One of the things you need to do once you track down the origin of your Polish ancestors, is to search for an entry for the location in the Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich (or Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries.)
This massive collection took over 20 years to publish all 15 volumes. [15 volumes. 1880-1902.] The gazetteer was published when officially there was no Poland in existence. From 1772 to 1918, Poland was dominated by three empires: Austria (later known as Austria-Hungary), Russia and Prussia. The gazetteer contains a great wealth of information on cities, towns, and villages, as well as mountains, rivers, and other geographic points of interest in the lands that were once a part of the old Kingdom of Poland.
When I searched for the location that I was pretty positive was the origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, Gottschalk or Goczałki, there were a few entries. But, after some searching I think I narrowed it down to one entry. The entry is located in Volume 2, Page 755 under Goczałkowo. You can use the online search engine to find an entry, though you do need to install a document viewer plugin, but it works nicely.
The book gives amazingly detailed descriptions of even the smallest towns.
Well, after over a decade of doing genealogy research, I finally made a trip to one of the “local” Family History Libraries. I put local in quotes, because it was still a good 30 miles away, but not too far. I’m not exactly sure why I never visited one. I like knowing how things work before I go since I hate being somewhere and not knowing how to act. For example, I had my iPhone with me, but hidden in my pocket since I wasn’t sure the rules on electronics/cameras. I wasn’t even sure if I could use a pen and paper. Some places are strict in that regard. Later on in the day I saw a man using a laptop right next to a microfilm reader, so now I know.
I just wanted to make a quick trip and look over the records they had on “perpetual” loan. The lady who showed me around seemed confused when I said that, though all of the records I used said that they were on “indefinite” loan, so I’m sure it’s the same thing. They have all of the Milwaukee church records and vital records on-hand. I really wanted to look through the church records for both St. Hedwig’s and St. Casimir’s churches on the east side of Milwaukee since those two are where most of my Polish family attended. My main ZALEWSKI ancestors first went to Hedwig’s and then Casimir’s when they moved.
I was also really hoping to find the marriage record of Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother, Jacob to his wife Pauline WONDKOWSKI. I am somewhat lucky in the fact that Jacob was unmarried when he immigrated. This should hopefully allow me to find his marriage record and maybe his parent’s names (which would also be Frank’s parents, my 3rd-great-grandparents.) As luck would (not) have it, I couldn’t find the record. Jacob and Pauline baptised all of their children at St. Hedwig’s, but I could not find their marriage record. I looked countless times going back and forward a few years, too. It is possible that they may have been married at another church in the area, which I will pursue or there is a very rare possibility that they married elsewhere before coming to Milwaukee, which would not be fun to track down. Plus, I also found many spellings of Pauline’s last name, from WADKOWSKI to LUTKOWSKI.
I did, again, solidify the relationship between the ZALEWSKI, GWIAZDOWSKI, and GORALSKI families. A lot of both Frank’s and Jacob’s children were sponsored by one or more of the families. Frank and Anna ZALEWSKI’s last child, Agnes, was sponsored by both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI. It also seems that in some of the earlier baptism records, they listed the female sponsors with their maiden names as I found Pauline listed as Pauline LANDKOWSKA on my great-grandfather Joseph’s baptism record (which I posted about earlier this week.) Also, on their next child, Frances Dorothy ZALEWSKI, I found the female sponsor listed as Maria GWIAZDOWSKI, better known as Mary GORALSKI, which now (somewhat) proves that she is the daughter of both August & Anna, though it still messes up the fact that she is listed as Frank ZALEWSKI’s sister.
I also found some other possible family connections that I need to pursue, mainly on the LINDNER side, though some on the TROKA side, too. I ordered the records from what I hope is the original location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, Goczałki (or more specifically, the parish of Święte.) We’ll see how that turns out once the records arrive, usually in about 6 weeks.
