Month: October 2011


I’m going to participate in this week’s Sunday’s Obituary theme.

This is the obituary for my great-great grandmother, Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) CORRIGAN in from April 28, 1941. I’m not sure exactly which newspaper since I found the article in my grandmother’s collection and she didn’t note it. If I had to guess, it’s probably from a local Ashland, Wisconsin newspaper.

MRS. COOK, 67, OLD RESIDENT DIES MONDAY

Wife Of Former Street Commissioner Succumbs To Long Illness

Mrs. Emma Cook, 67, of 109 North Ellis avenue, a resident of Ashland and the Chequamegon region for the past 59 years and wife of the late George S. Cook, former city street commissioner, died Monday evening at her home following a lingering illness.

The former Emma Firmenich was born in Wrightstown, Wisconsin, on June 29, 1873, but moved with her parents to Ashland in 1882. The Firmenich family lived in Ashland for a few years and then moved to Sanborn.

She was married to Thomas Corrigan in 1892 at Sanborn where the couple lived until 1905. They then moved to Ashland and lived near the cemetery on Sanborn avenue for several years. Mr. Corrigan died in 1916, but his wife continued to live in their home until 1926 when she moved to Milwaukee. Six years later she returned to the city and in 1932 was married to Mr. Cook in Ashland. Mr. Cook died on December 5, 1940.

She was a member of the St. Agnes church, the Altar Society and the Old Settlers’ Club.

Survivors are twelve children, Edwin and Sadie of Ashland; Maurice, Clayton and Mrs. E. H. Olson of Iron Mountain, Michigan; Henry, Mrs. Norbert Enders (Lenore) and Mrs. Ed Strelka (Ethel) of Milwaukee; Mrs. Harry Nantais (Beatrice) of Dearborn, Michigan; Frank of Rivera, Florida; Mrs. Joseph Maurer and Mrs. Mary Foster of Detroit; four sisters, Mrs. A. F. Anderson and Mrs. Joe Fabro of Ashland, Mrs. William McKindley and Mrs. Thomas Gorman of Grand Coulee, Washington; and one brother, Henry Firmenich, Baudette, Minnesota.

Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Cook home and at 9 a.m. at St. Agnes church. Interment will be in St. Agnes cemetery. The body will be removed from the Wartman Funeral Home to the Cook residence on Thursday where is will lie in state until time of services.

Up until this weekend I had never done any Czech research. I knew my wife’s great-grandmother was born somewhere in Bohemia, which is in the Czech Republic, but we didn’t dig much deeper. As you may, or may not have, read in my last post, I sort of fell into researching my wife’s Czech line last weekend. While I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, I do feel I know a lot more about Czech research than I did a week ago. I stumbled upon a little site that filled my brain with helpful information (Thanks, Jennifer.)

The site was created by Blanka Lednicka over at Czech Genealogy for Beginners, a site I didn’t know about until the other day. While the site is pretty new and doesn’t have a ton of content, yet, everything that’s posted so far is extremely helpful to anyone doing Czech research. I’m personally used it to find some really helpful translations and writing comparisons. Google Translate can only take me so far.

The blog is also currently being updated and Blanka even personally responded to some of my comments, which is very nice and has also been very helpful.

If you’re doing any Czech research, definitely bookmark Czech Genealogy for Beginners. I know I did.

I hit up FamilySearch this weekend to do some miscellaneous research. I happened to see their collection of records for the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia) and since my wife’s great-grandmother, Anna (HUIZEL) COLLINS, was born there, I thought I’d browse them. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything useful.

Though, while looking through their wiki pages on the records, I did happen to somehow find my way over to the Digital Archives: State Regional Archives Trebon. According to their site, “users can research digitalized materials of State Regional Archives Trebon and State District Archives of South Bohemia.” That sounded promising since our records indicate the family was from the Netolice region of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. I jumped right into their “Parish Registers” section and then into “Roman Catholic Church.” Fortunately, they had a map of all of the parishes, so I was able to see which parish Netolice was in. It happens to be its own parish, so that’s good.

It’s a pretty amazing website, if you have Czech ancestors from this region. Dozens and dozens of digitized parish records from as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries. Some are in the process of being indexed. Their system even allows you to bookmark pages, etc. While the viewer and website and slightly clunky, I wouldn’t say they’re any worse than Ancestry or FamilySearch, just different.

I opened the list of registers. Netolice seems like a big area.

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Sometimes I’m late to these, but her is Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week. He had completed  The Ancestors’ GeneaMeme from Geniaus.

