Monday, July 30, 2012

G is for Grammy's Gravestone

The couple whose portrait presides over this blog will be perpetually in their twenties as they oversee the articles I write here at 100 Years in America. This photograph, however, shows only one fleeting moment out of many moments, many days, many months and many years of their togetherness. Our gentlemen (Ferencz Ujlaki) lived to be sixty years old. Our sweet young woman went on to live to the ripe old age of 97.

I have done my best to share the stories of her life here at 100 Years in America. Born Ilona Bence in Legrad, Croatia (then part of Hungary) in 1884, she married Ferencz Ujlaki in 1905. Their move to America brought many changes, including some changes to their names. He became Frank, she became Helen, and their surname went from Ujlaki to Ujlaky and then finally to Ulaky in later generations.

By the time she passed away, our blog's patroness was the clear matriarch of the family. She had no peers in the family - she was mother, grandmother and great-grandmother - and everyone referred to her as Grammy Ulaky.

Still I couldn't help being surprised when I first visited the Ujlaky family cemetery plot and I read the inscriptions on the gravestone. There they were: Ethel, Frank Jr., Frank and.... Grammy. Ilona had changed her name to Helen in America, but by the time she passed away at age 97, she was no longer known by any other first name besides the endearing "Grammy". Since I am a genealogist, I was incredulous at my first sudden realization that her identifying first name was not on her gravestone. Then I realized that it was only fitting that the loved ones who knew her by the name Grammy would choose to place that sweet name at her final resting place.

The Ujlaky family gravestone is not only missing Grammy's first name (Helen),
but Ethel's birth year in incorrect. She was born in 1920.

1 comment:

  1. I love that she was known as Grammy, enough to have that on her headstone.


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