Month: May 2014


The fifteenth ancestor is my 52 week challenge is my maternal 3rd-great-grandfather, Jean Joseph Desire DeBROUX.

When I originally received the information on this family, it was only listed as Desire & Desiree DeBroux. That was the info I had for the longest time. They always caught my eye since it was such an interesting set of names.

Later on, I found out that Desire was born Jean Joseph Desire DeBROUX on 16 February 1830 to Jean Joseph & Anne Catherine (LANGELE) DeBROUX. He was born in the small village of Piétrebais in the Walloon Brabant Province of Belgium.

The next fact I have documented for Desire was his marriage to Desiree, also known as Marie Desiree LOOD, on 30 November 1854 in Piétrebais. They had their first child, Victorie Marie, in Piétrebais in 1855 before setting out for America in around 1857, settling in the center of the state of Wisconsin, mainly in the Outagamie County and Langlade County areas.

My great-great grandfather Joseph Wilbert DeBROUX was born in Outagamie County in May 1865.

Desire and Desiree passed away not too far apart from each other. Desire passed away on 6 April 1912 and Desiree on 19 November 1912 in the small Norwood Township in Langlade County, Wisconsin. They are both buried at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in that township.

This post is 15 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

James Collins headstoneThe fourteenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my wife’s great-great-grandfather, James A COLLINS. James is a bit of a mystery. He had ancestors and now he doesn’t.

The information I originally had for James Collins listed his parents as Daniel and Elizabeth Collins. This information is everywhere on other trees posted online, so it made sense. All of the information included in census records matched up pretty well. Then, when researching his wife, I tracked down her parents in an 1860 census record. His wife is Elizabeth ENYART and her parents were Nelson and Margarent ENYART. The reason it took a bit to finally track them down is that the Enyart surname is prone to being butchered in the records. In this 1860 census, it was written as Inard. I also ended up finding the marriage record for James and Elizabeth in that same county, which is what originally drove me to look there in the first place.

I found the family living in Miller, Scotland County, Missouri. In this census record, there is a James Collins living with the family as a farmhand. In November of 1860, I found the marriage record of James and Elizabeth. My original information had James living in Iowa with Daniel Collins. The James living in Missouri made a lot more sense since he was married there and his wife’s family lived there. This removes the Daniel Collins line from my wife’s tree, though the problem still exists on almost every version of James’ tree I still find online.

The family then relocated to Wisconsin as James joined the 6th Wisconsin Regiment, Company K in late 1864. In the 1870 census, James and his wife are living in Richwood Township in Richland County in southwestern Wisconsin. They would live out the rest of their lives in this area of the state.

On March 14, 1903, James passed away. He is buried with his wife at Tavera Cemetery in Richwood.

This post is 14 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Braatz FamilyThe thirteenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my paternal 3rd-great-grandmother, Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ.

The only documented evidence that I have seen of Maria’s birth was from her death certificate which states that she was born 15 Februrary 1842 in Schoenwalde, Germany. Trouble is that there is no modern city with that name and multiple historical cities with that name. Some basic research from other experts suggests that it may be somewhere in the northern area of Germany, as Klegin is a somewhat rare surname. Though, I also don’t know how solid the evidence is that her surname is actually Klegin as that is also from her death certificate, so it was given by a third party.

A glimmer of  hope, though, is that her son, my great-great-grandfather, Frank Braatz is listed as having been born in Bavaria, Germany. I did a search for Schoenwalde and Bavaria and it turns out that there is a municipality in Bavaria named Schönwald. I may be on to something.

She married Wilhelm BRAATZ at some point, probably the mid 1860s, and gave birth to their first child (and my ancestor) Frank. Shortly after, they decided to leave Germany and head to Wisconsin. On 15 June 1868, they arrived in New York aboard the Ship Auguste traveling from Bremen, Germany. They first settled in New London in Waupaca County, Wisconsin where their next child, William, was born. Next, their third and final child, Ida, was born.

They seemed to have stayed in Waupaca County as Maria passed away there in March 1890 and is buried there at Little Wolf Cemetery. Mysteriously, I lose Wilhelm after 1880. I’m assuming he passed away and is also buried there, but I have yet to find documentation on that.

I think the photo at the right is a photo of Wilhelm, Maria, and Frank as the photo was in a frame that my grandmother had. It was also labeled something like “Grandma and Grandpa Braatz” assuming it was originally in the possession of my great-grandmother as they look nothing like my grandmother’s Braatz grandparents. It’s also labeled as being taken in a studio in the New London/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, where the Braatz family lived for quite awhile.

This post is 13 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The twelfth ancestor on my 52 week challenge is my wife’s great-great-grandfather on her maternal side, Alexander Felix BANACH (or sometimes BANNACH.)

He was born on 26 August 1869 in, what is today, Śliwice, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship in north-central Poland. His baptism is listed on the wonderful Pomeranian Genealogical Association’s PomGenBase website. In April 1891, he left his home in Poland and set out on a ship from Hamburg, Germany as mentioned in the Hamburger Passagierlisten database. We’re not exactly sure when or where he arrived, but in 1894, he married Mary WOYAK (or sometimes WOJAK) in Polonia, Portage County, Wisconsin. Portage County, along with Milwaukee, was a major hub for Polish immigrants in Wisconsin.

According to census and other documentation, Felix, as he was usually called, and Mary had 12 children altogether from 1895 to 1921. The second child born was my wife’s great-grandfather, Julius, in 1897. Sometime between 1920 and 1930, the family moved to Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, possibly due to Felix’s jobs, as he was a papermaker. Paper companies were a big industry in central Wisconsin along the Wisconsin River.

On Halloween 1943, Felix passed away. He is buried with his family at Ascension Cemetery in Libertyville, Illinois.

This post is 12 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.