Month: January 2010


February 1st

1849 – Born – Ignatz Peter SZULTA – Ignatz is my 3rd-great-grandfather on my father’s side. New evidence that I found may actually move his birth date to January 30th. Recently, I had found that Ignatz was born in what is now Sulęczyno Parish, Kartuzy County, Pomorskie, Poland. He married Nepomuncena SYLDATK in 1875 and immigrated to Milwaukee. He passed away on 25 May 1922 in Milwaukee and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. Here is part of Ignatz’s birth record showing what looks like 30 Jan for his birth and 31 Jan as his christening.

February 4th

1903 – Born – Agnes Catherine BRAATZ – Agnes is my great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born in Mellen, Ashland Co., Wisconsin to Frank & Margaret (STEARNS) BRAATZ. She married Maurice CORRIGAN in 1923 and had 5 children. I had the pleasure of knowing my great-grandmother, since she was alive for all of my childhood. She was my last great-grandparent to pass away when she died on 9 Apr 1998. She is buried with her husband at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

No, not a last name, the name LAST. You should see how difficult it is to do any sort of search on this surname. Typing in “last surname” or just “last” into search engines usually gets me a lot more than I need. Sometimes it gives me “Did you mean ‘last name’?” It’s even tough on genealogy sites like Ancestry, since some records put in “Last” if the person’s surname was unknown.

The LAST surname first shows up in my tree from my great-grandmother on my maternal side, Madora Martha Louisa LAST, who married Arthur THIELKE. Madora was one of 16 children! She was the tenth child for Charles Carl LAST and Augusta Johanna LUEDTKE, born in Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. Charles was born in Doeringshagen, Pommerania, which is located in present day Poland. His parents were Johann W G LAST (a Civil War veteran) and Charlotte STRASSMAN. Charles has immigrated to Wisconsin with his parents in 1857 and shows up in the 1860 Census in Wisconsin.

According Ancestry’s surname information page, LAST was most common in Wisconsin in 1880. Also, they note it to mean a metonymic occupational name for a porter, from Middle High German last; German Last or Yiddish last ‘burden’, ‘load’. A porter is more than likely someone who was in charge of a door or a gate (similar to a doorman.)

There are many LASTs in this area, most of which probably descend from Augusta & Charles and their 16 children. Augusta not only had 16 children, but she lived to be 100-years-old. Now comes the part when I need to research back in Poland.

I decided that a new theme was needed. The previous one was nice, but it has been falling behind in some things. The web moves fast. This one gives me more control over certain things and it listed to have been tested and working in the most common browsers (sadly, even IE6, which I wish would die already.) I’ll probably be making some minor changes and tweaks in the next few days, but I’m pretty happy with it already. It’s slick, simple, and it looks nice without taking you away from the content, which is king.

Here are some interesting blog posts that I’ve run across for this week.

  • Abba-Dad at I Dream of Genea(logy) posts Genealogy – What’s the Point? In the post he wonders why people do genealogy. What keeps them going? After reading it, I see two sections that really drive me. “Where do I come from? How did I get here? What chain of coincidences and historical events came together to give me this life?” and “If you can place one of your ancestors in a significant historical event, then you have a personal connection to it.” What drives you?
  • Elyse over at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog posts a good overview about organizing your mountain of collected papers. As Genealogists, you know how much paper you collect. It’s a three-post series starting with the initial step of getting everything together. Organizing the Paper Mountain (Part 1). Feel free to follow on to Part 2 and Part 3.
  • A fairly new blog, Geneapprentice, has recently popped up. Sarah is blogging about her experience working towards her certificate from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. I know it’s crossed my mind to get certified, so it’s a good read if you’re thinking about it.
  • NBC is premiering the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? starting March 5, after the Olympics. I am a big fan of the show having watched a few of the British versions from BBC. I enjoy the way they incorporate the personal genealogy of a celebrity with world historical events. History and Genealogy buffs will love the show. I really hope it survives America’s TV landscape (and NBC) like the BBC version has. They’ve just completed Season 7.
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This is one of the new photos I found this weekend when looking through my grandmother’s collection. This is the best photo that I have of my great-grandmother, Emily (Troka) ZALEWSKI. She passed away pretty young in 1941 at the age of 45, so there are not a lot of photos of her. This is her and my great-grandfather, Joseph ZALEWSKI on their wedding day in about 1919, since Joe had recently returned from World War I. I have yet to get the exact date of their wedding. I guess it’s one of those things I keep forgetting to dig for.

