St. John Cemetery in St. Bernard, Ohio, Section 8, Lot 8

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: St. Bernard, Ohiomap
Surnames/tags: Herschede Linnemann
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Section 8, Lot 8 of St. John Cemetery in St. Bernard, Ohio contains the remains of eight or nine members of the Herschede family, spanning three or four generations.

This page is intended to explain the process of determining which family members are buried here, despite very paltry cemetery records and only one legible headstone inscription.

Sitting on a windswept hill, the burial plot contains only four headstones. The most prominent are a pair of matching limestone or marble headstones, badly eroded to the point of utter illegibility. They are identical, about five feet tall, and they each feature a bas-relief of the Virgin Mary standing between two urns. The headstones are scalloped on top, and each features a rectangular hole that may have once held a cross. Perhaps the crosses were removed when the stones began to lean.

These two headstones also feature a shield below Mary and the urns, which obviously once held an inscription, but not a single letter or number can be made out. All writing has been obliterated by over 100 years of exposure to the elements on the windswept hill.

There is also another illegible headstone, a small monument depicting an infant lying on his back with his head on a pillow. Most of the writing is illegible, except for one very deeply carved word on the base: Herschede.

The only other monument is a granite mow-over headstone, completely legible (which will be discussed below).

Cemetery records provide only a name (half the time, only a first initial and surname) and date of interment. While all of these records indicate that they are in Section 8, some of these indicate that they are in Lot 8 or 8 1/2, while others show Lot S or S 1/2. I believe that 8 and S are the same plot, which is a half lot, and that is probably the reason for the confusion (probably due to difficulty reading handwriting when the records were typed for the database). This is supported by information in, "Hamilton County, Ohio Burial Records, Volume 20. St. John German Cemetery Burials 1849 - 1879, "edited by Jeffrey G. Herbert for the Hamilton County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society (discussed below).

The cemetery has records of the following individuals:

A Herschede
Anna Herschede
F Herschede/Franz Herschede /Frank Herschede
Johann Herschede
Johannes Herschede
L Herschede
M Herschede
Sophia Herschede


How are they related?

Johannes was probably either Johann's father, or his son from his first marriage, or, most likely, his son from his second marriage (all other reasonable possibilities have been ruled out; his father's name was known to be Johannes, as were three of his sons). M was Maria Linnemann Herschede, Johann's wife. Sophia and Anna were their daughters, who never married. Franz, Adelia, and Robert were the infant children of Johann and Maria's son, Franz "Frank" Herschede, and his wife Lisette "Sadie" (Ratermann) Herschede, who died before the age of one year.

The first individual buried here is Johannes Herschede, interred 26 October 1865. He is probably the father of Johann "John" Herschede (Johannes Herschede, is believed to have lived 24 Dec 1785 - 16 Sep 1829), or his son from his first marriage, Johannes Casparus (born 4 May 1841 in Attendorn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), or his son from his second marriage, Johannes Herschede. The older Johannes, Johann, and Johannes were all born in Germany, whereas the two youngest were born in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was believed that neither Johann's father or eldest son ever immigrated (increasing the chances that it is his son from his second marriage who is interred here). This burial, the only one whose identity is still uncertain, calls that into question. There is no record of any Herschede dying in 1865, the year the city of Cincinnati began to record births and deaths on index cards in the collection currently housed at the University of Cincinnati and available digitally.

"Hamilton County, Ohio Burial Records, Volume 20. St. John German Cemetery Burials 1849 - 1879," contains the following entries:

Herschede, Johann. Burial date: 16 Nov 1875. Row/Block: B8. Grave/Lot: L8. Age: 62y 5mo. Church: St. Paul.
Herschede, Johannnes. Burial date: 26 Oct 1865. Row/Block: B8. Grave/Lot: L8. Age: 2y 3mo. Church: St. Paul. Note: bur. 4 Nov. 1855.
Herschede, Sophia. Burial date: 15 Feb 1869. Row/Block: B8. Grave/Lot: L8. Age: 1y 6mo. Church: St. Paul.

