Tag: photo


Achievement unlocked! With a small collection of photos that my mom gave me to look through and scan from her side of the family, I now have photos of every one of my ancestors five generations back to my great-great grandparents. That’s pretty impressive, at least I think so, compared to my wife’s tree where she has very sporadic photos beyond her grandparents.

A few months back, I was three photos short of having all 30 ancestor’s photos. I recently received a scanned copy of a photo of my great-great grandfather, Carl “Charles” LAST, which filled in one of those three. Then, this weekend, I scanned photos of my great-great grandparents, Johann & Wilomene (RATHKE) THIELKE. One of the photos is labeled “John Thielke” and one is labeled “Grand Pa Thielke. Art’s dad”, with Art being my great-grandfather. He is shown with another older woman in one photo and I can really only assume it’s his wife, Minnie. She has that stereotypical “old, German woman” look to her as do a lot of my German ancestors. I have now added his photo to the Everything I Know About Johann Thielke site, which does feel good.

Click for larger
Click for larger

This doesn’t mean I don’t have any photos beyond the fifth generation, as I definitely do. Sadly, I think getting photos of all 32 of my great-great-great grandparents is an almost impossible feat as I don’t even have names for some of them. The oldest ancestor that I do have a photo for is that of my 4th-great-grandmother, Frances (QUINET) THOMPSON, who was born almost 200 years ago in France in 1817. Who is your oldest ancestor that you have a photo for?

So, using the speed and power of the Internet, I come bearing updates. While I didn’t completely solve the original issue, I still don’t know who is in that photo, I did confirm that is it not the Charles & Augusta Last family. But, I also now have a copy of a family photo of the real Last family that I had originally hoped for.

As I said in the original post, I sent the photo off to a Facebook friend that I connected to via a 23andMe Relative Finder connection. She sent it to her mother and family and they also ruled out the photo due to the ages of the children, etc, but then they sent a scanned version of the Last family’s photo. See it here.

Last Family

It’s the best quality scan, mainly because they did it quickly for me. It also turns out that the original photo is in possession of someone in a town in the same county that I live, which I assumed since the family lived there. It also turns out that it’s at the same Senior Apartments that my grandparents are currently living. So, soon I hope to make a visit, bring my FlipPal over there, and get a nice scan for myself.

This family lines up much, much better with the kids.  I definitely see Augusta in this mother’s face. My great-grandmother, Madora, is obviously the one in the back with the big, white bow in her hair. Also, the twins are there on both sides of the front row. I do have to say that I think Charles looks much cooler in this one than the other one, I mean look at that massive mustache. Doing a bit of guessing based on ages, my guess is this photo was taken around 1912-1913.

As for the original photo, I still think it looks strikingly similar to Augusta. It is possible that it is her sister’s family. Or maybe it’s a completely different family. This is the life of a genealogist.

UPDATE: There is an update posted on this mystery photo.

We’ve been doing a bit of cleaning at my grandparent’s  house recently, which has caused us to come across a lot of new family photos from my maternal side. This comes as a double-edged sword as there are some amazing old photos, including a very old photo album filled with late 19th-century, early 20th-century photos, but most of them are not labeled. I hope to spend some time with my grandfather and run a few of them by him, but he may not remember anymore.

There was one neat, large family photo that we found. I had no idea who it was. Then, I noticed a few things on the mother in the photo. She looked strikingly similar to my great-great-grandmother, August (Luedtke) LAST. Though, I only have more recent photos of Augusta and she lived to be 100, so her age changed her appearance quite a lot (as it does to us all.) But, there were certain things about her face in both photos that matched up quite well. Here is a quick comparison image I put together.

Augusta Last Comparison

One of the few things I noticed was her mouth, how both of them are very straight across. Then, I noticed the nose. Both have a bit of a ball on the tip. The last thing I noticed were the ears. Augusta seemed to have ears that landed in the “larger” category and both women also have these. It’s tough to match the eyes as her age has caused some problems around that area, but they do look similar. Her forehead and hairline match up quite well. The only lingering issue is when I look through the list of children I have and try to match them up with the children in the photo. They don’t line up quite right.

