Month: April 2010

Firmenich 4 GenerationsThis is a “4 Generations” shot of the Firmenich -> Corrigan -> Olsen line. Included is my 3rd-great-grandfather, Mathias FIRMENICH; his daughter and my great-great-grandmother, Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) CORRIGAN; her daughter, Clarice (CORRIGAN) OLSEN; and Clarice’s daughter, Renee. The photo was taken in 1924. Click the photo for a a larger view.

Emma Jane Firmenich

Here are these week’s important dates. As always, you can view these whenever you like on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 27th

Happy birthday to my grandmother, Mary Jane, and her twin brother, Tom!

April 28th

1941 – Died – Emma Jane FIRMENICH – Emma Jane is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born on 23 Jun 1873 in Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. She married Thomas CORRIGAN in 1892 and they had 9 children, including my great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN. After Thomas died in 1915, she married twice more before her death. She died in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Agnes Cemetery.

April 29th

1756 – Died – Laurence HENRY – Laurence is my 8th-great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born about 1690 in Vaivre, Haute-Saône, France. He married Jacques GRANGIER in 1714. He passed away in Menoux, Haute-Saône, France.

April 30th

1866 – Born – Margaretha STEARNS – Born Barbara Margaretha Magdalena STEARNS, she is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was  born in Württemberg, Germany and after immigrating with her family to Wisconsin, she married Frank F BRAATZ in 1891. Together they had 5 children, including my great-grandmother, Agnes BRAATZ. She passed away in 1943 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

May 1st

1941 – Died – Emily M TROKA – Emily is my great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born on 5 Jan 1896 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Clara (SZULTA) TROKA. She married Joseph ZALEWSKI on 25 Jun 1919 and they had 3 children. Emily died suddenly of a stroke on May 1st, 1941 at only 45 years of age.

UPDATE 5/24/12: This specific widget is no longer being used on my new template, though I am working on something similar.

I had some crazy idea earlier this week on something I wanted to develop for the site. I thought, what if people were able to hover over links that I have to my family tree section and get some basic information on that person without ever having to leave the post? Well, it went from idea to (almost) finished product in about 3 days. I know it’s not a perfect implementation and I plan on tweaking it to make it work better and more efficient.

So, now if you hover over a name on my posts that link to a person’s information page, like for example, Richard ZALEWSKI, it will show you basic information about my grandfather in a tooltip. If you want the full details, you can still click on the link and go to the family tree page. This only works on individuals right now and not family group sheets, but I don’t link to them that often.

I’ve tested the implementation in most of the major browsers including Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6, and Google Chrome 5. I’m pretty sure it works in just about everything as long as you have Javascript enabled, according to the tooltip code I used.

Let me know how you like it and if it’s too annoying or clunky. Constructive criticism is good so I can fix issues with it. So, you’re my beta testers! Enjoy.

For the technical mumbo-jumbo for all you geeks or if anyone is interested, keep reading.



This is a picture of the men of the Troka, Zalewski, Szulta, and other families. The photo includes both my great-grandfather and his father-in-law, my great-great-grandfather. Also included are some great uncles and some other family members. Here are the names of everyone in the photo. Back row: Joseph Zalewski (my great-grandfather), Leo Troka (my great-granduncle), Steve Kolasinski, John Szulta (my great-great-granduncle), Roman Troka (my great-granduncle) – Front row: Barney Kuszewski, Jos. Malzewski, Joseph Troka (my great-great-grandfather), Ignatz Urmanski.

I plan on adding major events for both my family tree and my wife’s family tree from now on. That should help some of those less busy weeks. As always, you can find all of this information yourself on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 18th

1892 – MarriedThomas J CORRIGAN & Emma Jane FIRMENICH – Thomas and Emma are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side. They were married at Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. This was Thomas’ second marriage as his first wife died in about 1890. Thomas and Emma had 9 children, including my great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN. Thomas passed away just before their last child, Sadie, was born in 1915. Emma later re-married 2 more times before she died in 1941.

1999 – Died – Richard ZALEWSKI – Richard is my grandfather on my father’s side. He was born 9 Dec 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. He married my grandmother, Mary Jane CORRIGAN, on 11 Oct 1947 in Milwaukee. He passed away in Cedarburg, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Francis-Borgia Cemetery. His death was one of the main reasons I got into genealogy in the first place.

April 19th

1678 – Born – Anna Maria LUDWIG – Anna Maria is my wife’s 8th-great-grandmother on her father’s side. She was born in Kurnbach, Baden, Germany. She married Johann Phillip NAST in 1703 and had 7 children. She passed away on 3 May 1748 at Kurnbach, Baden, Germany.

April 20th

1740 – Born – Nathaniel SHANNON – Nathaniel is my wife’s 6th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born in Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire to Nathaniel & Alice (FROST) SHANNON. He married Ann B CARD in February 1761. He passed away in September 1792 is Portsmouth.

1800 – Born – Antoine Joseph CALONNE – Antoine is my wife’s 4th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born in Grand-Leez, Namur, Belgium. He married Marie Eleanore Josephe ETIENNE in 1821. He passed away on 9 Dec 1870 in Grand-Leez.

1900 – Died – Charlotte STRASSMAN – Charlotte is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born 20 Jul 1817 in Germany. She married Johann W G LAST sometime before 1850 in Germany before emigrating in 1857. She passed away at Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin.

April 21st

1722 – Born – Thérèse DARD – Thérèse is my 7th-great-grandmother of my father’s side. She was born at Menoux, Haute-Saône, France. She married Pierre Francois QUINET in 1751 and had 7 children. She presumably passed away in France, as did her husband.

