Grade 8A, Kingsford, Michigan including Mary Jane (Corrigan) Zalewski - 1939

Milwaukee Death Index On Hold

MJSUnfortunately, due to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel removing their archives from Google News and “moving to a new vendor”, my Milwaukee Death Index will probably no longer be updated. Unless I can find another, preferably free, source of data, it will be difficult to do this in my spare time. The information that is already transcribed will always stay online and active.

Full disclosure, I currently work for the company that owns the MJS, which is why I’m a bit torn on how I feel, though I have no control over this aspect. A bit of a back story, which follows the story of many old newspapers, may help. When I started working for this company, it was called Journal Communications and the only daily newspaper it owned, basically from the beginning, was the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, along with a few dozen radio and TV stations. In 2015, the company shed it’s broadcast properties and picked up 13 more newspapers during a split/merge with another large media company. After that, it became Journal Media Group. At the end of 2015, Gannett Co., Inc purchased JMG. MJS is now under Gannett, which owns a lot of other newspapers. It seems they use another contractor for their newspaper archives, so they removed them from Google News. I know nothing more about that process and I found out like everyone else, when I tried to access it. Let’s hope it comes back, it was an immense collection of historical data for this whole area going back to about 1889.

Reddit for Genealogy

RedditThere is a site out there that a lot of you may not be using for genealogy and/or history, reddit.com. Reddit usually does lean a bit toward the younger audience and I think it may sometimes get a bad rap in the mainstream media due to some of it’s more shady users, but it has a lot of helpful potential if you know what to look for.

This post isn’t for explaining the basics of Reddit or as a beginner’s guide, other people do a better job of that. Reddit is sometimes described as the “front page of the Internet.” Down to its core, Reddit is “a message board wherein users submit links. What differentiates it from a real-time information network like Twitter is that the stream of content is curated by the community” according to the article I linked previously.

Reddit itself is nothing without what they call subreddits. These are basically forums split up by category, but they are much more than that. More than likely, if you’re looking mostly for genealogy and history, the “main” subreddits you see by default won’t interest you as much. The power of Reddit comes in when you find that one subreddit for that one specific topic that you’re passionate about. Here you will find many other passionate users who you can interact with and share knowledge. And believe me, they probably have a subreddit for every niche you can think of.

Here are some of the most interesting subreddits (in no particular order) that I subscribe to for genealogy and/or history.
FYI: You do not need an account on Reddit to view content (in most cases) but you need one to subscribe to subreddits, comment, upvote, or save things.

  • /r/genealogy – this one is self-explanatory. A lot of helpful people here sometimes doing lookups, doing transcriptions, asking interesting questions, sharing brick wall stories, etc. A good place to start.
  • /r/100yearsago – a subreddit for interesting things that happened 100 years ago to the day, every day.
  • /r/VictorianEra – Images, video, and articles from the Victorian Era.
  • /r/earlyphotography – A place to post images from the early days of photography.
  • /r/1920s – Images, video, and articles from and about the 1920s.
  • /r/1950s – Images, video, and articles from and about the 1950s.
  • /r/CemeteryPorn – I know that it has that word in the title, but don’t worry. They use it to mean exciting images from that specific topic. In this case, cemeteries. I’ve always loved photos from old, beautiful cemeteries.
  • /r/ColorizedHistory – Old, historic photos that have been manually colorized by very talented people. Changes the way you see certain historical events and people.
  • /r/23andme – Posts about testing at 23andme.com. Questions, comments, finding matches, etc.
  • /r/AncientMigrations – If you’re interested in your deep, deep ancestry, this subreddit involves ancient human migration, genetic genealogy and DNA ancestry.
  • /r/history – Everything and anything about historical events or people. It has some really interesting posts and conversation.
  • /r/AskHistorians – A place where users ask questions about history and historical events and get answers from experts in that area. Sometimes fascinating.
  • /r/historynetwork – This subreddit is sort of a aggregation of many different history related subreddits.
  • /r/TheWayWeWere – Described as “What was normal everyday life like for people living 50, 100, or more years ago?” Neat pictures of normal things in the past.
  • /r/TheWayWeWereOnVideo – A sister subreddit to the one above, but specializing in videos rather than photos.

