CategoriesMilwaukeeTombstone TuesdayZalewski

Tombstone Tuesday: Gwiazdowski

Anyone following the latest research into my ZALEWSKI line knows that I’ve run across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname on a few occasions. They have something to do with my ZALEWSKI family, but I’m still not 100% sure what it is. Research points to many conflicting options: These are Frank ZALEWSKI’s parents, these are Frank’s aunt and uncle, or maybe they’re just good friends. I have more research to do with the Polish/German church records I recently found at the FHL.

Above: More evidence that they’re related to me somehow is that (among other things) they’re buried with members of the Jacob ZALEWSKI family (the brother of Frank) at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their plot is located at the back part of the GORALSKI stone (another family somehow related to me.)

[Find-A-Grave link]

CategoriesFamily TreeFeaturedMilwaukeeZalewski

Family History Library Success!

Well, after over a decade of doing genealogy research, I finally made a trip to one of the “local” Family History Libraries. I put local in quotes, because it was still a good 30 miles away, but not too far. I’m not exactly sure why I never visited one. I like knowing how things work before I go since I hate being somewhere and not knowing how to act. For example, I had my iPhone with me, but hidden in my pocket since I wasn’t sure the rules on electronics/cameras. I wasn’t even sure if I could use a pen and paper. Some places are strict in that regard. Later on in the day I saw a man using a laptop right next to a microfilm reader, so now I know.

I just wanted to make a quick trip and look over the records they had on “perpetual” loan. The lady who showed me around seemed confused when I said that, though all of the records I used said that they were on “indefinite” loan, so I’m sure it’s the same thing. They have all of the Milwaukee church records and vital records on-hand. I really wanted to look through the church records for both St. Hedwig’s and St. Casimir’s churches on the east side of Milwaukee since those two are where most of my Polish family attended. My main ZALEWSKI ancestors first went to Hedwig’s and then Casimir’s when they moved.

I was also really hoping to find the marriage record of Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother, Jacob to his wife Pauline WONDKOWSKI. I am somewhat lucky in the fact that Jacob was unmarried when he immigrated. This should hopefully allow me to find his marriage record and maybe his parent’s names (which would also be Frank’s parents, my 3rd-great-grandparents.) As luck would (not) have it, I couldn’t find the record. Jacob and Pauline baptised all of their children at St. Hedwig’s, but I could not find their marriage record. I looked countless times going back and forward a few years, too. It is possible that they may have been married at another church in the area, which I will pursue or there is a very rare possibility that they married elsewhere before coming to Milwaukee, which would not be fun to track down. Plus, I also found many spellings of Pauline’s last name, from WADKOWSKI to LUTKOWSKI.

I did, again, solidify the relationship between the ZALEWSKI, GWIAZDOWSKI, and GORALSKI families. A lot of both Frank’s and Jacob’s children were sponsored by one or more of the families. Frank and Anna ZALEWSKI’s last child, Agnes, was sponsored by both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI. It also seems that in some of the earlier baptism records, they listed the female sponsors with their maiden names as I found Pauline listed as Pauline LANDKOWSKA on my great-grandfather Joseph’s baptism record (which I posted about earlier this week.) Also, on their next child, Frances Dorothy ZALEWSKI, I found the female sponsor listed as Maria GWIAZDOWSKI, better known as Mary GORALSKI, which now (somewhat) proves that she is the daughter of both August & Anna, though it still messes up the fact that she is listed as Frank ZALEWSKI’s sister.

I also found some other possible family connections that I need to pursue, mainly on the LINDNER side, though some on the TROKA side, too. I ordered the records from what I hope is the original location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, Gocza?ki (or more specifically, the parish of Święte.) We’ll see how that turns out once the records arrive, usually in about 6 weeks.

Image from crowderb@flickr

CategoriesMilwaukeeZalewski

Zalewski Brothers

While looking for some other documents, I ran across a record that again pretty much seals the fact that my great-great-grandfather, Frank J Zalewski, and the Jacob Zalewski I have been researching were brothers (or worst case, cousins of some sort.) Below is my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski’s, “Certificate of Baptism” from St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee. The document itself is from 1960, but the information is probably taken directly from the church’s records.

