Month: April 2007


St. Paul’s Cemetery

Yesterday, my wife and I made a trip up north to the Wrightstown, Wisconsin area to search for a few headstones for my family tree. It was a nice day and we decided to spend most of it outside.I wasn’t exactly sure which cemetery they were buried in, if any, but we checked the first one we ran across, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery. We didn’t find them in that one, so we planned on checking for a St. Paul’s Cemetery, since I’ve seen that listed before. We spent a good 30-minutes trying to find it before I had to stop and ask for directions. It turns out that we turned around right before we came to it when we were checking some of the main roads.

We search for about 10 minutes. I ended up finding them on my second scan, since they were old stones and also replanted laying face-up in the ground.

Frances (Quinet) Thompson and her husband William H Thompson.

It was actually a worthwhile trip, besides getting photos of the headstones and finding their final resting place, I now have William’s death date and better approximate birth year. Before yesterday, I had his death listed as “Between 1880 – 1900” since he was listed in the 1880 census, but not the 1900 census (and we know that the 1890 census is missing.) Hopefully, this will help me trace his line much easier. Previously, searching blindly for a “William Thompson” usually returned more records than I could really do much with.

We didn’t find any other family members, but I plan to take a trip to Fredonia (which is actually in the same county) later this spring to find some of the Quinet family. They’re last residence is Fredonia. I did a small run-through last year, but didn’t find anything. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck today.

www.flickr.com


I did a bunch of updates to my Flickr account. I had signed up for it awhile ago, but never used it. I still plan to use my own website for most of my genealogy pictures, but some will go there for all to see. Above is a selection of some of the cemetery photos I took while doing research. For some reason cemeteries always interested me. Maybe it’s because they’re usually very peaceful, yet kinda dark and gloomy at the same time. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed taking photographs while I was in them.

I also created a “Zalewski Genealogy” Flickr group for all of you Zalewski researchers to post your photos. Let’s see if all of the Zalewskis look the same.

Feel free to view my photos or even add me as a contact. I’d be more than happy to add you!

Today’s Links

  • Family Link -It’s like Facebook mixed with Genealogy. It’s a social-networking type site that allows you to share/connect/communicate with other genealogists researching in your area, in your family, etc. It’s brand-new, but it looks to have a lot of potential. Help it out by signing up, I did. My profile.
  • Genealogy Guys Podcast – The first Genealogy-based podcast that I actually enjoy listening to. They talk about current Genealogy information in an easy-to-digest way. I’ve found a few helpful sites and information already and have only listened to two podcasts.
  • Ancestry Press – A new venture by Ancestry.com that allows you to print out wonderful books based on your family tree or individuals in your tree. I guess it’s open to anyone with an Ancestry subscription or even just an account.

I’ve been working this week on my family line. I’ve been hitting a few of the brick walls to see if anymore information is available using a couple of resources. I usually first use Ancestry’s “My Ancestry” family tree section, since I can browse right to the individual I want to use. All of their information is already entered on the site, so their site automatically browses for any new documents. I usually check those out and “attach” them if they are correct. After that, I usually search for any documents that may match that person. This way I can look through all of the documents that may match, but aren’t that close. A lot of the time I’ll find a document with a misspelling or date error.

If that doesn’t help much, I’ll usually visit the USGenWeb site to find the county website to see if they have any other information, or even another researcher looking for that surname. For locations outside oft the US, I usually check out the WorldGenWeb sites, but these are usually pretty difficult since most are in their native language. Google Translate can only help so much.

My last resort is usually message boards or mailing lists. Sometimes I find that just emailing a few people with a question on the family line can bring out a huge gold mine of information. This is what happened with my Van Parijs line.

When I’m stuck, sometimes I’ll just do a Google search on some key words and run across something. This happened just last night when I just searched for “Schwabendorf,” which is a German location in my maternal line.  Even though the search was missing the surname surname associated with this location, “MUHM,” I found a page called “Muhm” that had information that may be tied to my family line. So, give it a shot, who knows what you’ll find.

What do you do when researching brick walls?

R1a1

I saw a show on the National Geographic channel a few years ago about Genetic Genealogy, or Genetealogy as the cool kids call it. It really interested me. I’ve recently become more interested in world history, especially in the areas of my ancestors and how they lived (This would’ve been helpful in college, when I needed to know it.) This show was telling me that I could order a test and find out exactly where my ancestors came from, at least, my paternal ancestors. Sign me up! I ordered the kit and sent it back. I waited a few months and received my results. They tell me that my DNA data falls into the “R1a1 haplogroup.” That makes complete sense, doesn’t it? For more on haplogroups and genetic genealogy, visit the Wikipedia article.

This what the National Geographic’s Genographic project, who ran my tests, says about the R1a1 haplogroup.

Today a large concentration of — around 40 percent — of the men living in the Czech Republic across the steppes of Siberia, and south throughout Central Asia are members of haplogroup R1a1. In India, around 35 percent of the men in Hindi-speaking populations belong to this group. The M17 marker is found in only five to ten percent of Middle Eastern men. The marker is also found in relatively high frequency — around 35 percent — among men living on the eastern side of present-day Iran.

This only applies to my direct male line, which is my Zalewski line. I only have that back a few generations, so it’s not too much help, yet. If I find a perfect match to someone else with the Zalewski surname, it means that we more-than-likely have a common ancestors in the recent past. Unfortunately, I’ve not run across this, even though I do have perfect matches with a few individuals. Since they’re different surnames, it probably means we share an ancestor prior to the use of surnames. This is why I set up the Zalewski Surname DNA Study group on the Family Tree DNA site. Hopefully, more Zalewskis will join the study and we’ll find some connections. Nothing yet, but we only have a few members. So, all you Zalewski men out there, get testing!

I came across a very interesting letter in my genealogy collection. I’m not really sure how I got it, but I assume it’s from my grandmother. It’s a letter written by my great-great Uncle Edwin Corrigan that he wrote to another relative. In the letter, he describes his life growing up in rural Ashland, Wisconsin and beyond. It’s a great first-person view into life in the country in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, Edwin passed away a few years ago as the longest living descendant of Thomas Corrigan, who came to Wisconsin from Ontario, Canada.

The letter copy I have is written on a typewriter, but a few months ago I transcribed it for my website and also for the Ashland County USGenWeb site as a donation. Here is an excerpt from it where Edwin describes his father’s passing and his older brother’s (my great grandfather) many jobs.

My dad, your great grandfather, died on July 25, 1915 at Ashland. Mother was in the hospital expecting the birth of Sadie – she was brought out to the house to the funeral. Funerals were from the homes in those days. I was 6, but can remember the casket and funeral, although I can’t remember going to the cemetery, which was just kitty-corner from our house – across the line into the city of Ashland.

At that time Maurice was 16 – he did some of the selling of the sand for that summer, then got a job with the Kellogg grocery store, delivering groceries, those were the horse and buggy days – he later got a job working in a saw mill at Odanah, 12 miles east of Ashland, later got a job as a night clerk in the Menard Hotel downtown Ashland. As each of our family members got old enough to work they did so. I recall that when I was 11 I got a job driving horse on a farm when they hauled in the hay – also had to help with the milking and chores. Henry was two years older than I and he got a job when about 14 working at Gingles farm, that is after he finished the eighth grade.

Later on I worked on the same farm for board and room while going to high school – in my senior year I got a job for the Molls where they had 125 colonies of bees, a five-acre orchard and a little garden, I stayed there the next two years while attending the Ashland County Normal to become an elementary teacher. Molls also raised about 300 turkeys each year.

We grew up with very little, but appreciated the fact that Mother was able to keep the family together. I recall that many night when we were about the heater stove, she would shed tears, as she didn’t know what was in store for her and the 9 children.

Very interesting stuff. I have put the complete letter online in my wiki. Read the whole Edwin Corrigan letter.

Joseph Zalewski & friends

The way that I got started doing genealogy research happened in 1999. I had always been somewhat interested in my ancestors, especially related to my surname, but most people are. My grandfather, Richard Zalewski, had passed away that year of cancer. Around that time, I had also run across some hand-written family trees and also an article in our local newspaper about familysearch.org. It had mentioned that the website was getting hammered by visitors since it went live and that they were working on fixing it.

When I got home I was able to get onto the site and did a general search on “Zalewski” and was amazed at all of the entries I received. From there I collected information from family sources, free resources on the Internet, and other sources. I can say that I would never be as far in my research as I am now without the power of the Internet. It just snowballed from there, as all genealogists know, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good.

I seem to be one of the minority of genealogy researchers that is of the “young” variety. I usually get weird looks when I’m scouring local cemeteries for headstone, since I can only be there to vandalize, I guess. Though, with the Internet, I am seeing a lot more younger genealogists and I think that’s great.

How did you get started in your genealogy research?

Here is an interesting story from my maternal line. I’ve worked on researching this, but I’ve come up empty.

Charles Van Price (Van Parijs) was born in the early 1800s and came to U.S. in 1874. He traveled to Dousman, Wisconsin in Waukesha County. He worked for Mr. Dousman, later moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin, then to Phlox, Wisconsin in 1887. While staying with his daughter, Effie, in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1922, he went grocery shopping for her and was never seen again. After investigating, it was assumed that he returned to Holland from Milwaukee. He sold his land earlier, and was now one of the wealthiest men in that part of the state. His daughter found he had withdrawn all his savings (a very sizeable amount) and probably left for Europe. They traced him to Antwerp, Belgium — then all trace was gone. He was never heard from again.

I’ve worked on researching Belgium and Holland after 1922, but I haven’t run into anything. The main problem with Charles is that 1) Most genealogy searches don’t work well with two-word last names 2) I’m not sure if I should look for Van Price (Americanized) or Van Parijs.

