Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Saturday, January 26, 2002

[ List written by Ralph Brandi Jr of relatives buried in Saginaw ]

Among my Grandpa Brandi's effects when he died was a piece of paper, upon which he had written the name "Deisler Funeral Home", "Mt. Olivet Cemetery", and the names of his mother, Antonia, father, Ralph, grandmother, Maria, grandfather, Vincenzo, and two half-brothers, Philip and Vincent. I already knew from my trip to Saginaw in 2000 that these were the people buried at Calvary Cemetery there, which you can only get into by visiting Mt. Olivet and getting the keys to the gate. I figured maybe the funeral home had some records that would get me past the brick wall that Antonina has become by telling me who her parents were, and might give me a little more insight into what happened. I looked up the Deisler Funeral Home in Saginaw and found that they still exist. So I wrote them a letter last week asking if they had anything in their records for Vincenzo, Maria, Ralph, or Ant(h)onia. I received their (speedy!) answer this week. They had no records for the first three, but had a copy of the bill for Antonina's funeral.

Unfortunately, the bill didn't list her parents. So that question is still up in the air. But there was some interesting information. Her death certificate had claimed she was buried the day after she died, which made me wonder if maybe the shame of the nature of her death in the asylum led the family to bury her quietyly. But the bill from the funeral home shows clearly that she was actually buried on 17 November 1926, not the 15th as her death certificate shows. And the funeral home should know when she was buried. Further, there is an itemized list of what was paid for what. It's difficult to read on the original photocopy, but I've tried to enhance that in the scanning process. Antonina's burial suit cost $25, and the family paid $15 for a service, so clearly there was a service, something her death certificate had led me to believe might not have been the case. There are also charges for $6 for flowers and $10 for the hearse to the cemetery. There are no charges for newspaper notices, which might explain why I was unable to find an obituary for her in the Saginaw newspapers. The bill also gives her place of death as Traverse City, and gives the cause of death as pneumonia, omitting the (what I consider dubious) contributory cause cited on the death certificate of insanity. They probably put that on all the death certificates coming out of the asylum.

Funeral Home Record

Posted at 4:33:10 PM