Cemetery Tours

As part of the Conference, we are offering the opportunity to visit Jewish cemeteries in Cleveland to pay respects to your family and to do further research. This is a joint program sponsored by IAJGS and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. For any questions, write to CemeteryTours@iajgs2019.org.

Table of Contents

Tours Offered

There will be two separate tours—each costing $25 for registered conference attendees and $35 for guests—with lunch provided.

  1. West Side: One bus on Monday, July 29, 2019, will go to several cemeteries on the west side of Cleveland.
  2. East Side: One bus on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, will go to several cemeteries on the east side of Cleveland.

The buses will leave at 9:15 am and return to the hotel by 3:30 pm.

Note that the schedule of talks has been adjusted so that people who are going on a cemetery tour can attend Nolan Altman’s talk “Patronymic Naming and Cemetery Records - Their Importance in Jewish Genealogy” on Sunday afternoon at 4:15 pm in preparation for the tour.

Signing Up

You sign up for these tours through the Conference registration system. There is a section on the registration form for purchasing a ticket to each of the tours. When you do so, a section will open farther down on the page with a list of the possible cemeteries. Check off the ones in which you are interested (you must select at least one).

If you do not know how to update your registration form, detailed instructions can be found HERE.

Places are available on a first-come/first-served basis. Conference attendees may purchase one ticket for themselves ($25) and up to one guest ticket for an accompanying spouse/significant-other who is not registered for the Conference ($35). You may purchase a guest ticket without purchasing an attendee ticket, so if you don’t want to miss any of the conference lectures, a non-registered partner can visit the cemeteries for you.

Keep in mind that the tour(s) will take place only if there is sufficient interest. Which of the many possible cemeteries are visited will depend on the number of requests and the times required for a visit. The decisions will be made as early as June 10.

Background Research

In order to determine which cemeteries you would like to visit, you will need to research the burial location(s) of your family members. Here are some resources for doing that.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland has a very useful page about the Jewish cemeteries in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lorain Counties (see HERE). If you click on the name of a cemetery in the table, more information will be displayed, including in most cases a Google satellite map of the cemetery. Where there is a “map” link to the right of the name, it will open a drawing showing the layout of the cemetery with its various sections labeled.

To find a person’s date of death, which cemetery the person is buried in, and where in the cemetery the person is buried, check out the database created by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, which has assembled much data on the burials (see HERE).

If you are looking for an obituary or death notice, try going to the website of the Cleveland Jewish News (CJN). Clicking on the Archive tab will allow you to search the CJN and the various earlier Jewish newspapers in Cleveland going back 125 years. When the Archive page opens, click on “Begin your Search” near the top of the page (it’s not obvious that the phrase is a link).

Death certificates can be found on the Family Search website. Click HERE to search for death certificates in the “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953” database. Those will generally include the name of the cemetery.

The following public libraries in the Cleveland area have genealogy areas and access to databases (a library card may be required to access some material). If you can find obituaries, they will often direct you to the cemetery where the person was buried.

Cemetery History

Across the street from Progressive Field on 9th Street is the Erie Street Cemetery, established in 1826 as a city cemetery. It is the oldest existing cemetery in Cleveland today. An earlier cemetery was on the site of the former May Company on Euclid Avenue at Public Square but the owner wanted the land for building purposes, so Leonard Case and a few other civic-minded men purchased 10 acres of land “far out of town”.

The remains of the pioneers from the original cemetery were removed to the Erie Street land. They included the first permanent white settler of Cleveland and John W. Willey, the first mayor. Also buried there is Leonard Case Sr., an agent for the Connecticut Land Co. and pioneer businessman, cultural leader, and founder of the Case fortune. He was buried there with his son, Leonard Case Jr., the founder of Case Institute of Technology (today Case Western Reserve University).

In 1840, the Israelite Society of Cleveland purchased one acre across the river in Ohio City to be used as a burial ground for their members and called it Willett Street Cemetery. They had originally requested a portion of Erie Street Cemetery, but their request was turned down because they wanted a separate section set aside to be used exclusively for Jewish burials. Due to the separation of Church and State, the city was prevented from segregating a portion of the public land for the Jewish request.

The first burial at Willett Street Cemetery occurred on Tisha B'Av, 1840. Most of the early burials were children rather than adults and the elderly. Willett Street Cemetery today is still maintained by Anshe Chesed Congregation (Fairmount Temple) and Tifereth Israel (The Temple). There are still a few burials taking place there.

Next came Fir Street Cemetery, also on the west side, which was established in 1865 by the Hungarian Aid Society (HAS), an organization formed in Cleveland in 1863 for the purpose of providing aid, including burials, to Hungarian Jewish immigrants.

Each Jewish Cemetery has it own story: why it was formed and which group was associated with the cemetery. Today there are 16 Jewish cemeteries in Cleveland and three other cemeteries with Jewish sections.

Maps of Cemetery Locations

Here is a map showing the locations of many (but not all) of the cemeteries. You can also open a Google map showing many of the cemeteries HERE.

Map of Cleveland-Area Cemeteries

Cleveland Cemeteries West

Here is a list of the cemeteries on the west side of Cleveland that could be visited on the tour. If you click on the thumbnail photos, the full-size photo will open in a new window/tab.

Baxter Street Cemetery Baxter Street Cemetery: The Bohemian Jewish Cemetery Association was established in 1873 and purchased property in 1877 on Baxter Street. The last burial was in 1942.
Lincoln and Berger Cemeteries Berger Cemetery/Ahavoth Israel: This cemetery was founded by Rabbi Moshe Berger's grandfather, who purchased the land in the 1920s as a burial place for members of the Berger family. There are approximately 50 burials in Berger Cemetery.
Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery: Formerly called Ridge Road Cemetery I, the name means “a kindness of truth”. It was founded in 1902 as a cemetery for indigent Jews on the west side of Cleveland. Chesed Shel Emeth for most of its tenure did not have any synagogue affiliation as most cemeteries do. Affiliated at this time are Menorah Park and the Orthodox community. There are also a number of burials from members of the Russian community.
Fir Street Cemetery Fir Street Cemetery: The Liberty Aid and Hungarian Aid societies founded Fir Street Cemetery, the second-oldest Jewish cemetery in Cleveland. It has three sections:
     • East (near West 58th) - Heights Jewish Center
     • Center - Hungarian Aid Society
     • West (near West 61st) - Anshe Emeth-Park Synagogue.
Burials no longer take place at Fir Street Cemetery.
Harvard Cemetery Harvard Cemetery: Heights Jewish Center is the current owner and administrator of Harvard Cemetery. The cemetery has 751 community members buried there who were affiliated with either Heights Jewish Center or Ohave Emmuna of Russian Israelites.
Lansing Cemetery Lansing Cemetery: Located in Slavic Village, Lansing Cemetery, established in 1890, has also been known as Fremont or Newburgh Cemetery and has affiliations with several synagogues/organizations: Agudath Achim, Chebat Jerusalem, Green Road Synagogue, Heights Jewish Center, Knesseth Israel, Oer Chodosh Anshe Sfard, Oheb Zedek, Shara Torah, Shomre Shabbos, and Taylor Road Synagogue.
Lincoln and Berger Cemeteries Lincoln Cemetery/Workmen’s Circle Cemetery: The cemetery opened on December 6, 1920 on four acres. Besides the section for Warrensville Center Synagogue/Kehilla Yaacov, there is also a section for the benevolent association Mezricher and Independent Mizreich Aid.
Ridge Road Cemetery #2: Founded about 1920, the cemetery was the first cemetery for Taylor Road Synagogue, which merged with Agudath Israel. Its affiliations include: Taylor Road Synagogue, Sinai Synagogue, Warrensville Center Synagogue, The West Temple, and American Hebrew Benevolent Society.
Willett Cemetery Willett Street Cemetery: In 1840, the Willett Street Cemetery was established for Jewish burials and became the first sectarian cemetery in Cleveland. Early Jewish settlers were immigrants from Germany and Austria-Hungary who bought this land in Ohio City in 1840.

