Supplement to Mercer County Cemetery Index now Available

Tandberg, Kathy. "Supplement to Mercer County Cemetery Index now Available." Hazen Star, 27 March 2008.

Berniece Scheid, Leona Brecht, Mal Miller and Vi Schielke are pleased to present the finished product, a supplement to the Mercer County Cemetery Index. Both the original and supplement are now available.

Family historians and genealogy lovers should take note: the long desired supplement to the Mercer County Cemetery Index is hot off the press and available.

The supplement is an endeavor from the heart of the creator, Vi Schielke, the creator of both the supplement and the original 488 page index of burial and cemetery records compiled and first published in 1989.

Like the first index, the supplement is filled with useful and valuable information for those seeking records of burials in Mercer County.

The supplement includes 127 pages with approximately 1,651 new entries. The first index offers 6,253 entries that include about 2,000 unmarked graves on the prairies.

The records also include when possible, the mother’s maiden name, full birth date and full date of death.

No records are repeated in the supplement although corrections and additions may include spouses in some instances.

The new entries also include any known cremation information, although not many records have been available in that area.

Another pleasing addition to the supplement is 70 pages of photographs of each cemetery, including the name of the cemetery, maps, GPS longitude and latitude location and legal description. This information was offered courtesy of the Mercer County Shop.

Beginning with the work of the first index, Vi has clipped and saved every obituary printed in Mercer County of people who have been buried in the county, including of those people who died elsewhere but were returned to the county for burial.

Vi said the book is as complete as it can possibly be for one searching for hard to find records.

For years her basement has been full of these records as the work continued.

Others have helped her along the way, both with the first index and now again in the supplement.

Unlike the original index that was funded by Vi and presales of the book, the printing of the supplement has been sponsored by the area Germans from Russia Heritage Society Chapter, Die Deutsche Stammhalter.

The project seems to be an appropriate one for the chapter with a German name that in English means “The German Tree Holder.”

Vi said the supplement would not have been possible without the help of three society members, Mal Miller and Leona Brecht, both of Golden Valley, and Berniece M. Scheid, Beulah.

The trio volunteered their time to proof the work. Vi is grateful for the hard work and long hours they spent toward the project.

“They did a wonderful job, a very thorough job. They each put in about 30 hours of proofing,” Vi said.

Mal said the proofing committee worked well together because they each had a different area of expertise.

“I wrote down most all the people who have died since the first book was done and I still found some that were missing. Toward the end there were some obituaries I was missing so I went to the Hazen Library and went through the old newspapers and made copies,” Mal said, a family genealogy buff and local historian.

Berniece said she corrected anything she saw that was wrong, like spellings.

“I read and corrected deaths, births and marriages and whatever I found,” she said.

Vi said it has not been uncommon to find more than one spelling for the same surname in the same family. She used the name Landsiedel, who had a son, as an example.

Landsiedel’s records and documents and headstone have the spelling one way.

His son’s records and documents and headstone have it spelled Landseidel.

“I noted these things in the supplement records, but I can’t change it because the headstone reads that way,” Vi said.

Leona Brecht said her greatest challenges were the cremations buried in the cemeteries and the people who died out of state and were brought back to the area.

“I was one of the first to urge Vi for a supplement about five years after the first one was started,” Leona added.

In addition to the Chapter and many volunteers over the years, Vi appreciates help from her son, Brian Schielke, for being her computer expert; Darcy Thompson for her work with the county mapping and photos; and Lani Meyhoff for help in gathering many obituaries and putting them on cards for easy access.

The book went to press for 200 copies a few weeks ago (70 were pre-ordered sales). They came back with a warm yellow, newly designed cover drawn by Vi’s husband Ervin, who designed and drew the first cover. The cover depicts Wuerttemberg St. John Lutheran Church, Zap.

Six copies of the book have been donated jointly by Vi and the local Chapter to the Mercer County Museum, Hazen Library, Beulah Library, Germans From Russia Heritage Society Headquarters in Bismarck, the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck, and to Michael Miller, North Dakota State University Library – Germans from Russian Heritage Collection.

The supplement will sell for the cost of printing with no payment for the work. It was, after all, a labor of love.

The supplement will sell for $22 each, plus $8 shipping for those who can’t pick it up. The first edition is still available at the same cost of $22 plus shipping.

“This second book was printed and paid for by the treasury of the Chapter, but the treasury is now broke so we need to sell these,” Vi said.

The book can be obtained by calling these Chapter members: Vi, 873-2319; Delores Chase, 748-6602; or Mal, 983-4669. Orders by mail can be sent to Mal Miller, 211 Second St. N.W., Golden Valley, N.D. 58541.

Vi has already said there will not be a third edition to the book, at least not by her.

“A friend of mine who has done a similar project once said this is just like having a baby. You go through all the pains and it’s just like letting go. And I’m ready to let go,” Vi said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hazen Star.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller