Genealogy Journal #1, Entry #1
My great grandmother was Maria (de Braga) Pacheco–surname later changed to Smith. Countless interviews and letters reported the same facts.
1. Maria was from Sao Miguel Island, Azores.
2. She came to Hawaii with her parents.
3. Her siblings were: Jose and Marie Grace.
I wrote the mortuary to see if I could obtain Maria’s file records. I was so excited when I received the response in my mailbox. You know the feeling!
Most of the information confirmed what I already knew. I was in for a shock when I read the names of Maria’s surviving siblings. They were: Mary Grace Bonito and Saffarin De Braga. Mary Grace Bonito was Marie Grace Bonita. But, who the heck was Saffarin De Braga?
This is the note that they sent me:
Mary P. Smith
D of D 2-25-38
D of B 6-2-1877 San Miguel, Port.
Father: James De Braga
Mother: Mary ?
Mother of Joseph, Theodore, John Smith & Mrs. Mary A. Souza
Sister of Mary Grace Bonito & Saffarin De Braga
I poured over five years worth of research material to see what clues I might find. Binders and charts were spread out everywhere. Nowhere in the stack of cemetery, obituary, marriage, and other records was the name Saffarin De Braga. Even the most obvious variant, Seraphin, turned up nothing.
The only clue I had to an existence of another line was the mention of a Joe & Bella Braga in my Mom’s baby book. Since Jose de Braga had no children, Joe and Bella couldn’t belong to him. I was long way from proving connections!
Soon I was on the phone and penning letters to all the relatives who remembered the de Braga’s. No one had ever heard of him. The closest I got was the mention of a “Seraphina”. Seraphina was Maria (de Braga) Pacheco’s baby who died within minutes after birth.
After chasing myself around in research circles, I had to admit that I’d learned nothing. Saffarin was a mystery that might remain unsolved.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com