Famous Milwaukeeans

Milwaukee was the birthplace and home to a few famous individuals. People who have shaped our world with their entertainment and their creations. Here are some of the people from the Milwaukee area. There are comedians, brewers, socialist mayors and even a Prime Minister.

Take a trip back with some of these famous individuals as I find them in the local census reports. It is neat to actually see these people listed in a census report, which I usually match up with normal citizens like myself and my ancestors.

Gene Wilder

Gene was born Jerome Silberman to William and Jeanne (Baer) Silberman in Milwaukee in 1933. Gene went on star in many great comedies including Young Frankenstein (one of my favorites), Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and many more. He is probably best known for a few of his movies with Richard Pryor.

Since Gene was born in 1933, he is not listed in any of the available census reports, but here are his parents and his sister Corrine in the 1930 Milwaukee Census.

Gene Wilder

Valentin Blatz

Valentin was was a German-American brewer and banker. He was born in Bavaria and worked at his father’s brewery in his youth. He started a brewery which became home to Blatz Beer. Valentin was one of the many “beer barons” of Milwaukee. So many, in fact, that there is a section at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee called “Beer Baron’s Hill” which houses a few of these men.

Here is some of the Valentin Blatz family from the 1860 Milwaukee Census.

Valentin Blatz

Golda Meir

Golda Meir was the fourth prime minister of the State of Israel. Meir was born in 1898 as Golda Mabovitch in Kiev in the Russian Empire (today Ukraine), to Blume Naidtich and Moshe Mabovitch. She had moved to Milwaukee with her family when she was a young child.

I remember the library at the college I went to, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was named the Golda Meir Library since she had attended the college.

Golda’s family is listed in the 1910 census report, though it’s very hard to read.

Golda Meir

Frank P. Ziedler

Zeidler was an American Socialist and mayor of Milwaukee, serving three terms from 1948 to 1960: the most recent socialist mayor of any major American city. Frank was born in Milwaukee in 1912. His brother, Carl Zeidler, was also mayor of Milwaukee at one point.

According to Wikipedia, during Frank Zeidler’s administration, Milwaukee grew industrially and never had to borrow money to repay loans. During this period, Milwaukee nearly doubled its size with a very aggressive campaign of municipal annexations. Large parts of the Town of Lake and most of the Town of Granville were annexed to the city during this era. The park system was upgraded. Federal funding was obtained to complete the highway system that had started under Daniel Hoan.

Here is the Zeidler family in 1920.

Frank Zeidler

That’s a few of the people from Milwaukee that went on to become an important part of many people’s lives. I write enough about my family from Milwaukee, they too became an important part of people’s lives, but in a different way. Sometimes seeing these families in the census makes me remember that they’re just normal people like me. They had mother and fathers and they lived on a street in a city just like my families.

About Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.

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