Tag: Irish


Not William Corrigan, but his brother, Patrick. I have no photo of William, but I assume he looked similar.
Not William Corrigan, but his brother, Patrick. I have no photo of William, but I assume he looked similar.

The seventeenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my paternal 3rd-great-grandfather, William “Curly Bill” CORRIGAN.

I don’t know exactly how he got the nickname Curly Bill, though I can only assume it was hair-related, but here’s hoping it was some other crazy reason.

There is some uncertain information on the birthplace of William. All of the information says he was born in 1823, but it is tough to pinpoint him. Many different records mention many different places, though most are in the same general vicinity. William was born not long after his parents, Michael John & Rose (NUGENT) CORRIGAN immigrated from Northern Ireland in about 1821. He is listed as having been born in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and just the general United States. There is also some info that says that William was born during their voyage to North America. If he was born after the trip, my money is on either New York or Pennsylvania as history points to the Corrigan family possibly working on the Erie Canal as it was being built during this time and they used a lot of Irish workers. According to Wikipedia, “many of the laborers working on the canal were Scots Irish, who had recently come to the United States as a group of about 5,000 from Northern Ireland.” Sometime after William was born his family settled in the small town of Mara in Ontario, Canada.

William married Mary McCANN in November 1848 in Ontario. It is documented that they had about 12 children, their 3rd child being my great-great-grandfather, Thomas J CORRIGAN. Canadian census records indicate that William was mainly a farmer and lived in a 1-story, log home in 1861. The family was also Roman Catholic.

William passed away on 13 July 1876 in the Mara township. I am assuming he is buried in same cemetery in Uptergrove in that area along with a lot of the other Corrigan family members, but I have yet to find his headstone.

This post is 17 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

My inspiration for this post had come from, what I thought was a one-off post about this, but it turns out that it was one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun projects. He’s always thinking of clever things to post about.

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want!

I was thinking about it this week and this is what I came up with right now.

  1. I’d definitely like to visit one of my many ancestral homelands. There are a lot, though most of them seem to cluster around Germany and Poland, as you can see on my custom Google Map. The top three that I’d like to visit, in no particular order, are:
    1. Killeeshil Parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Origin location of my CORRIGAN ancestors. I just love Ireland and the history of the area.
    2. The origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, which looks to be the Święte and Goczałki areas in modern north-central Poland. As with a lot of people, I feel a deeper connection to ancestors in my direct surname line, Zalewski. Plus, pictures I’ve seen of the area make it look beautiful.
    3. The origin location of most of my Belgian ancestors, DeBROUX, LAURENT, etc. They all came from the Walloon Brabant area of Belgium. Some of them came from the area of Chaumont-Gistoux, which during WWII was part of the famous defensive KW-Line.
  2. I would like to publish some smaller books either based on a specific family or just my ancestry in general. Both, I think, could be helpful to future researchers.
  3. I would like to become a certified/professional genealogist. I’d love to be able to help other people find their family history and hopefully spark the appreciation for everything that has come before them.
  4. I would also love to attend a national genealogy conference of some sort. I have yet to meet any of the extremely friendly and helpful geneabloggers that I socialize with almost every day. Unfortunately, most of them are never around in this area, so I have yet to have a chance to attend one.
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
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”

NOTE: This post is from 2011. Some of these videos may or may not be available to stream as of today.

I’ve been a customer of Netflix for many years now. Back when I first signed up, it was only DVDs by mail. Now you get instantly streaming shows and movies into your living room through a PC or an XBox or a Wii console and it’s glorious.

I’ve run across a bunch of different history and genealogy related instant streaming options and I thought I’d share them with you. Though, these are not all specifically genealogy-related, some may be about the areas your ancestors once lived. Also, these videos are obviously more related to my ancestry than just general ancestry. If you have a Netflix account, these links should link you right to the video info page. If you don’t have a Netflix account, I will try to find another informational page for you to view. These are only Netflix Instant versions, not DVD by mail versions. There are a lot more if you also count DVD versions, though you’ll need to wait for those. Instant ones you can watch right now. Let’s see the list I can up with. (more…)

I thought I’d take an Irish theme on the latest entry into my “Single View” post series since today is St. Patrick’s Day. Though, there is some confusion to where this ancestor originally came from.

