Here is a story of serendipity for you.

On friday I was at the Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney doing a tour of the old Jewish cemetery grounds with the President of the Jewish Burial Sociery. I am getting involved with their restoration project which entails restoring many of the oldest graves.


Amongst the 1000’s of graves in the old cemetery, a newly refurbished grave struck my eye as it looked out of place. New granite and styling stood out like a sore thumb amongst the old marble and stone graves.

I read the inscription, photographed it and was struck by the fact that the people had come from Zhager a very small town in Lithuania.

It was odd to see such an old grave from people from Lithuania, where some of  my family come from. As I am helping a family here research their family from Akmene and Zhager, I felt I had to eventually research who these people were.

{Cemetery in Akmene}

As I turned around to my right and behind me, I noticed 2 very old and beautiful white grave stones lying on the ground and soon realized these were the original stones from the grave I was just reading. I took more photo’s.


{Photo of Zhager Jewish Gen Shtetl Site}

Whilst the President was talking to the restorers they came to where I was standing. He said we will have to put those old stones way down the other end of the cemetery.

I went crazy and insisted they be placed on top of the newly refurbished grave as they are one and the same. The problem, they said, was that the granite was too thin to hold the heavier and extremely thicker old marble stones.

I said find a solution, they cannot be separated.

They finally came up with a solution to keep it all together.

{A typical house in Akmene: Photo: Yad Vashem}

I have never been on the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society site, but yesterday for some reason, something complelled me to.

After perusing the site I somehow found a link to a lady’s travel blog so I followed the link and landed up in the middle of the blog.  I had know idea where her family was from or to where she was travelling to in search of her family roots. But decided to look anyway.

Imagine my shock when I read she was in  Zhager and Akmene researching her family.

{Akmene Jewish Cemetery}

As I read on I was even more shocked to find that the grave I was fighting so hard to keep together  belonged to this lady’s grandparents. As with my art, the serendipity is following me in my genealogical searches. This is just one example of it. Whilst it does not relate to me or my family, YET, one never knows how helping her may help me, in the end.

I connected with her on Facebook and she requested the photos I had taken as she did not have images of the older grave stones.

It was a very rewarding 24 hours.