I have located my ancestor Serafina Alice Brylski's 22 OCT 1910 Registration of birth and nothing else after that.

Serafina Alice Brylski

  • 1910–
  • BIRTH 22 OCT 1910 • Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  • DEATH Unknown

I looked for any records after that and nothing in the 1910 census no signs of her living in her household or in the 1920 one either . No record of her death or burial.

Her Father was Joseph/Jozef Brylski

  • 1879–1917
  • BIRTH 13 JAN 1879 • Russia, Poland
  • DEATH 23 DEC 1917 • West Allis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Her Mother : Maryanna / Mary Brylski maiden Andrzyrioski or Andzejski

  • 1881–1963
  • BIRTH 28 AUG 1881 • Brdow, Kalisz, Poland
  • DEATH 23 NOV 1963 • County Prince George Maryland, USA

All of her siblings would no longer be alive and I asked the older members of my family still alive and they never heard of her.

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  • Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. I think it would make Serafina's birth record easier to read if you were to clip just the part related to her from your picture.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 22:30
  • What was the date of the 1910 Census? It seems possible/likely that she was born after it. Are there older siblings recorded in the 1920 Census or anyone about her age with a different name? Are there local newspapers that you can search for a death notice or article about a death for her between 1910 and 1920?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 22:34
  • 2
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! A person born 22 Oct 1910 won't be in the 1910 Census because census day in 1910 was April 15th. See What day was the census day taken each decade? at the US Census Bureau's website.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


You need to be flexible, use multiple databases, and use the FAN Club method.

Be flexible

What gets put into an index by an indexer in the 21st century is what the indexer interpreted from the digitized copy of the microfilmed version of a document that was handwritten. The handwritten document may or may not be the original; it may have been a contemporary or later transcription of an original.

The original itself in rare cases (e.g. signatures) was written by the person whose name it was; in most cases, it was written by a government official, census enumerator, or clerk who was writing down what they thought they heard.

The information that the clerk heard was not necessarily provided by the people involved. For censuses, sometimes the information was given by a neighbor or a child in the family, who may not get the names and ages exactly right.

Therefore, what you're seeing in the index is not necessarily how the person actually spelled their name. It's a transcription of a fuzzy copy of a possible transcription of what a person wrote down about what they heard from a person who possibly didn't state the correct information.

With that out of the way, one thing to consider in this specific case is that the name may originally have been Bryłski with the Polish letter Ł, which is pronounced like W but in its lowercase form is often mistranscribed as a T. And of course, names that end in -ski are sometimes written down as -sky.

So you may need to look for something that is indexed as Brewsky or Brytski or any combination of
BR + (vowel) + (L or W or T) + SK + (I or Y).

Use multiple databases

We all have our favorite genealogy sites, but they don't all have the same information. Sure, there is a lot of overlap between FamilySearch and Ancestry, but very often I find that one has records that the other one doesn't. That's the case here, where Ancestry has a database called "Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., Births, 1839-1911." FamilySearch, in turn, has records and books that Ancestry doesn't have.

Use the FAN Club method

If you can't find Serafina directly, you should FAN out to look for her Family, Associates, and Neighbors.

Since Serafina was a newborn in the only record you've got, she's not likely to have any associates, but you do have several very useful pieces of information in the document you have. First, you have the full names of both parents. Second, you have the street address where the family were living in October 1910.

Searching the parents, you find a registration of birth for a John Joseph Brylski, born June 18, 1909 to parents with nearly matching names and ages. According to his birth registration, John Joseph was child #2 to these parents; Serafina's birth registration the next year says she was child #3 to her parents.

In 1909 John Joseph's parents were living at 957 Maple. Locating the 1910 census for Milwaukee, we find that it was taken in April, so Serafina would not appear, but at 957 Maple there are listed a Brylski family, parents Joseph and Mary, their sons Zygmunt almost 2 and John almost 1, and Joseph's brothers John and Boleslaws. This is the first marriage for both Joseph and Mary, they've been married 2 years, and they have 2 living children out of 2 born. They are listed as Russian-Polish, speaking Polish; Joseph immigrated in 1906 and Mary in 1907. You may not find this record if you search the index for BRYLSKI, because they've been indexed as BOYLSKI. This is the flexible part.

You say Joseph died in 1917, so he would not be in the 1920 census, but if Mary lived until the 1960s, she should be in the 1920 census. Also, you can search for Zygmunt, who might also appear as Zygmund or Sigmund or another variant. This is where the FAN Club comes in.

The 1920 census shows Mary (a widow), Zygmunt, John, a 6-year-old daughter Martha, and Mary's brother-in-law Boleslaw. This census also shows Mary arrived in 1906 and was naturalized in 1912, so you can look for naturalization papers that may list the number of children she has.

Unfortunately, the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses do not have columns for the number of children born and number of children living, so you can't get information about a possible deceased child that way.

Digging a little more into Milwaukee births collection, we find a registration of birth of Siegismund Vincent Brilski, April 20, 1908, parents Joseph Brilski and Mary Andrjeierski (sp?), living at 957 Maple, the same address as on John Joseph's birth registration. So here we have yet another different spelling of both Zygmunt and Brylski.

Martha is another name you can add to your FAN Club. We won't find Martha's birth registration in this collection, because the collection goes only through 1911, and she was allegedly born around 1914. Or was she? Here's where it can be helpful to be flexible. Find out more about Martha. Locate school records, marriage record, 1930 census and later. Was she really born in 1914, or are Martha and Serafina the same child?

Once you have collected names for your FAN Club, try to track down their obituaries. You may get lucky with an obituary that gives a list of "predeceased by" relatives, e.g. "predeceased by his/her daughter/sister Serafina." The FamilySearch Wiki for Milwaukee County (use multiple databases) has tips and links for locating Milwaukee newspapers and obituaries.

Another avenue is to track down where they were buried and check for other Brylski graves in the same cemetery. The St. Adalberts Cemetery in Milwaukee has 10 Brylski graves listed (added by John Brylski, the OP?) including Joseph, Boleslaw, Zygmunt, and John Joseph, but not Martha. If you have physical access to this cemetery, walk around the Brylski graves and look for nearby headstones that are unmarked or marked just "infant."


  • Try to find information about Serafina herself, particularly her death, in vital records, newspapers, obituaries, cemeteries.
  • Try to find Joseph and Mary's naturalization papers, to check whether they contain information about children.
  • Try to confirm Martha's birth year, to rule out the possibility that she could be Serafina. If you can find another source for birth records and you find one for Martha in 1914, or a newspaper article saying Joseph and Mary just had baby #4, or school records from which you can extrapolate her age, that would put you on the right track.
  • Try to find whether Serafina is mentioned in her family's obituaries: her father, mother, brothers, and sister.
  • Thank you for this info sorry it took so long to thank you had been working on my Mothers side of family also medical issues . I will take your advice . John Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 1:05

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