Year: 2010


Today would have been my grandfather’s 89th birthday. Richard Joseph Zalewski was born on December 9th, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2nd child of Joseph & Emily (Troka) Zalewski.

He passed away in April 18th, 1999 when I was freshman in college. His death, and a few other moments in 1999, was the reason I became interested in Genealogy and the researching of my family tree. The funny part is that my Zalewski line is probably the one part of my tree that I could use more information on. Information that he probably had.

He was taken early from us by pancreatic cancer.  Of all cancers, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates and is the fourth-highest cancer killer in the US. Everyone probably knows someone who has died from pancreatic cancer, including celebrities such as Patrick Swayze.

If you’re in the giving mood, please give to one of these pancreatic cancer researchers:

The weekly history from our family trees for this week. I plan on getting back to this since I’ve been so busy lately. As always you can browse the history by date on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

November 28th

1841 – Died – Constant Joseph LAURENT – Constant is Brian’s 4th-great-grandfather on his mother’s side. He was born 14 Oct 1777 in Grez-Doiceau, Walloon Brabant, Belgium. In 1809, he married his wife Marie Josèphe BERO. He passed away in Biez, Chaumont-Gistoux, Waloon Brabant, Belgium.

November 29th

1716 – Born – Rachel (BURLSON) WARNER – Rachel is Darcy’s 7th-great-grandmother on her mother’s side. She was born in Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. She married her husband, John WARNER, in 1741 and passed away in an unknown year at Pittsford, Rutland Co., Vermont.

1821 – Married – Antoine Joseph CALONNE & Marie Eleanore Joseph ETIENNE – Antoine and Marie are Darcy’s 4th-great-grandparents on her mother’s side. They were married at Dhuy, Namur, Belgium and together had 13 children.

November 30th

1854 – Married – Jean Joseph Désiré DEBROUX & Marie Desiree LOOD – Jean and Marie are Brian’s 3rd-great-grandparents on his mother’s side. They were married at Piétrebais, Walloon Brabant, Belgium. Together they had 7 children, only one was born in Belgium before they traveled to the US and settled in Wisconsin.

December 1st

1828 – Died – Marie Catherine LOUIS – Marie is Darcy’s 6th-great-grandmother on her mother’s side. She was born in about 1747 in Thorembais-les-Beguines, Walloon Brabant, Belgium. She married Jean Francois RENIER in 1774 and passed away at Thorembais-les-Beguines, Walloon Brabant, Belgium.

December 4th

1842 – Born – Barbara (REINDL) HUIZEL – Barbara is Darcy’s great-great-grandmother on her father’s side. She was born in Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. She married John HUIZEL in about 1864. She passed away on 6 Feb 1905 in Plymouth, Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa.

Photo from Charles' Passport. Note his name listed as just "Price."

By the time the VAN PRICE surname ended in my ancestry, it had already been changed at least once. My great-grandmother, Mildred Vida (DEBROUX) VAN PRICE, was the last to have the surname before she married my great-grandfather. Her father, as he is listed on later documents and his headstone, was Peter VAN PRICE. Though, he wasn’t born with that name. His name when he was born was Pieter Franciscus VAN PARIJS.

For years, I didn’t have much more info on the VAN PRICE surname in my tree besides the two people listed above, and I didn’t have anything on Peter except for his name. That all changed on day when searching for information using Google. 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, Zeeuwen Gezocht [Zeeland Archives]. It turns out that the VAN PARIJS family is from the Zeeland area of the Netherlands and this website was a treasure trove of information. 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.

From the archive website  I found Peter’s parents, Charles Ludovicus VAN PARIJS and Johanna Maria KREBBEKX. Then Charles’ father was found as Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS, then Phillipus Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS, and finally Joannis VAN PARIJS. This is as far back as I’ve been able to find, though I haven’t dug in and done much research in a few years. By this time, the VAN PARIJS family was located in the East Flanders, Belgium area.

Hilo, HawaiiFor Wayback Wednesday, I’m going to give you more than just the one photo shown here. I’m going to give you a whole collection of 119 photos. I recently uploaded my grandfather’s Navy photo collection to Flickr. I was hoping that maybe somebody from the photos, or their families, will find them. It would just be nice to let them see the photos. He has a lot of photos of his fellow navymen from when he was stationed in the Hilo, Hawaii area from about 1942 to 1946. There is also a lot of Hawaiian history in some of his photos, like of old Honolulu.

I’d love for you to visit the Flickr photo set and enjoy the history.

AerissaIt’s been 5 days since Aerissa was born. Today is the day that she was scheduled to be born. We were supposed to be going in last night to start the process. It’s still 6 days from her original due date, which was November 10th. Since she’s very healthy, I’m glad she came early. The other day I finally added her to my family tree software, which felt really good. For one, it finally merges my wife’s tree and my tree together. Now I do feel more of a connection to her ancestors now that they are the ancestors of my daughter.

