CategoriesFamily TreePolishZalewski

With A Little Help From My Friends

As I mentioned in an update post last week, I was able to take back my Zalewski line back a few more generations. Here’s how that went down.

A few years back, I had found Frank and Anna’s marriage record in the Polish Civil Archives. That record listed his parent’s names and his birthplace which was listed as Krottoschin. This got me one more generation back, but with little more info besides names and a location.

Using sites like Kartenmeister and Google Maps, I quickly was able to find the location and it’s modern equivalent. It is now Krotoszyny, Biskupiec, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Poland. Not be confused with the more popular one in the Poznan area that I kept running into.

What I couldn’t find were any church records for this location. Civil records were available, but those didn’t start until 1874. Frank was born in 1858. I’ve always had great luck at finding record listings for almost any location using FamilySearch’s Catalog, no matter how small. For some reason Krottoschin wasn’t even listed on their site. I was at a loss and disappointed.

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CategoriesAmanuensis MondayPolishZalewski

The Marriage of Frank and Anna

Since finding their marriage record that I talked about in my last post, I’ve done my best to transcribe and translate it to the best of my ability (and Google Translate.) Here is what I was able to translate, with some notes within and more notes after.

Nr. 8

Schwenten on the 2nd of November one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four

Before the undersigned registrar released today for the purpose of marriage

  1. Tagloehner(?) (day-laborer) known as Franz Zalewski, Catholic religion, born the fourth of October the year on thousand eight hundred fifty-eight in Krotoschin in Loebau, resident of Gottschalk in Graduenz.

    Son of (?) Michael Zalewski and (?) (?) Anna born Muschowska(?), residing in Gottschalk

  2. Known as Anna Lindner, catholic religion, born the fifteenth October (incorrect? baptism record is in Sept 1865) of the year one thousand eight hundred sixty-five in Schwenten in Graudenz, residing in Schwenten in Graudenz.

    Daughter of (?) Johann Lindner and (?) (?) Eva born Sonnenfeld residing at Schwenten.

Witnesses were drawn and published:

  1. The (?) known as Johann Lindner, 48 (?) years old, residing in Schwenten
  2. The (?) known as Franz Gurski, 36 (?) years old, residing in Schwenten

In the presence of the witnesses, the clerk of the court addressed to the betrothed the question individually and one after the other:

Whether they know they want marriage with each other. The fiancée replied to this question in the affirmative, and made the statement of the civil servant that he was now giving it up to the law of the law

Presented, approved and (?)

XXX (?) Franz Zalewski
XXX (?) Anna Zalewski born Lindner
XXX (?) Johann Lindner
XXX (?) Franz Gurski

A few notes here. It describes Frank’s birthday as 4 October 1858, which is probably correct. I’ve always had 4 Sep 1858, but I honestly don’t know the source of that specific date. I’ve never seen it myself, though the year is probably correct as that has been found in multiple places. I also now have Frank’s place of birth, which is a nearby town named Krotoschin in 1884. Today it is Krotoszyny, Biskupiec, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Poland, just northeast of their marriage location. I don’t know if Frank’s mother’s last name is Muschowska. It’s a bit tough to read.

All of the question marks (?) in the transcription are words I could not make out. Lowercase letters like e, n, and r look very similar in German Gothic script especially when the writer is a bit sloppy. They all look like one squiggly line with a few peaks and valleys. Most of the missing words are the occupations of the individuals. The three X’s at the bottom near the four names is probably similar to “his mark” in other documents stating that the person could not write their name.

For whatever reason, it looks like Anna’s birth date is wrong. I’ve previously found her baptism record in the church records and it was from September 1865. This states she was born in October.

The only other new item is the name of one of the witnesses, Franz Gurski. Not sure who that is, so I’ve been looking for the Gurski name in the rest of the civil records. I found a few birth records for Franz and his wife. I’ve also found a few more Zalewski/Salewski records and I’ve made note of them. They’re probably, or possibly, related to Frank Zalewski. Unfortunately, the civil records only go back to 1874, so I will need to track down the church records to see if I can find Frank’s baptism record in Krotoschin.

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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CategoriesGenetic GenealogyGermanPolish

Ancestry DNA Genetic Communities

Yesterday, the big news across the Genetic Genealogy community was the release of Ancestry DNA’s Genetic Communities. According to Ancestry, these communities are built like this:

We find Genetic Communities™ by looking at a network of DNA connections we build using millions of AncestryDNA members in our database. When we build a network like this using millions of AncestryDNA members with billions of DNA relationships between them, we find groups of people in the network that have more DNA matches to each other than to people in other parts of the network. We call these groups Genetic Communities. We use a popular network analysis method called community detection to discover them.