William Henry THOMPSON was born sometime between 1810 and 1816 in either Ireland, England, or Scotland, depending on which record you look at. In the 1870 Census of Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin, he is listed as being born in 1810 in England. On his headstone, the listing of his daughter in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, and the Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968 entry, he was born in 1813 in Ireland. In the 1880 and 1860 Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin census records, he was born in 1816 in Ireland. Finally, in the 1850 Census of Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin and listed as his birthplace in entries for his daughter, Pauline (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH, he was born in 1816 in Scotland. Adding to the fact that the name William THOMPSON covered about 15 billion people back then, he has been a tough one to find.

(more…)

This is as Irish as I can get today. I don’t have many pictures of my CORRIGAN ancestors before this time. This is the Thomas CORRIGAN family with his wife Emma Jane FIRMENICH (who is also part German and French.) My great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN, is their oldest son. My guess is that this picture was taken sometime around 1913 in Ashland, Wisconsin since their last child, Sadie, was born in 1915 and Lenore looks pretty young. This is also close to the time when Thomas died since he had a stroke just as Emma Jane was giving birth to Sadie. Thomas’s grandfather, Michael CORRIGAN, came over to Canada from Ireland in about 1821.

This week I decided to do a Surname Saturday on one of my wife’s surnames, Moran.

The MORAN surname first shows up in her tree with Robert MORAN who was born in Ireland in 1820. We’re not exactly sure where in Ireland. Tracing this name into Ireland is like tracing the JOHNSON surname in America we’re told, it’s very common. I have that problem in my tree with the surname THOMPSON into the UK somewhere.

It looks like Robert first came through Canada (as did my Irish ancestors) and then made it to southwestern Wisconsin. It seems like he immigrated with his wife, Dorothea COOK, who was born in County Cork, Ireland (which may point at Robert’s origin, too.) There is no hard evidence of this information besides some online trees and family information, but it’s something to start with.

Dorothea died in 1872 and Robert re-married to Margaret ENYARD. It says Robert died on 16 Jun 1897 in Tarver, Wisconsin but I can’t find a Tarver in Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure he died somewhere in southwestern Wisconsin. It’s probably an old, unincorporated town. We have a lot of those.

She then descends from Robert and Dorothea’s son, Charles Christopher MORAN, who was born  23 Nov 1864 in Montfort, Grant Co., Wisconsin. Charles married a German, Emma Amelia DIETER in about 1889.

Her MORAN line continues down to her great-grandfather, Frederick H MORAN, who was born on 20 Feb 1891. He married Norma POWELL in 1915. After that it continues all the way down to my wife.

Wikipedia tells us about the MORAN surname [link]:

Moran (Irish: Ó Móráin) is a modern Irish surname and derived from membership of a medieval dynastic sept. The name means a descendent of Mórán, translated as Big One. Morans were a respected sept of the Uí Fiachrach dynasty in the western counties of Mayo and Sligo. In Ireland, where the name descended from the Gaelic, it is generally pronounced (phonetically) “more-in”, an anglicized approximate of the Irish pronunciation. Elsewhere, pronunciation follows the French surname, Mo rant, anglicized to (phonetically) “more-anne”.

Surprisingly, the top countries with the Moran surname are Ireland (obviously) followed by Spain, Argentina, and Australia according to the World Names Profiler.

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings came up with this fun post on Saturday. I thought I’d give it a try.

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it – this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 – 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

4) If you don’t know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.

