Month: March 2009


I’m starting to run out of tombstone photos. I’ll need to start posting those from my wife’s family tree pretty soon. This one is from my family tree and is that of Jean-Baptiste (John) LAURENT, 3rd-great-grandfather. He was born about 1825 is Belgium, according to census records. He married my 3rd-great-grandmother, Olivie ST. LOUIS, on 7 Sep 1857 in Little Chute, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. Together they had 9 children including my great-great-grandmother, Mary Philomene LAURENT. He passed away on 31 Jul 1886 in Phlox, Langlade Co., Wisconsin and is buried at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Norwood, Langlade Co., Wisconsin. This photo was graciously taken for me by a volunteer in the area.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

[ Find-a-Grave Entry | Cemetery Entry ]

The dates and anniversaries in my family tree for this week.

March 22

1732 – Died – Marie Anna GUEDON – Marie is my 9th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side.  She was born in 1641 in Bourg de Magny, Normandie, France and married Gabriel BENOIT in 1665. She passed away in Yamachiche, St. Maurice, Quebec, Canada.

1891 – Born – Marianna ZALEWSKI – Better known as Mary, I’m not exactly sure where she was born. I have found entries for Poland, Baltimore, Ohio and Wisconsin. Mary is my great-great-aunt. She married Frank GIERSZEWSKI and lived out her life in Milwaukee, passing away on 27 Feb 1945.

March 23

1729 – Died – Catherine GENÉVOIS – Catherine is my 8th-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born about 1689 in Polaincourt(?), Haute-Saône, France. She married Georges QUINET in 1711.

March 25

1736 – Born – Nicholas Joseph ST. LOUIS – Nicholas is my 6th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He married Charlotte LEMAITRE-AUGER and passed away in 1814 in Quebec.

1990 – Died – Maurice Earl CORRIGAN – Maurice is my great-grandfather. I had the pleasure of knowing him until I was about 10-years-old. I don’t remember him too much, since I was so young. He was born 28 Dec 1898 in Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin to Thomas CORRIGAN and Emma Jane FIRMENICH. Since his father died so early on, he was given the job of taking care of the family, including 9 children, when he was only 17. On 12 Apr 1923, he married my great-grandmother, Agnes Catherine BRAATZ.

March 26

1721 – Died – Nicolaes van CRAYBECK – Nicolaes is my 9th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. He was born 22 May 1646 in St. Lambertus, Herck, Belgium. He married Helena WAGEMANS on 9 Aug 1671.

March 27

1892 – Died – Ephraim Gadiou dit ST. LOUIS – Ephraim is my 4th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born on 16 Jul 1810 in Yamachiche, St. Maurice, Quebec, Canada. He married Marie DesAnges MANSEAU on 4 Oct 1831. He moved his family to Phlox, Langlade Co., Wisconsin where he lived the rest of his life.

Ireland

My entry for the 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. Here is what this carnival is about. Share with us the surnames in your Irish family tree, but don’t just stop there. Do a little research and tell us the origin of one or more of those surnames, the stories of how they might have changed over the years, or tales of how they’ve been mixed up and mispelled, etc.

The big Irish surname in my tree is CORRIGAN. The name starts at my paternal grandmother, who is always the family’s biggest Irish supporter. I can trace the surname back to Michael John CORRIGAN who immigrated from Killeeshil Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland to Ontario, Canada in the 1820s. The family lived there for many years before my great-great-grandfather, Thomas CORRIGAN, moved to Wisconsin with his family. The history of the CORRIGAN surname according to Wikipedia is:

The Corrigan (O’Corrigan, Carrigan, Corocan, Courigan, Currigan) surname is of Irish descent. Translated Corrigan means “Spear”. The name is believed to have originated from Coirdhecan of the Cineal Eoghain. It is also believed to be connected to the Maguire clan. The Corrigan surname was popular in the 17th century in County Fermanagh in Ireland. Today, the name is spread out across most counties in Ireland and some of the United States and Canada.

Via my genealogy research, I have met and talked to a lot of CORRIGAN researchers, a lot of whom descended from the same Michael John CORRIGAN family. I have yet to trace back into Ireland, besides County Tyrone as listed above.

There are also few famous individuals with the CORRIGAN surname such as the actor Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who I posted about in the past.

I actually haven’t run into many misspellings of the name, other than the few listed in the Wikipedia entry above. Soundex usually handles most of the common spelling changes. The few other Irish surnames I have in my tree are MCCANN, THOMPSON, NUGENT, BOYLE and CRONIN, but none of these go as far or are researched as deep as CORRIGAN.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

According to the note for this photo, this is a picture of my grandfather, Richard Zalewski (middle), with his sister Irene to his left and Eugene Nowiski to his right. I don’t know off-hand who Eugene Nowiski is, but it does look like he’s ready to change someone’s oil. Multiple people have said that my grandfather looks a bit like me in this photo when I was a kid. I can see it. I assume the photo was taken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Richard lived there most of his life.

Well, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I am without a true Irish headstone. I have a lot of Irish ancestors, but not a lot of headstone photos for them. Most of them passed away in mysterious, far away lands (like Canada.)

