300 58th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710 | Phone: 727-381-4900 | info@cbistpete.org

Royal Palm Cemetery Project

Congregation B’nai Israel Section Of Royal Palm Cemetery South
101 55th St S, St Petersburg FL  33707
Pam Askin:  officemgr@cbistpete.org
Byron Kolitz:  bkolitz@tampabay.rr.com

To improve the accuracy of records for Congregation B’nai Israel’s section of Royal Palm Cemetery South and ensure each interment is properly identified by name, dates, and location. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay will be photographing monuments for submission to JewishGen and names (English and Hebrew), dates (civil and Jewish), and grave locations must be provided and accurate.

Royal Palm Cemetery South was established in 1921, and CBI’s first burials occurred in 1924. Of the original purchase of 80 acres, 55 acres remain today as a cemetery. CBI’s portion is located in the southeast corner of the cemetery (refer to Map of CBI Section of RPCS). The CBI Office maintains handwritten records for its section of Royal Palm Cemetery South with data recorded in a series of ledger books based on cemetery layout.

Specifically, CBI has three (3) Sections. Each Section includes seven (7) Blocks; each Block contains up to eight (8) Lots; and each Lot has up to four (4) Spaces. [Note: Sections 1 and 2 each contain 192 Lots; Section 3 contains 167 Lots. A few Lots have additional Spaces for children.] In total, 551 Spaces have been identified.

A duplex summary ledger sheet exists for each Section and Block. On each sheet, a Lot and Space is listed as a single line entry. The information, if complete, includes a name and whether the Space is paid and in which year it was paid. Sometimes a comment is associated with an entry. Over the years, entries have been lined-out, changed, and/or notated. Supporting each summary ledger sheet is a series of single ledger sheets for each individual or family purchase. A sheet may have many letters, sticky-notes, etc attached to it. This requires investigation to ensure that the data on the summary sheet are accurate; a great deal of time and knowledge is needed for review and to make decisions. This phase of the project has not begun.

Current Project
The first step of this project was to transcribe the summary ledger sheets to a spreadsheet. The data from CBI’s records were augmented by information from the Pinellas Genealogy Society’s canvassing of Royal Palm South Cemetery (done between October 2000 and March 2001, and published in January 2010). In this document, each record may contain: last name, first name, middle name/initial, birth year, and death year. As a result, many first names and death years were found for CBI interments. The results are presented here in a single PDF that can be reviewed online or downloaded – CBI RPCS Ledger Sheets. The document is searchable, so names and dates can be found easily. For convenience, the PDF is sorted by last name, then by first name. The top of each page includes the column headings, specifically: Section, Block, Lot, Space, last name, first name, comment/question, year died, paid, and year paid.  Questions are identified in red.

It soon became clear that some of the information is incorrect such as:
a) some Spaces were donated (but to whom?);
b) other Spaces were left unused (sometimes, interment at another cemetery or no one remains in the family)
c) some Spaces were swapped with another family; and
d) the deceased may not be interred in the location listed on the ledger, but in an adjacent or nearby Space.


We hope that you will review the online records that were digitized from the handwritten files. Please provide the CBI Office with feedback including confirmation of correct entries, and especially with corrections and/or additional pertinent information.

To update and document CBI’s records, we are seeking any and all assistance in obtaining formal identification of ownership. For example, during the 1960s, letters were sent from CBI to owners with the title “OWNERSHIP OF CEMETERY GROUND”. If you are in possession of such a document (or anything similar from any period of time), please send a copy of it to the CBI Office c/o Pam Askin at officemgr@cbistpete.org.

Thank you very much for supporting this project. Your participation is critical to its success and is greatly appreciated.

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