Cleveland Cemeteries East

Here is a list of the cemeteries on the east side of Cleveland that could be visited on the tour.

Bet Olam Cemetery Bet Olam Cemetery: Also known as Kinsman Cemetery, Warrensville Cemetery, and Park Synagogue Cemetery, Bet Olam Cemetery was established in 1910. Located at the corner of Richmond Road and Chagrin Boulevard, Bet Olam Cemetery has over 10,500 burials and serves seven current and disbanded Cleveland congregations: Beth Am, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Liberty Aid Society, Park Synagogue, Taylor Road Synagogue, Young Israel-Oer Chodesh, Zemach Zedek.
Chesterland Memorial Park Chesterland Memorial Park Cemetery: It is on Chillicothe Road in Chesterland and is affiliated with B’nai Jeshurun Congregation.
Glenville Cemetery Glenville Cemetery: Purchased in 1880, it is affiliated with B’nai Jeshurun Congregation.
Hillcrest Cemetery Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery: It was founded in 1928 and sits on 33 acres of land. There are over 14,000 people buried at Hillcrest, with approximately 200 burials per year.
Lake View Cemetery Lake View Cemetery: Located in the vibrant University Circle area, it was established in 1869. It is considered “Cleveland’s Outdoor Museum and Arboretum” and is a historical, horticultural, architectural, sculptural, and geological gem. As a non-sectarian cemetery, Lake View is open for burials of all races, religions, and walks of life. The Cemetery is the final resting place of over 104,000 people, including 450 members of Suburban Temple-Kol Ami.
Mayfield Cemetery Mayfield Cemetery and Mausoleum: The only garden-style Jewish cemetery in the Cleveland area, Mayfield Cemetery and Mausoleum offers Temple members a beautiful place where family and friends can gather to remember their loved ones in a manner that is truly comforting. Mayfield Cemetery is jointly owned and supported by The Temple - Tifereth Israel and Anshe-Chesed Fairmount Temple.
Mount Olive Cemetery Mount Olive Cemetery: Founded in 1925, Mount Olive Cemetery, located on 50 acres in Solon, is comprised of several synagogues and affiliations. They are: Brisker Grodner Society, Deak Lodge-Knights of Pythios Memorial Section, Congregation Bethaynu (now part of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation), Forest City Hebrew Benevolent Association, Green Road Synagogue, Hebrew Benevolent Association, Holocaust Memorial Section, and Jewish War Veterans. Memorial Sections include: Mount Olive Community Sections, Oheb Zedek Cedar Sinai, Park Synagogue, Shomre Shaboth, Sinai Synagogue, Taylor Road Synagogue, Temple Israel Ner Tamid, Young Israel of Cleveland, and Warrensville Center Synagogue.
Mount Sinai Cemetery Mount Sinai Cemetery: Affiliated with Heights Jewish Center Synagogue and Taylor Road Synagogue, it opened in 1934.
Zion Memorial Park Zion Park Cemetery: It was originally established in 1899 as Erster Galizianer Unterst├╝tzungs Verein (First Galician Aid Society) to provide Orthodox religious services and aid to immigrants from Galicia, Poland. In 1948 it became Zion Memorial Park Cemetery. It is located on Northfield Road in Bedford, Ohio, and is comprised of the following sections: Beth Am, Bethaynu Congregation, Beth El, Etz Chaim, Green Road, Jewish Civil Service Employees, Jewish War Veterans, Mayfield Hillcrest (Shaarey Tikvah), Temple Ner Tamid, Sinai Synagogue, Warrensville Center Synagogue, and Young Israel.


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