Tag: Braatz


Frank Braatz and Margaret StearnsThe forty-first ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my paternal great-great grandfather, Frank F BRAATZ.

According to his obituary, he was born 17 April 1867 in Bavaria, Germany, though there is some confusion as to where in Germany the Braatz family is from. His parents has listed birthplaces in other parts of the country. He immigrated to Wisconsin in June 1868 with his parents, Wilhelm and Maria (Klegin) Braatz. In the 1870 census, his family’s first after arriving, they lived in Caledonia, Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

In June 1891, he married Margaret STEARNS in Bear Creek, Outagamie County, Wisconsin. From then until 1898, they lived in Waupaca, Waupaca County, Wisconsin. In 1900, he was working at a Tannery and living in Philips, Price County, Wisconsin. In 1903, my great-grandmother, Agnes Braatz, was born in Mellen, Ashland County, Wisconsin. The family seemed to move around a lot as they were living way deep into the upper peninsula of Michigan in Munising, Alger County from about 1911 to 1919.

Frank seemed to settle down a bit after he moved back to Ashland County in 1919, living in that area for the rest of his life, working on his farm.

He passed away on 10 July 1948 after a short illness at 81. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

This post is 41 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Braatz FamilyThe thirteenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my paternal 3rd-great-grandmother, Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ.

The only documented evidence that I have seen of Maria’s birth was from her death certificate which states that she was born 15 Februrary 1842 in Schoenwalde, Germany. Trouble is that there is no modern city with that name and multiple historical cities with that name. Some basic research from other experts suggests that it may be somewhere in the northern area of Germany, as Klegin is a somewhat rare surname. Though, I also don’t know how solid the evidence is that her surname is actually Klegin as that is also from her death certificate, so it was given by a third party.

A glimmer of  hope, though, is that her son, my great-great-grandfather, Frank Braatz is listed as having been born in Bavaria, Germany. I did a search for Schoenwalde and Bavaria and it turns out that there is a municipality in Bavaria named Schönwald. I may be on to something.

She married Wilhelm BRAATZ at some point, probably the mid 1860s, and gave birth to their first child (and my ancestor) Frank. Shortly after, they decided to leave Germany and head to Wisconsin. On 15 June 1868, they arrived in New York aboard the Ship Auguste traveling from Bremen, Germany. They first settled in New London in Waupaca County, Wisconsin where their next child, William, was born. Next, their third and final child, Ida, was born.

They seemed to have stayed in Waupaca County as Maria passed away there in March 1890 and is buried there at Little Wolf Cemetery. Mysteriously, I lose Wilhelm after 1880. I’m assuming he passed away and is also buried there, but I have yet to find documentation on that.

I think the photo at the right is a photo of Wilhelm, Maria, and Frank as the photo was in a frame that my grandmother had. It was also labeled something like “Grandma and Grandpa Braatz” assuming it was originally in the possession of my great-grandmother as they look nothing like my grandmother’s Braatz grandparents. It’s also labeled as being taken in a studio in the New London/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, where the Braatz family lived for quite awhile.

This post is 13 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

I mentioned in a recent post that I was able to get 23andMe tests for my father and my father-in-law that would hopefully help narrow down DNA matches and also find out more about ourselves. Those tests have been taken, sent in, and now finally analyzed. There were no surprising results, but it does help make a clearer picture of certain things.

With my father’s tests, I was also able to get his mtDNA (or Maternal) Line passed down from his mother’s line. The surnames that it follows would be CORRIGAN > BRAATZ > STEARNS > SCHUMACHER > HEINZ > HETTLER and that’s as far as I have right now. It’s basically a deep German line (minus the obvious Irish one in the beginning.) His mtDNA haplogroup is U4, but the subgroup is U4a3. 23andMe says:

Haplogroup U4 is found in western Eurasia, from Mongolia to central Europe. It arose about 25,000 years ago and subsequently spread with the migrations that followed the end of the Ice Age about 14,000 years ago.

[U4a] diverged from its U4 sister lineages about 21,000 years ago in the region surrounding the Baltic Sea. Today it is most common among the people of the Volga River and Ural Mountains of Russia, such as the Chuvash, Kets and Mari. It is also common among the Baltic and Finnish people of northern Europe who speak languages related to the Finno-Ugric tongues of the Volga-Ural region in western Russia.