I hope you find something interesting and amazing in those subreddits. Be aware, you may get lost in one and never return due to all of the neat things in it.

Birth Location Pedigree

This little pedigree looks like it has been sweeping Facebook recently, so I thought I’d put one together on my family. I first saw it on my feed from Miriam at AnceStories.

Click for larger

Click for larger

If it’s hard for you to view that whole image, you can also view it via Google Sheets here.

It was neat to see all of the birth locations of my ancestors back to my 3rd great-grandparents all in once place. Only 2 “Unknown” entries, which is pretty good (on my surname line, of all places.) I also always assumed my maternal line has been in Wisconsin the longest since they arrived in the early 1850s. It actually looks like one of my paternal ancestors, Pauline (THOMPSON) Firmenich was born in Wisconsin in 1849, only one year after it became an official state.

Back to my great-grandparents, all of my ancestors were born in Wisconsin, with the exception of my grandfather. He was born in Chicago when my great-grandparents lived there for a few years in the 1920s. My earliest US ancestor is my 3rd great-grandfather, William CORRIGAN, who was born somewhere in the US in 1823. It is assumed probably New York, but we’re not sure. They stopped in that area before continuing on to Canada.

Unknown Photos

One of the things I received from my grandparent’s house within the last few years is an album full of very old, but unlabeled photos. While on one hand, it’s awesome. The photos are in great condition and there are dozens of them. On the other hand, I have no idea who these people are. Most people I could talk to about it are no longer with us. Fortunately, my grandfather’s older sister, my great aunt Eleanore, is still alive at 94. I really need to get myself over by her and talk with her.

old-photo-album

Front cover of the album

The album is in pretty good shape overall for being very old. Most of the photos are of the Cabinet Card variety, but there are a few Tintypes included. The Cabinet Cards are from photography studios mainly in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but also from Connecticut and Port Washington in Wisconsin and as far away as Chemnitz and Rostock in Germany.

I’ve been able to scan all of the photos, back and front, so I shouldn’t need to keep moving them around. A lot of the pages are pretty fragile and some of the photo holders are ripping and breaking. There are both large and small photos.

An example of one of the pages.

An example of one of the pages.

I”m going to try my best to determine what I can about the photos. I hope to take you on the journey with me as I post my findings here. It may be as simple as visiting my great aunt and her telling me who everyone is (wouldn’t that be nice?) At the very least, I will get each of the photos posted online with as much info as I can. Maybe someone, somewhere will know more about it.

I am a Cousin!

Photo credit: Deseret News

AJ Jacobs made some headlines inside and outside of the genealogy community back in 2014-15 by setting out to have a Global Family Reunion. His mission is to connect everyone in the world to each other in one human family tree. He wrote a bit about it in a NY Times article. On WikiTree, you […]

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Solidifying the French-Canadian Line

I haven’t spend a lot of time on my personal family tree in awhile. I always seem to work on the same people over and over, which is fine, but if you keep hitting that same brick wall sometimes you get discouraged and take a break. Instead, I have decided to do more work on […]

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Off To War

"Hank", "Cheety", and LeRoy Thielke. Taken in Burton, England, our last Sunday in England. February 1945.

I’ve begun to start transcribing a lot of the documents that I have collected over the years. I’m starting on the letters that my grandfather, LeRoy Thielke, wrote home during World War II. The first letter I grabbed was the one he wrote to his mother when he was being shipped off to Europe. It’s heartbreaking […]

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Thoughts on Being Without Grandparents

19820000-Grandpa-GrandmaThielke-Eric-Brian

With the death of my maternal grandfather this week, I hit one of those sad life milestones. I now have no more living grandparents, and it’s an odd feeling. I was fortunate to have all four of my grandparents throughout most of my life. I got to spend time with all of them. My children […]

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