April 24th

1927 – Died – Johann THIELKE – Johann is my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born 26 Oct 1843 in Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany. He immigrated with his family in about 1854. He married Wilomene C RATHKE in 1891 and had one child, Arthur. He passed away at Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Paul’s Cemetery.


I recently re-installed the Family Tree area of my website. You won’t really notice anything different, but I had to do some back-end stuff. It’s been awhile since I had originally installed the site, so it became pretty confusing. A clean install is much nicer.

But, along with this new install, I also uploaded a ton of photos, documents, and headstone pictures that I had been wanting to take care of. It’s not everything that I have, but there is a lot more than there was before. Plus, everything is linked to the people in the photos! I’m working on getting some of the “Places” set correctly so that you can see interactive maps of all of these places. It’s a very powerful system that I never fully used before.

Note that some of the info may be wrong, sometimes my tree export picks a non-primary date from the list (like a date that was different from most records, but I entered it as alternate data.) Also, some special characters in certain locations and names may show up as a “?” or another weird character. I’ve worked out most of those, but there may be a few rogue ones. I have only exported my direct ancestors (and their children) and the same for my wife, Darcy. I used to export everything in my tree, but then I got a lot of weird emails asking me for info about some 18th cousin that I only had a name entered for. I plan on exporting some other non-direct individuals that I deem interesting, but I have not yet gone through that process.

Thanks to everyone who helped me build this. Take a look.

Photo courtesy of Bart van Damme on flickr

St. Mary's - Port Washington
Click for full size

An early spring photo from St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Washington, Wisconsin. With the leafless trees and gentle blue sky, it’s a mix between beautiful and a sinister this time of the year.

[ Find-a-Grave Link ]

Thanks for everyone who sent me an “Ancestor Approved” award.

In recognition for receiving this award, I will follow the directions and list ten things about my ancestors that have “inspired, surprised, humbled, or enlightened me and to then pass the award along to ten other bloggers whom I feel are doing their ancestors proud.” Though, I will not be passing it along to ten other bloggers since almost everyone I read has already received the award, but thank you to everyone.

  1. As always, humbled by many of my ancestors for their courage and faith in leaving their homeland to come to a different country on the other side of the world.
  2. Surprised at some of the chance moments that came to be for my ancestors to meet and fall in love.
  3. Humbled by my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, who between 1939 and 1941 lost his mother, his wife, and then his father.
  4. Inspired by many of my ancestors who worked extremely hard everyday just to keep food on the table for their families.
  5. Surprised about how closely-located all of my ancestors are. They go back many generations in this local area, or at least in Wisconsin.
  6. Also, surprised that I have no (as far as I know) English ancestry. (Though, I do have Irish and possibly Scottish)
  7. Humbled by my veteran ancestors who risked their lives for this country in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II and who knows how many wars in the past.
  8. Enlightened by the jobs and skills my ancestors possessed. Sometimes they had to learn many things to survive.
  9. Humbled to know that everything that my ancestors did in their lives all add up to me. If one thing were different, no matter how good or bad it was, I would not be here typing this.
  10. Inspired by my ancestors to pass on their legacy and stories through my genealogy and this website.

Thanks again to Laura Ann at Dreaming About Home, Theresa at Tangled Trees, Julie at GenBlog, and Miriam at Ancestories for giving me this award.

Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee is one of the city’s most famous cemeteries. Though, I have no family buried there, Laura Ann at “Dreaming About Home” wrote up a nice post about her trip to Calvary Cemetery.

Calvary Cemetery
Calvary Cemetery
Frank & Margaret Braatz
Frank & Margaret Braatz

The history in my family tree for this week. As always you can browse the dates yourself on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 11th

1939 – Died – Anna A (LINDNER) ZALEWSKIAnna is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 27 Nov 1865 in German Poland. She married Frank J ZALEWSKI in 1885 and emigrated to America in 1889, settling in Milwaukee. Frank and Anna had 9 children together. Anna passed away in Milwaukee at the age of 73 and is buried with her family at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

April 12th

1923 – Married – Maurice Earl CORRIGAN & Agnes Katherine BRAATZ – Maurice and Agnes are my great-grandparents on my father’s side. Maurice was born 28 Dec 1898 in Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin and Agnes was born 4 Feb 1903 in Mellen, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. They were married at Iron Mountain, Dickinson Co., Michigan and had 5 children. Maurice passed away in 1993 and Agnes in 1998. They are buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

April 14th

1856 – Died – Jacobus Franciscus KREBBEKX – Jacobus is my 4th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born 1 Mar 1818 in Hoofdplaat, Zeeland, Netherlands. He married Maria Sophia SCHALLOIR in 1840 and together they had 2 children. Jacobus passed away at Hoofdplaat, Zeeland, Netherlands.

April 17th

1867 – Born – Frank F BRAATZ, Sr – Frank is my great-great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born in Germany to Wilhelm & Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ before immigrating in about 1867. Frank married Margaret K STEARNS in 1891 and had 5 children, including my great-grandmother Agnes. Frank passed away on 10 Jul 1948 in Ashland, Wisconsin and is buried there at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

I ran across a show on Netflix about cemeteries that was definitely interesting. Any of you out there with Netflix access may enjoy it. It is also available for “Instant Streaming” so you can either watch it on your PC directly or any other device you use for that (like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.)

It’s called Rick Sebak: A Cemetery Special from 2005. Netflix’s descriptions says:

Writer-producer Rick Sebak serves as your tour guide for this hourlong journey through America’s most notable cemeteries, examining the history and artistry of headstones, crypts, monuments and family plots. Stopping in Florida, Alaska and numerous points in between, this fascinating program explores humans’ diverse methods for honoring the departed — and the myriad ways in which graveyards relate to modern culture.

It’s an interesting look at this history of modern-day cemeteries and a nice tour of some of the country’s more popular locations.