5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

Some of this was tough due to the fact that a lot of my ancestors were born in either Prussia or Pomerania, which touched into both Germany and Poland, but I estimated as close as I could. Here are mine:

16. Frank J ZALEWSKI Sr. was born on 4 Sep 1858 in Prussia. Frank died on 8 Aug 1941 at the age of 82 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. Anna A LINDNER and Frank J ZALEWSKI Sr. were married in Jan 1885 in Poznan Province, South Prussia (Poland). [POLISH]

17. Anna A LINDNER was born on 27 Nov 1865 in Prussia. She died on 11 Apr 1939 at the age of 73 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. [POLISH]

18. Joseph TROKA was born on 17 Nov 1871 in Poland/West Prussia. Joseph died due to being hit by a drunk driver on his way to church on 1 Jan 1962 at the age of 90 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. Clara SZULTA and Joseph TROKA were married on 29 Jan 1894 in St. Hedwig, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin.  [POLISH]

19. Clara SZULTA was born on 6 Jan 1876 in Poland/West Prussia. Clara died on 19 Jul 1959 at the age of 83 in Oak Creek, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. [POLISH]

20. Thomas J CORRIGAN was born on 3 Mar 1855 in Mara Township, Brechin, Ontario, Canada. He died of a stroke on 25 Jul 1915 at the age of 60 in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. Emma Jane FIRMENICH and Thomas J CORRIGAN were married on 18 Apr 1892 in Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. [IRISH]

21. Emma Jane FIRMENICH was born on 23 Jun 1873 in Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. She died on 28 Apr 1941 at the age of 67 in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. [GERMAN/FRENCH/UK]

22. Frank F BRAATZ Sr was born on 17 Apr 1867 in Germany. Frank died on 10 Jul 1948 at the age of 81 in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. Margaret K STEARNS and Frank F BRAATZ Sr were married on 4 Jun 1891 in Bear Creek, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. [GERMAN]

23. Margaret K STEARNS was born on 30 Aug 1866 in Württemberg, Germany. She died in 1943 at the age of 77 in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. [GERMAN]

24. Johann THIELKE was born on 26 Oct 1843 in Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany. He died on 24 Apr 1927 at the age of 83 in Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. Wilomene C “Minnie” RATHKE and Johann THIELKE were married on 21 Jun 1891 in Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. [GERMAN]

25. Wilomene C “Minnie” RATHKE was born on 1 Sep 1857 in Pommerania, Prussia. Minnie died on 26 Jun 1929 at the age of 71 in Wisconsin. [POLISH/GERMAN]

26. Carl F H “Charles” LAST was born on 26 Sep 1851 in Doeringshagen, Pommerania. Charles died on 5 Jun 1926 at the age of 74 in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. Augusta Johanna Wilkelumire LUEDTKE and Carl F H “Charles” LAST were married on 25 Feb 1883 in Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. [POLISH (Doeringshagen is in current Poland)]

27. Augusta Johanna Wilkelumire LUEDTKE was born on 3 Jul 1863 in Storkow, Pommerania. She died on 14 Jul 1963 at the age of 100 in Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. [POLISH (Storkow in is current Poland)]

28. Joseph DEBROUX was born in May 1865 in Grand Chute, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. Joseph died in 1918 at the age of 53 in Wisconsin. Mary Philomene LAURENT and Joseph DEBROUX were married on 8 Sep 1891 in Langlade Co., Wisconsin. [BELGIAN]

29. Mary Philomene LAURENT was born in Dec 1865 in Little Chute, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. She died on 18 Sep 1956 at the age of 90 in Wausau, Marathon Co., Wisconsin. [BELGIAN/FRENCH CANADIAN]

30. Pieter Franciscus VAN PARIJS was born on 21 Jan 1874 in IJzendijke, Zeeland, Netherlands. Pieter died on 22 Sep 1962 at the age of 88 in Kenosha, Kenosha Co., Wisconsin. He was also known as Peter Van Price. Minnie M MUHM and Pieter Franciscus VAN PARIJS were married on 17 Jan 1898 in Shawano Co., Wisconsin. [DUTCH]

31. Minnie M MUHM was born on 12 Jul 1879 in Norwood Township, Langlade Co., Wisconsin. Minnie died on 6 Jul 1959 at the age of 79 in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin. [GERMAN]

So, doing the math, that makes my ethnicity: Polish – 40.625%, German 30.1875%, Belgian 9.375%, Dutch 6.25%, French 6.25%, Irish 6.25%, Unknown UK Area (Scotland/England/Ireland) 2.0625%

Well, that comes to 101%, but it was a pretty random estimate so I’m glad it was even close to 100%. As far as I know, I have no English ancestry. One ancestor is listed as being from Ireland, Scotland and England in multiple census records, so it may be possible.

