Friday, March 1, 2013


         I remember the stories that Little Grannie (Lillian Braciszewski) would tell us grand kids -- that she weighed only 3 pounds at birth ... that she was born in 1903 (Nov. 3rd) but her parents (John and Josephine Braciszewski) didn't register her birth until 1905  ... and that she had 4 older brothers (Stanley, Michael, Edward and Francis) and a younger sister Cecilia (who I had met several times when she would come to visit from Milwaukee).

        When I started researching Lillian and her parents, I found some puzzling news.  I thought either there was a mistake or Little Grannie had been wrong about her birth date.  Who tells people that they are older than they are except for kids wanting to drink before their 21st birthday?

        I found a birth record that showed a daughter Helena was born to John and Josephine Braciszewski on 6 Mar 1903 in Milwaukee.  Is this really Lillian's birth record since her middle name was Helena? I could swear that we always celebrated her birthday on Nov 3rd.  Then I found a death record for Helena, dated 21 Aug 1903.  Okay, this is definitely not Lillian's birth record but how did her mother give birth to 2 babies in the same year, not born on the same day or month?  Then I got to thinking, if Josephine had gotten pregnant a month after giving birth to Helena, she could have given birth to Lillian 7 months later.  That would explain the low birth rate of 3 pounds.  It would also explain why Lillian's parents waited for 2 years to register the birth.  After all, they just had a full term baby die at 8 months, what could they possibly hope for with a tiny premature baby back in 1903?   I think they would be very surprised to know that the tiny Little Grannie lived a long life, dying at age 94.

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