According to the instructions, the list should be annotated in the following manner:

  • Things you have already done or found: bold face type
  • Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
  • Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
  • You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item
  1. Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2. Can name over 50 direct ancestors [with a little help from my genealogy program]
  3. Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times [Don’t think more than 3, but I have a few 3-timers]
  5. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [Not that I found, yet]
  6. Met all four of my grandparents [Yes, and fortunately, two are still with us]
  7. Met one or more of my great-grandparents [I, fortunately, remember meeting 3 of them, but 5 were alive when I was a baby]
  8. Named a child after an ancestor [If you count middle names. Our daughter Aerissa’s middle name is Jean after my mother’s and my grandmother’s middle name]
  9. Bear an ancestor’s given name/s
  10. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland [CORRIGAN, McCANN, THOMPSON]
  11. Have an ancestor from Asia
  12. Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
  13. Have an ancestor from Africa
  14. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer [Probably a good 75%+]
  15. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings [I’m told one of my ancestors had a good sum of money, which I also assume land was involved]
  16. Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi
  17. Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18. Have an ancestor who was an author
  19. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z
  23. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
  25. Have blue blood in your family lines [Nobility, no, but my great-grandfather, Joseph ZALEWSKI, was a police officer. They’re sometimes called Blue Bloods. My wife’s line has the noblility]
  26. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28. Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
  29. Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
  30. Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31. Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X [More than likely, I just haven’t seen it]
  32. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  33. Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence
  34. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35. Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) [on here, more than likely, many times]
  36. Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) [Would like to someday]
  37. Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries
  38. Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39. Have a family bible from the 19th Century
  40. Have a pre-19th century family bible


The headstone of my wife’s 3rd-great-grandmother Margaret KEARNS from her father’s maternal side. Born in 1822 in Ohio, she first married Nelson ENYART (sometimes spelled ENGART) in 1841. There is mystery surrounding what happened to Nelson, but in 1875 she ended up marrying Robert MORAN, who is actually my wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather from her father’s paternal side. They didn’t have any children, so the branch of that tree didn’t get too twisted. She died in 1890 and  is buried near Robert at Tavara Cemetery in Richwood Township in Richland Co., Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of B. Coberley at Find-A-Grave.

[Find-A-Grave Page]

A few weeks back, I ran across a link on BoingBoing to an article on Slate.com. I saw that it mentioned old documents and since I’m a sucker for old documents, I gave it a read. If you’re also a fan of old documents, especially more interesting ones, than you’ll love this series of articles on a collection of old report cards and how the author used them to not only tell the history of these people, but to even connect them back to their descendants.

Four hundred little dramas, all sketched out on cardstock. Marie’s report card comes from a large batch of old Manhattan Trade School student records that I stumbled upon more than a decade ago and have been obsessed with ever since. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life poking around antiques shops, yard sales, and abandoned buildings, but these report cards are by far the most evocative, most compelling, and most addictive artifacts I’ve ever come across.

This sounds like something I would do if I ever ran across a batch of old documents. I’ve learned in the last decade of family research that sometimes you can find the most compelling information in your non-standard documents. “Non-standard” being something other than things like census or vital records. Not only do these records give you more information, sometimes they tell you stories. I personally find that stories make your ancestors seem more alive. More than just names and dates.

To anyone interested in history and even family history, I recommend reading his articles. He wrote (as of right now) 5 articles relating to these documents, so make sure you have some time.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time for another one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts.

  1. List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!
  2. Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.
  3. Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.
  4. If you have done this before, please do your father’s matrilineal line, or your grandfather’s matrilineal line, or your spouse’s matriliuneal line.
  5. Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?

According to my blog, it seems I did this line for myself already. Though, I will post it again in case something is more up-to-date. I will do my father’s line and also my wife’s line since I haven’t really inspected those before. Here is mine, first.

My matrilineal line:
  1. Brian J ZALEWSKI
  2. Sharon THIELKE married John ZALEWSKI
  3. Marge DeBROUX married LeRoy THIELKE
  4. Mildred Vida VAN PRICE (5 Jul 1903 Mattoon, Shawano Co., Wisconsin – 29 Oct 1994 Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin) married Leon DeBROUX
  5. Minnie May MUHM (12 Jul 1879 Norwood, Langlade Co., Wisconsin – 6 Jul 1959 Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin) married Pieter Fransiscus VAN PARIJS
  6. Ida W SCHAVANDIE (6 Sep 1852 Germany – 12 Nov 1934 Antigo, Langlade Co., Wisconsin) married Peter MUHM
  7. Anna RASCH (? in Germany – ??) married Lawrence SCHAVANDIE

Unfortunately, my matrilineal line is one of the few lines in my tree that is somewhat short, though I have not done a ton of research on it. I have done a DNA test, so I do have my mtDNA information. According to the latest 23AndMe info, my Maternal Haplogroup in H11a. I have made my 23AndMe Maternal Line page public, so you can view more details there. It does match the German ancestry that I find in my research.

Next is my father’s matrilineal line, though there is no mtDNA haplogroup info since my DNA does not have that information. Only his DNA (or his sibling’s) would show that.

Geniaus created The Tech-Savvy Genealogist Meme, I borrowed it from Genea-Musings. This one is more up my alley since I’ve been involved in technology since I was a little boy.

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (color optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

Feel free to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?

  1. Own an Android or Windows tablet or an iPad [not a tablet, but both an Android phone and an iPhone]
  2. Use a tablet or iPad for genealogy related purposes
  3. Use a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader for genealogy related purposes [Have a Kindle, but have only read fiction on it so far]
  4. Have used Skype or Google Video Chat to for genealogy purposes
  5. Have used a camera to capture images in a library/archives/ancestor’s home
  6. Use a genealogy software program on your computer to manage your family tree [RootsMagic, mainly]
  7. Use multiple genealogy software programs because they each have different functionalities.
  8. Have a Twitter account [@brianjz]
  9. Tweet daily
  10. Have a genealogy blog. [How’d you guess?]
    Read the rest.  (more…)