CategoriesBig NewsThielke

Thielke Brick Wall Down

Another one of my long-standing brick walls was the origin location of my second main surname, Thielke, my maternal grandfather’s line. For the longest time, the most detailed origin location we had was Schwerin, Germany, which by itself is a city, but also can be considered a larger area. Though, another record indicated Baden-WĆ¼rttemberg which is on the complete opposite site of Germany.

Searching in some of the old 1819 Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census records did find some Thielkes, but nothing else to go on. At least we knew roughly the general area.

Last night, since I was working on some of the other Thielke lines to try to pad things out, I decided to run another FamilySearch search on my furthest ancestor, Henry Peter Thielke. I used WikiTree’s RootsSearch option which just makes it easier by automatically plugging in all of the vital data for me and searches FamilySearch.

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CategoriesBig NewsFamily TreeZalewski

An Amazing Genealogy Week

As you know, if you a reader of this site, I’ve been trying to track down information on my Zalewski line as long as I’ve been doing genealogy. For the longest time it was always my shortest line, ending at my great-great grandfather, Frank Zalewski. This week changed a lot of that and during the excitement I almost totally forgot about RootsTech, which is crazy.

I plan to add more detailed posts this week about how exactly I found this new information, but here is a quick overview. [Update: the detailed post is now up. You’ll find the link at the end of this post, so keep reading.]

A few years back, I found Frank’s marriage record to his wife Anna in the civil archives which listed his parent’s names and his birthplace. This got me one more generation back, but with little more info besides names and a location.

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CategoriesBig NewsFeaturedPolishZalewski

Zalewski Brick Wall. Status: Crumbling

One of the most solid, longest standing brick walls in my personal genealogy research has come down this week. This wall has stood since I started researching my family in 1999, though I didn’t heavily pursue it until a bit later. I now have the names of my paternal 3rd-great-grandparents on my Zalewski line. Meet Michael & Anna (Muschowska) Zalewski.

The path to breaking down this wall started as a lot of them do, just doing random searching and browsing. I occasionally visit most of the sites on my “Genealogy Community” link list on the sidebar. I almost always visit Al’s site at Al’s Polish-American Genealogy. I know Al personally since we used to attend a local Polish research group for a few years. Al works very deep in Polish records and blogs in detail about what he found and how he found it. He had a post recently talking about the records he has on a specific individual and in it he mentioned a few sites he used. One of these sites was one he called the Genealogy in Archives website. I googled it and visited the only Polish one I saw.

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CategoriesBig NewsMilwaukee

Milwaukee Death Index On Hold

MJSUpdate: The archives are now back online, at least for now.

Unfortunately, due to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel removing their archives from Google News and “moving to a new vendor”, my Milwaukee Death Index will probably no longer be updated. Unless I can find another, preferably free, source of data, it will be difficult to do this in my spare time. The information that is already transcribed will always stay online and active.

Full disclosure, I currently work for the company that owns the MJS, which is why I’m a bit torn on how I feel, though I have no control over this aspect. A bit of a back story, which follows the story of many old newspapers, may help. When I started working for this company, it was called Journal Communications and the only daily newspaper it owned, basically from the beginning, was the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, along with a few dozen radio and TV stations. In 2015, the company shed it’s broadcast properties and picked up 13 more newspapers during a split/merge with another large media company. After that, it became Journal Media Group. At the end of 2015, Gannett Co., Inc purchased JMG. MJS is now under Gannett, which owns a lot of other newspapers. It seems they use another contractor for their newspaper archives, so they removed them from Google News. I know nothing more about that process and I found out like everyone else, when I tried to access it. Let’s hope it comes back, it was an immense collection of historical data for this whole area going back to about 1889.

CategoriesBig NewsDeBrouxThielke

The Other Half

Up until now, I really only had photos and documents from my paternal side of the family, not including documents found online, etc. Recently, I’ve finally been given a collection of those things from my maternal side and it’s pretty awesome.

As always, a lot of the photographs are unlabeled, but I can tell who a few of the people probably are. Plus, I am fortunate that my maternal grandparents are still with us and hopefully we can find some time to sit down with them to discuss some of items.

I am currently in the process of scanning them, so you can probably expect an increase of “Way Back Wednesday” posts.

Here is one nice photo from the dozens I have scanned.

Thielke Family
circa 1919-1920. Click for larger. Much, much larger.

I’m almost positive that the couple on the left side of the photo are my great-grandparents, Arthur & Madora (Last) Thielke. Most of the photos are not labeled, but based on other photos and face recognition, I’m pretty certain it’s them. I will confirm with my grandfather at some point. My guess is this is either their wedding (since it’s dated around 1920) or another important event. I have no clue who the other couple is, but it’s safe to say that they are probably a relation to Arthur and/or Madora.

CategoriesBig NewsSite

Seven Years

TypewriterAccording to my list of posts, seven years ago today is the day I started blogging on this site. Some would call it my “blogiversary.” My first post wasn’t very exciting as it looks to just be a copy of a story about Irish genealogy. Though, I quickly found my way and started to write better, more interesting posts. It’s also neat as my birthday is on the 18th.

My site dashboard says I have 432 posts as of today (including this one) and it’s been 2557 days since my first post. Doing some quick math that would make it a post every 6 days or so. That’s not really a bad average taking into consideration some of the longer breaks I took.

