Author: Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.

Ok, all of you Zalewski people out there, want to find out as much information as you can about the Zalewski surname and where it comes from? Is your Zalewski ancestor related to one of the many Zalewski families being researched by others?

With advances in genetic testing, genealogists now have another tool to aid us in our family history endeavors. The Zalewski Surname DNA Project was recently organized to determine whether there are genetic links between the various Zalewski families throughout the world. It can also serve to validate research within established lines, and to prove or disprove relationship theories when no documentation has been found through traditional research.

If you are researching a Zalewski family, we invite you to participate in our study! The success of this project depends on the number of participants, so please pass this information along to other Zalewski researchers!

Here’s how it works. The Zalewski DNA Project is a study of the Y-Chromosome DNA, which is passed from father to son unchanged, except for occasional mutations. The test provides you with a genetic fingerprint consisting of 12, 25 or 37 numbers, which will be compared with the results of other participants in the study. If two people have a match, that means they have a common male ancestor somewhere up the line. The test won’t tell you specifically who that ancestor was, but it can narrow down a time frame of when the most recent common ancestor (MCRA) lived.

We have chosen Family Tree DNA of Houston, TX as our testing company. They are leaders in their field and are associated with Dr. Michael Hammer, Ph.D., Geneticist, associate research scientist in the Division of Biotechnology at the University of Arizona. The test involves the collection of cells by a painless swabbing of the inside of your cheek. The laboratory then analyzes the sample and prepares the results for comparison with other participants in the study.

For more information about the test and Family Tree DNA, refer to my Zalewski Surname DNA Study FAQ.

I imported my complete family tree file yesterday. Be aware that I probably don’t have information on anyone in the tree that is not a direct ancestor. Everything I have is on the site, so if you email me about them, don’t expect much more information. Thanks.

I broke through another brick wall last night with some research. This one is probably more sure than the last one, I give this one an high 80%-90% chance of being correct. I decided to do some more research on a line that I had inserted into my tree in the beginning of my family tree stuff, though I’ve never really done much research on it. For one, the family name was THOMPSON, so it wasn’t easy to pinpoint them. Her name I had listed as FRANCES QUINETTE, but I could not find much info on that name.

Last night I did a search for it on the Ancestry/Rootsweb Message Boards and found a few things. I found the jackpot in the QUINET forum. It turns out that a bunch of other people are researching this line of QUINETs. And it also turns out that Frances’ parents lived and are buried in the town next to my hometown. All of this time and they were right there. Well, now I have some more info on the QUINET line and it’s great.

Also, if you read this, please comment on my postings. Comments will help me know what you’d like to know about and it will help me make better posts. A login is not required for posting a comment, but I do need to approve it first.

Here are some helpful links that I’ve used in the past.

  • Zeeuws Archief – From their site, “The Zeeuws Archief [Zeeland Archives] is the principal archive for Zeeland, the most southwesterly province of The Netherlands, and for the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere. The Zeeuws Archief, the treasure house of Zeeland’s history, holds a wealth of information about Zeeland in general and about the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere in particular. Information for a family tree, but also for a wide range of historical research.” Loads and loads of useful information if you’re family hails from this area in the Netherlands.
  • Books We Own – “..is a list of resources owned/accessed by individuals who are willing to look up genealogical information and e-mail or snail mail it to others who request it. This is a free service” Very helpful if you can find the correct book. It sometimes contains priceless information.
  • Surname Helper – A very helpful surname search engine, works well with those multi-spelled names out there.

I’m not sure when it happened, sometime between college and now. Throughout school, from elementary through college, I really didn’t like history. I’d shuffle through it, learning enough to get by, but it really didn’t do anything for me. Even in college, when I needed to take US History or Western Civilization, or whatever it was called, I didn’t get into it. Now, I love history, well most of it anyway. If the history has something to do with my family history or to me, in general, than I love finding out about it. All I can say on that note is “Thank (insert your god here) for Wikipedia!”

I’m really more interested in local history, since I’ve lived in the area and I like finding out more about it. But, I also like to read up on places that my ancestors hailed from to see what it was like back then. Doc Brown, I’m calling your name here..

I guess this is why genealogy really interests me, it scratches all of my historical itches very nicely.

The family tree area of the site may temporarily be down this afternoon while I install a more robust system (from what I hear.) Stay tuned.

