CategoriesFamily TreeGermanTell Me Thursday

Tell Me Thursday: Firmenich Family

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

The only person I can correctly pick out of this image is my 3rd great-grandfather, Mathias Firmenich, in the back. I’m pretty sure the other two women are two of his daughters and the one on the left may possibly be my great-great-grandmother, Emma Jane Firmenich. I do like the caption, “lot of little people.” The photo was probably taken in the Sanborn or Ashland, Wisconsin area in Ashland Co. since Mathias lived there most of his later life.

CategoriesFamily TreeGermanThielke

Two More

I received a new marriage certificate copy in the mail today for what I suspected was my gg-grandparents, Johann THIELKE and Wilomene RATHKE. It was listed on the Wisconsin Vital Records site as Hans J M THIELK, but the spouse and dates matched up. It turns out that Hans can be used as a shortened version of Johann or Johannes, so there you go.

This was a good find since it listed two new surnames that I had not yet discovered, those of both of my ggg-grandmothers. I haven’t had a lot of luck in the past on getting the married couple’s mother’s surnames. It usually just lists it as their married name or it’s just left blank. Fortunately, this certificate had both of the listed.

Along with my gg-grandfather, my gg-grandmother is listed as Wilm. Holz C. RATHKE. This also helped cement it since I found out she was married previously to a Frank HOLZ and had immigrated over with that family. It lists Johann’s parents as Henry P THIELK, which I didn’t have. All of the information I have found (including his headstone and census) lists his name a Peter, so I’m assuming that is what the “P” stands for. Johann’s mother was listed as Maria D C SPECHT. I had his mother down as Marie, so that matches up, but I had no surname for her.

It’s lists Wilomene’s parents as Hermann RATHKE (which I have) and Fried. C. HENKE. I have her mother down as Friedericke from her headstone and census, but no last name.

Also, listed under “Witnesses” are a Frank HENKE and a William HENKE. I can only assume that these may be Friedericke’s brothers. Though, it’s possible that they’re some other relation, so I made notes in Rootsmagic to keep an eye out.

So, that was a productive vital record. It’s really nice to get those. Now to piece all of this new information together.

CategoriesDutchFamily TreeGermanTell Me ThursdayThielke

Tell Me Thursday: 3 generations

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

This is one of the newest photos I was able to scan. I finally got some photos from my mother’s side and this one was a good one since it has 3 generations back starting from my grandparents. This was taken in 1948 on my grandparent’s wedding day.

The names from left to right: my gg-grandather Peter VAN PRICE (Van Parijs), my great-grandmother Mildred (VAN PRICE) DEBROUX, my gg-grandmother Minnie (MUHM) VAN PRICE, my grandmother Marjorie (DEBROUX) THIELKE, my grandfather LeRoy THIELKE, my great-grandfather Leon DEBROUX, my gg-grandmother Augusta (LUEDTKE) LAST, and my great-grandmother Madora (LAST) THIELKE.

CategoriesDutchFamily TreeGermanPolishThielkeZalewski

Names, Places & Most Wanted Faces

Getting the idea from Julie at GenBlog, here is my list of most wanted names, places and faces.

NamesPlaces
ZalewskiMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Poznan, Poland
ThielkeOzaukee Co., Wisconsin
W√ľrttemberg/Mecklenburg, Germany
LastOzaukee Co., Wisconsin
Doeringshagen, Pommerania
FirmenichAshland Co., Wisconsin
Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin
Cologne, Germany
DeBrouxLanglade Co., Wisconsin
Brussels, Belgium
TrokaMilwaukee Co., Wisconsin
Poland

Most Wanted Faces

Been searching for almost ten years to find any relatives (parents/siblings) for Frank J ZALEWSKI, so that I can trace my line to other ZALEWSKI lines. Right now, it’s a little family island.

Peter THIELKE information back into Germany. THIELKE is a somewhat popular name there, so hoping to connect to other researchers.

Peter FIRMENICH family information. Records inidicate they lived in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin, which is only a few miles from here. Wondering if some of them are buried close by or where they lived. Can’t find info in the early 1800s census.

CategoriesCemeteriesGermanThielkeTombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday: Peter Thielke

Peter THIELKE was my 3rd-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. Peter came to America with his wife Marie (maiden name unknown) sometime between 1854 and 1856. I figured this since their son Charles “Fritz” was born in 1854 in Germany and their son Herman was born in Wisconsin in 1856. Their second son, Johann, was my 2nd-great-grandfather. They settled in Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and lived there for the rest of their lives. Peter and his wife Marie are buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

[ Find-A-Grave Entry ]

CategoriesCemeteriesGermanTombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday: Augusta Last

Augusta (Luedtke) Last
Augusta (Luedtke) Last

Headstone of Augusta Johanna Wilkelumire (Luedtke) Last. She wins for having the longest name of my ancestors and for living the longest. Augusta died just shy of two weeks past her 100th birthday. I posted about an article in the local paper mentioning her 100th birthday.