Joseph Zalewski Baptism
Click for larger

The part that interested me on this specific item was the list of “sponsors.” It lists Joseph GORALSKI and Pauline ZALEWSKI. Joseph has been mentioned a lot recently along with the GWIAZDOWSKI’s. Pauline is Jacob’s wife and probably Joseph’s aunt. Mary may also be Joseph’s aunt,if her obituary is to be believed.

CategoriesCemeteriesMilwaukeeZalewski

Cold Stones

I probably didn’t pick the best day to do some more research at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee today. A wonderful “spring” day in Wisconsin, a windy 23 degrees with snow flurries. I also should have probably worn more than a sweatshirt, but it wasn’t all that bad. I did have a knit cap on.

Last night I made a list of all of the headstones I wanted to find at the cemetery, including some I already had. I wanted to get better quality photos. Well, the small list turned into two pages of entries, about 55 total. Thanks to the Archdiocese website, I was able to map (the general area) of where the stones were. I hit up the stones I really wanted to find first, the Gwiazdowski, Goralski, and Jacob Zalewski family. Once I found the section and started to walk the graves, I cursed myself for not wearing a larger coat. Though, once I found the collection of stones I forgot about the cold.

All of the stones were in one area in the middle of Block 4B. I caught the “Goralski” name on one of the large stones while walking. The way the graves were set up mostly solidifies the Gwiazdowski/Goralski/Zalewski connection, because Jacob Zalewski, Jr and his wife were on the same stone as the Goralski’s and Gwiazdowski’s. I know it’s not proof, but there are few reasons why else they would be on the same stone.

Goralski Stone
Joseph & Mary Goralski with Jacob Zalewski, Jr - Click for larger

On the other side of this stone are August & Anna GWIAZDOWSKI and Jacob’s wife, Alice. That’s another notch in the connection that Mary is August & Anna’s daughter. Jacob, Sr & Pauline ZALEWSKI, along with their son Edward and his wife Kathryn were on the next headstone to the south.

Zalewski stone
Jacob & Pauline Zalewski, with daughter Anna. Edward and his wife Kathryn are on the other side. - Click for larger

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much but dates on the stones. I was hoping maybe for maiden names or birth places. It’s still more proof and it’s nice to finally visit their final resting place. I didn’t get to my whole list since the other sections were mostly all flat headstones and I didn’t want to have to walk in the snow and cold to try to find them. Even though I had pinpointed it to Section, Lot, and Grave number, it was hard to figure out where the specific Lots were.

I’ll come back later and get those photos once it’s actually spring here. My dad said he would also like to tag along, but he wasn’t feeling well today and it wasn’t a very pleasant day to go anyway.

CategoriesMilwaukeeWay Back WednesdayZalewski

Way Back Wednesday: Troka Family

Troka FamilyThis is a photo from my paternal Milwaukee line. I don’t know the names of everyone in the photo, but there are a few I know. My great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, is at the top-left. Her mother, Clara (SZULTA) TROKA, is right below her. Clara’s mother (and my 3rd-great-grandmother), Nepomuncena (SYLDAKT) SZULTA, is to the right of her. The only other name I know is that of Nepomuncena’s son, John SZULTA, in the middle of the back row. The remaining people are either part of the SZULTA family or TROKA family. I have other photos from this day that include other family members. Click photo to enlarge.

CategoriesFeaturedMilwaukeeTechnologyTips & Tricks

Maps. Maps. Maps.

I started using the Google Maps system to plot some of my family’s locations awhile back, but I never got around to finishing it. Recently, I plotted most of the major Milwaukee locations for my family and it’s interesting to see how it looks once you know where things are. I’ve always had an idea, but it’s better to see it in it’s final state.

An interesting thing about Milwaukee is that it went through a massive addressing overhaul in 1931, so a lot of the address information from census records is different today. Fortunately, I found a website that has some basic conversion tools and was able to (hopefully) pinpoint these addresses. Give it a try sometime. It’s neat to see how your family moved around.

View Milwaukee Locations in a larger map and access to the legend.

CategoriesFunMilwaukeePolish

Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday around here in Milwaukee, home to a large Polish heritage, is celebrated as Pączki Day. The most popular local bakery in the area, National Bakery and Deli, expects to sell 45,000 of them.

A pączki is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. I bet you’re like, “Wait! Isn’t this just a donut?” According to Wikipedia, although they look like bismarcks or jelly doughnuts, pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar and sometimes milk.

