LeRoy & Marge (DeBroux) Thielke Wedding, Port Washington, Wisconsin - 1948

Where Did George Washington Go?

The tenth ancestors in my 52 week challenge is my wife’s great-great-grandfather, George Washington SHANNON.

George was born on September 11th, 1859 in the small town of Stockton in Portage County, Wisconsin. His parents were Nathaniel SHANNON & Rosina Winslow ARNOLD. He was the eighth child of ten and according to the data I have, the first born in Wisconsin.

On October 3rd, 1899, he married Mary DAKINS, the daughter of William DAKINS and Helen WARNER in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. About a year later, the couple’s one, and only, daughter was born, Marie SHANNON. Tragedy struck in 1904, when Mary died of peritonitis, which can be caused by things such as abdominal trauma or even appendicitis.

Not much is known about George after Mary’s death. His daughter, Marie, is found in the 1910 Census living with Mary’s parents. There is no matching George Shannon in the 1910 Census. Though, in the 1920 Census, there is a widowed “G W Shanon”, born in Wisconsin in 1860, living in Winan, Rice, Kansas, though that lists his parents as having both been born in Ireland, which is very false.

There is also an inmate at the Albany County Penitentiary in New York in 1905, born in the United States in 1858. Though, not sure why he would be in Albany, New York only a year after his wife’s death, but it’s not an impossibility. More than likely, though, he is the widowed Geo Shanon living in Plover, Portage, Wisconsin working for the Geo D Warner family (his mother-in-law’s maiden name was Warner) in the 1905 Wisconsin Census.

He is listed, in my database, as having died in February 1930 in Limon, Lincoln, Colorado. There is no source on the information and I really don’t know where it came from, but I leave it in there just in case there is something to it. Maybe one day we’ll track him down.

This post is 10 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Remembering Grandpa

Richard & Mary Jane ZalewskiToday marks 15 years since my paternal grandfather, Richard Zalewski, passed away. His death was the first major death in my immediate family, so I remember taking it pretty hard even though he had been sick for awhile.

I actually remember, pretty well, the last time I saw him and talked to him. My girlfriend, at the time, and I were going to Milwaukee for some reason and we stopped by to see how he was doing. Even though the pancreatic cancer was taking its toll on him, he was cheerful and in good spirits, like I usually remembered him (unless we were misbehaving, naturally.) I’m glad that I still have that vivid memory of him 15 years later.

Another moment I vividly remember from that time was when I was attending his funeral. I was sitting in my dad’s truck waiting to follow the procession to the cemetery and one of my favorite songs came on the radio, Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” The timing of the heartfelt song and what was happening around me caused me to break down into tears which, at the time, I had not done in many years. To this day, that song reminds me of my grandfather and that moment in the car and truthfully makes me feel happy.

Though, his death, and a subsequent newspaper article related to FamilySearch, sent me on a deep dive into the ocean we all know as genealogy. I have yet to come to the surface of that ocean and probably never will. Like most of us, I plan to grow gills and live in that ocean like a genealogical merman.

I know that he would be proud of the information I’ve gathered on his family tree and, unfortunately, he would’ve probably been a great help in tracking down some of the information I am still looking for. If anything, kids, this is a notice to visit your grandparents and allow them to tell you their stories. Even if you think the stories are boring and never plan to go into genealogy, it will definitely make you feel like you know them better and that will bring you comfort for many, many years.

The William Thompson

The ninth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my 4th-great-grandfather, William Henry THOMPSON.  With a name like William Thompson, how hard can it be to pinpoint him?

This has been my trouble with William. I have records of him starting in 1850 once his family settled in Wisconsin, but before that is a mystery. If I do a search based on his information, I get thousands of results.

William ThompsonAccording to the sources I do have, William was born sometime between 1810 and 1816 in either England, Ireland, or Scotland. His headstone says he was 77 years of age when he died in 1890, so I usually use 1813 as his birth year. There is a Wisconsin death record over at FamilySearch that I’m pretty sure is this William Thompson that lists his parents as William THOMPSON and Fasmie RUINNET. Though, a lot of other user’s information lists his parents as Edward & Isabella THOMPSON, but no solid sources so far.