So, it’s sort of a mix of DNA matches along with information from the millions of family trees built on the site. Together they can find a community in the more recent past. Previously, we only had ethnicity estimates to work with, but those were usually more broad and much deeper in the past. For example, here are my ethnicity results.

That Scandinavia one still confuses me a bit. but who knows where my deep ancestry came from. Those Scandinavians were known to travel.

My Communities

I have two active Genetic Communities, as do most people it seems. My first one is Germans in Brandenburg & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (very likely >95%) which matches up very well with my known ancestry. The other one is Poles in Pomerania, which also matches up very well though their confidence is only at 20% for this one at the moment.

The German community points to this area, which is the original location of a lot of my German ancestry. The Pomeranian community points to a majority of northern Poland, which also has a lot of my ancestry. As always, click the images for a larger view.

Timelines

You can also break down the communities into time periods to find out more information about what happened in that area during those years. If I open up the time period when most of my ancestors migrated, it talks about that exact thing and also talk about how they came to the Wisconsin area.

So far these communities have been helpful and surprisingly specific and on the right track. Based on a lot of the messy, incorrect trees I see on the site I’d expect some skew, but I imagine those are not the majority. If you’re looking for much more insight on these communities, check out the great post over at The Genetic GenealogistAncestry has also put together a short video introducing the feature.

CategoriesPolishSlownik Geograficzny TranslationZalewski

Slownik Geograficzny Translation – Gocza?ki

I decided to update one of the first Slownik Geograficzny translations that I did for the town that my great-great-grandfather, Frank J Zalewski, resided in when he was married in 1882Gocza?ki.

Gocza?ki is currently located in Gmina Łasin, Grudziądz County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland.

The translation is a work-in-progress and is obviously not completely perfect. I am grateful for some help from Al at Al’s Polish-American Genealogy, who has translated many entries himself. I will mark the words or phrases that I am confident are wrong or are not even translated as I could not find any information on them, with italics. The rest, while they may not flow very well, are mostly right and just need some small tweaking. Some of the diacritics on the letters may not have copied over correctly, I will fix those if  I see them. Any errors in the translations are completely my own.

A few terms that may be confusing are: morg: a unit of land measurement; in this area 1 morg = 0.631 acres - wlók: a unit of land measurement used in Poland, was generally about 30 morgs, but this can vary, depending on what part of Poland and what time-frame one is concerned with. Generally 30 morgs was considered a full-sized farm, big enough to support a family. There are others, though you can find most definitions here if you get confused. Other unique words will be defined in the translation.

Goczalkowo, also called Gocza?ki, in German: Gottschalk, a knightly estate, Grudziadz district, on the road from Grudziadz to Biskupiec, approximately 1 mile from the township Łasin and 1 mile from Biskupiec, where the Toruńsko-Wystruckiej iron railway station is located. It covers 3100 morgs of land, 23 buildings, 9 inhabitants’ homes, 90 catholics, 96 evangelicals. Parish in Święte, the school site, mail at Łasin.

Gocza?ki was previously located in Pomezania, at the the border of Che?mno. Probably took the name of the holder of the German mayor Gotschalk or rather, a deviation of the German “Gotschalksdorf”. Belonged to the older Riesenburg Prussian ducal district. In the sixteenth century, this village was owned by a Czarlińscy.

In the year 1543, Duke Albrecht of Prussia issued a new charter for Gocza?ki to the three Czarlińskim (German Scherlinski) sisters Annie, Urszuli and Elzbiecie, which their deceased father Tomasz (Thomassen) possessed, but during the last war he went missing. Gocza?ki (Gottschalksdorff) was then 30 wlok and immediately next to it a second estate, that is called in German “Wrozelsdorff”, which consisted of 12 wlok and also belonged to them.

Although Gocza?ki in Pomezania lay within the limits zlutrza?ego(?) Prussian Prince, the people around here remained Polish for a long time. In fact, in 1601 there is a Pawel Stucki of Gocza?ki who in 1619 with Jan Goczalkowski waives his section in Gocza?ki to Rafalowi Goczalkowskiemu.

Around 1629, the place holders of the local gentry: Maciej and Rafal Goczalkowski and Bartosz Jaromierski.

In 1667 there were 5 separate shares in Gocza?ki, which had minor nobility.

