337 W. Randolph

Cross Geo. 402 South Western

Crowley John 3718 S. Halsted

Cummings P. J. 4104 State

Cunningham W. A. 524 W. 63rd

Curley Daniel 4523 Wentworth

Curtin W. D. And Co. 148 Wells

Dahlgren C. J. 5820 Wentworth

Dailey James M. 619 West 31st

Dake Stephen 146 East 18th

De Stafano Louis 147 1/2 Grand Ave

Demster Geo W. 6014 Wentworth Ave

Derengrowski Max 330 North Carpenter

Dettler Frank F. 670 West Division

Deubel William 5119 Ashland Ave

Donoghue T. H. 1240 North California

Doty Fred 2458 Kensingston Ave

Drake Charles R. & Son 1148 North Halsted

Drake F. H. 689 West Chicago Ave.

Drayer, Paul 4737 South Paulina

Drygalski Max 452 West Superior

Dunstan Edw 796 West Madison

Dusak Jacob 3007 Union Ave

Eisfeldt William 175 Southport Ave

Ellison S.D. & Co 171 East North Ave

Ewald Jacob 197 East Fullerton Ave

Fakan Joseph 661 May

Fern W. W 628 West 79th

Ferran Jas J & Co 378 North Hamlin

Fiald Bart 4954 South Hermitage

Finerty P. 9256 South Chicago Ave

Firpach M. 715 Allport

Foskett A. 809 West 69th

Frank A. 859 North Halsted

Franta Jan 552 West 19th

Freese John 1587 Milwaukee

Fritsche Casimir 499 Nobel

Furth J.E. 192 35th

Galvin James 380 West Vanburen, 2213 West Harrison

Galvin P.J. 226 North Clark

Gardsielewski Louis 761 West 17th

Ghent S. A. 4254 Cottage Grove

Goetlert Jacob 133 West 23rd

Goldbohn J. 1886 West 12th

Goodale Marlew 556 Sheffield

Gorden M. 740 Halsted

Grabarski Albert 654 Noble

Gratch Samuel 238 Evergreen

Grielsel & Son 8946 Commercial

Grien B. 482 Larrabee

Gurski Joseph 302 West Belmont

Haase Theo 369 West Chicago

Haggard H 153 South Western

Hales Ernest 1810 West 22nd

Haller W. 3523 State, 2346 Dearborn

Hamburg Lewis 3723 Cottage Grove

Hansen Henry 1029 West North Ave

Hardin James 967 West 12th

Hardin Mark 432 West 12th

Hartig Hubert 896,31st

Hartmann W. 601 North Wood

Hartwick John 178 Center

Harty Bros 1615 Ogden

Hasterock Simon 34 Lubeck

Havel John 2617 5th

Havelos John 614 South Centre Ave

Hayes Edward 432 West Belmont

Hayes M. W 166 North Sagamon

Heldorn Wm 991, 31st

Henn Bros 293 South Lincoln

Henriksen Thomas 849 North Kedzie

Hickey Geo 2911 Archer

Hidreth C. 525 South Hermitage

Hinze August 408 West North Ave

Hitseman Frederick 2120 West 26th

Hochspeler F. W. 701 West North Ave

Hodkinson and Brudeneil 1544 West Harrison

Hoppe Undertaking Co 2312 Lincoln Ave

Horan D. 2153 Archer

Horning J. 6323 Wentworth

Hrudicka Peter 1937 West 47th

Hupka Sixtns 93rd North Hermitage

Hursen P.J. 989 West Madison

Hutlin N. H. 1663 North Clark

Iarussi Mike 184 West Taylor

Jackson E. 2959 State

Jaeger Adam 294 West 12th

Jaeger Otto 652 West North

Jana John 514 29th, 1142 South Albany

Jarzembowski Joseph 694 Noble

Jeszka John 664 Noble

Johnson Clifford 2712 State

Johnson Louts F. 5851 Halsted

Jones George 728 West Lake

Jordon C.N. & Co 14-16 Madison, 135 East 53rd, 441 East 63rd, 615 Davis Street

Kampp C & Son 237 North Park Ave, 13 North 48th Ave.

Karnopp W. 1208 Milwaukee Ave.