According to my records, in 1839, he married Claude-Françoise “Francis” QUINET in Syracuse, New York. I have yet to find solid evidence of this marriage, but the Quinet family was recorded to have been in that area during that time. They must have left not long after the marriage, as their first child was born in Wisconsin in 1841. They settled in in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin, which is now no longer around, but part of multiple towns in the area. Sometime between 1854 and 1857, they relocated north to the Morrison and Wrightstown area in Brown County, Wisconsin.

On 4 February 1890, William passed away and is buried next to his wife at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Wrightstown. I wrote a post about our trip to that area and the finding of William’s resting place.

This post is 9 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

One-Armed Mystery

The eight ancestor is my 52 week challenge is my wife’s paternal great-grandmother, Anna (HUIZEL) COLLINS. I’m not completely sure of the pronunciation of that surname, but I’ve heard both Oot-zuhl and Ooh-zuhl.

Anna (Huizel) Collins - unknown year

Anna (Huizel) Collins – unknown year

Anna was born around July 1881 in what is today, Netolice in the Prachatice District, South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. In 1881, I think this was just considered Bohemia. Her parents are John HUIZEL and Barbara REINDL. There is no birth record that we have found, yet, but I did find records of her parent’s marriage and the births of some of her other siblings in the area.

I basically tripped into the Czech records one day while browsing FamilySearch. I found a lot of info on her family at the online records available at the State Regional Archives Trebon. I got a lot of help from a very well-done blog about Czech Genealogy. You can read more about what I found on a post I wrote about it.

Anna immigrated from Bohemia around 1885-1888 with her parents. On Valentine’s Day 1899, she married Albert COLLINS in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, where her parents resided. Albert and Anna had four children, including my wife’s grandmother, Barbara.

One of Anna’s siblings, a brother named Jacob, gave us one of the first humorous family mysteries. We had some photos from her grandmother and one of them was a photo of a gentleman and all it said on the back was “Uncle. One arm.” We ended up finding out that this was Anna’s brother, Jacob, whom we all refer to now as “Uncle One-Arm.”

Albert passed away around 1945 and Anna lived on in Madison, Wisconsin until she passed away in 1945. She is buried with her husband in Boscobel, Grant County, Wisconsin, where they lived for many years.

This post is 8 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Tragedy on Bremen Street

Joseph Troka and his wife, Clara.

The seventh ancestor in my 52 Week Challenge is my paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph TROKA (pronounced like Truck-a). Joseph was born on 17 November 1871 in the town of Lipusz located in modern day Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland. His parents are listed as Michael & Joslyna (GRABOWSKA) TROKA. He is listed as immigrating to the Milwaukee, […]

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Great-Grandpa King Niall?

moranRobert-possible

The sixth ancestor in my 52 Week Ancestor challenge is Robert MORAN. Robert is my wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather on her paternal side. Robert is listed as being born about 1820-21 somewhere in Ireland to Robert & Mary Ann (KNOTT) MORAN, though a few naturalization indexes list this as England, United Kingdom. By 1845, he has traveled […]

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Genealogy of the States: Hawaii

Richard Zalewski, Waikiki Beach, October 1944

Hawaii (or Hawai’i) is the next state on my Genealogy of the States series. I have no direct ancestors that were born in the state, but my connection to it is that my grandfather, Richard Zalewski, was stationed there for many years during World War II. He spent most of his time in Hilo, on […]

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Iggy & Nep

Nepomuncena (Syldatk) & Ignatz Szulta

My ancestor post is a little late this week as we were on vacation this weekend. It was nice to escape the clutches of a winter that is hanging on a bit too long this year. The fifth ancestor on my 52 Week Ancestor challenge is Ignatz Peter SZULTA, pronounced like Schulta. Ignatz is my 3rd-great-grandfather […]

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