In 1720, there were still a few of the shares from earlier. Then a wealthy German, Fryderyk Aleksander Backer, started using the unfortunate times and buying the smaller particles. In 1721. he bought the 14 wlok which were attached to Tymawy from Ernesta von Taube, in 1722 7 wlok from Adama Kosickiego, and in 1740 acquired the right to the mortgage of 21 wlok and a farm from Gotlibkowo and Worzelsdorf (which belonged to Gocza?ki) for 6000 gold for 40 years. Doing this, he had a total 42 wlok.

After the death of Aleksander Fryderyk Becker, his married daughter, Major Buchholz’s wife, inherited the estate. In 1770, it was acquired by the son of a Prussian lieutenant, Rafel Bucliholz “‹”‹for 10666 talar.

In 1780, Captain Jan Karol Borek is the owner, in 1786 Captain Ferdynand von Pfórtner, in 1794 a royal courtier and adviser Otto Graf von Keyserling, in 1797 von Hippel owned the estate and Lisowski.

Gocza?ki was acquired in 1836 by subhasty(?) August Teodcr von Peterson, and from him Gocza?ki and Dohnastiidt was purchased in 1841 for 53,300 talars by Baron Hugo Maksymilian Fryderyk von Blumenthal. Refer to Frolich, “Geschichte des Graudenzer Kreises” 82

S?ownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego – Warsaw [1895, vol. 2, p.755-756]. Retrieved from http://dir.icm.edu.pl/pl/Slownik_geograficzny/Tom_II/755 on 5 Nov 2014.

CategoriesFeaturedGermanPolishTips & Tricks

How to Search Germany, Prussia, Pomerania Church Records

FamilySearch has a boatload of church records scanned and available online for Germany, Prussia, and Pomerania from 1544-1945, though I would estimate that most of them are in the middle of that range. Currently they’re not available for searching, but I did see them in the indexing software, so maybe they will be available for that soon. That means you must look through them by hand, like the good ol’ days.

It seems that a lot of families from this area of Wisconsin immigrated from that area, which is now mostly in Poland, so I’m in luck. I used this collection to find a few records so far. I found my 3rd-great-grandparent’s marriage record and my 3rd-great-grandfather’s baptism record (I’m pretty sure.) Keep in mind that the towns and parishes are not named the same as they were in the 1800s, so you can’t just go to Google Maps. Don’t worry, I’ve done some of the hard work for you and will show you how to find the records you need. Though, this won’t do all of the browsing record by record and trying to determine what someone wrote in German on old, ripped paper from 1840 for you, but maybe for a few bucks I can do that for you, too.

churchrecs
Some of the Pommern church records available.

The key in all of this is an amazing site called Kartenmeister. They describe themselves:

Welcome to the most comprehensive database of its kind in the world. It contains 93537 locations with over 38.691 name changes once, and 5,500 twice and more.  Included in this database are the following provinces: Eastprussia, including Memel, Westprussia, Brandenburg, Posen, Pomerania, and Silesia. It currently list most towns or points, points being: Mills, some bridges, battlefields, named trees, cenotaphs etc.

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CategoriesGermanMysteriesPolish

Solve One Mystery, Create Another

That seems to be how it always works, doesn’t it? You finally solve a family research mystery and it just creates more mysteries. But, what fun would it be if we ran out of mysteries to solve?

The story of how I solved one mystery late last night is somewhat interesting. I spent a few hours over the last month trying to track down the birth record of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Johann LAST. I happened to run across his marriage record in 1849 in, what was then called, Plathe in Pommern, Germany (today it’s P?oty in western Poland.) The record indicated that he was from Minten, which was near Naugard (now Nowogard) which is a bit south of the area. I spent hours looking through the available church records on FamilySearch’s website in the Naugard area for any trace. I did find a few LAST entries, but nothing for my family.

Last night, on a whim, I just decided to start looking through records just to the north of the Plathe area, since I didn’t get to those on my last search. I wasn’t expecting much since it’s not that close to Naugard or Minten. I started with the parish of Batzwitz (now called Baszewice) which also included a few other smaller parishes in the area. I jumped in a few pages to skip over the cover page, etc, and the first page I came to had a baptism entry for LAST. Though it wasn’t anything familiar, I did take it as a good sign. In all of my searching, I found that the surname isn’t very common. I was only in 1823 and Johann was listed to be born in 1825. I kept working through the pages, seeing more LAST entries. Then, on the first page of the 1825 baptism records for the parish of Barkow, I spotted what looked like “Johann Wilhelm Gottlieb,” his full name from his marriage record.