Kelly & Doran 1930 38th

Kelly G. S. 6851 Wentworth

Kelly Geo L. 5456 State

Kelly Stephen 2933 Archer

Kenny & Co 5438 South Halsted

Kerrigan Thomas P. 5512 Ashland

Ketcham Frank 649 Garfield blvd

Kill Peter 3932 Wentworth

King Frank 3604 State

King John A & Son 9605 Elston

Kircher A. 695 North Halsted

Kisselburg Wm & co 1347 West Madison

Klamer & Fred Jr. 494 North Clark

Klaner A. George 569 North Clark

Kleinman Walter 9237 Commercial

Korthans Gustav 13309 Ontario Ave

Korzeniewski Joseph 318 North Carpenter

Kourim Joseph 690 Augusta

Kovacik Joseph 32 Keith

Kowsczek Joseph 2657 Milwaukee Ave

Krajicek John 1841 West 47th

Krause Chas 389 Elston

Krauspe C. 782 Belmont Ave, 2129 North Ashland

Krebs Louis 227 92nd

Krejei J 2145 West 12th

Kroening August 5137 South Ashland

Kruse & Co 3788 South Halsted

Kruse & Co 4943 Ashland

Kruse C. W. 6437 Ashland

Kruse John 921 West 21st

Kuremerow Carl 970 Armitage

Kututis & Petroshins 58 West 23rd Place

Lain W. H. 420 West 63rd

Lane W. H. 420 West 63rd

Lanyon J. B. 517 West 63rd

Lanyon Lester H. 6408 Wentworth

Larson Andrew 101 North 53rd

Larson Eriek 3428 Princeton

Larson Nils 3248 Princeton

Lietzau Rudolf 743 North Paulina

Lindberg A. T. 274 Grand Ave

Linhart Anton 471 West 19th

Linson 1722 63rd

Liphart Chas 357 East 63rd

Lubejko H. D. 671 East 47th

Ludolph And Mueller 860 & 1941 Milwaukee

Luecht Charles 1128 South California

Lulinski Adam 272 East 83rd

Lundberg Benj 11217 South Michigan

Lynn Brothers 12 Clybourne, 1844 North Clark

Maloney John E. 1479 Milwaukee

Maloney Peter 269 Orleans, 243 Webster, 317 Wells

Marik Hy 961 West 19th

Marsano J.P. 160 West Polk

Marshall James 9069 West Lake

Martens charles 3658 South Lincoln

Maselka Paul 3315 Auburn

Mats Ernst 709 Augusta

McGeeney E. J. 2181 West Madison

McInerney Bros 750 West 43rd

McInerney Thos & Son 5033 State, 4635 Wallace

McLaughlin M. 416 West 12th

McMahon John 428, West 14th, 1595 West 12th

McMahon P.H. 604 Ogden

McMahon T. 165 West 18th

McNally and Duffy 516 Wabash

McNeil Bros 7025 Jackson Park, 291 South State

McRae J. D. 660 West Madison

Mee D.D. 1013 West Irving Park Rd

Mencl Frank 172 West 12th

Mets J. A. 1231 East 75th

Mines and Hunt 366, 55th

Mines Thomas 2963 Archer

Moffett & Arnett Co. 192 Odgen, 1504 West Harrison

Muchna Otta 1329 South Central Park

Muelhoefer Edward 112 Clybourn Ave

Muelhofer Edward and Son 838 Belmont

Mueller and Schah, 342 Roscoe Blvd

Mueller F. 3510 Halsted

Mueller H. W. 576 West Chicago

Mueller Wm 742 West Division

Murphy Mrs J. L. 9325 South Chicago Ave, 110,94th

Murphy P.L. and Son 9353 Commercial

Murphy William P. 1004 East 75th

Mutke A. J. 423 East 26th

Nagel Nicholas J. 5904 Princeton

Nehls Charles F. 1967 West Lake

Neldow Carl, Lincoln Ave and Washington

Nelles J and Sons 1672 West North Ave

Nelles Jacob 596 Milwaukee

Nelson August 1725 North Clark

Nielsen Christ 808 West North Ave

Nierman Simon 78 Johnson

Nosek Joseph 1507 South 40th CT

O’Brien James and Robert 201 Blue Island

O’Brien John 1633 West 12th, 172 Blue Island Ave

O’Donnell C. And CO 428 West 12th

O’Donnell P. C. 6328 Cottage Grove

O’Hauley Bros 6507 Cottage Grove

Okon F. A. 910 West 32nd

Olson A. 284 Orleans, 3025 Wentworth

O’Mara W. S. 526 West Madison

O’Neil Wm 493 Grand

Otto Martin 10928 Michigan

Ovresat Jacob 1686 Milwaukee

Parka J 3155 State

Patka Joseph 1850 West 48th, 3756 Paulina

Pedersen John 878 Armitage

Pelikan M 19 Crittenden

Perrigo A. B. 2975 State, 3913 Cottage Grove

Perrigo C.N. 2973 State, 3913 Cottage Grove

Petroshius J 168 West 18th

Pettkoske John 719 West 17th

Pianjowski S.J. 996 West Whipple

Piarson John 7350 Cottage Grove

Platner J.K. 251 Ogden

Ploss Wm 6902 South Halsted

Pniewski Frank 1019 West 18th

Poklenkowski John 287 West Webster

Postlewait Co 322-24 Ogden, 205 North Park Ave.