The other people are mostly unknown to me. The only other person that was labeled was the 2nd man in the back, Leo TROKA, Emily’s younger brother. The other three are not labeled. Though, strangely, there was a 1998 obituary taped to the back of the photograph inside of the frame for an Agnes (Binczak) MAJESKI, who seemed to have lived in that area of Milwaukee according to census records. The obituary was not specifically pointing at any certain individual, but it is possible that this woman is one of the women in the photo.

There are many more wonderful photos in this collection, so besides getting a treasure trove of great family photos, I shouldn’t run out of Wordless Wednesday/Tell Me Thursday posts for awhile.

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Richard Zalewski
Richard Zalewski, Miami, Florida, Sept 1941

This weekend I picked up the mother lode of photos, documents, and information on my grandparent’s families. My aunt and uncle were holding on to my grandmother’s heirlooms, which included my grandfather’s stuff after he passed away. I knew my grandmother had a few photo albums since I previously borrowed them and scanned some photos. I was pretty surprised at all of the other items in the boxes. There were old documents, death certificates, baptism records, funeral cards, old Navy photos, and even film/video from the 30s and 40s (fortunately, on VHS.)

I only scanned a few things so far, but I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’d like to get everything scanned just as a way to digitally back it all up. I also happen to have a VHS-to-DVD machine that I bought to transfer my parent’s home videos to DVD as a Christmas gift one year, so that makes backing up the video pretty easy. One problem there, I can’t find the remote control for it and it has a lot of little important buttons on it. One of the cats probably stole it and made a bed out of it or something.

That does bring me to a question for somebody out there. My paternal grandfather served in the Navy during World War II. He didn’t see combat overseas, but he was stationed “overseas” in Hilo, Hawai’i. From what it sounds like from stories, photos, and some news articles is that he was there for the 1946 Hilo Tsunami and helped rescue people. Along with his Navy stuff, he has dozens of photos of fellow Navy men, including their last names and which group they served in. What would be the best way to go about possibly scanning these photos in and getting them to family members? Is there a “Navy Veterans” message board or something similar? I think it’d be very nice to get copies of the photos to some of these people’s families.

Along with that, a very helpful fellow Polish researcher sent me some copies of the baptism record of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Ignatz Szulta, from 1849 and also his marriage record with Nepomuncena Syldakt in 1875 that he happened to run across. Ignatz’s parent’s names are listed on his baptism record, which is new to me. I now just need to try to transcribe it. Those were extremely helpful and very interesting to read. Thanks, Al.

January 24th

1789 – Died – Maria TRUIJEN – Maria is my 7th-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born 12 May 1725 in Genk, Limburg, Belgium. She married Paulus VAN CREYBECK in 1748. She passed away at Genk, Limburg, Belgium.

1850 – Died – Friedrich Ernest MUHM – Friedrich is my 5th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. Friedrich was born 22 Nov 1774 in Schwbendorf, Landkreis, Maurburg, Hessen, Germany. He married Gertrude OPPERMAN in 1795. He passed away at Schwbendorf, Landkreis, Maurburg, Hessen, Germany.

January 29th

1894 – Married – Joseph TROKA & Clara SZULTA – Joseph and Clara are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side. They were married at St. Hedwig’s church on the east side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin by C. ROGOZINSKI. They had 4 children, including my great-grandmother, Emily TROKA. Clara passed away in 1959 and Joe passed away in 1962. They are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Today’s surname is another one from my Polish side. SZULTA is presumably pronounced like SCHULTA. This surname first shows up in my ancestry with my great-great-grandmother, Clara SZULTA, who was born in Poland (or Prussia or Germany, I’m not sure yet.) I can only trace it back to Clara’s father, Ignatius SZULTA, who brought his family to America from Europe.

