Tag: obituary


I am participating in this week’s “Sunday’s Obituary” with my great-great grandfather’s obituary. I’m told that he received a larger obituary since he worked for the city of Milwaukee. From The Milwaukee Journal on Saturday, August 9, 1941.

FRANK ZALEWSKI

Frank Zalewski, 82, of 2630 N. Buffum st., was found dead on the floor of his home late Friday afternoon by his son, [my great-grandfather] Joseph, a police officer, who came to visit him. He had been living alone since his wife died two years ago. Death was due to natural causes, according to coroner’s assistants.

Mr. Zalewski was born in Germany and came to this country 51 years ago. He worked for the department of public works for 39 years, retiring six years ago. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1935. Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. at St.  Casimir’s church, with burial in Holy Cross cemetery.

Survivors include two sons, Joseph and Frank, jr., and five daughters, Mrs. Angeline Pierzchalski, Mrs. Mary Gierszewski, Mrs. Frances Cybela, Mrs. Helen Stroinski and Mrs. Agnes Walczak.

You can actually view the obituary in the newspaper using Google’s News Archive website. I found it when I searched for “Zalewski” in their archives. Fortunately, he had a larger obituary that was picked up by Google’s character recognition software. Most of the normal obituaries aren’t picked up.

I’m going to participate in this week’s Sunday’s Obituary theme.

This is the obituary for my great-great grandmother, Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) CORRIGAN in from April 28, 1941. I’m not sure exactly which newspaper since I found the article in my grandmother’s collection and she didn’t note it. If I had to guess, it’s probably from a local Ashland, Wisconsin newspaper.

MRS. COOK, 67, OLD RESIDENT DIES MONDAY

Wife Of Former Street Commissioner Succumbs To Long Illness

Mrs. Emma Cook, 67, of 109 North Ellis avenue, a resident of Ashland and the Chequamegon region for the past 59 years and wife of the late George S. Cook, former city street commissioner, died Monday evening at her home following a lingering illness.

The former Emma Firmenich was born in Wrightstown, Wisconsin, on June 29, 1873, but moved with her parents to Ashland in 1882. The Firmenich family lived in Ashland for a few years and then moved to Sanborn.

She was married to Thomas Corrigan in 1892 at Sanborn where the couple lived until 1905. They then moved to Ashland and lived near the cemetery on Sanborn avenue for several years. Mr. Corrigan died in 1916, but his wife continued to live in their home until 1926 when she moved to Milwaukee. Six years later she returned to the city and in 1932 was married to Mr. Cook in Ashland. Mr. Cook died on December 5, 1940.

She was a member of the St. Agnes church, the Altar Society and the Old Settlers’ Club.

Survivors are twelve children, Edwin and Sadie of Ashland; Maurice, Clayton and Mrs. E. H. Olson of Iron Mountain, Michigan; Henry, Mrs. Norbert Enders (Lenore) and Mrs. Ed Strelka (Ethel) of Milwaukee; Mrs. Harry Nantais (Beatrice) of Dearborn, Michigan; Frank of Rivera, Florida; Mrs. Joseph Maurer and Mrs. Mary Foster of Detroit; four sisters, Mrs. A. F. Anderson and Mrs. Joe Fabro of Ashland, Mrs. William McKindley and Mrs. Thomas Gorman of Grand Coulee, Washington; and one brother, Henry Firmenich, Baudette, Minnesota.

Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Cook home and at 9 a.m. at St. Agnes church. Interment will be in St. Agnes cemetery. The body will be removed from the Wartman Funeral Home to the Cook residence on Thursday where is will lie in state until time of services.

I went to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Golda Meir Library last week to spend some time looking through old newspapers for obituaries. UWM has all of the Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee Journal (and Journal-Sentinel) papers on microfilm back to about 1886 or so.

I found a few obituaries, the earliest being from 1939. I had looked in a few papers for obituaries from 1922 and 1925, but I did not find them. I know they died in Milwaukee, but I’m assuming that back then only more well-known people had their obituaries in the paper. They probably implemented the common “Death Notices” section later on.

While looking over the obituaries and the classifieds section that was around it, I noticed some interesting entries. These were probably normal back in the 30s and 40s, but they seem strange today.

YOUNG man, 19, wishes position with reliable concern.

GIRL: over 20, general housework; no cooking; 1 baby; own room

NOT responsible for any debts contracted by my wife, Anna Wurm, on or after Aug. 9, 1941.

LEARN WHILE ASLEEP; Relaxation, memory and will-power; self-confidence, weight reduction, speech, typing, etc. FREE Literature M.P. INSTITUTE

I’m calling that last one for sure. I wonder if they can research my family tree while I sleep, too?

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.