Pothe Wm 860 North Halsted

Potter and Kisselburg 1347 West Madison

Purcell J.F. 526 Grand

Purtell Bros 229 West North Ave

Quinlan D. R. 3115 State

Rainey Bros 834 ,35th and 63rd

Rawlins F. A. 4834 State

Redmond N.J. 575 West 12th

Rees Fred 753 North Mozart

Rermbak James 441 North Western

Rhenborg 961 west 22nd

Rohde H. F. 726 West Chicago

Rohn and Grahl 577 South Ashland

Rohr August and CO 794 West North

Rolston N. M. 370-72 Wabash and 5435-5437 Lake

Russ A. B. 452 East 47th

Russ Fred 3525 Vincences

Ryan A. B And John 2449 Cottage Grove

Ryan John T. 490 East 26th

Rytlewski M. 996 South Whipple

Sademann S. 290 West Division

Sadowski P. R. 966 North Hermitage

Sbarbaro A. 185 Wells

Schaffrath Henry 3117 Wall

Scharf George and Son 5006 Ashland

Schatsleta Adam 2418 Lowe

Schmidt Ernst 302 East Belmont

Schmidt L. 1519 Milwaukee

Schmidt Lars 889 West 21st

Schnieder and CO 3825 State

Schoder and Rohan 1504 west 63rd

Schoeder Martin 2129 Archer, 1504 West 63rd

Schroeder Carl 693 West 20th

Schultz Jos and Son 1174 South Albany

Schultz Joseph 159 DeKoven

Schultz S. C. 1127 Armitage

Schwier T. H. 477 East 63rd Res -460 East 63rd

Schwuchow T 1403 Diversey, 1786 North Ashland

Scott George W. 952 West Madison, Res-1028 West Jackson

Segersten G. Anderson 1615 North Clark

Sheldon H. D. 239 West Madison

Shute Edward 137 1/2 East Chicago Ave

Sloan Robert K. 2823 Archer

Smith P. 634 40th Ave

Smith Robert 1410 Belmont

Snyder J 3825 State

Spreyne F.G.and Sons 4026 State, 6715 South Halsted

Stephankus Louis 1127 South Leavitt

Stolke J 749 North Wood

Sullivan Edward 413 North Ave

Theoreil F. J. 41, 48th

Thompson Bros. 122 North Centre, 512 North California

Thursion A. W. 367, 55th

Trandel and Binger 128 West Blackhawk

Trandel Barney 4736 Paulina

Union and Co-Operative and Protective Association 510 West Madison

Union Burial Ass’n 569 Wabash

Urban Bros 393 West 18th

Urbanek V. M. 1397 Central Park Ave

Vail w. C. 1277 East 75th

Van Doser A. 6136 Wentworth

Wagner Charles 652 West 21st

Walkowiak W. 8749 Commercial

Wallmann Jos 286 West Division

Weber A.J. 3020 Cottage Grove

Weber and Boyman 3020 Cottage Grove

Weinstein J. 329 Blue Island

Welmeschkirch Peter 4861 North Clark

Westfall D. And Co. 125 Southport Ave

Westfall Fred 757 Lincoln Ave

Winkler Wm 1279 Clybourne

Wold and Wold 177 Grand Ave. 862 west North Ave

Wolf Mrs. Jacob 710 West 12th

Woodward G. H. And Co. 11401 Michigan

Woodward G.H. and Nangle 802 West 120th

Wright K. M. And CO 1117 West Harrison

Wyand Mrs John 924 West 23rd

Young and Son 127 West 18th

Young Peter 6011 South Halsted

Yuers William 1280 Ogden

Zajicek B. 1082 South Kedvale

Zajicek John 440 West 12th

Zimmer F. 2924 Wentworth

Zuber Michael H. 464 Larabee


Finding your Uncle Louie

Tips on finding the Burial Location of your Relative


There are over ten thousand burial locations in Illinois, 272 in the Chicago area alone.. They provide an important physical link to our past containing a wealth of genealogical information. They provide a unique insight into our customs, beliefs, and culture. If you want to learn about people, study their cemeteries. For the beginning or advanced genealogist, cemeteries can help when other sources fail. You may discover infants that were born and died between census years. You may discover an aunt or second wife, not known about.