It’s been seven years since the first post on this site, but I know for a fact that I blogged more about genealogy before this specific site came about. I was blogging in general back in about 2000-2001, back when Blogger was still owned by Pyra Labs, its creator.

I hope to go seven more years. I’ve done a lot in those seven years. Made lots of new connections, broke down a few brick walls, and found a nice community. Here’s to the future!

Here are some of the more interesting posts I’ve done in that time:

You can always find some of the best posts by visiting my “Featured Posts” section.

Photo: gecko4wd@flickr

CategoriesBig NewsFamily TreeFeaturedPersonal

Keepin’ The ZALEWSKI Line Going

20121208-162158.jpgThe day finally came after a bit of waiting. After taking his sweet time and not being sure when he would decide to make his grand entrance, we welcomed Xander Lee Zalewski into the family. He was born at 3:15pm on December 8th weighing in at 7lb 4oz. His middle name, Lee, is taken from his grandfather’s (my father-in-law’s) middle name, like Aerissa’s middle name, Jean, is from the middle name of her grandmother (my mother) and great-grandmother.

Aerissa is excited to have a little brother. She wouldn’t stop talking about it in the days leading up to his birth. I’m excited to have a son to go along with my daughter. It will be a sort of new experience raising a boy (though I have some first-hand experience.) Up until now, raising Aerissa was pretty neutral in terms of gender as she is still quite young and hasn’t yet got into her “girly things” stage.

It’s nice to add another branch to my own family tree that will hopefully extend for many more generations. It’s also nice to keep the Zalewski name going down the line. I wrote a bit more about the next child on my wife’s website, if you want to read it.

CategoriesBig NewsEnglishFamily TreeFeatured

But, What Do Mayflowers Bring?

Embarkation of the Pilgrims - Robert Walter Weir - Mayflower

It has been a bit quiet on the genealogy front. I haven’t had as much time to do any research, but recently I have come across some extra time and interest.

I recently added another individual to my “Everything I Know” site. This is the first person I did a site for on my wife’s ancestry. He is James COLLINS. I picked him because we previously had his information down and also information on his parents. Then we ran across a new census record that threw all of that out the window. I try to put together the info we have now (or lack thereof) and try to see if we can track down his real parents.

While researching James COLLINS and getting lost down other lines of my wife’s ancestry, I (tentatively) traced one of her maternal lines back to Plymouth Colony Governor and Mayflower passenger William Bradford. I say tentatively since most of the info I found was surprisingly located on Find-A-Grave entries (sidenote: glad they added those “Family Links” options.) Though, I did back a lot of it up using other sources. I just need to now source and confirm her line back to the more researched lines, though it looks pretty solid. This now adds the “Mayflower Descendant” title to her maternal line along with the other previous titles of “(Tentative) Royal Descendant” and “Daughter of the American Revolution.” All I have on my lines so far is “Sort Of Related to Robert Goulet.”

I’m hoping that if these connections stay true, this will hopefully help our children feel more connected to history. It’s a known fact that I’ve posted about earlier, I didn’t really enjoy History classes very much in school. Though, once I started genealogy and felt more connected to these places and events, I can’t get enough of it anymore. Now when my daughter starts learning about Thanksgiving in school (probably one of the first historical things kids learn) we can tell her that one of the Pilgrims is her 12th-great-grandfather.

Photo: Embarkation of the Pilgrims – Robert Walter Weir – Public Domain – Wikipedia

CategoriesBig NewsPersonal

The Family Grows

Now that close friends and family have been notified, it’s time to let the rest of the world know. My wife, Darcy, and I are now expecting our second child in December of this year. I think Aerissa will really enjoy having a younger sibling to play with. She’s keeps us pretty busy.

I’m happy with either a son or a daughter, but since we have a daughter I’m leaning towards a son. As a dad, it’s always nice to have a son, someone to pass the ZALEWSKI name down another generation. We’ll see once we’re able to find out the gender.

 

CategoriesBig NewsFamily TreeFeaturedGermanPolishTips & Tricks

My Most Recent Last Research

Go into your brain and pick out a surname that would be awesome to try to research. Something that would return 8 million results every time you searched for it. If you guessed the surname LAST, you win.

Searching for anything on that surname was never fun. I would get every version of “last name” or other common phrases. In order to try to help myself get my information organized on my furthest LAST ancestor, Johann LAST, I decided to set up an Everything I Know site for him. Just like the other sites I set up, when I start going over all of the information I have, sometimes I find new avenues of research. I started with the first record I have of Johann and his family, the passenger arrival manifest from when they arrived in New York in 1857.

I looked it over to see if I missed any important info. I didn’t see anything new. Then, I just checked which port they left from in Europe and I noticed it was Hamburg, Germany. I remembered that Ancestry had the passenger emigration lists from Hamburg on their site. I think I browsed through them before, but didn’t find anything. I looked closer this time using their Hamburg Passenger Index database and found their entry. It was under “J W G Last” just like their arrival record. It’s basically the same info, except one very useful piece of info, his place of origin. The record says what looks like “Nagard”¯ so after some searching and tweaking, it is probably talking about “Naugard”¯ which today is called Nowogard in northwestern Poland. This is exactly where I tracked Doeringshagen, the listed birthplace of Johann’s son Charles, to be located today. That’s good news.

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CategoriesBig NewsFamily TreeFeatured

Czech’ing Out the Records

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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