Part of the joy of genealogy is discovery. Sometimes that discovery doesn’t even have to be related to your family. Such was the case for me and seeking Sadie Gurevitz.
It was in November 2010 that I found Sadie (or she found me; I’m still not sure which). I was working on my final project for my Digital Collections class at Kent State and was taking pictures of photoceramics — those photos on ceramic tiles that you sometimes find on tombstones from the early 20th century. I had taken pictures of several in Agudas Achim Cemetery in Columbus and was almost done, when I saw her.
Sadie Gurevitz, photo on her tombstone at Agudas Achim Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio. Photo taken by Amy Johnson Crow, November 2010.
It was the cloche hat that first drew me to her. This was a stylish, attractive young woman with an impish smile. What was her photo doing on a tombstone? Maybe her family wanted to remember her in her younger days, not wishing to think of her in advanced years.
Sadly, this was not the case. The tombstone revealed that Sadie Gurevitz — “Mother” — was born in 1902… and died in 1929.
I had to find out more about Sadie.
My first stop was to find her death certificate. As I suspected might be the case with such a young woman, she died from complications of childbirth. Her cause of death was listed as “Childbirth (placenta prev),” an abbreviation for placenta previa, a condition that can cause extreme bleeding before or during delivery. Her death certificate told me even more about her. Sadie was born in New York City, was a housewife, married to Max Gurevitz, and lived at 855 S. 18th Street. She was the daughter of Harry and Bessie (Miller) Freedman, both Russian immigrants. She died 18 November 1929 at St. Ann’s Hospital in Columbus.
The Ohio Memory Project has digitized several years of the Ohio Jewish Chronicle newspaper. It was there that I found her obituary, with this headline:
Sadie Gurevitz, “popular young Jewess,” died of “complications incident to childbirth.” Her baby boy also died. She was survived by her husband Max (“of the Superior Auto Wrecking Co.”), another son, her mother, and three brothers.
What of Sadie’s other son? The 1930 census, taken just months after Sadie’s death, lists Max Gurevitz with 2 year old Norman. (A search of Ohio birth records confirms that Norman, born in April 1927, was the son of Max and Sadie Freedman Gurevitz.)
Sadie Gurevitz. Daughter. Wife. Mother. Popular young woman. Gone too soon.
Sadie Gurevitz tombstone, Agudas Achim Cemetery, Columbus. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow, November 2010.
- Gurevitz, Sadie. Ohio Death Certificate 70276 (1929). Original held at the Ohio Historical Society. Digital image on FamilySearch.org.
- Gurevitz, Sadie obituary. Ohio Jewish Chronicle. 22 November 1929, p. 4. Digital image on OhioMemory.org.
- Lakin, Harry household. 1930 U.S. Census, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, ED 25-23, sheet 22B.
- Gurevitz, Norman birth record. Ohio Birth Records 1908-1987. Database on Archives.com.
- Mayo Clinic staff. Placenta previa definition. MayoClinic.com.