That didn’t really surprise me. As for the YDNA line, which I also share, what is interesting is that my haplogroup is R1a1a* which usually means they know you’re R1a1a, but more than likely part of a subgroup. My father’s YDNA haplogroup is found to be just R1a1a, technically putting us in separate groups on the site. More than likely their tests are now more accurate and figured out that we’re directly from the R1a1a haplogroup.

My father-in-law’s tests were doubly useful as both the YDNA and mtDNA info was new to us as my wife doesn’t get either of those passed down from him. His mtDNA line, which follows the surnames: COLLINS > HUIZEL > REINDL > BOHM. The research on this line ends in the South Bohemian section the Czech Republic, which I assume was Czechoslovakia at the time. His mtDNA haplogroup is found to be H5.

H5 appears to have originated during the Ice Age, as the human population of Europe retreated to the few relatively mild pockets of the otherwise frozen continent. The haplogroup appears to have sprung up somewhere near the Caucasus Mountains, or in forests near the Black Sea. H5 is particularly common today in Georgia and in other populations from the Caucasus region. Not long after it originated, a few migrants carried H5 along the southern fringes of Europe into the Balkans and as far west as France, where the haplogroup can still be found today.

It seems to line up with the little amount of data we have on that line. His YDNA line, which we assumed was pretty deep Irish as the surname is MORAN, was pretty close to our assumptions. The YDNA haplogroup was found to be (besides the longest one ever) R1b1b2a1a2f*. There is that little asterisk again.

R1b1b2a1a2f2 reaches its peak in Ireland, where the vast majority of men carry Y-chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup. Researchers have recently discovered that a large subset of men assigned to the haplogroup may be direct male descendants of an Irish king who ruled during the 4th and early 5th centuries. According to Irish history, a king named Niall of the Nine Hostages established the Ui Neill dynasty that ruled the island country for the next millennium.

Northwestern Ireland is said to have been the core of Niall’s kingdom; and that is exactly where men bearing the genetic signature associated with him are most common. Genetic analysis suggests that all these men share a common ancestor who lived about 1,700 years ago. Among men living in northwestern Ireland today that date is closer to 1,000 years ago. Those dates neatly bracket the era when Niall is supposed to have reigned.

Image copyright The New York Times.
Image copyright The New York Times.

Besides matching our assumptions, that is a cool fact about men from that haplogroup. It’s the first haplogroup I’ve dealt with that names an actual (possible) ancestor. It also gives a highly-probable area of where to look for the origin of his MORAN ancestors.

Outside of the haplogroup testing, we’re still using this new info to break down DNA matches. Having at least one parent allows you to know which side a match comes from, narrowing down the research. I’m still working on that. The tests also gave us some interesting data on our Ancestry Composition which I will post about soon.

Anyone test their parents or other close relations and get some useful information?

It’s time for another one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun posts.

  1. List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!
  2. Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.
  3. Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.
  4. If you have done this before, please do your father’s matrilineal line, or your grandfather’s matrilineal line, or your spouse’s matriliuneal line.
  5. Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?

According to my blog, it seems I did this line for myself already. Though, I will post it again in case something is more up-to-date. I will do my father’s line and also my wife’s line since I haven’t really inspected those before. Here is mine, first.

My matrilineal line:
  1. Brian J ZALEWSKI
  2. Sharon THIELKE married John ZALEWSKI
  3. Marge DeBROUX married LeRoy THIELKE
  4. Mildred Vida VAN PRICE (5 Jul 1903 Mattoon, Shawano Co., Wisconsin – 29 Oct 1994 Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin) married Leon DeBROUX
  5. Minnie May MUHM (12 Jul 1879 Norwood, Langlade Co., Wisconsin – 6 Jul 1959 Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin) married Pieter Fransiscus VAN PARIJS
  6. Ida W SCHAVANDIE (6 Sep 1852 Germany – 12 Nov 1934 Antigo, Langlade Co., Wisconsin) married Peter MUHM
  7. Anna RASCH (? in Germany – ??) married Lawrence SCHAVANDIE

Unfortunately, my matrilineal line is one of the few lines in my tree that is somewhat short, though I have not done a ton of research on it. I have done a DNA test, so I do have my mtDNA information. According to the latest 23AndMe info, my Maternal Haplogroup in H11a. I have made my 23AndMe Maternal Line page public, so you can view more details there. It does match the German ancestry that I find in my research.

