Year: 2011


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…)

I’m going to copy Destination: Austin Family and update my 99 (really 104) Genealogy Things list. I last posted the list in January 2009.

The list below is 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
  1. Belong to a genealogical society.
  2. Researched records onsite at a court house.
  3. Transcribed records.
  4. Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
  5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents).
  6. Joined Facebook.
  7. Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.
  8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
  9. Attended a genealogy conference.
  10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
  11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
  12. Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
  13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
  14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
  15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
  16. Talked to dead ancestors.
  17. Researched outside the state in which I live.
  18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
  19. Cold called a distant relative.
    (more…)

My inspiration for this post had come from, what I thought was a one-off post about this, but it turns out that it was one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun projects. He’s always thinking of clever things to post about.

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want!

I was thinking about it this week and this is what I came up with right now.

  1. I’d definitely like to visit one of my many ancestral homelands. There are a lot, though most of them seem to cluster around Germany and Poland, as you can see on my custom Google Map. The top three that I’d like to visit, in no particular order, are:
    1. Killeeshil Parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Origin location of my CORRIGAN ancestors. I just love Ireland and the history of the area.
    2. The origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, which looks to be the Święte and Goczałki areas in modern north-central Poland. As with a lot of people, I feel a deeper connection to ancestors in my direct surname line, Zalewski. Plus, pictures I’ve seen of the area make it look beautiful.
    3. The origin location of most of my Belgian ancestors, DeBROUX, LAURENT, etc. They all came from the Walloon Brabant area of Belgium. Some of them came from the area of Chaumont-Gistoux, which during WWII was part of the famous defensive KW-Line.
  2. I would like to publish some smaller books either based on a specific family or just my ancestry in general. Both, I think, could be helpful to future researchers.
  3. I would like to become a certified/professional genealogist. I’d love to be able to help other people find their family history and hopefully spark the appreciation for everything that has come before them.
  4. I would also love to attend a national genealogy conference of some sort. I have yet to meet any of the extremely friendly and helpful geneabloggers that I socialize with almost every day. Unfortunately, most of them are never around in this area, so I have yet to have a chance to attend one.
What is on your genealogy bucket list?

I had some time at lunch today, so I headed over to the BYUtv site to watch an episode of “The Generations Project.” For people unfamiliar with it, think of it as a “Who Do You Think You Are?” for regular people. The episode I watched was titled, “Do Your Own Generations Project.” I assume most of your are already interested in genealogy, but I think this would be a good video to show to someone who might think genealogy is boring or it’s just all names and dates. It may even spark someone to visit their family history and, in turn, spark someone else. Who knows?

I can’t embed the video here, so go watch it at the BYUtv website. It’s a great episode regardless of your views on genealogy. Don’t forget to check out all of the other episodes.

Anyone following the latest research into my ZALEWSKI line knows that I’ve run across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname on a few occasions. They have something to do with my ZALEWSKI family, but I’m still not 100% sure what it is. Research points to many conflicting options: These are Frank ZALEWSKI’s parents, these are Frank’s aunt and uncle, or maybe they’re just good friends. I have more research to do with the Polish/German church records I recently found at the FHL.

Above: More evidence that they’re related to me somehow is that (among other things) they’re buried with members of the Jacob ZALEWSKI family (the brother of Frank) at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their plot is located at the back part of the GORALSKI stone (another family somehow related to me.)

[Find-A-Grave link]

Amanuensis Monday – An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them. A fuller explanation can be found here.

I’ve posted about this letter in the past, but I thought I’d talk about it again. I have possession of some typewritten letters that my great granduncle, Edwin Corrigan, wrote to another relative. My grandmother must have had them in her possession since I have a lot of her old family documents. Edwin was born in 1909 and grew up in rural northern Wisconsin in the Ashland area. He was a well-traveled and bright man and he had seen a lot of things. The letter is a great insight both into life in the early 20th century (in rural Wisconsin and other similar places) and also other aspects of his life. Read on for some excerpts:

(more…)

Grudziądz, Poland

Grudziądz, PolandI had a Thursday off this past week, so I decided to visit one of the local Family History Libraries in the area. The last time I went I ordered some microfilm from the area that I had hoped my ZALEWSKI family originated. I was confused since they told me that it takes about six weeks for the microfilm to arrive and then they will send me my self-addressed postcard to let me know, but I never received anything. Six weeks from my last visit would’ve been sometime in May and it still didn’t arrive by August.

When I first arrived, I just double-checked some of the local Milwaukee church records for some more information and also to try to find Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother’s marriage record (Jacob to Pauline WONDKOWSKI.) Still no luck in finding that record. I had thought that maybe they got married at another church, but there were no other churches in the area with records back to 1891-92. Only St. Hedwig’s church had records that old from that area. Jacob and Pauline baptised most of their children there, but I could not find a marriage record. I’m hoping they didn’t get married before they came to Milwaukee since that would be tough to track down.

After lunch I got back and I asked the volunteer on site about my order. She was somewhat new, but she tried looking through all of the orders from the past to see if maybe it didn’t get sent out, etc. She then asked me to get the film number from the Family Search website and she’d look it up that way. Before I could sit and check, she found my order. In big letters written over the card it said, “Film already here. Needs refund.” I guess the film was already on-site when I ordered it, though the volunteer that day obviously didn’t help me check. Either way the news is great. (more…)

I was put in charge of creating the memorial video that was to be played at my Grandmother’s funeral today, so that everyone could remember her through the years. I assume this is due to the fact that I seemed to have inherited the title of “Family Historian” which I have no problem with. I love seeing all of these old documents and photos. I ran across this photo of my grandmother from 1938 and I really like it. She looks like she’s saying, “Hurry up and get that picture taken!” I also notice on a lot of the older photos of my grandmother that she had prominent freckles. I don’t remember seeing them on her when she was older. It must be her Irish heritage shining through.

Mary Jane Corrigan – 1938

After the break, I have embedded the memorial video that I created. Even though you may not know her, I hope you enjoy the video. (more…)