Month: October 2010


Nepomuncena & Kids

A photo from 1921 that includes my 3rd-great grandmother, Nepomuncena (SYLDATK) SZULTA, in the middle. This is a photo of her with a bunch of her grandchildren. Since it seems to be sometime in Summer or Spring 1921, my grandfather would not have been born yet. Though, the little girl in her lap on the right looks an awful lot like my grandfather’s sister, Irene, who was born in 1920.

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.