Next is my father’s matrilineal line, though there is no mtDNA haplogroup info since my DNA does not have that information. Only his DNA (or his sibling’s) would show that.

Richard & Mary Jane Zalewski

Mary Jane (Corrigan) Zalewski
April 27, 1926 – August 10, 2011

Today we lost my grandmother, Mary Jane Zalewski, one of the world’s biggest fans of Irish heritage. Born in Ashland, Wisconsin on April 27, 1926 along with her twin brother, Tommy, to Maurice & Agnes (Braatz) Corrigan. Story has it that they were born so small that my great-grandmother would bundle them up and put them on the stove door to keep them warm. While in Milwaukee visiting her aunt Ethel Corrigan, who ended up marrying my grandfather’s cousin, Edy Strelka, she met my grandfather, Richard Zalewski. They tied the knot on October 11, 1947 and had their first child, my uncle, in 1948. My dad soon followed in 1951 and then my aunt in 1960.

Throughout my life, they always lived in the little house in Cedarburg, Wisconsin that we used to visit for Christmas Eve and many other times throughout the year. My paternal grandparents were very loving, as most grandparents, but they were also stern. Grandpa would scold us for sneaking into the basement or jumping into the window wells, but Grandpa and Grandma also used to have the greatest toys to play with including the matchbox car track and the puzzles. She was always a big fan of Ireland and anything Irish. Even though she was probably just as much German (and some French) than she was Irish, no one dared to correct her on it. She was a CORRIGAN and she was full-blooded Irish and that’s that!

When I was in my first year of college, my grandfather got sick and passed away on April 18, 1999. It was very sad to me since this was the first major death in my family and the first loss of a grandparent. I didn’t know how my grandmother would handle it. It turns out she did very well with herself. She drove (albeit slowly) where she needed to go, met with friends, knitted like she always did, and was usually in good spirits. Sadly, she fell while living alone and had to move to an assisted living center, but she still made the best of it. I ended up buying my grandparent’s old house from my grandmother and we currently still live here. It’s comforting at times. Unfortunately, during the last few years, Grandma started to forget things and had trouble getting around, but she was her normal self a lot of the time. Even at 85, she still loved her pizza and beer. I’m told that she passed away peacefully in her sleep and now she is in a better place, probably catching up with my Grandpa. He’s probably got the “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” vinyl record already playing on the record player.

You can view the memorial video I made for her funeral.

We’ll miss you, Grandma. Thanks for everything. Ireland has one less fan today.

How do I live without the ones I love?
Time still turns the pages of the book it’s burned
Place in time always on my mind
And the light you left remains but it’s so hard to stay
When I have so much to say and you’re so far away

I love you, you were ready
The pain is strong and urges rise
But I’ll see you when it let’s me
Your pain is gone, your hands untied

Avenged Sevenfold, “So Far Away”

The important dates in my family history for this week (a day late.) As always, you can find this info on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

June 2nd

Firmenich Family 1895
Pauline FIRMENICH and her family - 1895

1789 – Married – Johannes VENNINGER & Elisabeth FLECK – Johannes and Elisabeth are my wife’s 5th-great-grandparents on her father’s side. They were both born in Baden, Germany. They had 8 children, including her ancestor Elisabetha VENNINGER. Johannes passed away in 1834 and Elisabeth in 1837.

June 3rd

1640 – Born – Major William VAUGHAN – William is my wife’s 9th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born in Glamorganshire, South Wales. In 1668, he married Margaret CUTTS. In the book “The Genealogical Registry of the Butters Family” it says William “came to New England from London about 1664. He was elected Constable in 1665, Lieutenant of Cavalry in 1672, Captain 1680, Major Commanding, 1681, one of the Council of New Hampshire 1682-1690, Treasurer of Province 1696-1698. He married Dec. 8, 1668, Margaret, daughter of Hon. Richard Cutt, son of Richard Cutt, Esq., of Grondale Abbey, Arkesden, Essex county, England.” He passed away in about 1690.