This is where one mystery was (more than likely) solved and another one (or more) created. It seems that Johann is listed as uneheliche sohn which basically translates to “illegitimate son.” It does list his mother as Dorothea Sophia LAST, but no father. I know that some church records sometimes have a “legitimacy” section that has listings for when they legitimize the children, so I’m hoping it’s there.

Now, that’s not the only mystery. I spent some time looking through more pages to see if I could see Dorothea in more places and possibly connect her to parents or even a husband at some point. I read one LAST entry that listed the father as Justmann Wilhelm Last and then a sponsor listed as Karl Gottlieb Last Justmann. After some basic searching, I can only figure that Justmann means a “well-to-do man.” Adding even more intrigue, Dorothea is listed as a sponsor in another baptism as schulzen tochter which translates to “mayor’s daughter.” In the next entry is a father listed as schulzen sohn Gottlieb Last which means “mayor’s son, Gottlieb Last.” My guess is Dorothea and Gottlieb are siblings, but I want to dig deeper to find out more since it was late last night when I found this.

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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CategoriesFeaturedPolishZalewski

Parish of St. Barbara

After some research, I think I’ve traced the marriage of my great-great grandparents, Frank Zalewski & Anna Lindner, to Parafia św. Barbary w Świętem (or the Parish of St. Barbara at Święte.) According to a translation of their Polish Wikipedia entry:

The parish was founded in about 1300 by the Teutonic Knights. During the Thirteen Years’ War the church was destroyed and the parish declined. The present wooden church was built in 1723 on the land of the owner of the village – Waclaw Kozlowski. The last thorough renovation of the church took place in the 1990s.

Also according to their (wonderful) website, this church is the largest wooden structure in the area and one of the largest in Poland.

Their website has a great photo gallery of the church, inside & out, including the adjacent cemetery. They also have a very cool gallery of the cemetery on All Saints Day, November 1st, 2011. The photo above is from that gallery. Click on it to view more photos from that day.

It’s very cool to see the actual church from across the world that your somewhat distant ancestors were married in and baptised some of their children in.

CategoriesFeaturedPolishSlownik Geograficzny Translation

Slownik Geograficzny Translation – Święte

Update 11/5/2014: I made another run-through of this translation and am fixing a few things.

I recently took another shot at translating an entry from the Slownik Geograficzny. This time I worked on translating the entry for Åšwięte, which is the town where my great-great grandparents were married and some of their family had lived.

Here is my translation. You can find the original entry by visiting the University of Warsaw’s website that allows you to view the original book with a Firefox plugin. You can also view it on this site, without a plugin, though the site is in Polish so you may need some translation.

The translation is a work-in-progress and is obviously not completely perfect. I am grateful for some help from Al at Al’s Polish-American Genealogy, who has translated many entries himself. I will mark the words or phrases that I am confident are wrong or are not even translated as I could not find any information on them, with italics. The rest, while they may not flow very well, are mostly right and just need some small tweaking. Some of the diacritics on the letters did not copy over, I plan to fix those once I have some time. Any errors in the translations are completely my own. Continue reading

CategoriesBig NewsFamily TreeFeaturedPolishZalewski

Across the Pond

Grudziądz, PolandI had a Thursday off this past week, so I decided to visit one of the local Family History Libraries in the area. The last time I went I ordered some microfilm from the area that I had hoped my ZALEWSKI family originated. I was confused since they told me that it takes about six weeks for the microfilm to arrive and then they will send me my self-addressed postcard to let me know, but I never received anything. Six weeks from my last visit would’ve been sometime in May and it still didn’t arrive by August.

When I first arrived, I just double-checked some of the local Milwaukee church records for some more information and also to try to find Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother’s marriage record (Jacob to Pauline WONDKOWSKI.) Still no luck in finding that record. I had thought that maybe they got married at another church, but there were no other churches in the area with records back to 1891-92. Only St. Hedwig’s church had records that old from that area. Jacob and Pauline baptised most of their children there, but I could not find a marriage record. I’m hoping they didn’t get married before they came to Milwaukee since that would be tough to track down.

After lunch I got back and I asked the volunteer on site about my order. She was somewhat new, but she tried looking through all of the orders from the past to see if maybe it didn’t get sent out, etc. She then asked me to get the film number from the Family Search website and she’d look it up that way. Before I could sit and check, she found my order. In big letters written over the card it said, “Film already here. Needs refund.” I guess the film was already on-site when I ordered it, though the volunteer that day obviously didn’t help me check. Either way the news is great. Continue reading