The headstone is located in Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. It’s also near her husband and also some of her children and extended family.

[Link to headstone on Find-a-Grave]

CategoriesFunGermanZalewski

Tanta

Well, I was going to write an article asking for some help, but I think I found my answer. When I was a kid, we used to visit my great grandmother (or who I thought was my great grandmother at the time.) As far as I can remember, we always called her “Tanta.” I always thought this was her name, but was told later on that this meant “Grandma” in German. My dad also used to call her this.

It turns out that Tanta was not my actual great grandmother, but my step-great grandmother. My real great grandmother had passed away in the early 1940s and my great grandfather remarried later on. Tanta was Agnes (Pulchinski) Zalewski.I was going to ask if anyone could verify that Tanta meant “Grandma.” I did a Google search a bit ago and found nothing of interest, but right before writing this post I had an idea. I did a search for “Tanta” on the German Google, google.de. The first few entries were for a city called “Tanta,” but then I found a few entries using Tanta to describe a family member. It looks like Tanta is also used for Aunt along with Grandma. I also found entries for the male version, Tante.

Now, is there anyone out there that has better verification than a few people using it on their websites? I’d like to know, since I was using it for most of my childhood. Thanks.

CategoriesGermanThielkeWisconsin Research

Ich bin [insert clever genealogy item here]

German Beer

The largest group that has affected my ancestry, and also the state as a whole, is the German culture. Every part of my family tree is somehow touched by this ethnicity. My maternal grandfather is almost 100% German and my maternal grandmother (who lives and breathes Irish culture) is closer to German than Irish even though her maiden name is Corrigan.

The are in which I live has examples of German culture everywhere. Cities with names such as Grafton, Hamburg, Germantown, Cedarburg, Fredonia all have German-sounding names and history. Walk into any cemetery in this area and they’ll be overrun with German surnames. Some of the surnames in my family tree with deep German heritage include Last, Thielke, Braatz, Rathke, Luedtke, and Firmenich.

Milwaukee itself was a German melting pot. Germans made up the largest percentage of immigrants in the city itself.

A great number of German immigrants had helped increase the city’s population during the 1840s and continued to migrate to the area during the following decades. Milwaukee has even been called “Deutsches Athen” (German Athens), and into the twentieth century, there were more German speakers and German-language newspapers than there were English speakers and English-language newspapers in the city. (To this day, the Milwaukee phonebook includes more than forty pages of Schmitts or Schmidts, far more than the pages of Smiths.) – Wikipedia

I always consider myself Polish and since I was a child I’ve always sided with the Polish heritage. Though, as it turns out I’m probably much more German than I am anything else. Polish only comes in on my paternal side due to my surname, Zalewski (and who knows if that’s German-Polish.)

While not a big fan of German cuisine, I plan on making it down to Milwaukee’s famous annual Germanfest celebration. As with most of Milwaukee’s ethnic festivals, I assume there will be a large genealogy-related area. Are there any ethnic fesitvals/celebrations in your area?

Photo © fensterbme

CategoriesFamily TreeFeaturedGerman

Wisconsin Pioneer

I received my mail from the Wisconsin Historical Society today and it included some nice information. I ordered the marriage certificates for two of my family members from northern Wisconsin and also a death certificate for a possible relative. The society also found an obituary for my 3rd great grandfather, Mathias B. Firmenich. The copy they sent was in really good shape and also included a photo of Mathias (still not as cool as the above one, though.) The obit contained a lot of information that I didn’t really know and also some new leads, including this one.

Born in Cologne, Germany, February 11, 1840, Mr. Firmenich came to Milwaukee in May 1847 and settled with his parents on a farm located in the wilderness 25 miles from that city.

I have some names for his parents, but I was never 100% sure on them. His marriage certificate also confirms this. But, now I can look around the Milwaukee area in the census and also the cemeteries for them. It also helps that I live in the Milwaukee area. Here is some more from the obit.

Coming in contact with Indians who the inhabited the region, he learned to weave baskets from ash wood, a hobby which he enjoyed until the time of his death. His marriage to Miss Pauline Thompson took place at Green Bay, February 11, 1867. Mrs. Firmenich preceeded him in death by 21 years.
Mr. Firmenich first worked in Ashland as a millright for the Miller and Ritchie company. He was employed there for four years. and later became connected with D.W. Mowatt firm where he was employed until 1905. He also lived on a farm near Sanborn until 1916. For the past few years he has been making his home with his daughter. Mrs. Andrew Anderson on Ninth avenue west.

I’ll have to check with the society to see if they have any more obituaries.