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-W√ľrttemberg 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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CategoriesMilwaukeeThe Zalewski ProjectZalewski

Zalewski Lines of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

During the research into my own ancestry, I ran across a few other Zalewski lines in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. As one does in genealogy research, I wondered if they were related to me. It turns out that at least one of those lines was related to mine, but the others have not yet been connected. Recently, I spent some time digging into those other lines a little bit and they are now somewhat better organized.

This also helped me start the Zalewski Name Study page over at WikiTree which will hopefully help Zalewski families connect to each other either through paper genealogy or DNA.

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CategoriesFeaturedPersonalZalewski

20 Years

20 years ago. April 18th, 1999. That dates holds a few key moments in my life and in my genealogy research. My paternal grandfather, Richard Zalewski, passed away on that day. He was the first grandparent I had lost, so it was a life milestone. Also, I always use that day as the day I started my voyage into genealogy. I’ve told that story before.

Last year I made the realization that it was the same amount of time from when I was born to the day he died and that same day until last year, 19 years. I had known my grandfather as much as I was without him. So, now the realization is that this year the balance is tipping in the latter direction.

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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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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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CategoriesTechnologyThielkeWisconsin ResearchZalewski

Coordinating All The Things

For whatever reason in the last few weeks, I’ve dove straight into everything related to WikiTree. Once I started looking at all of the things that were possible with a huge, helpful, friendly community of users and a system that allows a lot of interconnectedness, I was able to find the power in the site. I’ve always used the site, but I picked up a bunch more responsibility with it recently.

Not only have I started up the Zalewski Name Study project on the site, I also started one up for the next largest surname in my tree, the Thielke Name Study. Those are still in their infancy, with the Zalewski one being a bit further. The Thielke one only has two lines on it so far, but it’s a start.

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Categories2017 ProjectZalewski

Grandpa Z

Ok, back to it. The tenth ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2017 project is my paternal grandfather,†Richard ZALEWSKI. I noticed after updating a handful of biographies and sources over at WikiTree recently that I haven’t really written much about my close ancestors, besides my maternal great-grandfather†and my maternal grandfather’s war biography. He is related to me through†my father†‚Üí his father (Richard ZALEWSKI).

My grandfather was part of the reason I started on this genealogical journey over the last 18 years (wow, 18 years.) When he passed away in April 1999, it coincided with the launch of FamilySearch’s first website. One thing led to another, and here we are.

Richard was born on 9 Dec 1921 (one day after my son’s birthday) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. He was the 2nd child of three after his older sister Irene and before his younger brother Robert. He was also a middle child, like me and my father, and his father. The family was living at 826 Bremen St in Milwaukee at the time. His middle name was actually Melvin at birth (not sure where that came from), but it was changed to Joseph a bit later on.

US Navy

In October 1940, Richard joined the US Navy. He was stationed in Pensacola, Florida in Spring 1941 as an Aviation Support Equipment Technician when his mother suddenly passed away on 1 May 1941 of a stroke. The story goes that he could not afford the trip home for her funeral and just happened to find a $20 bill on the †ground that he was able to use for his ride home. I have a few letters that his mother wrote to him in April 1941, so these would be the last words he had from her, which is probably why he kept them.

During most of World War II, Richard was stationed with the US Navy in Hilo, Hawaii where he was a Aviation Machinist’s Mate, 3rd Class.†They were responsible for “maintaining aircraft engines and their related systems, including the induction, cooling, fuel, oil, compression, combustion, turbine, gas turbine compressor, exhaust and propeller systems“Ě and many other things.

Milwaukee

When Richard returned from the war, a young woman named Mary Jane CORRIGAN was living with her aunt and uncle, Edy & Ethel (CORRIGAN) STRELKA in Milwaukee. Edy Strelka was Richard’s first cousin, so Richard and Mary Jane met and after some time were married on 11 October 1947 at St. Gall’s Church in Milwaukee.

The family lived in Milwaukee where their first two children were born, including my father. In about 1955, the family moved north to the “suburbs” in Cedarburg, Ozaukee, Wisconsin where they lived for the rest of their lives and had one more child.

Richard worked with the US Postal Service in Milwaukee for many years, retiring in 1978. On 18 April 1999, Richard passed away from a quick bout with Pancreatic Cancer. His death was my first loss of a grandparent and it hit me a bit hard at the time, which I’ve written about a few times. Every year since his death and the beginning of my journey into genealogy, his Zalewski line was, and is still, my most difficult line to research. I’ve only recently pushed back one more generation. He is buried at St. Francis Borgia Cemetery in Cedarburg.

In terms of DNA, I definitely share DNA with him. Probably 25% based on how DNA recombines. My father and my paternal cousin has also tested, so I can see a lot of the DNA I know I got from them.

CategoriesCorriganGenetic GenealogyTechnologyThielkeZalewski

Visualizing DNA Matches

I ran across a helpful site recently called draw.io that allows you to build flow charts and other diagrams pretty easily. It also ties in nicely with Google Drive and Dropbox so you can get your designs anywhere. I ended up using the site to visualize some of my DNA matches, specifically matches on certain lines in my family tree. It worked nicely and allowed me to see how exactly we’re connected and what information may be gleaned from those matches (i.e., Y-DNA lines, etc.)

Here are my three designs, in the following order. I visualized my Zalewski cousin tests, my Corrigan cousin tests, my Thielke cousin tests, and my Last cousin tests. The last two are on my maternal side and sort of overlap. I have some other lines to do, yet.†Click the images for a larger version.

Zalewski Line

Corrigan Line

Last Line

Thielke Line

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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CategoriesMilwaukeeThe Zalewski ProjectZalewski

Zalewski Expert

I’m not sure how I fell into it this past week, but I decided to jump head first into trying to find and record all of the Zalewski lines in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. My main reasoning is to try to figure out where my great-great-grandfather, Frank Zalewski, was born (or possibly his brother Jacob.) Another reason is to try to connect some or all of them together. That is doubtful as a lot of them come from completely different parts of Poland or Russia and Zalewski is actually somewhat common over there.

This is also somewhat part of The Zalewski Project that I started. I did end up using a lot of the info over there to help figure out where to start.

Currently, in my RootsMagic database that I made specifically for this project, there are 586 individuals in 227 families. I have color-coded some of the main lines to help me better separate them and so far I have 8 major lines, with 2 of them (Frank and Jacob) technically from the same line, though we don’t know their parent’s names. One line also comes from the Stevens Point area in central Wisconsin, but they do come to Milwaukee and also connect to the Jacob Zalewski line at one point, so I included them.

Maybe someday I can add “Zalewski Expert, Milwaukee Area” to my genealogy resume. I’ve learned a whole bunch about the Zalewski families in the area already. I also started a subscription over at GenealogyBank to better search Milwaukee newspapers, which was very helpful. There is so much information in obituaries, wedding announcements and other random articles.

I’d love to see if any Zalewski descendants in the area have purchased DNA tests. If so, hopefully they can transfer their info over to GedMatch to see if we can determine where the Zalewski DNA is hiding.

If you have Zalewski connections in the Milwaukee area, give me a shout. I might have some information on it.