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The Sentinel was a weekly magazine published for the Chicago Jewish community from 1918 to 1949. It has now been digitized and put online (http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16614coll14). This record set has been valuable for all of my personal and professional research about families who lived in the Windy City.

Today I want to highlight death notices that I found for my grandmother’s sister (Bertha Peckler) in 1938 and for her brother (Matt Peckler) in 1942.

Death notice for Bertha Peckler, The Sentinel, 16 June 1938. Source: Spertus Institute

This notice appeared on page 29 of the June 16, 1938 edition. The notice was brief, but even so, the obit reporter managed to make a mistake. Bertha was Nathan (aka Naftula aka Anatole) Peckler’s daughter, not his sister (although it was true that Matthew A Peckler was her brother). I already knew that Bertha had died in 1938 based on oral history interviews I had done with my mother and uncle. This mistake on the part of the journalist reinforces the importance of not trusting everything that you read.

This notice is particularly important genealogically, because other than a picture of her headstone, and her appearance in the 1930 US Census, I had no documents or pictures pertaining to her at all. Luckily, Bertha’s headstone includes a picture of her, although it has been damaged by weather over time.

Bertha’s brother, known as Matt, died in 1942 from diabetes. I already knew that based on oral history interviews. Unlike Bertha’s meager paper trail, Matt’s trail was substantial: I had several pictures and documents.

But this death notice is still genealogically significant because it mentions his wife (the spelling of her name made me laugh, as we usually see it as Manya, not a form of mental illness) and daughters (whose names I knew), and the place of burial, which I didn’t know. 

Death notice for Matt Peckler, The Sentinel, 26 Nov 1942. Source: Spertus Institute

Just a note for genealogists who research in The Sentinel. Be sure to download the cover page of each issue so you have the publication information for the source citation. The header of subsequent pages includes the date, but not the volume and issue numbers.

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