Tag: Milwaukee


How can I go through this week without a post about the 1940 Census? The digital images were released on Monday, April 2nd free for everyone, though I personally never got to see them until late on Monday night. I don’t think they expected as much traffic as they got on day one. I heard somewhere around 37 million visits on Monday alone. It was no surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting to be able to view the images right away. I’ve been through my fair share of first day launches with things like MMORPGs and other websites to know not to expect much on the first day.

Since the 1940 Census was just released on Monday, there is no name index created, so you cannot search by name. There is currently a massive indexing project going on, that anyone (including you) can help with, that will hopefully bring us this index soon. You need to know the Enumeration District where your ancestors lived in 1940 and browse page by page through it. If you do not know the 1940 Census ED, the website has a nice little  form that will convert the ED from the 1930 Census to the ED in the 1940 Census. In my experience, most EDs are only 30 pages are so on average. Though, when I was able to access the images, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I could download the entire Enumeration District to browse via my own computer instead on needing to browse one-by-one online.

I was able to find all four of my grandparents pretty quickly since I knew where they lived in 1940 and also my great-grandparents at the same time due to the fact that my grandparents were all in their teens. I also ran across my great-great-grandmother from the same area as one of my grandparents. The first image I found is below.

Frank Zalewski; Ward 13, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; ED 72-288; Household 172 - Click for larger version

The 1940 Census image for my great-grandfather, Frank ZALEWSKI. Frank’s wife, Anna, died in 1939 so he is listed alone in his specific “household.” His youngest son, Frank, Jr., is listed in the same building with his wife Louise. (This also proves the marriage I wrote about the other day.)

I found my grandfather, Richard ZALEWSKI, living near his grandfather, Frank, in Milwaukee, his dad working as a Milwaukee Police Officer. I found my grandmother, Mary Jane CORRIGAN, living in Kingsford, Michigan, her dad working as a machine operator at the Ford Motor Company. I found my other grandfather living in Grafton, Wisconsin and my other grandmother living in Port Washington, Wisconsin. I am currently trying to find my wife’s grandparents. Her paternal grandfather giving me some trouble since I didn’t find him in the ED he lived in in 1930. He was also 21 at the time, so he could be living as a boarder, etc if he is out on his own.

I’m just getting started digging for my family and I also hope to do some indexing soon enough. I know the indexes will help me in the future, why not help everyone else by creating it?

The Zalewski Project is officially under way. During the last week, I started collecting data. I plan on collecting data from families with the ZALEWSKI surname, or something very similar. I decided against ZALESKI or variations during this first collection since that multiplies the amount of data by a lot. If it’s pronounced like ZALEWSKI, than I probably added it this time. During this collection, I’ve grabbed names like ZELEWSKI, ZALUSKY, and even some like ZIELEWSKI. I also plan on adding SALEWSKI and variations since I’ve seen my ancestors name spelled that way in church records, but I’m going to start small first instead of trying to do too much at once.

I used Ancestry.com’s search to go through the census records. I didn’t find any ZALEWSKI families of note in the 1860 US Census or earlier and only one family in the 1870 US Census. I collected a few families from the 1880 US Census and a whole bunch from the 1900 US Census. I can only imagine it will grow with every new census.

After collecting and sorting the 1900 US Census data, it seems there are three big locations for ZALEWSKI families in 1900. They are, in order: Chicago, Milwaukee, and then Detroit with a few other areas thrown in. They don’t surprise me as those three cities are known for their large Polish populations.

I put the 1900 US Census data online, though only in a quick and dirty HTML table. The next step is to get this info into a database so you can sort and export and view the data in other cool ways. Next on my list, the 1910 US Census. I imagine this one will be much larger. Those ZALEWSKI’s seemed to like to have big families.

I am participating in this week’s “Sunday’s Obituary” with my great-great grandfather’s obituary. I’m told that he received a larger obituary since he worked for the city of Milwaukee. From The Milwaukee Journal on Saturday, August 9, 1941.

FRANK ZALEWSKI

Frank Zalewski, 82, of 2630 N. Buffum st., was found dead on the floor of his home late Friday afternoon by his son, [my great-grandfather] Joseph, a police officer, who came to visit him. He had been living alone since his wife died two years ago. Death was due to natural causes, according to coroner’s assistants.

Mr. Zalewski was born in Germany and came to this country 51 years ago. He worked for the department of public works for 39 years, retiring six years ago. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1935. Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. at St.  Casimir’s church, with burial in Holy Cross cemetery.

Survivors include two sons, Joseph and Frank, jr., and five daughters, Mrs. Angeline Pierzchalski, Mrs. Mary Gierszewski, Mrs. Frances Cybela, Mrs. Helen Stroinski and Mrs. Agnes Walczak.