1910 – Died – Pauline (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH (right) – Paulina is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 5 May 1849 in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin (now Brown Deer, Wisconsin.) She married Mathias FIRMENICH in 1867 in Brown County, Wisconsin and they had 13 children. Paulina outlived four of her children who died of Diphtheria in 1885. She passed away in Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin and is buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin.

June 4th

This is my father’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!

1891 – Married – Frank F BRAATZ, Sr & Margaret STEARNS – Frank and Margaret are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side. They were married at Bear Creek, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. Together they had 5 children, including my great-grandmother Agnes (BRAATZ) CORRIGAN. Margaret died in 1943 and Frank in 1948. They are buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

June 5th

1926 – Died – Carl F H LAST – Carl is my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born on 26 Sep 1851 in Doeringshagen, Pommerania (which is now located just northwest of Żabowo, Goleniów County, Western Pomerania, Poland.) He married Augusta LUEDTKE in 1883 in Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin and together they had 16 children. Carl passed away in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at Union Cemetery.

Frank & Margaret Braatz
Frank & Margaret Braatz

The history in my family tree for this week. As always you can browse the dates yourself on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 11th

1939 – Died – Anna A (LINDNER) ZALEWSKIAnna is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 27 Nov 1865 in German Poland. She married Frank J ZALEWSKI in 1885 and emigrated to America in 1889, settling in Milwaukee. Frank and Anna had 9 children together. Anna passed away in Milwaukee at the age of 73 and is buried with her family at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

April 12th

1923 – Married – Maurice Earl CORRIGAN & Agnes Katherine BRAATZ – Maurice and Agnes are my great-grandparents on my father’s side. Maurice was born 28 Dec 1898 in Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin and Agnes was born 4 Feb 1903 in Mellen, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. They were married at Iron Mountain, Dickinson Co., Michigan and had 5 children. Maurice passed away in 1993 and Agnes in 1998. They are buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

April 14th

1856 – Died – Jacobus Franciscus KREBBEKX – Jacobus is my 4th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born 1 Mar 1818 in Hoofdplaat, Zeeland, Netherlands. He married Maria Sophia SCHALLOIR in 1840 and together they had 2 children. Jacobus passed away at Hoofdplaat, Zeeland, Netherlands.

April 17th

1867 – Born – Frank F BRAATZ, Sr – Frank is my great-great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born in Germany to Wilhelm & Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ before immigrating in about 1867. Frank married Margaret K STEARNS in 1891 and had 5 children, including my great-grandmother Agnes. Frank passed away on 10 Jul 1948 in Ashland, Wisconsin and is buried there at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Weekly history for my family tree. As always, you can view these manually at the Dates & Anniversaries page.

March 29th

1890 – Died – Maria (BRAATZ) KLEGIN – Maria is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 15 Feb 1842 in Schoenwalde, Germany. I’m not sure which Schoenwalde, since there are a few, but I am working to narrow it down. She married Wilhelm BRAATZ in Germany and then emigrated to America in about 1868 with their first son, Frank BRAATZ. She is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca Co., Wisconsin.

March 30th

1832 – Married Johanna Peter FIRMENICH & Anna Marie VOISSEL – Johann and Anna are my 4th-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were married in Buervenich, Rheinland, Pruessen. Together, they had 6 children including my ancestor, Mathias FIRMENICH. Six of them were born in Prussia and only Charles was born in Wisconsin after they immigrated in 1847. Johann died in 1872 in Brown Co., Wisconsin and Anna probably died sometime before 1860 since that’s the last time she is in the census records.

April 1st

1829 – Born – Marie Desiree (LOOD) DEBROUX – Marie is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born in Piétrebais, Walloon Brabant, Wallonia, Belgium. She married Jean Joseph Desire DEBROUX in 1854 and had one child, Victorie, before emigrating to Wisconsin in the 1850s. They were known better as Desire and Desiree in Wisconsin, as records and their headstones show. Desire passed away in 1912 and Desiree in 1919. They are buried together at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Norwood, Langlade Co., Wisconsin.

Click for larger version

This photo was found in my grandmother’s collection and labeled “great-grandparents Braatz” which should make this couple, Wilhelm & Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ, my 3rd-great-grandparents on my father’s side. The child is not labeled, but I’m assuming it’s my great-great-grandfather, Frank BRAATZ, since he is their first child. I would also assume the photo was taken sometime in 1870 or so.