Year: 2007


When trying to think of some things to write about on a constant basis, I browsed some other genealogy blogs out there and got a cool idea. Now, it may be tough to post about my genealogy research and history of the Zalewski name multiple times a week. I thought, why not write some posts about the history and culture of Wisconsin and Milwaukee throughout the years?

I’ve lived and worked in the Milwaukee area my whole life and most of my ancestors either lived in this area or in other parts of Wisconsin. I do a lot of research here and know a lot about the history. Zalewski is somewhat common name in the Milwaukee area due to Milwaukee being a large Polish community, so I’ve done a lot of research there also. Stay tuned for some articles on different parts of the state, it’s culture, and it’s history.

Celebrity genealogy connections are a fun thing to unearth. I don’t put this into my research as a priority, but sometimes it’s fun to run across.

It makes sense that the farther you go back in generations, the more people you are “related” to, including celebrities. There are a few sites that list this and even can now do a bit of searching within your tree for you.

The only celebrity connection that I’ve run across in my genealogy is a slim connection to actor Robert Goulet. He’s something like my 8th cousin-3 times removed. I connect to him through my French-Canadian line on my maternal grandmother’s side.

Have any of you run across a celebrity connections in your genealogy research?

Update: Sad news came right after I wrote this article, but before I published it. It seems that Mr. Goulet passed away today. RIP.

As the news mentioned last week, Ancestry has opened it’s DNA area. I’ve been a user on Ancestry for many years and I also have become involved in Genetic Genealogy via the National Geographic study and also Family Tree DNA. So, I was more than happy to test our Ancestry’s system.

It was easy to transfer my data over from FTDNA to Ancestry. Currently, they can only transfer from FTDNA or National Geographic, though I imagine if you have your data handy you can convert it yourself. You just need to bring up your DNA data and type in the values into Ancestry from one of these two companies.

It took a few minutes after I entered it for it to find some matches, though unfortunately there are none before 26 generations out. They show you your matches in a nice graphical format including a map. They also give you an estimate of the number of years, along with generations, that this person and you may have a common ancestor.

If you have an account and also have received your DNA info, I would recommend trying this out. Any and all data can help everyone!

Link: Ancestry DNA

Well, my Grandpa is doing much better now. My wife and I visited him in the hospital on Saturday and he was his old joking self. Hopefully, he’ll be coming home shortly.

I’ve been out of the “genealogy circuit” here for the last few weeks, so that’s why I’ve been slow on the posts. I’m working on getting more information that will allow me to post more often, even when I’m not actively researching since I don’t always have time to do family research.

For all of you genealogy bloggers out there, where do you find the inspiration and information to be able to post quite often even when not actively researching? I’d like some tips to help me get the ball rolling.

Well, not-so-good news today…

My grandpa on my mother’s side is in the hospital. He went in for what I think was quadruple-bypass surgery and at first he was doing well and starting to wake up. But, I got word earlier this evening that he took a slight turn for the worst when his body probably started rejecting the new changes. He’s a small, thin guy, but hopefully he can fight his way. So, whoever you are out there reading this, please send your “good vibes”, “happy juju” or whatever you have laying around his way. Thanks.

Update: He’s much more stable now. Hopefully, he starts feeling better.

It’s been a little slow on the genealogy home front these last few weeks, though I did find some new headstones when I went to look for a few new ones in Port Washington’s Union Cemetery. I had originally went to find the headstone of Herman Rathke and more than likely his wife, also. This would also cement the fact that this was my ancestor, since all I had to go on was his wife’s name.

I found their headstones, but I also found two more ancestor’s (or more) headstones right next to them. The headstones were of my Thielke ancestors. The one that grabbed my eye was of Peter Thielke, since his was still crisp, but his wife’s wasn’t so lucky. I’d known his wife’s name was Mary, or something similar, from the census records, but this headstone looks like it just may have her maiden name on it, but I can’t tell. All I can make out is “Marie” and also the name of “Peter Thielke.” I’ll attach them here, in case somebody else has better eyes or just happens to see it at first glance.

Marie Thielke Thumbnail
Click for full size image (large)

Ok, I did a little work on starting the Zalewski Family Tree Project this weekend. I went through a bit of the 1860-1900 Census records and added the “Zalewski” (and other variations) to one family tree file. It’s just a start, but hopefully this will become the largest collection of Zalewski family trees around. Also, hopefully we can connect the families to each other and help all of the researchers out there. I did notice some interesting things when I was entering some of this data:

  • Most of the Zalewski families seemed to have immigrated within the years 1889-1891, as did my Zalewskis.
  • They seemed to have collected mainly within the Great Lakes region (Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.) There were some outside of there and I’m also just starting.
  • They usually lived within the same area, but then again most ethnic groups tended to do this.

