Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bertalar Szabo Stone at Calvary Cemetery, Lorain, Ohio - And a lesson on the need for further research about a name!

Click on title to access link to the memorial for "Berta" Szabo buried at Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.
On a recent visit to Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio, my husband and I stopped at the gravesite of my maternal great grandmother, Antonia (AKA Antonina) Szczepankiewicz.  She was buried in Section 0-3A of  Calvary Cemetery (which is affiliated with the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries Association. http://www.clevelandcatholiccemeteries.org/ )   My great-grandmother was laid to rest in an area of burials during the time period that includes 1918 when the world-wide plague was raging.  There are also many infant burials nearby.  Almost all of the stones are flat in the ground. After cleaning my relative's stone, we walked around the area and noted that many of the stones were becoming more and more covered over by thick grass that has become "padded" by a stubborn thick layer of dirt underneath the grass.

Most of the stones are small white marble.  Many are rectangular in shape and simple in design, however, some also have a carved crucifix attached atop the stone. One such stone with a barely visible crucifix we saw is inscribed on its flat portion as belonging to "Berta Szabo."  So, we both bent down and  proceeded to clean away the excess overgrowth covering "Berta's" small stone to better read the inscription and admire the delicate crucifix that was carved on the stone so long ago.

I recalled that the surname of Szabo was of Hungarian heritage and the words "birth" and "death" were written in a non-English language.  However, the date of birth was expressed in English as Aug 21 1870 and the date of death also in English as July 27 1918. 

My first assumption was that "Berta" was a female and that she died from the plague like so many others during 1918.

When I got home, I accessed the website of http://www.pilot.family.search.org/  and searched under the name of "Berta Szabo" and chose Ohio for the location.  "FamilySearch" produced  four results from my search, but only one reflected the year of birth and death I needed.  I accessed that record which shows that "Berta" was really "Bertalar"; and was a male, not a female.  His death came from a much different cause than the plague of 1918, however, from the death certificate description for the cause of death, it must have been just as agonizing because it got to the point he refused taking nutrition.

This has been a lesson to me not to make too many assumptions based on gravestone inscriptions; and that further documentation is needed to back up my "best guesses"!!

"Name: Bertalar Szabo Death date: 27 Jul 1918 Death place: Lorain, Lorain, Ohio Birthdate: 1870 Birthplace: Hungary Age at death: 48 years Gender: Male Marital status: Married Race or color: American Street address: St Josephs Hospt. Occupation: Section Hand R.R. Residence: Lorain, Lorain Co., OH Burial date: 30 Jul 1918 Cemetery name: Calvary Father's name: Steve Szabo Father's birthplace: Hungary Mother's birthplace: Hungary GSU film number: 1984380 Digital GS number: 4019467 Image number: 2916 Reference number: fn 43825 Collection: Ohio Deaths 1908-1953 "