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."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers and Remembering Mothers no longer with us

Happy Mother's Day!   

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Mother's Day 2019, many of us can scarcely believe it is here because the Twenty-First Century is moving along more quickly than what many of us would wish it to be doing.  I suppose that is because time goes faster the older we get.  Hey that's proven...but I can't remember by whom at the moment...so I'll just stay with just wishing all of the Mothers a special and Happy Mother's Day today!

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Sharing my most definitive story I've written about my mother based on my research on trying to learn the truth about her real given name.

"In Memory of My Mother’s Many Names"
January 25, 2006
by Linda Jean Limes Ellis



"Researching the facts and foibles of my great-great grandfather or great-grandmother had never been a problem for me regardless of the secrets I uncovered about them.  However, delving into the life of my dear departed mother proved personally frustrating because she was my closest friend and sweet mother for 47 years of my life.  So it was she must have had her reasons why she chose not to share with me the hidden story behind her real birth name.

I had seen my mother’s name printed on my parents’ marriage certificate and her own signature affixed to her original Social Security card.  She was Virginia, Virginia H. or Virginia Harriet – and I never had a reason to think otherwise.  This was until after my mother died on February 3, 1995 and I learned there was more to my mother and her identity than I could have ever imagined. 

My first revelation came from her sister, my Aunt Irene, who came with me one Sunday afternoon to visit my parents’ gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.  As we approached their tombstone, she announced, “You have the wrong name for your mother on the tombstone.”  I thought, what could she possibly mean by that statement?  Surely, that could not be true. 

However, my aunt told me that my mother was named Regina at birth, but she never liked it.  I had not heard of this before from my mother or anyone!  What I did recall though was hearing my cousin, Lenny, calling my mother “Auntie Ray” (later my Aunt Irene wrote a letter to me with the spelling of “R-a-e”; short for Regina?)  Still I remained unconvinced.

Soon afterward, I requested a copy of my mother’s Baptismal and Confirmation records from St. Stanislaus Church in Lorain, Ohio.  My mother’s family had lived on Apple Avenue, near the church, for years and I knew she attended “St. Stans.”

My mother was baptized on October 4, 1914.   Her baptismal record shows Regina Harriet Zagorski as her name.  I knew from her father’s naturalization records that Zagorski and Zagorsky were interchangeable.  I could live with the surname discrepancy without any question.  But, “Regina” boldly appeared on this official document, and it was the first time I saw it in print as my mother’s given name.

My mother’s Confirmation was on December 17, 1926 and the typed record shows her confirmation name was Rita.  The name on her Confirmation was “Regina Hedwig Zagorski”.  I thought, well, Hedwig may be Harriet in Polish?  But, no an accompanying letter from the church secretary stated otherwise: “Hedwig does not translate to Harriet.”  Yet another unfamiliar name I would now have to associate with my mother and who she was.  And, again “Regina.”  It is widely known that “Regina” means “Queen.”

Next, I tackled obtaining the public birth record for my mother.  The registration number was 665 in Registration District 753 in Lorain, Ohio. 

But there were two differently created forms with the “Registered No.665”, AND later, on June 29, 1942, an Ohio Department of Health Affidavit was filed for a correction to No. 665.

Interestingly, her mother, Josephine Zagorsky, signed the 1942 corrected Affidavit, which stated: 

“I, Josephine Zagorsky, being first duly sworn, say that I am the mother of Virginia Zagorsky, File No. 665.  Date of Birth:  September 13, 1914, Place of Birth:  Lorain, Ohio;  Name of Father:  Andy Zagorsky; Maiden name of mother:  Josephine Szczepankiewicz;
Remarks:  “First name of child was misspelled and last name was misspelled.”
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Now, one File No. 665 Certificate of Birth shows my mother’s name as “Regina Sagarski” and the other “Virginia Sagarsky”.  The former name’s Certificate had an addition the later name’s form did not:  “Given name added from a supplemental report dated October 6, 1914. 

The “Virginia Sagarsky” was written on a Certificate of Birth dated and filed September 15, 1915 and her mother’s name was shown as “Josephine Grogan.”

Her mother’s name before marriage was Josephine Szczepankiewicz.  Why “Grogan” was not later corrected to Szczepankiewicz I do not know.  

Thus I had in my possession what essentially amounted to three birth certificates, a Baptismal record (both original and typed) and a Confirmation for my mother; all with disagreeing information for her birth name.

But it was what I saw on page 78 of the 1931 Lorain High School yearbook, “The Scimitar”, that conclusively convinced me Regina was my mother’s name given at birth. 

Under the heading of “The Sophomore A Girls” - in the fifth column, the fifth name from the bottom appears the name: “Regina Zagorski.”   Who would have thought how important a high school year book could be in a situation like this?  

I’ve reconciled myself to respect my mother’s desire to have remained silent during her lifetime about her birth name.  I feel comfortable knowing that the name on her tombstone, “Virginia H. Limes”, is the name she had truly desired for herself.  I know I did right by her.  Ultimately, that is all that really matters for both of us."

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