Help with a short translation from Hebrew?

+2 votes

This page is from the will of one of my husband's ancestors.  I think it's what he wanted carved on his gravestone, as mentioned earlier in the will.  Could someone possibly provide me with a translation?  (Also, I'm assuming it's in Hebrew but it occurred to me that it could be Yiddish.  All I can tell is that it uses Hebrew letters...)

WikiTree profile: Simon Selling
in Genealogy Help by Lisa Hazard G2G6 Pilot (228k points)
edited by Lisa Hazard

1 Answer

+5 votes
Best answer

It definitely has to do with a gravestone. Of what I can read:

Here lies
[see note below] Simon
Son of Joseph Zelling
Died  ??
Buried ??

  • פ׳נ is a common preface, meaning "Here lies". The gap in the handwriting indicates that an image/engraving would be between them, possibly the Shield of David or a menorah. 
  • הזקן שמעון refers to his name (שמעון is "Simon") but the first word is troublesome. As I have transcribed it here it means "Old"... It may also have meant to been "Father".
  • בּתר׳ יוסף זעללינג I think was written incorrectly (should be בּן ר׳יוסף זעללינג), but it says "Daughter of Joseph Zelling" and it was meant as "Son of ..."
  •  נפטר means "Died" so we know a date is coming...
  • ונקבר means buried, or in full "And was buried" so we know a date is coming again...

Notes: יום can mean "day" or in numbers, "76". I am thinking in this case he meant to but the date on those lines after he died (obviously, he didn't know his death and burial dates!)

The rest of what I can't translate appears to be abbreviations. I will keep working it to see if I can figure the whole thing out.
by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (585k points)
selected by Allison Mackler
Great start, thanks!  That gives me another source besides his death record saying that his father was Joseph Selling/Zelling.  

He had a brother Henry, who had a son Simon living in the same place (Hartford).  Could it have been "old Simon" to distinguish him from his nephew?  Though "father Simon" also makes sense as he had several children (none named Simon).


Thank you for that. Whereas I am not as fluent as you are, Steve, from what I can determine, this is correct. I am improving my reading comprehension without nikud.

For some reason I hadn't thought to look here before, but here's a photo of the actual gravestone from FindAGrave.  

You have to remember also that the Hebrew name did not always conform to the secular name they used.

I had to reach out for assistance, but this is what we came up with:

Here Lies
The Elder Simon
Son of the Rabbi Joseph Zelling
Born on day 3 of Nissan 5570 (3rd of April 1810)
Died day ... (no date given)
Buried day (no date given)

It looks like they transcribed what was on the will literally without modifications, so no dates were given (they are blank) for Died and Buried.

Thank you!!  (Reminds me of Blazing Saddles... "Repeat after me:  I"  "I"  "Your name"  "Your name"...)

Very often a gravestone will have the term רב (Rav), but the term is an honorific that should be translated as Mr., not Rabbi which normally is הרב. Also, normally when letters have " over them or between them, they represent an abbreviation or numbers, so פ”נ is an abbreviation for.פה נקבר which means here is buried.

Related questions

+4 votes
1 answer
85 views asked Aug 16, 2022 in Genealogy Help by Barbara Geisler G2G6 Mach 1 (14.2k points)
+6 votes
0 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
62 views asked Jul 5, 2021 in Genealogy Help by Susan Stopford G2G6 Mach 2 (21.6k points)
+5 votes
1 answer
113 views asked Apr 26, 2021 in Genealogy Help by Jana Shea G2G6 Mach 3 (31.3k points)
+1 vote
1 answer
+3 votes
1 answer
67 views asked Aug 5, 2021 in Genealogy Help by Amy DeShazo G2G Crew (810 points)
+6 votes
1 answer

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright