Tag: Chicago


The eleventh person in my 52 week challenge is actually not an ancestor this week. During research on my THIELKE line, I decided to do some research on my great-great-grandfather Johann’s siblings. I had a lot of luck with his sister, Minnie THIELKE.

I originally ran across her name in the 1860 Census for Grafton, Ozaukee, Wisconsin as a sister to Johann. She is again listed with the family in 1870. In 1880, she is living in downtown Milwaukee as a servant for the Jos A Cochrane family. Using some clever searches with her parent’s names on FamilySearch, I ran across her Wisconsin marriage record in 1882.

She married Thomas R Evans on 1 May 1882. Using their names as search entries, I found that they had two children, Florence and Walter. It seems the marriage ended sometime before 1894, as Minnie is married again on 13 Oct 1894 to a Ernest H Reif in Milwaukee. She had two more children from this marriage, Ernest and Violet.

I can mostly trace her through the census records during this time, also. She is living in Milwaukee in the 1900 Census. I can’t find the family in the 1910 Census, even though I tried many different searches. In the 1920 Census, she is living in Chicago at 2638 W Adams St. She passed away on 30 Jan 1920 and is buried at Forest Home Cemetery in that city. Thanks to a helpful Find-A-Grave member, her headstone has also been located.

The Adams St location is also helpful since based on my great aunt’s Cook County, Illinois birth record, her parents (my great-grandparents) were living at that same address in 1921. That was another piece of information that helped me solidify the connection from Minnie to my Thielke family. Also in Minnie’s household in 1920 is her brother Fred (aka Fritz) Thielke, whom I assume was still living there in 1921. My great-grandfather may have moved down to Chicago to find work and ended up living with his aunt’s family and uncle. They were there during most of the 1920s, but back to Grafton in the 1930 Census.

I did a bit of digging down the tree from Minnie to hopefully find living cousins and it was tough. Though, I think I did find a living relative, though if he is still alive he would be 96. I went out on a limb and sent a letter through the mail based on an address I found. Here’s to hoping he has info (or even a photo) of his grandmother, Minnie.

This post is 11 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The Zalewski Project is officially under way. During the last week, I started collecting data. I plan on collecting data from families with the ZALEWSKI surname, or something very similar. I decided against ZALESKI or variations during this first collection since that multiplies the amount of data by a lot. If it’s pronounced like ZALEWSKI, than I probably added it this time. During this collection, I’ve grabbed names like ZELEWSKI, ZALUSKY, and even some like ZIELEWSKI. I also plan on adding SALEWSKI and variations since I’ve seen my ancestors name spelled that way in church records, but I’m going to start small first instead of trying to do too much at once.

I used Ancestry.com’s search to go through the census records. I didn’t find any ZALEWSKI families of note in the 1860 US Census or earlier and only one family in the 1870 US Census. I collected a few families from the 1880 US Census and a whole bunch from the 1900 US Census. I can only imagine it will grow with every new census.

After collecting and sorting the 1900 US Census data, it seems there are three big locations for ZALEWSKI families in 1900. They are, in order: Chicago, Milwaukee, and then Detroit with a few other areas thrown in. They don’t surprise me as those three cities are known for their large Polish populations.

I put the 1900 US Census data online, though only in a quick and dirty HTML table. The next step is to get this info into a database so you can sort and export and view the data in other cool ways. Next on my list, the 1910 US Census. I imagine this one will be much larger. Those ZALEWSKI’s seemed to like to have big families.