Genealogy Journal #1, Entry #4
As proof of Seraphim de Braga’s existence unfolded, there was still so much I didn’t know about him. And, it really bugged me! The only way to find out more would be to track down his descendants. I had already collected some information from the census. But, with that I only brought the line forward one generation. There was a huge gap from 1920 to the present.
The first step was to find obituaries for Seraphim and his wife, Olympia. This provided me with a little more information about his children and who they married. I then searched for obituaries, death certificates, and cemetery records for the descendants. Once I had these records, I was able to bring the line forward a couple of generations. Although all of Seraphim’s children were deceased, he still had living grandchildren.
I sent off a couple of letters to people who might be related. In a few weeks, I received a letter from an individual who was Seraphim’s grandson. He didn’t know a lot about the family, but forwarded my letter to his cousin.
This cousin had moved to Monterey County circa 1930 and was aware of the other de Braga’s and Bonita’s. This letter further confirmed Seraphim’s relationship to the de Braga’s and also provided more details of his life. By finding the descendants, I was able to learn more about the de Braga family. The research trail had come full circle.
Seraphim de Braga’s Obituary
(Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin, 25 Nov 1955, page 6)
A Requiem High Mass will be held at 9am Monday at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral for Serafim Braga, 76, who died Tuesday at his home.
Friends may call at Ordenstein’s Mortuary Sunday from 6 to 9pm and after 7am Monday; Rosary, 7:30pm Sunday, burial, Diamond Head Cemetery.
Born in San Michael [sic], Portugal. Mr. Braga was a member of the Living Rosary, Punchbowl Holy Ghost Society and San Antonio Society.
He is survived by his wife, Olympia: two sons, Joseph and William, both of California; three sisters [sic], Mrs. Gloria B. Thom, Mrs. Margaret Paul, and Mrs. Olympia Mendes; sister Mrs. Grace Bonita; five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
[The three “sisters” are really Seraphim’s daughters]
Since writing this in 2006, I’ve collected quite a bit of information about this family. In 2015, I met up with a cousin who had photographs of Seraphim’s daughter, Gloria, and his grandson, Theodore Paul.
Just a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a direct descendant of the line. I’m looking forward to seeing how much the Honolulu de Braga’s knew about their extended family tree.
Genealogy takes time and patience. If you keep at it eventually you’ll succeed.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com