Ignatius SZULTA was born 1 Feb 1849 in Poland (Austria, as it’s noted.) He married Nepomuncena “Annie” SYLDAKT (I’ve also seen it written as SOZAK) in 1875. Together, they had 9 children with the first 3 born in Poland; Clara, Valerian, and Martha. These three children are listed on the passenger list along with Nepomuncena. Ignatius probably came over first, but I have yet to find his record. They settled in Milwaukee. I first find an “Ignats Szulta” in the Milwaukee City Directory in 1883 living at 943 Sobieski St.

Clara was born in Poland 6 Jan 1876. She married Joseph TROKA at. St. Hedwig’s Church on the east side of Milwaukee on 29 Jan 1894. They had 4 children, including my great-grandmother, Emily M TROKA, where it finally connects to my ZALEWSKI family. Ignatius passed away 25 May 1922 and Annie shortly thereafter on 22 Dec 1925. They are both buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee. Clara lived until 19 Jul 1959, only a few years before her husband was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Day in 1962.

It’s one of those surnames that is somewhat uncommon, so finding ancestors is usually simple. I search and if I find results, it’s usually a family member. I do run into some issues when it shows up under SCHULTA or SCHULTE since it usually groups names like Schultz and Schulz along with it, which makes it hard to browse. Googling SZULTA usually just brings up links to my sites and a few general Genealogy surname sites. It doesn’t seem to be very common. I have another researcher that I am in contact with that has been researching this family, as she is descended from one of Ignatius and Annie’s children. One of those lines that I get a lot of searches from is the URMANSKI family that branches out from their daughter Leocadia “Lilly” and her husband, Ignatz URMANSKI. That one seemed to spread out pretty far from the SZULTAs.

I need to spend some time searching these names but replacing SZULTA with either SCHULTA or SCHULTE and see what I get, though most sites include those using Soundex.

I thought I would recognize some helpful posts by the genealogy blogging community.

Creative Gene

Jasia at Creative Gene has a very good writeup on an extremely helpful (depends on your ancestry, I guess) online dictionary that translates from Polish to English and vice versa. It’s not only online, but it’s completely free. She does a good job explaining why this dictionary is as helpful as it is. I learned a bit about the Polish language and I also used it to help another Zalewski researcher with some documents he had that were written in Polish. Check out her I Won’t Be Going Bald Anytime Soon! post.

The Genetic Genealogist

Blaine has a good Q&A post up on his site explaining your two “family trees.” He talks about the differences between your Genealogical Tree and your Genetic Tree and how they each may help you find information about the other one. Read his Q&A: Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree post.

Kick-Ass Genealogy

Besides the in-your-face blog name, Katrina has a good post on how to deal with roadblocks when interviewing relatives. Sometimes the interviewee may dodge or block a question you ask. Did Great Aunt Erma have more children? Was Uncle Jerry a wild child of the 60s? Read over this post to help you with this issue. Dealing with Roadblocks When Interviewing Relatives

Olive Tree Genealogy

Over at Olive Tree  Genealogy, there is a great start to a series of 12 posts looking at some of the less obvious resources in finding information on your ancestors. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on this, since I feel like I’ve exhausted some of the normal resources on some of my lines. The first post is about medical records and how these may be helpful in your research. Check it out at 12 Months of Finding Ancestors: Medical Records (Part 1 of a 12 Part Series)

I hope these posts will be as helpful to you as they were to me.

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This photo was recently sent to me by another DeBroux/Laurent researcher. The ladies shown are the three youngest daughters of Jean-Baptiste LAURENT and Olivine Marie ST. LOUIS. They are Josephine KING, Philomene DEBROUX, and Milly RABIDEAU. Philomene is my great-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. I’m not sure when the photo was taken, but if I had to guess, I ‘d say somewhere from 1940-1950 since Philomene passed away in 1956.