CategoriesGenetic GenealogyPersonalZalewski

Ancestry DNA

As the news mentioned last week, Ancestry has opened it’s DNA area. I’ve been a user on Ancestry for many years and I also have become involved in Genetic Genealogy via the National Geographic study and also Family Tree DNA. So, I was more than happy to test our Ancestry’s system.

It was easy to transfer my data over from FTDNA to Ancestry. Currently, they can only transfer from FTDNA or National Geographic, though I imagine if you have your data handy you can convert it yourself. You just need to bring up your DNA data and type in the values into Ancestry from one of these two companies.

It took a few minutes after I entered it for it to find some matches, though unfortunately there are none before 26 generations out. They show you your matches in a nice graphical format including a map. They also give you an estimate of the number of years, along with generations, that this person and you may have a common ancestor.

If you have an Ancestry.com account and also have received your DNA info, I would recommend trying this out. Any and all data can help everyone!

Link: Ancestry DNA

CategoriesZalewski

It Has Begun…

Ok, I did a little work on starting the Zalewski Family Tree Project this weekend. I went through a bit of the 1860-1900 Census records and added the “Zalewski” (and other variations) to one family tree file. It’s just a start, but hopefully this will become the largest collection of Zalewski family trees around. Also, hopefully we can connect the families to each other and help all of the researchers out there. I did notice some interesting things when I was entering some of this data:

  • Most of the Zalewski families seemed to have immigrated within the years 1889-1891, as did my Zalewskis.
  • They seemed to have collected mainly within the Great Lakes region (Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.) There were some outside of there and I’m also just starting.
  • They usually lived within the same area, but then again most ethnic groups tended to do this.

You can browse the Zalewski Family Tree Project on my site now. If you find a family member in there, let me know and we can “connect the dots,” if you will.

As always, feel free to send your Zalewski information in.

CategoriesZalewski

Planting the Seed

Joe and Richard

Well, I’ve begun the starting work on my super Zalewski Family Tree project. Unfortunately, I haven’t received many Zalewski trees after I requested them. I’ll have to start marketing it on message boards and mailing lists. Though, I did browse through the documents on I found on footnote.com regarding the Zalewski name. I ran across a document from the “Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation” about a Charles Zalewski in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The document is basically a declaration of intent to be American and not Pro-German. Interesting stuff over there. I have the document linked on my footnote Story Page that I created for some Zalewski stuff (enjoy his hairstyle.) Once I found that document, which includes his parents, siblings and children, I found him living in Milwaukee in the census reports from 1900-1930 along with his brother Frank (not mine, unfortunately.) No connections yet, but it’s still fresh.

Again, all of you Zalewski researchers out there, send in your Zalewski Family Trees. If we get this all put together, hopefully we can find many connections.

CategoriesFamily TreeMilitaryZalewski

Grandpa Joe

Joseph Zalewski

Though, I was alive for more than a year before my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, passed away, I really don’t remember much of him or have any photos of him and I. He seemed like a nice guy. If he was anything like my grandfather (his son) he was probably strict, yet loving. He was probably pretty stern since he was a Milwaukee Police Officer and fought in World War I.

He served in the US Army Infantry during World War I (1917-1918). Research has said he fought with the Allied Expeditionary Forces in France during several major battles. Unfortunately, his military records were destroyed in a fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center – St Louis, Missouri (according to a reply to a 1994 inquiry submitted by another family researcher.) After the war, he returned to Milwaukee where he served with distinction on that city’s municipal police force for 33 years until his retirement.

Joseph’s parents immigrated from Poland in 1890 and out of all of their children, only two of them were sons. Joseph was the only Zalewski boy to have children, making him the only Zalewski line from Poland in the area that I can prove relation. So, even though there are many Zalewski’s in the Milwaukee area, I don’t know how, or if, I’m even related to them. This is one reason for this website along with the Zalewski Family Tree Project and the Zalewski Surname DNA Study.

CategoriesCemeteriesZalewski

Flickr

www.flickr.com


I did a bunch of updates to my Flickr account. I had signed up for it awhile ago, but never used it. I still plan to use my own website for most of my genealogy pictures, but some will go there for all to see. Above is a selection of some of the cemetery photos I took while doing research. For some reason cemeteries always interested me. Maybe it’s because they’re usually very peaceful, yet kinda dark and gloomy at the same time. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed taking photographs while I was in them.

