I can use an online translator to understand the first half: Bertha M, wife of John Shrader, died May 17, 1885. Age 34 years, 6 months, 28 days. This matches my other records for this person, maiden name Beckhardt.

I am having trouble with the bottom part. I am guessing that the bottom part refers to a baby, who died at 4 days. The mother, Bertha, died 3 days later.

There are a few words that I can't read well enough to enter into an online translator, but a German speaker might have better luck. Can someone confirm my interpretation?

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Sorry for the poor picture, not mine. Permission given to re-post image by creator.

  • A tragic story -- she died a week after giving birth, three days after her child had died. We underestimate how blessed the time and places we live in are. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


Here's what I was able to read so far (original, and translation):

Bertha M.

Frau von John Shrader Gest. Mai 17, 1885 im Alter von 34 Jahr 6 Mon. und 28 Tage

Im ... ... geliebt


Tochter von ... ... M. Shrader Gest. Mai 14, 1885 Im Alter von 4 Tagen

Bertha M.

Wife of John Shrader died May 17, 1885 aged 34 years, 6 months, 28 days



Daughter of J. ahd B. M. Shrader died May 14, 1885 aged 4 days

As far as I can tell, your interpretation is right: a daughter named "Amale" (which is not a common German name, maybe it's a misspelling of "Amalie", or maybe not) died a few days before her mother.

I'm having difficulties reading the part between the two blocks associated with the persons, which is probably some saying/poem/bible quotation.

  • 3
    I think that's a 34, not an 84. Makes more sense to be 34 is she had just had a baby!
    – shoover
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 0:04
  • 3
    "J. u. B. M. Shrader" is probably short for "J. und B. M. Shrader," i.e. "J. and B. M. Shrader," short for "John and Bertha M. Shrader."
    – shoover
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 0:06
  • I have never seen ages on tombstones given with this precision - is that typical for that region?
    – Stefan
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 7:17
  • 1
    @Stefan - listing the age to the day is common in death certificates from the 1800s and early 1900s. It is not on any of the other Shrader headstones from that region/era that I know of. The age is only listed this way on one other headstone in my family tree, a Dutch ancestor buried in Massachusetts, late 1700s.
    – Mattman944
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 7:41
  • 1
    @Mattman944 Ah, interesting: The name of the husband was John. That fits the "J.u." -- "John und" under "AMALE". Interesting also that the husband and father is not more prominent; maybe Bertha's family paid for the tombstone. A touching story. Btw, I was able to decipher the inscription, see my answer below. Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 10:58

After guessing a few words of the — is proverb the right word for it? — I was able to find it via google on two other entries in findagrave.com, this one and this one.

The complete inscription is very close to

     BERTHA M.                            Bertha M.
     Frau von                             Wife of 
   JOHN SHRADER                           John Shrader
       GEST.                              died
    Mai 17, 1885                          May 17, 1885
    im Alter von                          at the age of 
   34 Jahr 6 Mon.                         34 years, 6 months
    und 28 Tage                           and 26 days
Im Lande, wo's [or im's?] kein Schei-     In the land, where there is no par-
                  den gibt                                         ting
vereint Gott, die sich hier               God unites those who were in love here
        AMALE                             Amale
    Tochter von J.u.                      daughter od J. a[nd]
     B.M. SHRADER                         B.M. Shrader
        GEST.                             died
     Mai 14, 1885                         May 14, 1885
     im Alter von                         at the age of
         4 Tage.                          4 days.

The inscription is very fitting the death of a mother and her child.

A few things caught my attention:

  • In Germany, the name would typically be spelled Schrader, not Shrader; the variant shown in the inscription seems to match the English spelling. A quick google search seems to confirm that the surname spelled this way is chiefly American.
  • The dates are given in American notation. In German one would write the day before the month, like here.
  • The grammar is a little off: It should be "im Alter von 34 Jahren ... und 28 Tagen", likewise with the baby's age.

This fits with the information on the linked website that the grave is in Otoe, Nebraska. According to the wikipedia article the town, founded in 1880, was originally named Berlin. "Many of the early inhabitants were German Lutherans". This also fits with the surname Schrader which is most frequent in the Lutheran northern parts of Germany. Bertha and her child died shortly after the town was founded; some people were speaking German there, with an English influence.

  • Thanks for the valuable details, especially for the history of the place. This gives interesting context around this family, I think.
    – jadepx
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 11:24
  • Family name was Schroeder in Germany, I haven't found John's birth record, but I found his sisters. genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/18274/…
    – Mattman944
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 12:28
  • 1
    Mattman944, I might have found a candidate for John's baptism in May 1840 in Blankenhagen in Archion's collection (German churchbooks, paywall, in case you are not aware of this resource). Is there a way to pass you that information without misusing the comments here? (maybe in another question?)
    – jadepx
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 7:29
  • @jadepx - excellent, I will ask another question explaining my real goals.
    – Mattman944
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 9:30

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