This is a photo of my wife’s great-great-grandparents, Charles & Emma (DIETER) MORAN, and three of their children. The child on the left is her great-grandfather, Fred MORAN, born in 1891. Basing the date off of the children, this photo was probably taken in about 1900. The other two children are probably the twins, Alma & Allan. Charles was one of the first Moran children of Robert & Dorothea (COOK) MORAN to be born in Wisconsin. The rest were born in Quebec, Canada as Robert & Dorothea must have immigrated there from Ireland and later married. There were a lot of Irish immigrants in that specific area of Quebec.
While looking for some other documents, I ran across a record that again pretty much seals the fact that my great-great-grandfather, Frank J Zalewski, and the Jacob Zalewski I have been researching were brothers (or worst case, cousins of some sort.) Below is my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski’s, “Certificate of Baptism” from St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee. The document itself is from 1960, but the information is probably taken directly from the church’s records.
The part that interested me on this specific item was the list of “sponsors.” It lists Joseph GORALSKI and Pauline ZALEWSKI. Joseph has been mentioned a lot recently along with the GWIAZDOWSKI’s. Pauline is Jacob’s wife and probably Joseph’s aunt. Mary may also be Joseph’s aunt, if her obituary is to be believed.
I have a bunch of military documents, so I thought I’d put up some posts in the Military Monday theme.
This the WWI Draft Registration for my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, who did end up participating in the war overseas.
Joseph registered on (I think it says) June 5, 1917 at the Ward 13, 2nd Precint draft office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, he was 24 years old, having been born on 21 May 1893 in Milwaukee. He was living at 900 Fratney Street, which is where his parents also lived. His occupation at the time was a “Shoe Maker” at Weyenberg Shoe Co. in Milwaukee. He was not yet married. According to the document, he had “gray” eyes and “light brown” hair.
I probably didn’t pick the best day to do some more research at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee today. A wonderful “spring” day in Wisconsin, a windy 23 degrees with snow flurries. I also should have probably worn more than a sweatshirt, but it wasn’t all that bad. I did have a knit cap on.
Last night I made a list of all of the headstones I wanted to find at the cemetery, including some I already had. I wanted to get better quality photos. Well, the small list turned into two pages of entries, about 55 total. Thanks to the Archdiocese website, I was able to map (the general area) of where the stones were. I hit up the stones I really wanted to find first, the Gwiazdowski, Goralski, and Jacob Zalewski family. Once I found the section and started to walk the graves, I cursed myself for not wearing a larger coat. Though, once I found the collection of stones I forgot about the cold.
All of the stones were in one area in the middle of Block 4B. I caught the “Goralski” name on one of the large stones while walking. The way the graves were set up mostly solidifies the Gwiazdowski/Goralski/Zalewski connection, because Jacob Zalewski, Jr and his wife were on the same stone as the Goralski’s and Gwiazdowski’s. I know it’s not proof, but there are few reasons why else they would be on the same stone.
On the other side of this stone are August & Anna GWIAZDOWSKI and Jacob’s wife, Alice. That’s another notch in the connection that Mary is August & Anna’s daughter. Jacob, Sr & Pauline ZALEWSKI, along with their son Edward and his wife Kathryn were on the next headstone to the south.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much but dates on the stones. I was hoping maybe for maiden names or birth places. It’s still more proof and it’s nice to finally visit their final resting place. I didn’t get to my whole list since the other sections were mostly all flat headstones and I didn’t want to have to walk in the snow and cold to try to find them. Even though I had pinpointed it to Section, Lot, and Grave number, it was hard to figure out where the specific Lots were.
I’ll come back later and get those photos once it’s actually spring here. My dad said he would also like to tag along, but he wasn’t feeling well today and it wasn’t a very pleasant day to go anyway.
This one has been on my blogroll for awhile, since Al posts useful Polish information and interesting tidbits on his blog. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also researching mainly in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. I visit it frequently. I actually just went there to copy the URL and got lost in some other posts. Keep up the good work, Al.
