Month: March 2011


I thought I’d take an Irish theme on the latest entry into my “Single View” post series since today is St. Patrick’s Day. Though, there is some confusion to where this ancestor originally came from.

William Henry THOMPSON was born sometime between 1810 and 1816 in either Ireland, England, or Scotland, depending on which record you look at. In the 1870 Census of Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin, he is listed as being born in 1810 in England. On his headstone, the listing of his daughter in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, and the Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968 entry, he was born in 1813 in Ireland. In the 1880 and 1860 Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin census records, he was born in 1816 in Ireland. Finally, in the 1850 Census of Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin and listed as his birthplace in entries for his daughter, Pauline (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH, he was born in 1816 in Scotland. Adding to the fact that the name William THOMPSON covered about 15 billion people back then, he has been a tough one to find.

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For years I had lost track of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Peter MUHM. He and his wife, Ida (SCHAVANDIE) MUHM, lived in Wisconsin for many years. I tracked Ida to Langlade County, Wisconsin in 1934 where she finally rests at Elmwood Cemetery in Antigo. Where was Peter? Good question. I also couldn’t find them in the 1900 Census records.

After some deep searching, I ran across an newspaper article in the Antigo (Wisconsin) Daily Journal from May 1933 about Mr. and Mrs. MUHM. It says:

For five years Mr. and Mrs. Muhm farmed with only a grub hoe, pitchfork, and hoe. Grain and hay were carried from the field to the barn on the pitchfork. Sometime after beginning their clearing, a cow and a few chickens were bought, and with other additions, little by little, they soon had a prosperous little farm. At the beginning fish, wild game, and deer afforded the only meat the family had. Mr. Muhm had shot 99 deer before he sold his farm in 1902 and went to Portland, Oregon. As a pioneer he built many of the first houses and barns in the county, and also made coffins for the dead.

Three years after moving to Portland, Mr. Muhm died as the result of a fall he suffered when a scaffold collapsed. Mrs. Muhm continued to live there for sixteen years, then returned here to make her home with her daughters, Mrs. Joe Narlow, and Mrs. Fred Van Atter. Another daughter, Mrs. Peter Van Price lives in Port Washington; a son Edward in San Francisco, and an older son, George, in Portland, Oregon.

(Full Transcribed Article Text on my wiki)

Tada! There is the information I needed. Peter and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon (reasons still unknown) and he died after falling from a scaffold in 1905. I also had found an “Ida MUHM” in the 1910 Census in Oregon that now made sense. Then, on a whim, I ran “MUHM” through the Find-A-Grave search system in Oregon and what do you know, I found his headstone located in Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland. A nice volunteer by the name of VDR had photographed it sometime in late 2010. Aren’t volunteers wonderful? She was very nice and transferred ownership of the memorial to me so I can now update it and add it to my list.

Peter Muhm
Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, Oregon

I found a link to this over at Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings website. It’s a link a survey about people’s genealogy habits, attitudes and origins. According to the survey page, they plan to share the results with libraries, family history organizations or societies at no cost.

I took the survey earlier and it was well-done. I agree with Randy when he says that it’s one of the best he has seen. It should take no longer than 15-20 minutes.

Use this link to visit the survey: Family History Survey

(After posting this I ran across some new info. Listed at the bottom.)

I thought I would revisit the GWIAZDOWSKI connection in my family tree. As I mentioned in a previous post, Brick Wall Coming Down?, I ran across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname by searching for information I found in a short  paragraph in a letter I received. You can read that process in detail in the post I mentioned. Go on, I won’t go anywhere.

So, I use all of those names and did some searching and found the GORALSKI family and GWIAZDOWSKI family in a passenger list with this note written next to them.

"Visitors nephew Franz Zaleski 902 Pulaski St." Click for larger image

Frank and his family lived at 902 Pulaski Street until about 1900, when they moved to Fratney St. This information all put together makes either August or Anna GWIAZDOWSKI Frank’s uncle or aunt, respectively, as he is listed as their nephew. It would all depend on if they are related to Frank via his father or his mother. If I get lucky, maybe I can find where the GWIAZDOWSKI’s came from, which may give me information on where my ZALEWSKI family originally came from as I’ve had no luck, yet. Frank and his family traveled from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland. It turns out the most of Bremen’s records (at least from 1889) were destroyed either in the war or to make room for new records, so I can’t search those.

Sometimes you find the most important information in a place where you wouldn’t normally look. So, check those extended families!

UPDATE #1: From the last 30 minutes of researching. It turns out that in the beginning of the passenger list document, someone wrote out all of the names alphabetically and where they came from, etc. Listed next to the GWIAZDOWSKI’s (and GORALSKI’s, though written as KORALSKI) is the name “Gottschalk” for Place of Origin. I can’t find a place named that, yet, just people with that surname. Any ideas? Gottschalt, maybe?

UPDATE #2: After some searching around without any luck, I tried an old trusty bookmark: Kartenmeister. It returned a result for “Gottschalk” which looks to now be called “Goczałki” in present-day Poland (Google Map link.) This opens up some new research paths that I’m excited to go down.

This is a video from San Francisco supposedly taken only a few days before the 1906 earthquake and fire. It has been seen before, as it noted in the post over at BoingBoing, where I saw it, though this version is of much better quality. Also, the original video can be downloaded in high-quality since it’s in the public domain. If you want that, you can go on over to archive.org and get it.

I think it’s amazing to see how life was back in 1906. Note the almost-chaotic driving, the people hitching rides on seemingly random vehicles, the mix of horses, people, and cars. (Sorry, it’s a bit cut off, but you can see most of it.)

There is also an updated version from 2005 up on YouTube where the videographer takes the same trip. Or, even better, there is one with side-by-side comparison.

Troka Family

Troka FamilyThis is a photo from my paternal Milwaukee line. I don’t know the names of everyone in the photo, but there are a few I know. My great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, is at the top-left. Her mother, Clara (SZULTA) TROKA, is right below her. Clara’s mother (and my 3rd-great-grandmother), Nepomuncena (SYLDAKT) SZULTA, is to the right of her. The only other name I know is that of Nepomuncena’s son, John SZULTA, in the middle of the back row. The remaining people are either part of the SZULTA family or TROKA family. I have other photos from this day that include other family members. Click photo to enlarge.