Here is the complete family photo with the children listed below. I’ve tagged the children from oldest to youngest based only on how old they look in the photo. Click for larger version.

Possible Last Family - Edited

Family Group Sheet for reference.

  • The couple’s first child was John, born in 1885, whom is probably child #2.
  • Their second child was Emma, born in 1886/1887 whom is probably child #1.
  • Their third child was William, born in 1888, probably child #4.
  • This is where it goes off the rails. Their next children were Ida and Helena, twins born in 1889. I don’t see any twins in the photo and their both recorded as having lived until at least 1969. The next child of that age range would be child #3.
  • The next child would be August, born in 1891, whom may be child #5.
  • The next 3 children either died not long after birth or at a date unknown, Bertha, Charles, and Freida (1893, 1894, 1897) so I assume they’re not in the photo based on this info.
  • That would make child #6, Madora, my great-grandmother, born in 1898. Though, she always had dark hair, but I know hair can change as kids grow, so who knows.
  • #7 and #8 don’t really even line up unless we can work out the previous issues.

I guess the moral of the story is to label your photos. I’ll keep you updated on anything more I figure out. I’ve already sent the photo to some descendants of Helena that I connected to via 23andMe to see if they notice any similarities.

Up until now, I really only had photos and documents from my paternal side of the family, not including documents found online, etc. Recently, I’ve finally been given a collection of those things from my maternal side and it’s pretty awesome.

As always, a lot of the photographs are unlabeled, but I can tell who a few of the people probably are. Plus, I am fortunate that my maternal grandparents are still with us and hopefully we can find some time to sit down with them to discuss some of items.

I am currently in the process of scanning them, so you can probably expect an increase of “Way Back Wednesday” posts.

Here is one nice photo from the dozens I have scanned.

Thielke Family
circa 1919-1920. Click for larger. Much, much larger.

I’m almost positive that the couple on the left side of the photo are my great-grandparents, Arthur & Madora (Last) Thielke. Most of the photos are not labeled, but based on other photos and face recognition, I’m pretty certain it’s them. I will confirm with my grandfather at some point. My guess is this is either their wedding (since it’s dated around 1920) or another important event. I have no clue who the other couple is, but it’s safe to say that they are probably a relation to Arthur and/or Madora.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got a bunch of photos from my maternal side of the family. I really had next to nothing when it came to photos for that side of the family compared to the amount from my paternal side. Among the awesome pics of my grandparents and their families when they were younger, there are some photos of my grandfather during World War II. You may have remembered that there is almost nothing known about his time in WWII. It’s not something he talked about with most people and he’s considered too “young” to show up in a lot of the available public military records. I have yet to go to the state military archives, since there may be some stuff there, too.

One amazing photo was of him and a group of other men from November 1945 in Mannheim, Germany. The building behind the group has the words “504 QM BN Headquarters” on it. I quickly translated that to the “504th Quartermasters Battalion.” As much searching as I did, I could not find any info on that specific battalion. I posted a query over on /r/Military on reddit and got some help, but nothing solid. Fortunately, on the back of the photo were the names of all of the men. I searched for all of them and didn’t find much besides some generic obituaries, but again, no solid info.

Thielke 1945
Click for larger. My grandfather is 2nd from the left in the 2nd row.

My mom brought over another photo album and some newspaper clippings. One of the clippings was from a local paper in 1944 talking about my grandfather, a local man, and his service information. This clipping lists him as being part of the “748th F. A. Bn. Hq. Btry.” out of Camp Shelby, Mississippi which I assume is the “748th Field Artillery Battalion Headquarters Battery.” Again, no solid leads on that information, but it is another avenue of research.

The research trail continues. I may have some time to sit down with my grandparents, though they are slowing down in their old age, and maybe ask him about his service. Rumor has it that he was working on getting all of his military info in one place before he needed heart surgery a few years ago. Maybe he’s waiting for someone to ask him now.