This one has also been on my blogroll for awhile. Steve mostly posts original family documents, but a lot (or maybe all of them) are Polish and he usually also posts translations and other useful information. It’s interesting to browse the documents and learn about the different areas and records.
Kartenmeister is a must bookmark for anyone with German/Polish/Prussian roots. According to its front page it’s “the most comprehensive database of its kind in the world. It contains 88,334 locations with over 38,691 name changes once, and 5,500 twice and more.” Using the site, you are able to search place names by German version or Polish version, get much information about the location and even other researchers looking for ancestors in these places. This is how I found the (hopefully) current location of my ZALEWSKI ancestors using the German name of “Gottschalk.” There is no equal.
There are more than just Polish research classes here, but I really enjoyed the “Intro to Polish Research” course I watched the other day. It was very informative, easy to follow, and it helped me try some new things. I am currently watching the next video, “Advanced Polish Research.” The presenter of the class, Ceil Wendt Jensen, was very well-versed in the subject matter and easy to listen to.
While this search tool is helpful by itself, it’s much more powerful if you have access to Ancestry’s passenger lists. You can search by name, origin, destination and then use those results to find the corresponding passenger list image. I found my great-great-grandfather Frank Zalewski’s brother’s passenger list this way. There are also many other useful search tools on his main site, stevemorse.org.
I’ve been on a roll this week finding information in unexpected places. Earlier it was the cemetery website and newspaper archives.
Tonight, I went to the FamilySearch website to see what records they may have on Goczałki or Gottschalk, the area of Poland that I’m targeting in my latest research according to a recent post. I actually never got to finding the records since I was sidetracked by a link they had labeled “Free Classes.” I assumed these were classes at the local Family History Library and thought that they may be interesting. It would both get me to one of the libraries and also maybe learn more about how to use them. Instead, these are online classes. The one I picked was Introduction to Polish Research, which was about 53 minutes long. I paid attention for about 23 minutes when she was talking about ship manifests and origin locations. She recommended searching the passenger lists by origin location instead of by name. This way you could find other families that came from the same area. She also mentioned the amazing genealogy search website setup by Steve Morse at stevemorse.org.
I’ve used his site previously to find updated streets and addresses for Milwaukee and also converting the 1930 Census occupation codes. It’s not the prettiest site, but neither is Google. I never really got into the other search tools that he created, so I just started going down each of his passenger list tools pasting Gottschalk into the “Place of Origin” box. Not much luck. I did find Orlowski and Sobieski families, but I don’t have those names in my family tree. Then I got towards the bottom, beyond the Ancestry.com tools, and into a very basic looking one called Germans to America (1850-1897). It sounded too broad, but let’s try it. It came back with four people from Gottschalk, but one caught my eye, Jakob Salewski. The information didn’t give a port of arrival, but it did give an arrival date of 17 Sep 1891 and a ship name, the Rhynland. 1891 was the year of immigration listed on most of Jacob ZALEWSKI’s records. His age is also listed as 28, which calculates to about 1863, which also matches my Jacob.
I searched Ancestry’s immigration database for the keyword “Rhynland” and found one arriving in New York on 17 Sep 1891. Fortunately for me, Ancestry has a lot of New York passenger lists. What is interesting is that I’ve searched over and over for Zalewski, Salewski, and all other variations. I also tried all forms of Jacob and 1891 trying to find him. So, next, I browsed the New York records manually, picking 1891, then September, and then 17. As I had hoped, there was a “Rhynland” entry. I started browsing it manually page-by-page and found Jakob Salewski on page 16 of 19 and it did say he was from Gottschalk. This matches all of the other information I’ve been leaning towards. Interestingly, he is also traveling with two other men from Gottschalk, but they don’t ring a bell and who knows if they went to Milwaukee, also.
So, my next step (out of many other steps) is to see what records I can get for Goczałki and start digging. What a week.
I made some great discoveries this weekend and late last night. I’m going to try to spell it all out here, so excuse me if I ramble a bit. While the information I found paints a better picture of the family of my ancestor, it also throws a wrench into the whole thing, but when doesn’t genealogy do that?
