Tag: Milwaukee


Today’s headstone is that of my 3rd great-grandfather, Ignatius SZULTA. If you think his name is unique, you should see his wife’s name, Nepomuncema SYLDAKT. Talk about a mouthful. My polish isn’t very good, but I’m pretty sure his surname is pronounced like “Schulta.” I don’t even know where to start with his wife’s surname.

Ignatius (or Ignatz) was born 1 Feb 1849 in Poland (or Poland Austria as listed in the census.) He married Nepomuncema in 1875 back in Europe. Their first daughter, my great-great grandmother was born there, also. They immigrated to America in about 1882 and landed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they finished their lives. Ignatius died 25 May 1922 and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

[ Find-a-Grave Entry | Cemetery Entry ]

I received a new marriage certificate copy in the mail today for what I suspected was my gg-grandparents, Johann THIELKE and Wilomene RATHKE. It was listed on the Wisconsin Vital Records site as Hans J M THIELK, but the spouse and dates matched up. It turns out that Hans can be used as a shortened version of Johann or Johannes, so there you go.

This was a good find since it listed two new surnames that I had not yet discovered, those of both of my ggg-grandmothers. I haven’t had a lot of luck in the past on getting the married couple’s mother’s surnames. It usually just lists it as their married name or it’s just left blank. Fortunately, this certificate had both of the listed.

Along with my gg-grandfather, my gg-grandmother is listed as Wilm. Holz C. RATHKE. This also helped cement it since I found out she was married previously to a Frank HOLZ and had immigrated over with that family. It lists Johann’s parents as Henry P THIELK, which I didn’t have. All of the information I have found (including his headstone and census) lists his name a Peter, so I’m assuming that is what the “P” stands for. Johann’s mother was listed as Maria D C SPECHT. I had his mother down as Marie, so that matches up, but I had no surname for her.

It’s lists Wilomene’s parents as Hermann RATHKE (which I have) and Fried. C. HENKE. I have her mother down as Friedericke from her headstone and census, but no last name.

Also, listed under “Witnesses” are a Frank HENKE and a William HENKE. I can only assume that these may be Friedericke’s brothers. Though, it’s possible that they’re some other relation, so I made notes in Rootsmagic to keep an eye out.

So, that was a productive vital record. It’s really nice to get those. Now to piece all of this new information together.

Getting the idea from Julie at GenBlog, here is my list of most wanted names, places and faces.

NamesPlaces
ZalewskiMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Poznan, Poland
ThielkeOzaukee Co., Wisconsin
Württemberg/Mecklenburg, Germany
LastOzaukee Co., Wisconsin
Doeringshagen, Pommerania
FirmenichAshland Co., Wisconsin
Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin
Cologne, Germany
DeBrouxLanglade Co., Wisconsin
Brussels, Belgium
TrokaMilwaukee Co., Wisconsin
Poland

Most Wanted Faces

Been searching for almost ten years to find any relatives (parents/siblings) for Frank J ZALEWSKI, so that I can trace my line to other ZALEWSKI lines. Right now, it’s a little family island.

Peter THIELKE information back into Germany. THIELKE is a somewhat popular name there, so hoping to connect to other researchers.

Peter FIRMENICH family information. Records inidicate they lived in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin, which is only a few miles from here. Wondering if some of them are buried close by or where they lived. Can’t find info in the early 1800s census.

I was able to scan some neat stuff from my great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, that my dad had in his possession. Joseph was a Milwaukee Police Officer for 33 years.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

There was also a writeup after his retirement in 1951. (Sorry for the blurriness. It’s tough to scan since it’s taped to the back of a picture frame, so the reflection and angles made it hard to position.)

Joseph Zalewski

I’m going to steal this from Julie at GenBlog and post a recap of historical moments from select people in my family tree for the current week. It’s a neat idea and it will help me look through the names in my tree every week and maybe spur some research.

February 22

1890 – Died – William THOMPSON – William was my 3rd great-grandfather on my father’s side. He died in Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin

February 23

1893 – Born – Herman RATHKE – Herman was my 3rd great-grandather on my mother’s side. He was born in Germany.

February 25

1760 – Born – Charles Francois CLOUTIER – Charles was my 6th great-grandfather on mother’s side. He was born in Cap Saint Ignace, Quebec, Canada.

1883 – Married – Carl F H LAST married Augusta Johanna LUEDTKE in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and went on (per my research) to have 16 children. Carl and Augusta are my great-great grandparents on my mother’s side.

February 27

1945 – Died – Marianna (Giersch) ZALEWSKI – Mary was my great-great aunt on my father’s side. She passed away in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Wordless Wednesday’s Photo is labeled “trokas&szultas” in my list. Unfortunately, when I first scanned a few photos from my grandmother, I didn’t label them very well. Though, it was probably labeled something like that in the album itself. There are only two people I think I can pick out. My great-grandfather, Joseph Zalewski, in the middle of the back row and my great-great-grandmother, Clara (Szulta) Troka, third from the left in the middle row. I’m hoping to meet with my grandma and maybe go over some of these photos and see if she knows who they may be.

