This tombstone is located in row 2 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker’s inscription can no longer be read.
What do you do when a tombstone is so weathered that its inscription is no longer legible?
The first thing I did was look at a local source, the 1992 Van Wert County, Ohio, Cemetery Inscriptions, by the Van Wert Chapter OGS. The Van Wert Chapter read and recorded all the stones in the cemetery three decades ago. This stone was weathered back then but they were able to read parts of it. They read the stone as Emma German, 1y, _m, 11d, daughter of J.
That is not a lot to go on, especially since the year of her death was not legible. There appears to be a lamb image carved at the top of the marker, which indicates it is the tombstone of a child.
I next looked at Zion Schumm’s church records. There was only one Emma German in their death records, but this is not her tombstone. The Emma German in the church records lived from 1907-1917, is buried in row 11 of Zion Schumm’s cemetery, and her tombstone is very legible.
I do not have much German family genealogy and do not know if there was an Emma German who died young, whose father’s first name began with J, and who was not mentioned in Zion Schumm’s records. Perhaps a German researcher can shed some light on this.
From Zion Schumm’s church records I know that there was a Johann and a Jacob German who attended church there years ago. Perhaps Emma was the daughter of one of them.
There were not many Emmas in their church records, but one Emma did die in infancy. Anna Susanna Emma Bienz, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Bienz, born 9 October 1874, died 21 May 1876, and was buried in the parish cemetery 23 May. It appears her tombstone did not survive.
There is just not a lot to go on here. And, considering the condition of this tombstone, are we sure the name is actually Emma German? The script on some markers is difficult to read when a marker is in good condition, let alone on a severely weathered stone.
This tombstone may just have to remain a mystery.