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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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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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

CategoriesMilitaryThielkeTranscription

Off To War

I’ve begun to start transcribing a lot of the documents that I have collected over the years. I’m starting on the letters that my grandfather,†LeRoy Thielke, wrote home during World War II. The first letter I grabbed was the one he wrote to his mother when he was being shipped off to Europe. It’s heartbreaking and courageous to see him write that. I can’t imagine what he was feeling at the time.

24 April 1944 – Monday – 9:00 A.M.

Dearest Mom,

Well I arrived here last night about 2:15 A.M. I slept almost all the way home. I had a seat all the way home or should I say back to camp. There were only a few fellows that had to stand and they usually sat on the arms of the seats. The train was a military special (G.S.)

It was a lot better that way because we didn’t have to transfer at North Chicago Junction. We had a mixed crew aboard. Waves, Wacs, Sailors, Marines, and of course Soldiers.

Well Mom, I got my wish. I’m pulling out in a few hours, 11:45 A.M. to be exact. According to the things we have to carry in our personal duffle bags, I think we’re going for a long ride.

We’re going on a troop train so I don’t suppose I’ll be able to write again until I arrive at the place we get off. There’s only one other kid leaving with me from our barracks, that is we’re leaving on the same car together, so we should end up at the same place. I’ve been talking to him and he’s a high school graduate too, so we both think we will get into something better than the infantry, we hope. I’d like to get into something that I can make a profession or career out of.

Mom, I’ll write as soon as I can and let you know where I am and also if I want my car jack up. Don would probably do it for me. Well Mom, Good Bye Now. You can write to me at the address on the envelope. I’ll get it.

Loving Son,†LeRoy

On a side note. I updated, what I’m going to call, my Notes site. This is basically a wiki where I will post a lot of transcribed stuff since it’s a better spot to hold that kind of information. There are a few interesting things already on there.

CategoriesPersonalThielke

Take Care, Grandpa

LeRoy Arthur Thielke

16 November 1925 – 1 November 2015

Today we lost a wonderful, hard-working, funny man, my grandfather, LeRoy Thielke. Growing up, he was one of the funniest people I knew, and his wit and sense of humor was still sharp until the end. The bright side is that he wasn’t without the love of his life for very long before being reunited with her. My son is indirectly named after my grandpa, who was usually called Lee, which is my son’s middle name.

LeRoy Arthur Thielke was born on 16 November 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents, Arthur & Madora (Last) Thielke, had moved to the area from Wisconsin a few years prior. They probably moved to the area to follow a job of some sort. The family including his older sister, Eleanor (who is still alive) and his two younger brothers, moved back to the Ozaukee County, Wisconsin area by 1930. Sadly, he was only 2 weeks shy of his 90th birthday. He married my grandmother on 28 August 1948 and they were married for 67 years before she passed away in February 2015.

What I remember about Grandpa from when I was younger is that he always seemed to smell like motor oil. He was constantly working on something around the house or at the cottage on Pike Lake. To this day, the smell of motor oil reminds me of him. I like to think that my quick wit and sense of humor partially came from him as he was always fast with a quip or a joke. I always liked when he said†”Hi, Grandpa” on the annual Christmas home video in response to “Say ‘Hi’, Grandpa!”

Within the last few years, I learned a little bit about his time during World War II in the European Theater traveling through England, France, Belgium, and Germany. A few years ago, I did a large post about his service that I am extremely proud of. I do regret not asking him more about his service before he died, which is a lesson to everyone else out there. Ask early and ask often.

His passing is also a sad milestone in my life as I have now lost all four of my grandparents. It’s an odd, empty feeling, I guess. I do plan to post more about that aspect in a day or so.

Grandpa, thanks for making me laugh, teaching me to fish (even though it didn’t really stick), showing me all of your machines, pointing me down the right path, and just being an all-around awesome grandpa. We’ll miss you everyday, but we’re glad that you’re now taking care of Grandma and, honestly, probably giving her a hard time.

Here is the video I created for his memorial. (Video will pop-up on site.)

And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion
That won’t seem to let me go
‘Cause when I look to the sky
Something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
Train – “When I Look to the Sky”
CategoriesFamily TreeFeaturedThielke

Five Generations of Photos

Achievement unlocked! With a small collection of photos that my mom gave me to look through and scan from her side of the family, I now have photos of every one of my ancestors five generations back to my great-great grandparents. That’s pretty impressive, at least I think so, compared to my wife’s tree where she has very sporadic photos beyond her grandparents.

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CategoriesFeaturedMilitaryThielke

Grandpa in World War II

Over the last few months I’ve put together a lot more information about what my grandfather did in World War II. As previous posts mention, he never really talked about the war, not even to my mom. Though, he has kept a lot of items from the war and I guess he was starting to put together a map before he started to have health issues. Sadly, my grandfather passed away on November 1, 2015. I did not get any more time to talk to him about his time in the war, but I’ll never stop researching his service to my country.