She joins a small group of people in her family tree with the same birthdate:

  • Her maternal 5th-great-grandfather, Peyton WEY. Born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1805. He lived to 76 years of age, passing on 4 May 1882 in Wisconsin.
  • Her maternal 4th-great-granduncle, Thomas Peyton WEY, son of Peyton WEY. Born in Virginia in 1835.
  • Her paternal 4th-great-grandaunt, Elisabeth Maria FIRMENICH, sister of Mathias FIRMENICH. Born in Eicks, Rheinland, Prussia in 1844. She later married August GRIEPENTROG.
  • Her twin paternal 7th-great-grandaunts, Marie Therese GRIGNAC and Marquerite GRIGNAC. Born in Cap-Santé, Quebec, Canada in 1748.

Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings has posted this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. The prompt for this week is as follows:

1) Read Brenda Joyce Jerome’s post Who or What Do You Blame? on the Western Kentucky Genealogy blog. She asks these questions:

* Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information?

* Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?

* Did your interest stem from your child’s school project on genealogy?

* If you have been researching many years, it may be hard to pinpoint one reason for this journey.

2) Write your responses on your own blog, in a comment to this blog post, or in a note or comment on Facebook.

I can’t exactly identify one person who started my interest in genealogy. I remember going to family reunions for my paternal grandmother’s family, the descendants of Thomas J CORRIGAN, and meeting all kinds of people who were supposedly related to me. I never really took interest in the family tree stuff there, but I was pretty young at the time. Problem solving, for some reason, has always been somewhat easy for me and depending on what problem I’m solving it can also be fun. This is probably the main reason I enjoy genealogy so much. It’s a very personal problem to solve and it involves lots of information and logic. To be honest, I don’t remember a genealogy project in school. If I did do one, I guess I didn’t save it. When looking through some of the files my mother gave me, I also don’t see any trees my brothers did. Maybe our school district didn’t do it.

I became interested specifically in genealogy in about 1999. Two different events prompted me to look more into my personal history. First, my grandfather, Richard ZALEWSKI, passed away in April 1999 and then a few weeks later I read an article in our local paper about FamilySearch.org. It was about how much traffic the site received when it first opened, which took the site offline. This event is also mentioned on the FamilySearch Wikipedia entry, “May 1999: Website first opened to the public. It almost immediately went off-line, overloaded because of extreme popularity.”

Those two events happening pretty close to each other made me think of my personal history and how I should probably at least do some basic digging before I lose my other grandparents. Thankfully, all three of my other grandparents are still with us. As with most genealogists, this basic digging just wasn’t enough. I opened Pandora’s Box, so to speak.

On my paternal grandmother’s CORRIGAN side of the tree, I did receive a lot of research that was already done by my great-granduncle, Edwin CORRIGAN, and other family members for the family reunions we had. My paternal ZALEWSKI line was barely touched as was my maternal side of the tree, so I did have a lot of work cut out for me. Many thanks to my parents and grandparents for giving me the information I needed. It turns out a lot of it was around, just not organized like it is now.

Now, it’s my job to plant the seed into my daughter’s life (and possibly other children if that happens) and let them run with it. Maybe in 20 years she’ll do a blog post, or whatever crazy thing is around then, about me.

With this week being about a month away from the birth of my baby daughter, it got me thinking about how she may or may not enjoy genealogy. I will have no hard feelings about it if she takes no interest in it. I know I probably would’ve snubbed my nose at it when I was a young’n.

Though, this also got me thinking about how to use it to her advantage. For one, almost every kid gets the “Trace Your Family Tree” assignment in elementary school. When that time comes, I think we’re pretty well set. The other way we could use this for her would be in certain history classes. If you tell her that her 4th-great-grandfather, and a few others, fought for the Union army in the Civil War, this may make learning about it more exciting. I was never much of a fan of history classes when I was in school. I trudged through them, but really only learned enough to get by. Now, after getting into genealogy, I love history and watch a lot of the shows about certain aspects of history. I am usually much more interested in history that involves my ancestors.

Have any of you used genealogy to help kids, or others, in school?

My Aunt and Uncle let me scan this photo from my grandfather’s collection. It’s a photo of his 8th grade class at St. Casimir’s School in northeast Milwaukee in February 1936. As you can tell by the names, if you can see them, it was a very Polish-heavy area. I’ve magnified my grandfather’s photograph. The original image is very large, so I didn’t want to put the whole thing on the site. The girls got the top area of the photo, the boys on the bottom, and the teachers in the middle.

St. Casimir's School

On a side note, I plan to start posting more often again. I’ve been busy recently, with a new baby on the way and all, and have also not had the genealogy bug for a bit.