Sunday, January 15, 2017
Weil Funeral Home Records
By Rick D. Cauthen & Paul K. Cauthen
The Hamilton County Genealogical Society is very excited to announce we have completed filming and digitizing the Weil Funeral Home Index card catalog. This represents a huge repository of information to the Jewish Genealogical community with more than 25,000 funerals dating back to as early as 1913. These records have been made available to the Hamilton County Genealogical Society through the generosity and kindness of present-day owners, Mr. Robert Weil and Mr. William Kahn. This tremendous collection will serve as an incredible tool and resource for the entire Jewish Genealogical community. Weil Funeral Home was established in January 1912 and has continued to meet the needs of the local Greater Cincinnati Jewish community to the present day. The funeral home can be found on the web at: www.weilfuneralhome.com. Their current location: 8350 Cornell Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45249.
Weil Funeral Home has an interesting history. It had its earliest roots not as a funeral home, but as a livery service. As a livery, essentially, the Weil family would rent horses and horse-drawn carriages. Yes, as a livery, they even would have provided such rentals to established funeral homes that would have needed the horses and carriages to function as a modern day hearse. The livery service itself dates back to the 1890s. The Weil family originally came to Cincinnati from Alsace. Robert Weil’s great grandfather Isaac Weil was born August 5, 1860, in Cincinnati and started out as a produce vendor. He ended up dealing in horses by going into the business around 1895 with his brother-in-law Leo Mook under the business name Mook & Weil. The story goes that some 16 years later, Isaac went to a local Cincinnati funeral home that was closing and selling off their horses to make a deal. Well, you guessed it, he ended up buying not just the horses, but the entire funeral business.
That the Weil Funeral Home has been nearly the sole resource for Jewish funerals for Greater Cincinnati as well as Hamilton, Butler, and Warren Counties for more than 100 years means that almost every Jewish family has had their final arrangements for their loved ones made using their services. Weil Funeral Home has maintained excellent records dating back to the 1940s. Within the card catalog, there were cards created that alphabetized the funerals dating back to 1913. Unfortunately, those cards contain very minimal information. It was not until 1940 when the funeral home began to maintain extremely detailed records all the way forward until the present day. We have digitized these records through December 31, 2015.
The Weil Funeral Home records are maintained in the Member’s Area of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society website located at www.hcgsohio.org and are available exclusively to the Society’s members. If you are not a member of the Society, you can easily join via our website with memberships beginning at $15.00 annually. Archival copies of the microfilmed records are being maintained at the American Jewish Archives located at Hebrew Union College and the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Library Downtown.
How to Find the Funeral you want
The 25,000 3" x 5" index cards of funerals from 1940 to Dec. 31, 2015, are divided into 86 Acrobat PDF files alphabetized by last name and one PDF for funerals from 1913 through 1939. These files contain the actual images of the funeral record cards. After accessing the Weil Funeral Home Records link from the member’s area, click on the surname pair in the list where the family name of interest would be in alphabetical order between the first surname and last one in each pair. Within each group of identical surnames, the cards are in alphabetical order by the first name. As the card images are in alphabetical order, it would be simple enough to locate your ancestor by browsing. However, the OCR technology makes it possible to use the find function (usually Control Key + the F key) to access a popup window by which you can do a search for any keyword you desire. It will then give you all the possible index points to locate that record. These index cards have a wealth of genealogical information such as: birth and death dates, Hebrew date of death, surviving spouse, Rabbi who performed the service, place of death (particularly valuable when out-of-state), cemetery of interment (or if cremation was chosen), where the body was sent if not buried locally, marital status, and the individual who was responsible for paying for the funeral. You can search for virtually anything, such as the cemetery name, the rabbi who did the services, but the first or last name of the deceased will probably be the most popular way of finding your ancestor. Be advised, however, that the OCR indexing is not perfect. If you do not have success using the find option, always follow up by browsing.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to write to Jewish Interest Group leader, Rick Cauthen at firstname.lastname@example.org.