I also created a “Zalewski Genealogy” Flickr group for all of you Zalewski researchers to post your photos. Let’s see if all of the Zalewskis look the same.

Feel free to view my photos or even add me as a contact. I’d be more than happy to add you!

CategoriesFamily TreeGenetic GenealogyZalewski

Hanging Out My Genes

R1a1

I saw a show on the National Geographic channel a few years ago about Genetic Genealogy, or Genetealogy as the cool kids call it. It really interested me. I’ve recently become more interested in world history, especially in the areas of my ancestors and how they lived (This would’ve been helpful in college, when I needed to know it.) This show was telling me that I could order a test and find out exactly where my ancestors came from, at least, my paternal ancestors. Sign me up! I ordered the kit and sent it back. I waited a few months and received my results. They tell me that my DNA data falls into the “R1a1 haplogroup.” That makes complete sense, doesn’t it? For more on haplogroups and genetic genealogy, visit the Wikipedia article.

This what the National Geographic’s Genographic project, who ran my tests, says about the R1a1 haplogroup.

Today a large concentration of — around 40 percent — of the men living in the Czech Republic across the steppes of Siberia, and south throughout Central Asia are members of haplogroup R1a1. In India, around 35 percent of the men in Hindi-speaking populations belong to this group. The M17 marker is found in only five to ten percent of Middle Eastern men. The marker is also found in relatively high frequency — around 35 percent — among men living on the eastern side of present-day Iran.

This only applies to my direct male line, which is my Zalewski line. I only have that back a few generations, so it’s not too much help, yet. If I find a perfect match to someone else with the Zalewski surname, it means that we more-than-likely have a common ancestors in the recent past. Unfortunately, I’ve not run across this, even though I do have perfect matches with a few individuals. Since they’re different surnames, it probably means we share an ancestor prior to the use of surnames. This is why I set up the Zalewski Surname DNA Study group on the Family Tree DNA site. Hopefully, more Zalewskis will join the study and we’ll find some connections. Nothing yet, but we only have a few members. So, all you Zalewski men out there, get testing!

CategoriesZalewski

Zalewski: It’s all in the name

Zalewski. Not a name you see everyday. Americanized, which is quite common. Though, not very hard to pronounce, some people just shred it because it ends in “ski.” We pronounce it zuh-loo-ski, but I’m told the original pronunciation is something like shuh-lef-ski due to the polish version of these letters.

According to a book on surnames, Zalewski comes from a topographic name for someone that lived on a flood plain or bay. (Leave it to my polish ancestors to live on a flood plain. No wonder we get a bad rap.) This is also similar to the Zaleski name, which means someone who ‘lived on the other side of wood‘. So, all I need to do now is go to Poland and check everywhere that is near water or near trees to find my surname’s origin.

Full Surname Info Page

CategoriesFamily TreeZalewski

Frank & Anna

The farthest back I can go on my Zalewski line is to Frank & Anna Zalewski. They would be my great-great grandparents. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about this couple, except what I can gather through research and my grandmother. My grandfather passed away before I could ask him about the Zalewski family.

From what I can gather, Frank Zalewski, Sr., his wife Anna, and their two oldest children – Martha and Angeline, emigrated to the US from the Baltic port of Danzig (GdaƄsk) and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, in about 1890. The couple’s third child, Mary, was born in Baltimore in March 1891 (Though, according to my research, the census says she was born in Ohio.) The family then traveled west to Nebraska and east, from there, to the Polish community in Chicago. (I have not yet found hard evidence of this, but this is what I received from a fellow Zalewski researcher.) By May, 1892, the family had settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is backed-up according to an interview conducted in April 1980 with Frank Gierszewski, Jr, a grandson of Frank and Anna Zalewski by the same researcher. He indicated his grandparents left Poland from the Baltic port of Danzig and entered the United States through the port of Baltimore, Maryland.

