Praise for FindaGrave Volunteers for de Braga family tombstone photos

Recently, I searched FindaGrave for Seraphim and Olympia (Medeiros) de Braga.  I found both listed but without photographs.  I put in a request and got a response the next day!

After I had that information, I decided to search for more relatives.  I found several more listed without photographs, so I put in more requests.  Today, I received emails that those were posted.

These were the de Braga’s located at Diamond Head cemetery:

Seraphim de Braga

Olympia (Medeiros) Braga

Olympia (Braga) Mendes

Margaret (Braga) Paul

Gloria (Braga) Thom

And, these are two of my great great grandmother’s de Mello cousins:

Rosa Julia (de Mello Castanho) Caetano

Ermelinda (Caetano) Siders

I’ve noticed something about these tombstones.  They differ from what I found in the Kilauea cemetery and elsewhere in California.  While those tombstones are large with multiple names representing more than one family buried in a plot, these are almost all flat stones with one person named.  Even married couples have separate stones.

I thought this was curious.  While I have been told this is common at Diamond Head Cemetery and through Hawaii, I have yet to get a reason why.  Is there some reason that that the land at Diamond Head Cemetery doesn’t suppport upright tombstones?  Is it just a local preference?

At any rate, I wouldn’t have these photos were it not for the two wonderful volunteers at FindaGrave!  I hope they know how much those of us living across the ocean appreciate it!


Calvary Cemetery Records are Online

As a San Francisco researcher, I’m overjoyed to the point of ecstasy whenever a new index or database becomes available online.  With the lack of pre-1906 vital records, I have to take full advantage of whatever records there are.

So, I was thrilled beyond belief when the San Francisco Genealogy website added the Calvary Cemetery index and registers to their website.  If you’ve got pre-1900 ancestors in San Francisco, you’ve probably got someone buried at Calvary.  Usually you become aware of this fact through an obituary or a record of reburial from Holy Cross or another cemetery.

As I understand it, they began moving graves from Calvary in the mid-1880s.  I could be wrong on that.  My own ancestors “left” in groups.  The earliest group to be moved to Holy Cross cemetery were the Kelly and Dolan families.  They were reburied in 1890.  Other groups followed.  I was surprised to see that reburials were going on as late as 1940.  I thought by 1900 the cemetery had been cleared out.

The information on the index cards probably won’t provide anything you didn’t already know from the obituary.  But, it does provide the number of the register and the page where you’ll find the original entry for the original burial.  This information will provide details you might have lost from the lack of death records.  Information like cause of death will be in these records.

As I flipped through the available registered, I found that there is also a register for reburials.  I was able to find the page that showed my 3rd Great Grandmother’s reburial along with her children who died before her.

Keep in mind that they made errors on the index cards.  I get a sense that haste was foremost.  I imagine that hundreds of grave sites were being moved in a short period of time.  My own 3rd Great Grandmother has the wrong death date which appears on her tombstone as well (the date is for her sister-in-law).  So, if you find an index card, be sure to refer to the original register page to verify that the information is correct.

Here are the links to the records for those interested in researching them:

San Francisco Colma Cemetery Index

Calvary and Holy Cross Cemetery Register View

I recommend starting with the index cards.  There are many register pages to sift through.  It’s not an easy task if you don’t know where to start your search.



Tombstone Tuesday: Learning Melvin Medeiros’ Story

My Pacheco and de Braga lines intersect with a family from Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii, who went by de la Cross (or de la Cruz), Medeiros, and Andrew or Andrew Medeiros–take your pick.  As our lines crossed a few times, I ended up documenting their descendants as well as mine.

One of the descendants, Melvin Medeiros, was always a mystery to me.  Melvin was the son of Seraphim A. Medeiros and Felisa “Alice” Silvan.  He was the grandson of Andrew da la Cross and Rosa Perreira, Seraphim’s parents.  I had his birth date and then he vanished from records.

Sunday night I was searching the internet to work on my yearly Pacheco de Braga Family Newsletter. I set out to verify people who would be 80 years or old section of the newsletter.  I’d be embarrassed to include someone who died several years before.  I do my best to find death information if it’s available.

During my search I came across a blog post on the Spanish Pearls blog.  The post was about Melvin Medeiros.  It included a photo of his tombstone which you can see on

Because of the blog post and the information at FindAGrave, I now know what happened to Melvin.  He enlisted in the military in 1943.   He  was sent to fight in the Pacific during WWII.  Melvin was killed in action in 1945 in the Philippines.  According to the entry, this was during the battle for Manila.

It’s a curious twist to the story.  Melvin’s grandfather was from the Philippines.  It seems ironic that his grandfather would leave the Philippines, then died in Hawaii and he himself would end up dying in the Philippines.

Melvin died during the war making it difficult to locate his death information.  Because of a blogger and a FindAGrave volunteer, I now know his story.  I appreciate being able to add this bit of information to his file.