You can actually view the obituary in the newspaper using Google’s News Archive website. I found it when I searched for “Zalewski” in their archives. Fortunately, he had a larger obituary that was picked up by Google’s character recognition software. Most of the normal obituaries aren’t picked up.

Anyone following the latest research into my ZALEWSKI line knows that I’ve run across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname on a few occasions. They have something to do with my ZALEWSKI family, but I’m still not 100% sure what it is. Research points to many conflicting options: These are Frank ZALEWSKI’s parents, these are Frank’s aunt and uncle, or maybe they’re just good friends. I have more research to do with the Polish/German church records I recently found at the FHL.

Above: More evidence that they’re related to me somehow is that (among other things) they’re buried with members of the Jacob ZALEWSKI family (the brother of Frank) at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their plot is located at the back part of the GORALSKI stone (another family somehow related to me.)

[Find-A-Grave link]

While looking for some other documents, I ran across a record that again pretty much seals the fact that my great-great-grandfather, Frank J Zalewski, and the Jacob Zalewski I have been researching were brothers (or worst case, cousins of some sort.)  Below is my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski’s, “Certificate of Baptism” from St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee. The document itself is from 1960, but the information is probably taken directly from the church’s records.

Joseph Zalewski Baptism
Click for larger

The part that interested me on this specific item was the list of “sponsors.” It lists Joseph GORALSKI and Pauline ZALEWSKI. Joseph has been mentioned a lot recently along with the GWIAZDOWSKI’s. Pauline is Jacob’s wife and probably Joseph’s aunt. Mary may also be Joseph’s aunt, if her obituary is to be believed.

I have a bunch of military documents, so I thought I’d put up some posts in the Military Monday theme.

This the WWI Draft Registration for my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, who did end up participating in the war overseas.

Joseph registered on (I think it says) June 5, 1917 at the Ward 13, 2nd Precint draft office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, he was 24 years old, having been born on 21 May 1893 in Milwaukee. He was living at 900 Fratney Street, which is where his parents also lived. His occupation at the time was a “Shoe Maker” at Weyenberg Shoe Co. in Milwaukee. He was not yet married. According to the document, he had “gray” eyes and “light brown” hair.

Joseph Zalewski WWI Registration
"World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 23 March 2008), Joseph Zalewski, order no. 286, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication number M1509; roll 1674886.

I probably didn’t pick the best day to do some more research at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee today. A wonderful “spring” day in Wisconsin, a windy 23 degrees with snow flurries. I also should have probably worn more than a sweatshirt, but it wasn’t all that bad. I did have a knit cap on.

Last night I made a list of all of the headstones I wanted to find at the cemetery, including some I already had. I wanted to get better quality photos. Well, the small list turned into two pages of entries, about 55 total. Thanks to the Archdiocese website, I was able to map (the general area) of where the stones were. I hit up the stones I really wanted to find first, the Gwiazdowski, Goralski, and Jacob Zalewski family. Once I found the section and started to walk the graves, I cursed myself for not wearing a larger coat. Though, once I found the collection of stones I forgot about the cold.

All of the stones were in one area in the middle of Block 4B. I caught the “Goralski” name on one of the large stones while walking. The way the graves were set up mostly solidifies the Gwiazdowski/Goralski/Zalewski connection, because Jacob Zalewski, Jr and his wife were on the same stone as the Goralski’s and Gwiazdowski’s. I know it’s not proof, but there are few reasons why else they would be on the same stone.

Goralski Stone
Joseph & Mary Goralski with Jacob Zalewski, Jr - Click for larger

On the other side of this stone are August & Anna GWIAZDOWSKI and Jacob’s wife, Alice. That’s another notch in the connection that Mary is August & Anna’s daughter. Jacob, Sr & Pauline ZALEWSKI, along with their son Edward and his wife Kathryn were on the next headstone to the south.

Zalewski stone
Jacob & Pauline Zalewski, with daughter Anna. Edward and his wife Kathryn are on the other side. - Click for larger

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much but dates on the stones. I was hoping maybe for maiden names or birth places. It’s still more proof and it’s nice to finally visit their final resting place. I didn’t get to my whole list since the other sections were mostly all flat headstones and I didn’t want to have to walk in the snow and cold to try to find them. Even though I had pinpointed it to Section, Lot, and Grave number, it was hard to figure out where the specific Lots were.

I’ll come back later and get those photos once it’s actually spring here. My dad said he would also like to tag along, but he wasn’t feeling well today and it wasn’t a very pleasant day to go anyway.

I made some great discoveries this weekend and late last night. I’m going to try to spell it all out here, so excuse me if I ramble a bit. While the information I found paints a better picture of the family of my ancestor, it also throws a wrench into the whole thing, but when doesn’t genealogy do that?