This headstone of my 4th-great-grandfather will have to do for today. From my research William Henry THOMPSON was either born in 1810, 1813 or 1816 and he was either born at Scotland, England or Ireland. I’ve found sources mentioning all three of these. At least it puts him in the United Kingdom, so it counts.

William is one of my brick-wall ancestors. I can find no more information on him or his family. He is also one of the only ancestors that I need to research that has a very common name. I’m so used to looking for surnames like ZALEWSKI or SZULTA, which require a different sort of mindset. I’m not used to getting back 12,000 results when searching. The plus side is that a lot of people are probably doing THOMPSON research, so maybe I’ll come across something.

It’s listed that William married Claude-Françoise QUINET in 1839 in Syracuse, Onondaga Co., New York. I haven’t been able to find any info from here either including using the Onondaga Co. GenWeb site. William and Frances moved to Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin where they lived out the rest of their lives. They were both buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Wrightstown. I did a Tombstone Tuesday on Frances a few weeks back.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

[ Find-a-Grave Entry | Cemetery Entry ]

Since the weather started to get nicer here and the snow is mostly gone, I thought I’d tackle some research involving the cemeteries again. Two of my ancestors are known to have lived and died in the Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin area, but I had yet to pinpoint their final resting places.

I did some research and found that on the death certificate of my 3rd-great-grandmother, Charlotte (STRASSMAN) LAST, she is listed as having been buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington. This is also where her son (my great-great-grandfather) and his wife are buried. I know I’ve looked through most of the headstones there in the past while looking for other LAST relatives, but I don’t remember seeing it. She did die in 1900, which means the stone may be unreadable/broken/missing/etc. One would also assume that her husband, Johann W G LAST, would also be buried there along with her (or at least nearby.) He did die almost 30 years before she did (more on that later.)

Today, since it was in the 50s outside, I decided to make another pass through the cemetery. I was planning on going anyway to get a requested volunteer photo via Find-a-Grave. I first walked through the stones in the older area figuring it should be in there, but I did not find anything (besides some very hard-to-read stones.) I then hit the next section, which does have some older stones on the edges. I also kept an eye out for military flags, stars, etc, especially the Civil War-related GAR signs. I then found a very worn headstone with the name “JHO. LAST”. I couldn’t make out the dates written on it until I realized it actually said “Co. K, 50th Wis Inf which was his exact Civil War information. Unfortunately, it had no vital dates listed, which I don’t have either. All I had for his death date was “Between 1870-1880” since he was listed in 1870 and then his wife was listed as “widow” in 1880. His birth date was based on the census records.

Click for larger image - John's stone is the small one on the right side, middle. Note the large gap to the left of it.
Click for larger image – John’s stone is the small one on the right side, middle. Note the large gap to the left of it.

There was also no Charlotte LAST stone nearby, or any LAST’s for that matter. I checked the rest of the cemetery and still no Charlotte. Since her death certificate notes that she is here (and most of the family is here) I can only assume her stone is either missing, unreadable or broken. There was a large gap (note in the photo) next to John’s headstone, which seemed out of place, so it is possible that she is there. There is also a stone that just says “Mother” on it near her son, Charles LAST. but he died long after Charlotte. Charles’ wife Augusta is also buried there and the “Mother” stone could be talking about her.

But, that wasn’t the end of the good news for John LAST. It turns out I had his death date right under my nose the whole time. I found a listing of good Civil War indexes on Ancestry and decided to just search them all again. Most of the searches turned up documents I already had. Then I searched the “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903” database. John was listed as recieving a headstone and on the index card it lists his death date as “14 Aug 1872.” That’ll teach me to make sure I check every database next time.

I emailed the Port Washington Historical Society to see if Union Cemetery has burial index to see if maybe they have a specific plot where Charlotte may be buried. We’ll see how that works out.

Family History for the week of March 15 to March 21.

March 17

1960 – Died – Angeline R (ZALEWSKI) PIERZCHALSKI – Also known as Amelia, she was my great-great-aunt on my father’s side. She was born 6 Jul 1887 in Poland (noted as German Poland.)

March 18

1678 – Married – Francois CHEVREFILS and Marie LAUNY – Francois and Marie are my 9th-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were married in St. Ours, Richelieu, Quebec. I am related to them through their son Louis CHEVREFILS-BELISLE.

March 19

1788 – Born – Marie-Francoise GRANGIERMarie-Francoise is my 5th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born in Menoux, Département de Haute-Saône (Franche-Comté), France and married Pierre-Jean QUINET in 1811 in the same location. They finally immigrated to Fredonia, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin where they lived for the rest of their lives.

1728 – Died – Helena WAGEMANS – Helena is my 9th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born 8 Oct 1651 in Kuringen, Belgium. She married Nicolaes van CRAYBECK in 1646 and passed away in Kuringen, Belgium.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

The only person I can correctly pick out of this image is my 3rd great-grandfather, Mathias Firmenich, in the back. I’m pretty sure the other two women are two of his daughters and the one on the left may possibly be my great-great-grandmother, Emma Jane Firmenich. I do like the caption, “lot of little people.” The photo was probably taken in the Sanborn or Ashland, Wisconsin area in Ashland Co. since Mathias lived there most of his later life.