Month: May 2009


June 1

1996 – Died – Irene (ZALEWSKI) LUTZENBERGER – Irene is my great-aunt, sister of my Grandpa Zalewski. She was born 17 Jul 1920 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I know I met her sometime in my life, but I really don’t remember ever meeting her. She is buried with her husband Ervin at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

June 3

1704 – Died – Marie Anne (DELEUGRE) ST. LOUIS – Marie is my 8th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born 14 Jun 1665 in Chateau Richer, Montmorency, Quebec, Canada. She married Gilles Gadious ST. LOUIS. She passed away in Montreal, Ile de Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

1910 – Died – Paulina Henrietta (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH – Paulina is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 5 May 1849 in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin (which is now the Brown Deer area.) On 11 Apr 1867 she married Mathias FIRMENICH and together they had 13 children. She passed away at Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin and is buried with her husband at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin.

June 4

1891 – Married – Frank F BRAATZ & Margaret K STEARNS – Frank and Margaret are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side. Frank was born 17 Apr 1867 in Germany and Margaret was born 30 Aug 1866, also in Germany. They married in Bear Creek, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. Margaret passed away in 1943 at Ashland, Wisconsin and Frank followed 5 years later, also at Ashland. They are buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Ashland.

This is also my father’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad.

June 5

1926 – Died – Carl F H Last – Carl (also known as Charles in some records)  is my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. Carl was born 26 Sep 1851 in Doeringshagen, Pommerania. He married Augusta LUEDTKE on 25 Feb 1883 in Milwaukee and (amazingly) had 16 children. He passed away at his home in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington.

June 6

1974 – Died – Roman J TROKA – Roman is my great-great-uncle on my father’s side. He was born 1 Feb 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconson to Joseph & Clara (SZULTA) TROKA. He is buried around the rest of the Troka family at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Wow, doesn’t seem like a happy beginning on the month. A lot of deaths at the beginning of June. It’s a big change from May where we saw a lot of births.

I went to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Golda Meir Library last week to spend some time looking through old newspapers for obituaries. UWM has all of the Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee Journal (and Journal-Sentinel) papers on microfilm back to about 1886 or so.

I found a few obituaries, the earliest being from 1939. I had looked in a few papers for obituaries from 1922 and 1925, but I did not find them. I know they died in Milwaukee, but I’m assuming that back then only more well-known people had their obituaries in the paper. They probably implemented the common “Death Notices” section later on.

While looking over the obituaries and the classifieds section that was around it, I noticed some interesting entries. These were probably normal back in the 30s and 40s, but they seem strange today.

YOUNG man, 19, wishes position with reliable concern.

GIRL: over 20, general housework; no cooking; 1 baby; own room

NOT responsible for any debts contracted by my wife, Anna Wurm, on or after Aug. 9, 1941.

LEARN WHILE ASLEEP; Relaxation, memory and will-power; self-confidence, weight reduction, speech, typing, etc. FREE Literature M.P. INSTITUTE

I’m calling that last one for sure. I wonder if they can research my family tree while I sleep, too?

Wordless Wednesday

This is one of the latest photos that I scanned. It was a copy inside of a book I got from a fellow Zalewski researcher a few years back. For some reason, I never got to scanning the photos from it.

This photo is from July 4th, 1913. Back row is Frank Gierszewski and Edwin Cybela. Front row is Mary (Zalewski) Gierszewski and Frances (Zalewski) Cybela. Frances and Mary are my great-great-aunts. Frank and Mary later changed their surname to Giersch.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I’d like to thank all of my military ancestors and all of your military ancestors, too.

  • Johann W G LAST – Civil War- My 3rd-great-grandfather, server with Company K, 50th Infantry Regiment Wisconsin – 29 Mar 1865 to 14 Jun 1866
  • LeRoy THIELKE – World War II – My grandfather, served in World War II. It’s not a subject that has ever been talked about, but I commend him for fighting for our country.
  • Joseph Frank ZALEWSKI – World War I – My great-grandfather, started in the 86th Division, Company B, 331st Machine Gun Battalion. Later served in the US Army Infantry and fought with the Allied Expeditionary Forces in France during several major battles.
  • Richard Joseph ZALEWSKI – My late grandfather, served in the US Navy during World War II.

Continue for some select photos

(more…)

May 25th

1922 – Died – Ignatius SZULTA – Ignatius is my 3rd-great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born 1 Feb 1849 in Poland and married his wife, Nepomuncema SYLDAKT in 1875. They immigrated to Milwaukee in the early 1880s. He passed away in Milwaukee and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.

May 26th

1813 – Married – Jannis DEES & Janna VERMEULEN – Jannis and Janna are my 5th-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were married in Biervlient, Zeeland, Netherlands and had 3 children, including my ancestor, Janneke DEES.