Let’s start from the beginning, though instead of writing it all out again, I will point you to an older post and one recent post. Though, you should just be able to skim over the newer one. Long story short, this has to do with the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI – ZALEWSKI connection I have been researching recently.

After finding the passenger list and 1910-1920 Census records for the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI families, this is how it was all laid out in my head (Thanks to Google Draw for this easy to make figure):

Gwiazdowski - 1
Gwiazdowski Connection - Exhibit AClick for larger

That makes sense to me. Either August or Anna is Frank’s uncle or aunt, respectively. I can deal with that. It helps me a little bit.

Fast forward to last night. I “run across” the website for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries. I use quotes there because I’ve been to this site before, it’s been there for years. I just never knew they had such a wonderful genealogy/burial record search. Not only does it have up-to-date burial records for eight prominent cemeteries in Milwaukee, it includes death date, burial date, last know address, marital status at death, and burial location. That’s not even the best part. It also includes a link to “Search for nearby graves or crypts.” With this feature, I can see which graves are nearby to this one. I was able to make (pretty confident) connections between people. More than likely people were buried near family.

So, with this I not only found the death date of Jacob ZALEWSKI (on the figure above) that I’ve been trying to find, but I also found the burial information on a Mrs. Mary GORALSKA (as it’s listed on the site.) She is buried near her husband Joseph and Mr. and Mrs. August GWIAZDOWSKI. On a related note (har har), also buried in the same location is a Jacob George ZALEWSKI (the above Jacob’s son) and his wife Alice. Now that doesn’t prove that Jacob is related to them (which also includes Frank, his brother) but it gives hope.

Now, this information is very helpful on it’s own, but when I use it along with the century of archives of The Milwaukee Journal, it gets even more powerful. Unfortunately, before about 1930 or so, they didn’t list much in the death notices. I found both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI, listed in the paper, but it’s just their name, address, death date, and cemetery. What I did find was Mary’s obituary from April 2, 1940.

Mary Goralska

You see it, don’t you? “…also survived by 1 brother, Frank Zalewski…I was elated at this point. I thought to myself, “I found Frank’s parents!” Then, I started doing the math.. How can Mary be Frank’s brother if there is no way, under normal circumstances, that she would ever have the last name of ZALEWSKI? She was a GORALSKI when she was married and according to the other documents, her parent’s last name was GWIAZDOWSKI. How does that work? Then I thought, maybe it’s not my Frank Zalewski, but another Frank. So, Mary would be my Frank’s cousin. That makes sense logically and follows the info in the passenger list, but again doesn’t solve the name issue. Here, again I visualized it, which helped a bit.

Gwiazdowski - A
Gwiazdowski Connect - Exhibit BClick for larger

So, after all of that running through my head I decided the only outcome that made sense is that Mary is my Frank’s cousin (the brother is another Frank), which is safe with the “nephew” info from the passenger list. The only way I was able to solve the surname issue was assuming that Anna is Mary’s real mother and August is her step-dad. Maybe Anna’s first husband (Mary’s father) passed away and she re-married before travelling to the US. Now, this is only true if all of the information is correct, which is another possibility.

I’m still no further in my research, though I now have things I can do. Unfortunately, it seems Joseph & Mary had no children, so I probably need to order Mary’s death certificate from the Wisconsin Vital Records office to find her maiden name. Hopefully, she also lists her parent’s names on it. I should maybe even order Jacob’s or Anna’s. I’ll have $20 riding on that hope.

Did that all make sense? Can you follow it and come up with another conclusion?

itchys @ FlickrAfter running out of gas on trying to find more online records about my great-great-grandfather, Frank Zalewski, and his brother, Jacob, I decided to work the other way. I’ve read about people making awesome discoveries by connecting with distant cousins and finding out that they have some amazing record or photo that breaks down a wall. That sounded like something good to shoot for.

I was going to try to work my way down their trees, from Frank & Anna and then Jacob & Pauline’s families, and see what I could find using tools from early 20th century newspapers all the way to Facebook. With a few tools at my disposal, I was actually able to get much more information than I thought I would in only a few days.

(more…)

Troka Family

Troka FamilyThis is a photo from my paternal Milwaukee line. I don’t know the names of everyone in the photo, but there are a few I know. My great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, is at the top-left. Her mother, Clara (SZULTA) TROKA, is right below her. Clara’s mother (and my 3rd-great-grandmother), Nepomuncena (SYLDAKT) SZULTA, is to the right of her. The only other name I know is that of Nepomuncena’s son, John SZULTA, in the middle of the back row. The remaining people are either part of the SZULTA family or TROKA family. I have other photos from this day that include other family members. Click photo to enlarge.