Sadly, I didn’t get one today. No one brought any in to the office and I didn’t think driving that far for one was worth it. Though, I am always for any sort of ethnic celebration that includes eating lots of donut-like foods.

CategoriesMilwaukeeZalewski

Did You Hear the One About the Polish Flat?

Courtesy of britmum@Flickr
Courtesy of britmum@Flickr

I tried, but I couldn’t come up with a joke for that. “Polish Flats” are common here in the Milwaukee area. I’ve recently been exploring the area where my great-great-grandfather, Frank Zalewski, and his family resided when they immigrated to Milwaukee in 1891. Frank and his family’s first house was located at 902 Pulaski Street in Milwaukee. They are noted to live there until about 1898 when they moved to 900 Fratney Street.

According to researchers at UWM in Milwaukee, “A “Polish flat’ is an American workers’ cottage that has been raised to create a new basement floor, thus becoming a modest two-story flat.” [More information here.] The Pulaski street area is full of these types of houses. They even built them two or three-deep at certain points, so it makes finding the right house a mess. You can see on this Google Maps link just how crowded they built these houses.

I assume the house on Pulaski street is still standing. Unfortunately, the city of Milwaukee underwent a massive address overhaul in 1931 and most of the addresses in that area have changed. There is no common mathematical equation used to figure out the new address, since they based it on measurements. I did find a guide on how to find the general range of the new address, which should be in the 1800 range now.The 1930 census still lists the old addresses, so that doesn’t help.

From the 1900-1930 census, the family of Jacob Zalewski lived at 902 Pulaski. This is the man I assume is some relation to Frank, possibly a brother, since they both lived there for years. Jacob passed away sometime between 1913 and 1920 according to census records. His wife Pauline was living there in the 1930 census with her children. The earliest city directory available at Ancestry after 1930 is the 1937 directory. I checked under Zalewski and it lists Pauline as passing away on December 30, 1936 and lists no address. There are three listings for Zalewskis on Pulaski street: Jacob G, Leo, and Joseph. These are three names of Jacob and Pauline’s sons, though they are also popular Polish names. They all live from 1758 to 1762 Pulaski Street. If I had to take an educated guess, this is probably where Frank Zalewski lived when he came to Milwaukee. Here is a view of it at Google Street View (you’ll need to find the house pushed way back, Google doesn’t automatically point at it.) I also happened to find another photo of it while searching for Pulaski Street information.

I drove through the area at my lunchtime on Monday since it’s only a few miles from where I work. It’s very hard to get around if you don’t know the area due to a lot of one-way streets. Now that I have a better idea, I may make another trip for some photos.

Photo:

CategoriesBig NewsMilwaukeeZalewski

Tracking the Zalewski

I know it sounds like a show on National Geographic, but it’s not. I’m not sure why I didn’t this earlier, but it’s never too late to try. After finding my ZALEWSKI family’s passenger record, I originally decided to see if I could find them in Baltimore city directories since it seems like they spent a few years there. This finally took me back to the Milwaukee City Directories since there are no online versions for Baltimore from 1889-1892.

Ancestry has a lot of Milwaukee City Directories online scattered from like 1880 to 1939 with most of 1880-1900 available. I started with 1889 to see if the ZALEWSKI family made it there yet, but they did not. I first found Frank ZALEWSKI in the 1892 (well, two actually, go figure.)

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CategoriesMilwaukeePolishTell Me Thursday

Tell Me Thursday: Joe & Clara Troka

Wordless Wednesday
Click for larger image

This is a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Joe & Clara (SZULTA) TROKA on their 50th wedding anniversary. The date of this photo would be somewhere around 29 Jan 1944 since they were married in 1894. They were married at St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There is a very nice writeup and history for St. Hedwig’s at Wikipedia. Here is a closer photo from the “Polsih Churches of Milwaukee” website.

CategoriesFamily TreeGermanMilwaukeePolishTell Me ThursdayZalewski

Tell Me Thursday: Zalewski

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

According to the note for this photo, this is a picture of my grandfather, Richard Zalewski (middle), with his sister Irene to his left and Eugene Nowiski to his right. I don’t know off-hand who Eugene Nowiski is, but it does look like he’s ready to change someone’s oil. Multiple people have said that my grandfather looks a bit like me in this photo when I was a kid. I can see it. I assume the photo was taken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Richard lived there most of his life.