"Hamilton County Burial Records, Volume 20, St John German Cemetery, 1849-1879," contains the following entries:

St Paul Church
Johan 16 Nov 1875 65 yr 5 mo
Johannes 26 Oct 1865 2 yrs 3 mo bur 4 Nov 1855
Sophia 15 Feb 1869 1 yr 6 mo

"Hamilton County Ohio Church Burial Records" (volumes covering 1850-1889) contain the following records:

Johan died 14 Nov 1875, age 62 years, 5 mo, 21 days, St Paul's
Franz, age 9 mo, Holy Trinity
Sophia died Feb 14, age 1 year 6 mo
Johan died 3 Nov, buried 4 Nov 1855, age 2 yr 3 mo

The conflicting burial dates for Johannes indicate that there may have been two Johannes Herschedes buried there, whose records were conflated.

Five cemetery statistics sheets were found in microfilm at the Cincinnati, Ohio main library branch local history and genealogy department:

A Hershede
Age: 11 mo
Church: St Mary's
Buried 5-23-1890
Parents: Frank and Liscette Herschede
Funeral director: Osseforth
Born in Cincinnati
Lot owner: John Herschede
Anna Herschede
Died at Good Samaritan Hospital (Cincinnati)
Born in Cincinnati
Church: St Paul's
Buried Feb 2, 1927
Funeral director: Gilligan
Lot owner: john Herschede
Frank Herschede
Age: 9 mo 9 days
Parents: F and B Herschede
Church: Holy Trinity
Buried 6-22-1880
Funeral director: Hackman
L Herschede
Born in Cincinnati
Parents: Franz and Elizabeth
Church: St. John
Buried 3-3-1891
Funeral director: Epler
M herschede
Born in Germany
Church: St Mary
Died in Cincinnati
Age 56
Buried 2-2-1885
Funeral director: Westerman

Sophia Herschede (1860 - 1869) was interred 15 February 1869. She is the daughter of Johann Herschede and Maria (Linnemann) Herschede.

Johann "John" Herschede (abt 23 May 1813 - 14 Nov 1875), interred 16 November 1875.

Franz Herschede (12 Sep 1879 - 22 Jun 1880) was interred either 27 June 1880 or 22 June 1880. He was entered in the Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society database three times, as Franz, Frank, and "F," and the records are inconsistent as to which of these dates he was the date of his funeral. Since his death record shows that he died on the 22nd, he most likely was buried on the 27th. He is the son of Franz "Frank" Herschede and Lisette "Sadie" Ratermann, and grandson of Johann "John" Herschede and Maria "Mary" Linnemann Herschede.

"M" is Maria "Mary" (Linnemann) Herschede(2 March 1828 - 2 February 1885), wife of Johann.

"A" is Adelia E. Herschede (20 June 1889 - May 1880), interred 23 May 1890. She is the daughter of Franz "Frank" Herschede and Lisette "Sadie" Herschede, and granddaughter of Johann "John" Herschede and Maria "Mary" Linnemann Herschede.

"L" is Robert Herschede (2 Mar 1891 - 2 Mar 1891), interred 3 March 1891. It is not known how he came to be recorded as "L" in cemetery records. He is the son of of Franz "Frank" Herschede and Lisette "Sadie" Herschede, and grandson of Johann "John" Herschede and Maria "Mary" Linnemann Herschede.

Anna Herschede (19 December 1865 - 4 February 1927), interred 7 February 1927, has the only headstone that is truly legible. It is located next to the two upright headstones, to the right, and it reads simply, "Anna Herschede 1864 - 1927." There are daffodils engraved on either side, and there is a cross between the numbers instead of a dash. She is the daughter of Johann Herschede and Maria (Linnemann) Herschede.

Whose stone is it, anyway?

Two matching headstones stand side by side, they are probably for Johann and Maria Herschede, and the infant monument belongs to one, or all, of their three Herschede grandchildren.

More research is needed to determine if any inscriptions from these headstones can be deciphered.

These burials were found mainly by process of elimination. As may be expected, direct relatives who were known to live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area were searched for first, in this case, John and Mary Herschede were known to be Frank Herschede's parents from census and death records. A list of his siblings, children, and extended family was compiled, including their birth and death dates, occupations, known residences, and so on.

Frank and Sadie were determined to be interred at St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard. Sadie's parents, in St. Joseph Original (Old) Cemetery in Cincinnati. Cemetery records were then searched for extended family. Nearby cemeteries were also searched. The Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society web site was among the sources.