You can browse the Zalewski Family Tree Project on my site now. If you find a family member in there, let me know and we can “connect the dots,” if you will.

As always, feel free to send your Zalewski information in.

Joe and Richard

Well, I’ve begun the starting work on my super Zalewski Family Tree project. Unfortunately, I haven’t received many Zalewski trees after I requested them. I’ll have to start marketing it on message boards and mailing lists. Though, I did browse through the documents on I found on regarding the Zalewski name. I ran across a document from the “Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation” about a Charles Zalewski in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The document is basically a declaration of intent to be American and not Pro-German. Interesting stuff over there. I have the document linked on my footnote Story Page that I created for some Zalewski stuff (enjoy his hairstyle.) Once I found that document, which includes his parents, siblings and children, I found him living in Milwaukee in the census reports from 1900-1930 along with his brother Frank (not mine, unfortunately.) No connections yet, but it’s still fresh.

Again, all of you Zalewski researchers out there, send in your Zalewski Family Trees. If we get this all put together, hopefully we can find many connections.

FootnoteI ran across a very cool history/genealogy website via The Genealogy Guys podcast called Footnote. They put together a very slick historical document archive system and they are working on scanning important historical documents into it. You’re able to search through them, annotate them, and also create your own “Story” pages with your information.

But at Footnote, finding an image is just the beginning.

We have created powerful tools that let you interact with and enhance what you find. Annotate important information on the image, easily organize and share your findings or collaborate with people who have similar interests.

If you have original source images of your own that you want to share with your colleagues, classmates, friends and family, simply upload them to Footnote and use our tools to make your images searchable and available to others.

Footnote also gives you an opportunity to share your story, ideas or research with others by creating your own “Story Pages”.

I had signed up for the 7-day trial a few weeks ago and I completely forgot to cancel it before it was over (I’m really good at doing that.) It’s not that there was anything wrong with it, I loved it. I just didn’t find any thing from my family or area at the moment, though they’re adding new stuff everyday. But, now I have a 1-year subscription, so I’ll probably start to use it more. It’s still fun to browse these great documents and also to help othes by annotating them.

Check out and see if you find anything interesting.

Cemetery ResearchWow, it’s been a week. It sure seemed to go quickly. I didn’t get to much family research in the last week, but I did visit my local library and checked out some of their genealogy items.

The first book I checked out was “Your Guide to Cemetery Research” by Sharon Debartolo Carmack. It was one of the only newer books in at the time, so I grabbed it. It was actually very interesting and helpful, even if you don’t plan on doing any cemetery research. She goes over types of stones, types of cemeteries, the different burial ceremonies in each culture, etc. These things will help you pinpoint your ancestors headstone and possibly other information, such as religion and ethnicity.

I recommend it for the genealogy researcher. And you know, we’re always looking for another reason to hang out in a cemetery.

There comes a time in every computer user’s career that they say, “I wish I had backed that up.” Fortunately, I haven’t needed to say that yet. Though, I technically have four hard drives on my computer; my main one, another one inside, and two external USB hard drives. I had it set up this way because I had a lot of data files, including photos, music, movies, etc. Every time I wanted to rebuild my computer, I had to back these up to CDs/DVDs and then move them back. So, I bought some USB-to-IDE boxes and installed some 120GB+ hard drives in them.

I always think about backing up my important data, but I never get to it. A few weeks ago, I installed a backup program called SyncBackSE. Basically, you give it a folder or files and tell it where to send it and it will schedule backups as often as you like using Windows Task Scheduler. The freeware version that I use doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does the backing up. It will sync the directories or just copy files over for you.

I may look into picking up the full copy in the future, since it does have some nice features, including backing up to FTP. This way I can get my data off-site in case of a fire or tornado, etc.  This is especially important for genealogy data and family photos than it is for music or movies. There are companies out there that specialize in giving you storage space for off-site backups, that they themselves also back up regularly. My backup system isn’t too involved, but if I do lose on of my drives, I’ll at least have the data on another one.

So, check into some backup software. SyncBackSE was pretty simple for me, but I haven’t used a lot of backup software. Are there any other good programs out there that other genealogists have used?