There is some confusion, however, as to the area of Poland in which Frank and Anna Zalewski resided prior to their emigration to the United States in 1890. During a telephone interview with their granddaughter, Caroline (Walczak) Sullivan, conducted in January 1995, she indicated that Frank and Anna lived somewhere in the province of Poznan — an area of Poland then under German jurisdiction and known as South Prussia. This would correspond with information supplied on the death certificate and in the newspaper obituary of Frank Zalewski, Sr in 1941. Although neither source mentions Poznan as his place of birth, both list Germany as his country of origin. (Much of western Poland, including Poznan Province, became German territory after the three partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century.)

There is, however, a conflicting story as to the area of Poland from which Frank and Anna originated. During a 1993 telephone interview with another granddaughter, Irene (Zalewski) Lutzenberger, she indicated that her late father (my great grandfather, Joseph Zalewski) had always said his parents came from eastern Poland — an area then under Russian rule. Irene’s father also stated that when his parents entered the United States, their surname was spelled “Salefsky,” thereby reflecting the Russian influence. Although no official documents can be found to verify this, it is interesting to note that in the 1934 obituary of another grandchild, Norbert Cybela, the maiden name of Norbert’s mother is spelled “Zalesky.”

It is hypothetically possible that Frank Zalewski, Sr is, indeed, born and raised in Russian Poland and, at some later point in his life, moved to the German section in which Poznan Province was located. Although traveling across political borders was difficult in 19th-century Europe, to say the least, it was not impossible. In Russian Poland, for example, all debts to the government, including military service in the czar’s army, had to be fulfilled before travel documents would be issued and borders would be crossed. Two years of active military service followed by two years in the reserve forces was required of all males when they reached their twentieth birthday. In Frank’s case, that would have accounted for the years 1878 through 1882. We know he married Anna Lindner (a German) in January 1885, which means he probably relocated from Russian-held, eastern Poland to the German-held, western area sometime between 1882 and 1884. This, of course, is only speculation but would explain the Russian “sky” ending on the surname.

I’ve spent a great deal of my research time trying to find any more information on this family. Unfortunately, getting records from 18th century Poland/Prussia is very difficult, if not impossible. As always, my hopes go out to my readers that I will run across a connection with someone else’s family. Contrary to my popular belief, Zalewski is a somewhat common name in the United States, and even Wisconsin, but I’ve not yet been able to connect my family line to any of them. I find it hard to believe that Frank was an only child, but who knows?

CategoriesZalewski

Calling all Zalewskis

I’d like to compile the largest database of Zalewski family trees this side of Poland. The first step in this process is to collect these family trees. So, I’m asking all of you with Zalewski family trees out there to send them my way. As long as you send them in a format that I can read, it doesn’t matter to me what it is (GEDCOM, Family Tree Maker, XML, Text files, etc.)

Contact me using my quick and easy contact form and we’ll work on getting your data into this project.

I started a database of some of the Zalewski information that I have. I got most of the information from a quick record search, including census records. View the current database.

I am no longer adding to the database, but I did start The Zalewski Project website, which has similar goals.

CategoriesPersonalZalewski

More Zalewski’s

Oooh, a post title with a double-meaning.

Well, for one, there have been a few additions to the Zalewski Surname Project over at Family Tree DNA. Thanks to everyone who has joined! If you’re a Zalewski or related to one, see what you’re missing by looking at my Zalewski Surname DNA Study page.

Also, everyone can welcome Darcy Zalewski to the family. Darcy is my new wife and she is so excited to have a new, more-complicated name to use. Oh, don’t forget about being last in line for everything now.

I really need to get back into doing some more research on my family tree, but I just haven’t had the time. I also don’t want to waste my subscriptions, because you know how expensive they are.

CategoriesNewsTips & TricksZalewski

Create your own family website

I ran across this via Lifehacker. It looks to be a website that allows you to create a “family website” including family trees, photos, calendar, and maps. It’s called JotSpot Family Site.

Use our quick family tree builder to see all the family generations at a glance. Never forget the names of your cousins’ children again.

It looks like a neat site. The design is very clean and easy-to-use. I have not signed up for a site, since..obviously..I already have a site. But, for the novice family researcher, this may be a great way to get everyone involved and up-to-date. If any of you start a seperate Zalewski site, let me know and I’ll link to it.

Speaking of Zalewski’s, there haven’t been any signups to the Zalewski Surname Study. If you’re a Zalewski, please read all about it. This could help many family’s research into the Zalewski surname origins.