If you are looking for YOUR Uncle Louie who has seemingly disappeared or you simply do not know where he is buried,  Here are twelve steps:


  1. Check and recheck your family records. Look at wills,letters from or to family members, obituary clippingsor deeds. Don’t overlook family bibles, scrapbooks, and diaries for clues. Interview older family members. You may discover birth certificates, baptism records, or any number of valuable documents.                                      
  2. Build or reread the profile of the person you are searching for. This will aid in determining the cemetery in which they may have been buried. People are predictable, creatures of habit. They follow patterns consistent with the customs of the time. Residence, church membership, employment all will help you establish a idea where and when the person resided. Even in a city as large as Chicago, residents maintained strong ties to neighborhood, most often by ethnic origin.
  1. Narrow your estimate of the death date. Knowing the death date will allow you to rule out cemeteries that have not yet opened, cemeteries that were inactive, or thosethat had reached capacity at the time. The month of death can sometimes be a clue. Adeath during a harsh winter might mean temporary intermentin a cemetery that had a holding vault. Bodies were often held until spring when the ground thawed enough for digging the grave.                                                                                            
  2. Look for a death certificate. Familysearch.org is a free website. Register for free. Ancestry, a subscription site is also a good resource.


  1. Try to determine the last residence. Burials are often made in some proximity to the residence or neighborhood of the deceased. Although there are numerous exceptions to this rule, start your search in cemeteries that served the neighborhood or town of the deceased. As a general rule, the older the burial date, the more likely it will be in closer proximity to his or her last residence. As late as the end of the 19th century, burials were still made in urban areas near the home or residence. Although zoning lawsput an end to this practice within the city, farm burial plots are very common, many of which have vanished from our memory and records.


  1. If religion was important in their life, try to determine the religious affiliation of the person. Death and burial often follow the customs, rites, and beliefs of the church. The religion of the deceased often influences the choice of burial location. The Catholicand Jewish faiths consecrate individual graves and entire cemeteries. Members are usually obligated to be buried in consecrated ground. Church related cemeteries are usually easier to identify, although some have lost their identity through the years. If the person you are searching had little or no religious affiliation, try the municipal or community cemetery. If there is a history of Fraternal membership,seek those cemeteries that provided space for fraternal lodges and societies.


  1. Determine the economic position of the person you are searching for. There are cemeteries for both the poor and the rich. Fashionable families, politicians, and the famous often buried their dead in Rosehill, Oakwoods, and Graceland. The poor were buried in potters fields throughout the city. Knowing the economic status will help you identify a potential cemetery.


  1. Think about the customs and practices of the family. Did they move often? Were they long time residents of the community?. Along time resident may have been more apt to have selected a burial location well in advance. A family with less “roots” may have just chosen the most convenient cemetery. Families who migrated from other areas might return a body back home. Depending on the time of death, consider the possibility of cremation. If the person was a victim of an epidemic or disaster, the burial might have been made in a special section in the cemetery.


  1. If the death certificate or other documents have not yielded a burial location, using this book, identify all the cemetery possibilities that fit the profile of the person you are searching. You can rule out many cemeteries, such as those cemeteries opening after a deathdate.


  1. Write or call these cemeteries. Although many cemeteries will help you without charge, some will charge for the service, others discourage genealogical research. Be polite, specific, and make only reasonable requests. If the cemetery is church related, a donation or offer of a donation is always a good idea.


  1. If you have located a family member in a particular cemetery, plan an in person visit to seek additional information. Choose good weather for your cemetery visit. Wear comfortable, protective clothing especially for visiting cemeteries that are in poor condition. Be safe. Some cemeteries may be in less than desirable neighborhoods. Follow your instincts. Leave you are not comfortable in a particular area. Avoid isolated areas unless you have someone with you. Get permission if the cemetery is on private land. If there is an office, they can often locate the grave on a map for you. Some cemeteries will allow you to examine their record books. At the gravesite, the stone or marker may reveal additional information not in cemetery records. On some occasions, there may even be conflicting information. Nearby stones and markers may reveal other family members, wife or husband, children, parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles.