Outside of that, I’ve put together a rough history based on letters, notes, photos, and maps that he kept along with some tricky Google searches and Wikipedia. I am posting this for both posterity and to maybe get some searches coming this way to open up more history from other researchers.

This will be an ongoing post as I find and update the information, but I want to get it posted. There is an updates section at the end of the post where I will note what I updated or edited.

I have also recently put this information into a Google Map since they have released the custom map engine for their new map system.

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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.

CategoriesMilitaryThielke

World War II Mystery

A couple of weeks ago I finally got a bunch of photos from my maternal side of the family. I really had next to nothing when it came to photos for that side of the family compared to the amount from my paternal side. Among the awesome pics of my grandparents and their families when they were younger, there are some photos of my grandfather during World War II. You may have remembered that there is almost nothing known about his time in WWII. It’s not something he talked about with most people and he’s considered too “young” to show up in a lot of the available public military records. I have yet to go to the state military archives, since there may be some stuff there, too.

One amazing photo was of him and a group of other men from November 1945 in Mannheim, Germany. The building behind the group has the words “504 QM BN Headquarters” on it. I quickly translated that to the “504th Quartermasters Battalion.” As much searching as I did, I could not find any info on that specific battalion. I posted a query over on /r/Military on reddit and got some help, but nothing solid. Fortunately, on the back of the photo were the names of all of the men. I searched for all of them and didn’t find much besides some generic obituaries, but again, no solid info.

Thielke 1945
Click for larger. My grandfather is 2nd from the left in the 2nd row.

My mom brought over another photo album and some newspaper clippings. One of the clippings was from a local paper in 1944 talking about my grandfather, a local man, and his service information. This clipping lists him as being part of the “748th F. A. Bn. Hq. Btry.” out of Camp Shelby, Mississippi which I assume is the “748th Field Artillery Battalion Headquarters Battery.” Again, no solid leads on that information, but it is another avenue of research.

The research trail continues. I may have some time to sit down with my grandparents, though they are slowing down in their old age, and maybe ask him about his service. Rumor has it that he was working on getting all of his military info in one place before he needed heart surgery a few years ago. Maybe he’s waiting for someone to ask him now.

CategoriesSunday's ObituaryThielke

Sunday’s Obituary: Augusta Last

I thought I’d participate in this week’s Sunday’s Obituary by transcribing the obituary of my great-great grandmother, Augusta (LUEDTKE) LAST, who lived to be 100-years-old. It was from a July 18, 1963 Ozaukee County newspaper.

MRS. AUGUSTA LAST

Mrs. Augusta Last died Sunday morning, July 14, just 11 days after observing her 100th birthday. She was in good health and was listening to church services on the radio at the home of her daughter at Grafton when she suddenly hemorrhaged. The rescue squad was called and she was transferred to St. Alphonsus hospital where she was pronounced dead at 9:30 Sunday morning.

Mrs. Last was a semi-invalid for the past five years after breaking her hip in a fall at her home at 312 Van Buren St., Port Washington. Since then she had been alternating her visits and living with her two daugthers, Mrs. Arthur (Dora) Thielke, 13th Ave., Grafton and Mrs. Leonard (Ella) Didier in Port Washington.

The deceased, nee Augusta Luedtke, was born in Germany on July 3, 1863. She and her husband, the late†Carl Last, had farmed two miles south of Port Washington on the Lake Shore Rd. in the town of Grafton until August of 1926 when they moved to the Van Buren St. home. Mr. Last died the following summer, on June 5, 1927. She continued to live at her home until suffering the hip injury. She had transferred from the Didier home to the Thielke residence last November.

Survivors in addition to Mrs. Thielke and Mrs. Last are three sons, William and August of Port Washington, and Walter of Milwaukee; two other daughters, Mrs. August (Ida) Schlueter of West Bend and Mrs. Helen Kibbel of Port Washington; one daughter-in-law, three sons-in-law, 24 grandchildren, 58 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

The Rev. Christopher Boland, pastor of Frieden’s Evangelical and Reformed church in Port Washington officiated at the funeral services at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16.

Burial was in Union Cemetery, Port Washington.

Funeral arrangements were handled by the Poole funeral home.

 

CategoriesFamily TreeGermanThielke

Johann Thielke

With the change in the way I built my “Everything I Know” sites, I added a new one.

This one is about my maternal great-great grandfather, Johann THIELKE. This is the first one I’ve done on my maternal line. It’s also actually the first one I’ve done with not a lot of information. The first two I did, for Frank ZALEWSKI and Mathias FIRMENICH actually had a good deal of information. After doing this one for Johann, I started to notice how much info I didn’t have. I’m hoping the site will help me find more information or more avenues to research.

Take a look at the Johann THIELKE site or even browse the other sites I’ve done.