Sorry. Been busy doing other things and due to my short attention span, sometimes I get involved in other things and lose interest in the other stuff quickly. Though, that does mean I come back into genealogy more often and usually with a lot of interest. Here’s is my family history for the week of May 3 – 9.

May 3

1905 – Born – Clarice CORRIGAN – Clarice is my great-great aunt on my father’s side. She was born in Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin where most of the other Corrigan children were born, including my great-grandfather. She passed away in July 1995 in Iron Mountain, Dickinson Co., Michigan.

May 5

1849 – Born – Paulina Henrietta (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH – Paulina is my great-great-great grandmother. She was born in Granville, Milwaukee Co. Wisconsin which is part of the Brown Deer area now (not far from where I live.) Her parents were William Henry THOMPSON and Claude-Françoise QUINET. She married Mathis Balthazar FIRMENICH on 11 Feb 1867 (his birthday) in Holland, Brown Co., Wisconsin. She passed away 3 Jun 1910 in Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin. She is buried with her husband in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin where he lived the rest of his life.

May 6

1888 – Died – Peter MUHM – Peter is my 3rd-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born 18 May 1848 in Hanover, Germany to Friedrich MUHM and Sophia Elizabeth STRASSMAN. He married Ida SCHAVANDIE on 18 Apr 1870 in Germantown, Washington Co., Wisconsin. He passed away at the young age of 40 in Langlade Co., Wisconsin.

May 9

1860 – Died – Mary (CRONIN) MCCANN – Mary is my 4thg-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born in 1797 in Ireland, parents unknown. She married Thomas MCCANN, with whom she had 4 children before emigrating to Ontario, Canada.

Ireland

My entry for the 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. Here is what this carnival is about. Share with us the surnames in your Irish family tree, but don’t just stop there. Do a little research and tell us the origin of one or more of those surnames, the stories of how they might have changed over the years, or tales of how they’ve been mixed up and mispelled, etc.

The big Irish surname in my tree is CORRIGAN. The name starts at my paternal grandmother, who is always the family’s biggest Irish supporter. I can trace the surname back to Michael John CORRIGAN who immigrated from Killeeshil Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland to Ontario, Canada in the 1820s. The family lived there for many years before my great-great-grandfather, Thomas CORRIGAN, moved to Wisconsin with his family. The history of the CORRIGAN surname according to Wikipedia is:

The Corrigan (O’Corrigan, Carrigan, Corocan, Courigan, Currigan) surname is of Irish descent. Translated Corrigan means “Spear”. The name is believed to have originated from Coirdhecan of the Cineal Eoghain. It is also believed to be connected to the Maguire clan. The Corrigan surname was popular in the 17th century in County Fermanagh in Ireland. Today, the name is spread out across most counties in Ireland and some of the United States and Canada.

Via my genealogy research, I have met and talked to a lot of CORRIGAN researchers, a lot of whom descended from the same Michael John CORRIGAN family. I have yet to trace back into Ireland, besides County Tyrone as listed above.

There are also few famous individuals with the CORRIGAN surname such as the actor Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who I posted about in the past.

I actually haven’t run into many misspellings of the name, other than the few listed in the Wikipedia entry above. Soundex usually handles most of the common spelling changes. The few other Irish surnames I have in my tree are MCCANN, THOMPSON, NUGENT, BOYLE and CRONIN, but none of these go as far or are researched as deep as CORRIGAN.