This was followed up by cemetery visits. After visiting the cemeteries, everything learned from the grave sites was combined with knowledge from cemetery records and genealogical information (mainly vital statistics).

It was immediately obvious that "M" had to be Maria. A quick check of the interment date confirmed this. It was also obvious that "F" was baby Franz. That left three: two mystery initials ("A" and "L") and Johannes. Johann was known to be the son of Johannes Herschede, but it was believed that Johannes died in 1825 and was buried in Attendorn, Germany. Perhaps he lived to the age of 89, and eventually immigrated to live with near his son, Johann. He did not appear with Johann on the 1860 US census, but he could have been living with another of his children (it was usual for the elderly to live with one of their children). It is not known whether any other family members immigrated.

No record has been found to prove this was Johann's father or son, but through process of elimination, he almost certainly is. The Johannes Herschede buried in Attendorn probably is not Johann's father, if, indeed, there is one buried there at all.

Finally, to the initials. Most likely, these were children or grandchildren of Johann and Maria, or siblings of Johann. The best starting place was to eliminate those whose burials were known elsewhere, which included most of their children and grandchildren. Since Franz is buried there, it made sense to check Frank's other children who died before age 1 (all the others lived at least until their 60s, and some lived into their 90s).

Adelia was the easiest to identify. Her first initial "A" was a big clue, and a quick glance at her birth and death dates confirmed that this must be her. "L" proved more elusive, because first, everyone in the family with a first or middle initial "L" was checked, then the focus shifted to the date. The only source for Robert's birth is his father's notebook. Frank had a leather notebook, and on one of the pages, he wrote the names and birth dates of all his children, marking the ones who predeceased him with a cross. Robert stood out as the missing infant, and his burial date was one day after his birth date. It can therefore be presumed that he was either stillborn, or died the day he was born, and arrangements were quickly made for his burial. There is no record of Robert in the University of Cincinnati's Cincinnati birth and death files, however, perhaps they saw no point in recording an infant who did not survive long enough to be recorded. Perhaps Robert was even a very late-term miscarriage, mature enough to bury, but not mature enough for the city to require documentation. Robert is the only child in Frank's notebook without a middle initial. Perhaps this indicates that he died before he could be christened, and the reason for the rushed burial was to get him safely buried in consecrated ground before anyone could object. More research is needed to determine whether Robert was christened.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has never allowed research within their archives, however, by the end of 2018, these records should be digitized and available on Find My Past. At that time, more information will be available to help answer these questions.

Digital photo enhancement and the aluminum foil method will be used to try to recover the inscriptions from the three limestone or marble headstones. The aluminum foil method involves wrapping the headstone in a single layer of aluminum foil (the thinner, the better). Once the foil is secure (taped to itself, not the headstone), a cosmetics brush is used to gently brush the foil into the inscription, which may render it at least partly legible. This is a safer method than rubbing, and may yield results, especially on the infant monument. Hopefully, a stone carver returned to add all three infant names, but if not, the headstone probably symbolically represented all three infants for the Herschede family. Hopefully, at least enough detail will come to light on the upright stones to determine which is on the left and right, between Johann and Maria.

Further Research

Cincinnati, Ohio public library Call # MF929.509771S143Zs1967, microfilm for St John in Cincinnati, in German.

FindMyPast is transcribing and digitizing Cincinnati, Ohio archdioces records, once this is complete they can be checked online.

Local funeral homes operating at that time may have extant records that could answer some of the remaining questions.

Headstone transcriptions may exist, though no book of them has yet been found.


  • Hamilton County, Ohio Burial Records, Volume 20. St. John German Cemetery Burials 1849 - 1879. Edited by Jeffrey G. Herbert for the Hamilton County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society
  • Hamilton County Burial Records, Volume 20, St John German Cemetery, 1849-1879
  • Hamilton County Ohio Church Burial Records, 1850-1859; 1860-1869; 1870-1879; 1880-1889
  • Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Statistics microfilm reels, available at Cincinnati, Ohio main (downtown) public library, local history and genealogy department
  • The notebook of Frank Herschede; the page listing the births of his children, marking those who died in infancy with a cross

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