  1. Try locating a transcription of the gravestones or the records. The Daughters of the American Revolution, local genealogical groups, and historical societieshave carefully copied and published thousands of cemeteries. Always try to verify any information found in a transcription with that of a primary source such as a death certificate or cemetery record.


With patience, persistence, and a bit of good luck, you will find the burial location of your missing relative. With a bit more effort and luck, you will find additional and valuable genealogical information from the gravestone, cemetery records, or the death certificate itself.


If you have hit a brick wall, email me with what you know and I will try to help. I have many research tools at my disposal. Barry A Fleig bartonius84@hotmail.com

Celebrate Lutheran Cemeteries

I have again turned to my good friend, the somewhat elderly, long retired, but wise priest,  Father Barton. He and  Minnesota’s Father Wilmer  guide me on all things of spirit and goodness. Father Barton tells me that an abiding faith is the foundation of church cemeteries. Although we commit the body to the earth, death is not the final word,  believing the soul is in the immediate presence of God. Today we look at the more than 40 cemeteries in the Chicago area where just the physical bodies of generations of Lutherans rest.st john rodenburg

It is surprising that there are over 90 Catholic and Lutheran cemeteries in the Chicago area, more than any other type or group of cemeteries. Again surprisingly,  the number of those cemeteries are split somewhat evenly between Catholic and Lutheran.

In this blog we will concentrate on just the Lutheran cemeteries, but a future blog will also celebrate the Catholic cemeteries as well.

Continue reading “Celebrate Lutheran Cemeteries”

Tombstones by Mail Order


Yes, you could buy just about anything from  Sears, Roebuck & Co, the largest mail order business in the country and that included  a grave marker for your Uncle Louie.

We erect monuments to be seen, striving for some sense of immortality. We mark the grave in a desire to perpetuate the person buried there, publicly recording a life and death through the use of words and symbols.

They began with the 1902 “Sears, Roebuck & Co. Tombstones and Monuments catalog” where prices for a tombstone started at only $4.88.

a4 Continue reading “Tombstones by Mail Order”

Well done, Good and Faithful Servant

391a smallI have this good friend Father Barton,  who tells me that every day is a gift, a good and suitable time to take stock of life and ask ourselves how are we are doing with what we’ve been given. We were taught by example, from a special group of people who have gone before us and now rest in our cemeteries.

Take this moment to reflect on those,  the thousands of priests, rabbis,  pastors, teachers, police officers and firefighters buried in almost every one of the 273 Chicago area cemeteries. They devoted their entire lives to prepare us, teach us, guide us, lead us and keep us from harm. I am willing to bet that we all can fondly remember one or more of these dedicated people who were a positive influence in our lives. Continue reading “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant”

The Golden Era of Chicago Movie Theatres

bk5Two great families buried in the Jewish Waldheim Cemetery at Forest Park changed Chicago entertainment forever.

maxwellIsrael Balaban (1862-1931) a Jewish immigrant arrived in Chicago in 1882 from Odessa Russia along with his wife Augusta “Goldie” Manderbursky (1868-1936). They opened a grocery store and fish shop on Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street. They and their five sons and  daughter lived in the back of the store.


By 1910 the family had moved to the west side where two of their five sons,  Barney Balaban (1887-1971) the oldest son,  and A. J. Balaban (1889-1962) along  with partners Sam Katz (1892-1961) and Sam’s father Morris Katz (1869 -1939)  became the genius behind the Balaban and Katz chain of palatial “movie palaces “.  These wonderful theatres shaped how almost every one of us and our parents sought entertainment and viewed the Hollywood movies. Continue reading “The Golden Era of Chicago Movie Theatres”

Over 260 Cemeteries Within ONE Cemetery

jewish waldheimfixed

Of all the Chicago area cemeteries that I have researched in the last twenty-five years, Jewish Waldheim in Forest Park, a suburb west of Chicago,  has proven to be the most fascinating and complex. Whether or not you  are Jewish,   I promise that this will be a fascinating topic.

The people buried here, for the most part, represent the amazing and touching stories of Jewish emigrants who discovered the old Maxwell Street neighborhood as a gateway to a new world of freedom and unlimited opportunity. Chicago once had the third largest Jewish population of any city in the world. By 1930 there were 300,000 Jews representing 9% of the  population. They came primarily from Germany, Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe to seek a better life.

Jewish Waldheim  became one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world,  a patchwork of over 260 separate cemeteries within one large complex with different owners, rules, regulations, prices and appearance. There are now over 175,000 burials, possibly approaching 200,000. Continue reading “Over 260 Cemeteries Within ONE Cemetery”