Let’s start from the beginning, though instead of writing it all out again, I will point you to an older post and one recent post. Though, you should just be able to skim over the newer one. Long story short, this has to do with the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI – ZALEWSKI connection I have been researching recently.
After finding the passenger list and 1910-1920 Census records for the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI families, this is how it was all laid out in my head (Thanks to Google Draw for this easy to make figure):
That makes sense to me. Either August or Anna is Frank’s uncle or aunt, respectively. I can deal with that. It helps me a little bit.
Fast forward to last night. I “run across” the website for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries. I use quotes there because I’ve been to this site before, it’s been there for years. I just never knew they had such a wonderful genealogy/burial record search. Not only does it have up-to-date burial records for eight prominent cemeteries in Milwaukee, it includes death date, burial date, last know address, marital status at death, and burial location. That’s not even the best part. It also includes a link to “Search for nearby graves or crypts.” With this feature, I can see which graves are nearby to this one. I was able to make (pretty confident) connections between people. More than likely people were buried near family.
So, with this I not only found the death date of Jacob ZALEWSKI (on the figure above) that I’ve been trying to find, but I also found the burial information on a Mrs. Mary GORALSKA (as it’s listed on the site.) She is buried near her husband Joseph and Mr. and Mrs. August GWIAZDOWSKI. On a related note (har har), also buried in the same location is a Jacob George ZALEWSKI (the above Jacob’s son) and his wife Alice. Now that doesn’t prove that Jacob is related to them (which also includes Frank, his brother) but it gives hope.
Now, this information is very helpful on it’s own, but when I use it along with the century of archives of The Milwaukee Journal, it gets even more powerful. Unfortunately, before about 1930 or so, they didn’t list much in the death notices. I found both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI, listed in the paper, but it’s just their name, address, death date, and cemetery. What I did find was Mary’s obituary from April 2, 1940.
You see it, don’t you? “…also survived by 1 brother, Frank Zalewski…” I was elated at this point. I thought to myself, “I found Frank’s parents!” Then, I started doing the math.. How can Mary be Frank’s brother if there is no way, under normal circumstances, that she would ever have the last name of ZALEWSKI? She was a GORALSKI when she was married and according to the other documents, her parent’s last name was GWIAZDOWSKI. How does that work? Then I thought, maybe it’s not my Frank Zalewski, but another Frank. So, Mary would be my Frank’s cousin. That makes sense logically and follows the info in the passenger list, but again doesn’t solve the name issue. Here, again I visualized it, which helped a bit.
So, after all of that running through my head I decided the only outcome that made sense is that Mary is my Frank’s cousin (the brother is another Frank), which is safe with the “nephew” info from the passenger list. The only way I was able to solve the surname issue was assuming that Anna is Mary’s real mother and August is her step-dad. Maybe Anna’s first husband (Mary’s father) passed away and she re-married before travelling to the US. Now, this is only true if all of the information is correct, which is another possibility.
I’m still no further in my research, though I now have things I can do. Unfortunately, it seems Joseph & Mary had no children, so I probably need to order Mary’s death certificate from the Wisconsin Vital Records office to find her maiden name. Hopefully, she also lists her parent’s names on it. I should maybe even order Jacob’s or Anna’s. I’ll have $20 riding on that hope.
Did that all make sense? Can you follow it and come up with another conclusion?
After running out of gas on trying to find more online records about my great-great-grandfather, Frank Zalewski, and his brother, Jacob, I decided to work the other way. I’ve read about people making awesome discoveries by connecting with distant cousins and finding out that they have some amazing record or photo that breaks down a wall. That sounded like something good to shoot for.
I was going to try to work my way down their trees, from Frank & Anna and then Jacob & Pauline’s families, and see what I could find using tools from early 20th century newspapers all the way to Facebook. With a few tools at my disposal, I was actually able to get much more information than I thought I would in only a few days.