Today I was browsing some of the professional genealogy society-type websites. I hope to one day become certified in some sort of genealogy-related area. I know that I’ll enjoy doing genealogy for the rest of my life and hopefully I’ll be able to help others.

The first one I came to was Board for Certification of Genealogists. I was curious as to what it took to become certified. It actually seems in reach since applicants are sent a photocopy of an historical document that relates to the geographic areas and time periods in which they normally work. I read over one of their example that dealt with an area I’m familiar with, an 1870 Wisconsin Deed. Everything that they went over would be something that I would normally ask myself or make notes on. I don’t have much experience with deeds, but I can figure out the basics of what I’m looking for. Have any of you readers become, or tried to become, certified?

I know that one of my weak points right now is probably sourcing. Don’t get me wrong, I add every possible source to everything I enter into my family tree, but I’m not hip on the lingo. Does anyone know of any good references of how to write out your sources, preferably free? BCG has a book, but they want me to spend $45 on it.

I also looked at the National Genealogical Society’s website. This is not really a certification, but it is a central location that a lot of genealogists go to. Is anyone here a member of NGS? Are the online courses worth the money? I’d like to become a member, but I want to make sure I get my money’s worth. I hope to one day be able to go to one of their genealogical conferences. I’d love to meet other genealogists.

I do plan on becoming a member of a local genealogical society, the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society. A lot of my family lived and died in the Milwaukee County area. Plus, it’s pretty decent deal at $12/year and you get some access to helpful local information, etc. Plus, it’ll make me go out and meet other people doing research in the same area. Maybe I can help them get their website into the 21st century, too. What are your experiences with local genealogical societies?

Photo: amyc500@flickr

When I bought my house in 2005, I ended up purchasing my grandparent’s house. My grandpa had passed away in 1999 and my grandma was moving into an assisted living apartment since she hurt herself in a little fall. I did get a very nice deal on the house. It’s perfect “starter” house, being the house that they bought new in 1955 and that my dad and his siblings grew up in.

When she moved, a bunch of boxes were left in the basement. Most of it was just things like blankets and pots and pans, things she doesn’t need right now. I found one box a few months back when I was taking inventory that I saw had funeral cards and old newspaper clippings in it. Today, I decided to just browse through them to see if there were any of my ancestors that I could use to squeeze out some more information.

I only found a few funeral cards on the top and they were probably of old friends, I assume, and not relatives. But, I did find a nice collection in the news clippings box. Most of the items were just random clippings of recent photos and articles from the newspapers. But, I did find a nice selection of old obituaries, though. A couple were straight from the newspapers and a few others were copies. The obituaries that I found were from Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) COOK (my gg-grandmother), George S COOK (Emma’s 3rd husband), Margaret (STEARNS) BRAATZ (my gg-grandmother), Frank F BRAATZ, Sr (her husband and my gg-grandfather), and Margaret (SCHUMACHER) STEARNS (her mother and my ggg-grandmother.) Most of the obituaries didn’t have any new info of note, but the big find was the last one. In my tree, all I had was “Margaret” listed and her death date. This obituary gave me her birth info and her surname, which is brand new to me. Plus, it listed all of her siblings and locations. I need to start looking for SCHUMACHER now, any tips?

Another treasure find in the box was some old letters written to my grandfather from his parents in 1941. It seems, from the address that he was in navy school in Pensacola, Florida. There are about 5-10 letters all written from March 31, 1941 to April 27, 1941. One weird note here is that my great-grandmother, his mother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, passed away on May 1, 1941. In the later letters that I just quickly scanned through, there is no mention of being sick, etc. So, this points to her death being quite sudden as she was only 45 years old at the time. Maybe my grandfather saved these letters due to the fact that he was away in Florida when his mother died. There are no letters beyond the April 27th one. I am in the process of scanning them so I can read them and archive them. This is the only comunication from my great-grandmother that I’ve found. Then, I plan on taking this box over to my grandmother since I’m assuming she’ll want it.

I thought I’d do my first post on my favorite cemetery, Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee. Just the sheer size and history behind this cemetery makes it a great place. It’s an unusual peaceful place within the Milwaukee city limits and is full of Milwaukee history. The photo at the top of the site is also from Forest Home.

Soon after the city was founded in 1846, civic leaders began searching for a place where area residents could count on eternal peace. They found 72 gently rolling and forested acres that, although “far” from town, were accessible by the new Janesville Plank Road. The land was acquired, and the cemetery was named Forest Home.

In 1850, the first burial took place. A few years later, as more cherished memories were entrusted to this special place, the road that led from the growing city was renamed Forest Home Avenue.

Forest Home is the final resting place of many of Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s most famous individuals. Ranging from Fred Usinger (Milwaukee’s Sausage King) to Increase Allen Lapham (Father of the Weather Bureau.) Forest Home even has a building called “The Halls of History” which they say “serves not only as a temperature-controlled indoor mausoleum, but also as a community-education center where people of all ages can learn, and honor, the history of Milwaukee.

Their website even has a page that allows you to run a self-guided historical tour, including maps and information. I plan to hopefully take the tour this coming spring or summer. Here are some photos I took there a few years ago.