Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Thursday, June 22, 2000

(This post is apparently too big for Blogger, because it keeps timing out as I try to post it, so it's been posted in three parts in a way that it still makes sense as a single piece.)

I've been spending a lot of time in the past two weeks poring over the birth, death, and marriage records of Saginaw county. Laura was away on a business trip to Canada for much of the first of those weeks, so I needed something to distract me (which is why I ordered so many films at once in the first place). I've learned a lot of stuff. For example, I've learned that when record books are bound tightly, microfilms of the portions of the page near the center can be difficult or impossible to read, obscuring important information. :-P

Birth Records

So far, I've looked at indexes for births, deaths, and marriages, but I've only got films of birth records from 1892-8 (volume I-J of the county records, LDS film number 967183) and from 1909-13 (volume N, LDS film number 967187). I've found out some interesting things in the birth records. Ralph Brandi Sr. and Helen Prillwitz actually had a fourth child, Philip, born October 28, 1892, apparently their first child. Unfortunately, he was gone by the time the 1900 Census came around. He's listed in the Index of Deaths in book D of the deaths, page 142, in roughly 1897-8 (I'll know the actual date when I get the films of deaths for that time). The Saginaw Obit database lists a Philip Brandi as having died at the age of 6 years, 6 months, in April 1898. They may have been a year off.

I also found Melvina (b. August 5, 1893) and James Brandi (b. March 8, 1897), both children of Ralph and Helen (although Melvina is listed as having "Ralfo and Luia Brandi" as parents; weird). No record of Vincent, though, who should have been born in February, 1895.

On April 17, 1897, a Raymond J. Brandi was born to Joseph Brandi, born in Italy and working as a streetcar conductor, and his wife Amelia, born in Michigan. This appears to be the same Raymond Brandi who appears in the 1900 Census as a three year old living with his grandmother, Zoa Godboo. Joseph and Amelia don't appear in the 1900 Census in Michigan as near as I can tell, but they and Raymond show up in the 1910 Census in Grand Rapids. Eventually, I'll probably have to find either a wedding record for Joseph and Amelia or a death record for Joseph to find out who his parents were, or maybe find him in the 1884 state Census. He was 35 in the 1910 Census, which would give him a birthdate around 1874-5. That would make him the right age to be great-grandpa's brother.

Incidentally, Amelia's maiden name is listed as Goodboo in the Saginaw Obit database when she died in Marne, Michigan in January, 1937. No mention of an obit for Joseph, though. Given that Amelia is shown as being buried in Grand Rapids, Joseph probably lived there for the rest of his life, too. And in fact, there's an obituary database online for Grand Rapids and Kent County, run by the Western Michigan Genealogical Society (which I just found this afternoon). Or at least there usually is. The WMGS page says that the database machine is offline at the moment and to check back in a few days. So I will. Maybe if I can get his death record I can find out who his parents were. I'll have to ask Aunt Lonnie if she knew of any relatives of my grandfather's out in Grand Rapids. I seem to recall there possibly being some mention of that in the dim and distant past, but I could be mistaken.

I think I found Aunt Yola's birth record. Her name on all the other documents I have is Yolanda Marie Brandi, but she appears in the birth records as Marie Wisniewski, born March 6, 1910. Her mother is listed as Anna Wisniewski, I think, although it's hard to read into the shadows for the first name on my printout, but that's what I saw on the microfilm reader. I guess the name on her Social Security application is correct. Now I just have to figure out if Anna Wisniewski and Antonina Wisniewski are the same woman or different ones. There were girls of those two names, about a year apart in age, in the 1900 Census in Bay City, Anna living with her father Casimir and Antonina living with her father Frank.

There were a bunch of other Brandis born in Saginaw in the 1910s. There was a Joseph Henry Brandi born on January 31, 1912 to a tailor with the last name of Brandi and a woman with a Polish last name ending in what appears to be "reshinski". Ralph Sr. was a tailor, but so was Michael Brandi. Michael was married to Mary Zito, though; in fact, they had children in 1910 and 1912. So anyway, it's not clear to me if this is one of Ralph Sr.'s children or not. Maybe there were three tailors named Brandi in Saginaw in 1912. I would have to either have a look at the actual book rather than the microfilm, or get some other record for him to find out for sure who his parents are. It bears investigation.

Posted at 10:46:57 PM