I actually found the Van Parijs line by complete accident. I was looking for information on the Van Price line, but I always hit a brick wall. I had happened to find something that mentioned that “Parijs” was sometimes written as “Price” in America. So, I searched for Van Parijs and ran across a Dutch Genealogy website. It turns out that this website was a treasure trove of information from the exact area that my dutch ancestors came from, Zeeland in the Netherlands. From there I found information going back many generations.

I know that “Van Parijs” roughly translates into “of Paris” in French, so I’m wondering if this family came from France, since I have traced them back into Belgium. It just keeps going, doesn’t it?

I thought I’d take Miriam’s challenge and do the “list the seven tracks or albums I’ve been listening to lately” post. I’m up for it, though I don’t know if I have seven people to tag afterwards. I usually aim towards rock/hard rock, but I do sometimes fall out of that genre.

Now that I’ve scared everyone off, feel free to take on my challenge by getting tagged and posting your seven.

Zalewski. Not a name you see everyday. Americanized, which is quite common. Though, not very hard to pronounce, some people just shred it because it ends in “ski.” We pronounce it zuh-loo-ski, but I’m told the original pronunciation is something like shuh-lef-ski due to the polish version of these letters.

According to a book on surnames, Zalewski comes from a topographic name for someone that lived on a flood plain or bay. (Leave it to my polish ancestors to live on a flood plain. No wonder we get a bad rap.) This is also similar to the Zaleski name, which means someone who ‘lived on the other side of wood‘. So, all I need to do now is go to Poland and check everywhere that is near water or near trees to find my surname’s origin.

Full Surname Info Page

The farthest back I can go on my Zalewski line is to Frank & Anna Zalewski. They would be my great-great grandparents. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about this couple, except what I can gather through research and my grandmother. My grandfather passed away before I could ask him about the Zalewski family.

From what I can gather, Frank Zalewski, Sr., his wife Anna, and their two oldest children – Martha and Angeline, emigrated to the US from the Baltic port of Danzig (Gdańsk) and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, in about 1890. The couple’s third child, Mary, was born in Baltimore in March 1891 (Though, according to my research, the census says she was born in Ohio.) The family then traveled west to Nebraska and east, from there, to the Polish community in Chicago. (I have not yet found hard evidence of this, but this is what I received from a fellow Zalewski researcher.) By May, 1892, the family had settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is backed-up according to an interview conducted in April 1980 with Frank Gierszewski, Jr, a grandson of Frank and Anna Zalewski by the same researcher. He indicated his grandparents left Poland from the Baltic port of Danzig and entered the United States through the port of Baltimore, Maryland.

There is some confusion, however, as to the area of Poland in which Frank and Anna Zalewski resided prior to their emigration to the United States in 1890. During a telephone interview with their granddaughter, Caroline (Walczak) Sullivan, conducted in January 1995, she indicated that Frank and Anna lived somewhere in the province of Poznan — an area of Poland then under German jurisdiction and known as South Prussia. This would correspond with information supplied on the death certificate and in the newspaper obituary of Frank Zalewski, Sr in 1941. Although neither source mentions Poznan as his place of birth, both list Germany as his country of origin. (Much of western Poland, including Poznan Province, became German territory after the three partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century.)

There is, however, a conflicting story as to the area of Poland from which Frank and Anna originated. During a 1993 telephone interview with another granddaughter, Irene (Zalewski) Lutzenberger, she indicated that her late father (my great grandfather, Joseph Zalewski) had always said his parents came from eastern Poland — an area then under Russian rule. Irene’s father also stated that when his parents entered the United States, their surname was spelled “Salefsky,” thereby reflecting the Russian influence. Although no official documents can be found to verify this, it is interesting to note that in the 1934 obituary of another grandchild, Norbert Cybela, the maiden name of Norbert’s mother is spelled “Zalesky.”

It is hypothetically possible that Frank Zalewski, Sr is, indeed, born and raised in Russian Poland and, at some later point in his life, moved to the German section in which Poznan Province was located. Although traveling across political borders was difficult in 19th-century Europe, to say the least, it was not impossible. In Russian Poland, for example, all debts to the government, including military service in the czar’s army, had to be fulfilled before travel documents would be issued and borders would be crossed. Two years of active military service followed by two years in the reserve forces was required of all males when they reached their twentieth birthday. In Frank’s case, that would have accounted for the years 1878 through 1882. We know he married Anna Lindner (a German) in January 1885, which means he probably relocated from Russian-held, eastern Poland to the German-held, western area sometime between 1882 and 1884. This, of course, is only speculation but would explain the Russian “sky” ending on the surname.

I’ve spent a great deal of my research time trying to find any more information on this family. Unfortunately, getting records from 18th century Poland/Prussia is very difficult, if not impossible. As always, my hopes go out to my readers that I will run across a connection with someone else’s family. Contrary to my popular belief, Zalewski is a somewhat common name in the United States, and even Wisconsin, but I’ve not yet been able to connect my family line to any of them. I find it hard to believe that Frank was an only child, but who knows?