17 September 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Saul Wilson

Sometimes one has to just get in there and whack the weeds (or the ivy or the hedges). To the left, a before photograph of my great grandfather Saul Wilson's grave at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, New York. 

In fairness, this grave was in an older section of the cemetery and does not have perpetual care. It was a good thing, however, that I'd thought to carry clippers that I borrowed from my sister-in-law before heading off to the cemetery. After visiting this cemetery, I have a firm belief that if a cemetery asks, "Would you like to plant ivy on the grave?" Scream, "No!" 

I'm sure the cemetery maintenance crew was pleased with my work. Here is the after photograph.

Here lies
 My beloved husband and our beloved father
A man of integrity and uprightness
Zelig Chayim son of Nachum  WILSON
Died 17 Marcheshvan 5684  May his soul be bound in the bonds of the living
DIED OCT. 27, 1923

Saul Wilson was my mother's paternal grandfather. He is my earliest ancestor to make the permanent move to the United States, arriving as Selig Wilenski in New York Harbor on 23 November 1891.[1] The Polaria's manifest provided information that Selig was a 28 year old upholsterer from Kasan, Russian Empire (today, Kozyany, Belarus).

Thus far, I have been unsuccessful in tracing Saul's movements during the five and one-half years prior to the arrival of his wife Hoda Wilensky and his children Nechama (Nina Wilson Herman, 25 January 1888 - 11 January 1919), Josef (Joseph Wilson, 11 October 1889 - 3 March 1977) and Benyamin (Benjamin Wilson, 5 March 1891 - 22 August 1971) in 1897.[2]  I do know that, upon arrival in 1897, the family headed almost immediately for Hudson, New York and stayed there until at least 1904.[3] During that time Saul sold dry goods.

Saul and Hoda's only American-born child was born in Hudson on 10 September 1898: Esther Wilson Marwit Warmflash (1898 - 4 December 1973).

In 1905 or 1906 the Wilson family moved to New York City and resided there for the rest of their lives.

I have not yet found evidence of any siblings (if Saul had them) who may also have emigrated to the United States. And, while I know Saul's father's name from his tombstone and death certificate, I do not yet know his mother's name. 

Saul's grave is located in Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale (Queens), New York in the United Hebrew Community section: Block F, Section 6, Subsection 5, Line 1, Grave 33.

1."New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 October 2008), manifest, Polaria, Stettin to New York, arriving 23 November 1891, passenger number 196, Selig Wilenski; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial M237, Microfilm Roll 579.
2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 September 2009), manifest, Pisa, Hamburg to New York, arriving 1 June 1897, list 7, Hode, Nachame, Josef and Benjamin Wilensky; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial M237, Microfilm Roll 579.
3. In 2012 I visited Hudson, New York and posted several articles about my research there. See Hudson posts for:  8 September 20127 October 2012, 8 October 2012, 9 October 2012, 10 October 2012, 14 October 2012, and 18 October 2012.


  1. It's a beautiful marker --worthy of your careful work

  2. Yes, it is (and thank you, Janice). The older markers are often the nicest.

  3. Nice pruning job and it looks like it was worth it! I've never thought to keep pruning clippers in my car when on my way to an older cemetery - thanks for the tip ;-)

    1. Oh, never leave home without them. I'm so used to crawling around and cutting down vegetation that I was floored when I recorded the Polonnoe Cemetery at Baker Street (West Roxbury, MA) before IAJGS this summer when there was NO vegetation. (What's up with that??!!!)

    2. That group of Jewish cemeteries is well maintained. (See JCAM - Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts.) That also happens to be the closest one to where I live in Needham and I try to fulfill FindAGrave requests there when I can. I know I should work on recording some of those for JOWBR too (if they're not already in there) - just need to find a day and DO IT.

    3. There are indices for many (perhaps all) of the JCAM cemeteries on JOWBR, but few photos. I have found the info on the tombstones very useful in my research, so I try to photograph them even if they have been indexed previously. That's what I've done with Polonnoe Cemetery. I had JOWBR send me the old spreadsheet and I've updated it with photos and Hebrew names. Will send it in shortly. Because it was so veg-free, it only took me about 2 1/2 hours to photograph about 300 graves (a new record, for me).

      If you ever decide to do some more of the Baker St. plots, let me know. I have a few I'd love to see photographed. :-)


Comments on posts are always welcome but will be approved before posting. I actually prefer to just let people comment without going through this rigmarole, but I've recently had to delete some posts that I had not vetted before publication. So, please don't be offended. I love to hear from you!