The family tree is back up. I installed some new software called The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. It’s a bit of a long name, but it works nicely. I’ve always used phpGEDView, which worked fine most of the time, but it seemed to choke on large databases. I don’t mind shelling out a few bucks for something that works and is designed well. I’ll run with it for awhile and see how it pans out. Take a look, it’s pretty neat. It’ll be a lot neater once I get more info into it.

If you’re stuck on an ancestor, try checking out the USGenWeb sites. I have found some very helpful information using these sites along with my other normal sites. Most of the time, they can give you very helpful information on a certain county. Some sites have tons of information available, and some don’t have much.

Anyway, what is it that some of these sites have some of the worst user interfaces ever, and some of them are gold mines? A lot of the county sites I’ve been to look like they haven’t been remodeled since the mid-1990s (and we all remember how good those sites were.) There are some good sites out there with very helpful user interfaces. I usually spend more time trying to figure out what’s what then I do finding anything useful. Now, I know that finding information isn’t always easy, even though I do find it frustrating that some sites just like everything back to Rootsweb or Ancestry. But, at least organize the information better. You’d think that being genealogists, we would have organization skills (though this is the pot calling the kettle black here.)

Though, like I said earlier, the majority of these sites are too helpful to pass up when you’re stuck or are looking for that one piece of info that could crack open your research. It’s probably just my web developing side ranting and raving about usability and design, but when I see flashing text and dancing, animated images I’m immediately pulled back into the darkness of mid-90s web designs. I’m tempted to volunteer for one, but all the ones in my area are taken and are down fairly well, such as the Ozaukee County site. But, I think the Milwaukee County site could use a nice overhaul. I know that there is a lot more information out there for that county.

Check them out, hopefully it will help you out.

I setup a wiki-based area of my genealogy site that I can use to store all of the miscellaneous information from my tree. Tidbits, letters, information, etc. The first thing I posted is a letter that my great-great uncle, Edwin Corrigan, had wrote to some other family members. Sadly, Edwin died just last June at the age of 95. The letter includes a lot of insight into life in the early 1900s in northern Wisconsin. It’s a very interesting read for anyone who enjoys history. Here is a small excerpt, but you can read the whole thing on the wiki if you’d like, but it is pretty long. Plan on more than few minutes.

To begin with, the were two Corrigan families – the first four children were born in Orillia (Mara county, Ontario.) Pa’s first wife, Ellen Ferguson, was buried in Washburn, WI across the bay from Ashland. Don’t know just when they came to the area – nor how long they lived in Washburn. The youngest child, Thomas Francis, was born in Washburn, Sept. 15, 1886. Shortly after that they must have moved to Sanborn, where Pa built a saloon and boarding house (the building is still there, but has had an addition put on it.) Three of our family members were born while the folks lived in Sanborn, the rest born (at the Summit) in Ashland. Due to an early stroke, Pa had to get out of the business. He did some kind of a trade with property and got property on the outskirts of Ashland, which included a small five room house and building which house a saloon, dance hall and gambling rooms. Remember these were in the early logging days when Ashland housed many saloons, houses of ill-repute, etc. They lived a short time in the large building and then had the small house moved closer to the road – eventually he sold the building (the hall, etc) to the Town of Sanborn to be used as the Town Hall.

Read the whole thing – Edwin Corrigan Letter

It’s about time something like this happened. The world needs less of these jerks. I remember when I was a kid, we used to sled down a hill in our local cemetery. It had no headstones on it, it was an empty hill. But, there were always knocked down headstones and stories about kids who used to do it. I really don’t see the fun in it. Turns out, neither does this kid…
Police: Vandal Trapped By Tombstone

Authorities said it took four firefighters to lift a 600-pound gravestone off the 16-year-old boy’s leg early Tuesday after he helped knock over that headstone and dozens others.

Though, it does make me smile a little bit.

There is an interesting story about my great-great-great grandfather that was told to me by my grandmother.

Charles Van Price was born in the mid 1800s. He came to the U.S. in 1874, and went to Dousman, Wisconsin. He worked for Mr. Dousman, later moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin, then to Phlox, Wisconsin in 1887. Tragedy struck however, because he, my great grandfather, decided to see Holland again. He sold his land earlier, and was now one of the wealthiest men in that part of the state. While staying with his daughter, Effie, in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1922, he went grocery shopping for her and was not seen again. His daughter found he had withdrawn all his savings (a very sizeable amount) and left for Europe. They traced him to Antwerp, Belgium — then all trace was gone. He was never heard from again. After investigating, it was assumed that he returned to Holland from Milwaukee.

I haven’t had too much luck finding any more info on Charles in Holland/Belgium myself. I plan on seeing what I can find.