Friday, January 10, 2014


In a cemetery as old and as large as Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, you will see  a great variety of tombstones.  There are very large, elaborate monuments, simple, small gravestones, and many graves that are not marked at all.  At Jewish Waldheim, as with other cemeteries in Illinois the responsibility for repair or replacement of damaged tombstones is with the lot owner, not the cemetery.  With a cemetery as old as this one, finding the heirs of an original lot owner is next to impossible - if there are any descendants still alive.  That makes the tombstone over the grave of little Dora Rosa Sachs even sadder than it would be ordinarily.

The broken tombstone over her grave is in the far back section of one of the older parts of the cemetery.  There are no recent burials there, and visitors are few and far between.  It is probably safe to say that any relatives of the people buried here are distant relatives, and there may not be anybody left in the Chicago area related to little Dora or those buried near her.  Let's see what, if anything we can find out about little Dora Rosa Sachs.

Her tombstone was not expensive to begin with, and is made of a softer stone that does not do well in Chicago's brutal weather.  The engraving on her stone has almost been worn away by time and weather.  Let's take a closer look and see what we can make out:

Almost nothing is visible to the naked eye, but digital cameras can sometimes pick up details that are not readily seen.  It appears to say:

Dora Rosa Sachs
Born Oct 24, 1902
Died May 14, 1905

If there was any Hebrew lettering on her stone it was on the part that has broken off.  A look at Family Search found the following record:

Rose Sachs, "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922"
Name: Rose Sachs
Titles and Terms:
Event Date: 14 May 1905
Event Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Gender: Female
Race (Original): White
Race: White
Age (Formatted): 3y 6m
Birth Year (Estimated): 1902
Birth Date:
Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.
Marital Status:
Spouse's Name:
Spouse's Titles and Terms:
Father's Name:
Father's Titles and Terms:
Father's Birthplace: Russia
Mother's Name:
Mother's Titles and Terms:
Mother's Birthplace: Russia
Residence Place: Chicago, Cook, IL.
Burial Place: Jewish Waldheim
Burial Date:
Funeral Home:
Informant's Name:
Informant's Name (Original):
GS Film number: 1239719
Digital Folder Number: 4004517
Image Number: 725
Reference ID: cn 10755

Having that information I was able to get her death certificate:

Little Rose died of pneumonia resulting from her having the measles and whooping cough.  She was sick for over three months, although she had pneumonia for about one week.  Unfortunately Cook County Death Certificates of this era do not contain parents' names, so we'll have to try other ways to find them.

I started out by trying to find Dora Rose's birth certificate.  Her death certificate says that she was 3 years and 6 months old on May 14, 1905, so that would make her date of birth November 14, 1901 (never mind that her tombstone seems to have the DOB as October 24, 1902.

I checked the Cook County Birth Register for any Sachs babies born in 1901-1902.  There is a Sachs baby born October 27, 1902, but that was a boy.  There was a girl Sachs baby born July 23, 1901 to a Henry Sachs and Jennie Becker Sachs but there is no evidence that this baby is little Dora Rose.

I also checked the records on Family Search as well as to see if I could find anything else, or to see if Dora Rosa showed up in one of the many family trees posted on those sites, but nothing.  Other than noting her burial, the cemetery records had nothing either.

Unfortunately the search for information on Dora Rosa Sachs leads to nothing but dead ends.  Here's all we know for sure:

Dora Rosa Sachs
Born in Chicago
Both parents born in Russia
Died May 14, 1905 of Pneumonia from Measles and Whooping Cough
Lived at 403 S. Clark Street in Chicago

Anything else is just conjecture.

Several years ago one of the salespeople at Rosehill Cemetery decided to try to look into re-purchasing unused graves in family plots purchased decades before so they could be re-sold at today's rates. She soon found that it was a fruitless pursuit - either there were no living heirs, or if there were, that they couldn't be tracked down.  After a short time, the project was dropped.

The purpose of this blog is to see that these people are not forgotten, and that's the case with Dora Rosa Sachs who died almost 109 years ago and who lies under a broken tombstone at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery.

Dora Rosa Sachs - we remember.

May she rest in peace.

PS - The physician who signed her death certificate Dr. Abraham Weissman turned out to be quite a scoundrel, but we'll save his story for another week.


  1. Can you ask the cemetery who the lot holder is? Usually it will be the parent(s) on a child's plot.

  2. Wow -- very sad post. I appreciate all of your hard work.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Great research.

  4. I so wish we could repair and uokeep these precious graves : the people matter