May 27th

1778 – Married – Wilhelmus VAN CRAYBECK & Anna Catherina CROX – Wilhelmus and Anna are my 6th-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were married in Genk, Limburg, Belgium and had 4 children, including my ancestor, Leonardus CRAYBECK.

2006 – This is also the day of my wedding anniversary with my wife, Darcy. I didn’t know that we share an anniversary with my 6th-great-grandparents. Only 228 years earlier.

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Click for larger image

I was running through ideas in the shower today (who doesn’t?) and I tried to figure out what my fascination is with the family of Frank & Anna Zalewski. For some reason, this family really interests me. I enjoy finding out information about each of the children and their families. Maybe it’s because the photo of their family in 1907 was the first “old” family photo I saw. Maybe it’s because this was always the line that I’ve been stuck on.

It’s crossed my mind to put together a family reunion of sorts for the descendants of Frank & Anna Zalewski. We used to have one similar to that for my grandmother’s family, the descendants of Thomas Corrigan. I have no idea what kind of undertaking that would be, but I’m imagining a lot of work. Just contacting everyone seems like a massive job.

Every one of their children, except Frank Jr., married and had children of their own (though, I’m not sure if Angeline did.) I had most of their descendants listed, but not a lot of information about them. Maybe it will come to fruition some day, because I’d really like to see what information everyone else may have on their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. For now, I will try to collect as much informati0n as I can on this family to create their story. Who knows, maybe it’ll make a good book about a family that traveled from Europe and made it in America?

Wordless Wednesday
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This is a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Joe & Clara (SZULTA) TROKA on their 50th wedding anniversary. The date of this photo would be somewhere around 29 Jan 1944 since they were married in 1894. They were married at St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There is a very nice writeup and history for St. Hedwig’s at Wikipedia. Here is a closer photo from the “Polsih Churches of Milwaukee” website.

Crumble Crumble..

Since publishing my Single View post on my great-great-grandfather, Frank J Zalewski, Sr. I have been checking all information I have on the Zalewski family. I ran through each of his children’s records and all of the other info I had written down. I was then looking for copies of obituaries that I know I’ve seen. I checked the “Zalewski” folder in my file cabinet and decided to just browse through everything in there again. In 2000 I was in contact with a descendant of Frank & Anna, Michael Rynka, that was also doing some research. When my dad and I met him, he gave me a nice booklet with all of his Zalewski family information in it. There was nothing new in that book, but I was able to scan in a lot of the photos that I had never scanned.

Then I read over the two letters that he had sent me originally. There was nothing new in the letters that popped out, until I read this:

I am especially interested in learning more about the parents and siblings of Frank Zalewski, Sr. I do not know their names, nor do I know how many brothers and sisters he may have had. My mother’s (Editor’s note: his mother is Frank & Anna’s granddaughter) godfather was Joseph GORALSKI, and she remembers that he was somehow related to the Zalewski family. However, I don’t know what the relationship may have been. Joe GORALSKI was not Frank’s brother-in-law, since his wife’s maiden name was not Zalewski. Perhaps Joe was Frank’s cousin.

I decided to go down this path. This paragraph most likely means that Joseph GORALSKI had lived in the Milwaukee area. After finding a Joseph Goralski in the Milwaukee US Census records (1900-1930), he is shown living with his wife and in-laws in the same area as Frank & Anna. His in-laws are listed as August & Anna GWIAZDOWSKI. Using the information in these records (immigration, birth, etc) I found this same group in a Philadelphia passenger list for December 1892. In the notes for this group of people it says, “Visitors Nephew Franz Zaleski at 902 Pulaski St.”

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Click for larger image

Seeing that Pulaski Street is right near Fratney Street in the Riverwest neighborhood of eastern Milwaukee where Frank and his family lived most of their life, this was a very, very good clue. Now, assuming this all adds up, this would make August GWIAZDOWSKI Frank’s uncle and Mary GORALSKI (Joe’s wife) his cousin. And, obviously, this would make Frank’s mother’s maiden name GWIAZDOWSKI, also.

Now, I have yet to prove this information, but I am so happy that this passenger list happened to list that much detail as to where exactly the passengers were going. This is the first time I’ve seen that much detail and it was the exact information that connects them to my family. Without it, I wouldn’t have gave it a second thought.

This opens up more research, but that’s a good thing. One good and bad thing is that the surname GWIAZDOWSKI doesn’t seem to be extremely popular. I’ve already found some information on other people researching it, so I have some contact to make.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if Michael Rynka is still around. It’s been 9 years since I’ve last contacted him. When we met him he was already blind in one eye and I had heard that he may have had a stroke in the last few years. I checked around today using online phone books and even looked through the obituaries, but I haven’t found him. I do have his address and phone number from 2000, so I may just go out on a limb and give them a try.

See, it pays to do these Single View posts, huh?