20121208-162158.jpgThe day finally came after a bit of waiting. After taking his sweet time and not being sure when he would decide to make his grand entrance, we welcomed Xander Lee Zalewski into the family. He was born at 3:15pm on December 8th weighing in at 7lb 4oz. His middle name, Lee, is taken from his grandfather’s (my father-in-law’s) middle name, like Aerissa’s middle name, Jean, is from the middle name of her grandmother (my mother) and great-grandmother.

Aerissa is excited to have a little brother. She wouldn’t stop talking about it in the days leading up to his birth. I’m excited to have a son to go along with my daughter. It will be a sort of new experience raising a boy (though I have some first-hand experience.) Up until now, raising Aerissa was pretty neutral in terms of gender as she is still quite young and hasn’t yet got into her “girly things” stage.

It’s nice to add another branch to my own family tree that will hopefully extend for many more generations. It’s also nice to keep the Zalewski name going down the line. I wrote a bit more about the next child on my wife’s website, if you want to read it.

It seems I took one of my unplanned breaks again. Sometimes the perfect storm of not having much time and my interest in other things comes together and I don’t get any genealogy time. It’s been a busy few months, especially the last few weeks. Last week I was finally able to visit New York City, something I’ve wanted to do for many years. My wife was attending a conference there, so the whole family tagged along. My main job was to keep an eye on our 21-month-old daughter while my wife did conference-y things. Due to that, I didn’t get to tour everything I would’ve liked to, but I am still young overall, so I will probably get another chance. It was still great to just see the city. (More photos below)

We were situated in Midtown Manhattan at the Hilton New York, so anything within walking distance was fair game. I took my daughter on walks almost everyday so we got to see Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center including 30 Rockefeller Center (aka 30 Rock, the NBC headquarters), and Central Park where we spent a lot of time. I would’ve liked to see things like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Castle Garden, and Ground Zero, but didn’t get the chance. Interesting fact, none of my direct ancestors stepped foot in Ellis Island (apart from maybe visiting, but I doubt it.) All of my family arrived before it opened. The only close one is my great-great-granduncle, Jacob ZALEWSKI. He arrived at Castle Garden in 1891.

To put it into a genealogy perspective, I don’t have very many ties to the city. It’s rumored that my 3rd-great-grandfather, William “Curly Bill” CORRIGAN, was born there after the CORRIGAN family arrived in North America. On my wife’s side, it is said that both her 3rd-great-grandparents (who were married), George LANT and Emma DOUGLAS were both born there in 1842 and 1844, respectively.

After visiting, I am interested in the city’s history. I did some reading while I was there, mostly on Central Park, which was actually very fascinating. It’s a beautiful park which looks so out of place right in the middle of Manhattan, but it is definitely a nice place to relax from the busy, busy city rush.

The trip was nice and was only marred by a “slight” 5-hour delay on our flight home due to storms. Normally, while that would be annoying for myself, it was much more difficult while traveling with a 21-month-old. We made it home safely and all is well. 

I had the luck of finding a photo of my 4th-great-grandmother while doing some research on her descendant lines on Ancestry.com. I happened to see a photo of her daughter, Mary, with some other people. I clicked on it and saw that it said the name of the older woman was “Frances Thompson.” I did a double-take to make sure that was the name I thought it was.

Frances was born Claude-Françoise QUINET in 1817 in Menoux, Département de Haute-Saône (Franche-Comté), France. She came to America with her family in about 1832 and I think settled in New York state for a bit. She married William THOMPSON in that area in about 1839. I find them next in the 1850 Census in Granville, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Granville is now mostly part of the Brown Deer area. After that they traveled up to Wrightstown, Brown, Wisconsin where they lived out the rest of their lives.

This photo includes Frances, her daughter Mary, Mary’s son Charles, and Charles’ son Edwin. I don’t know the exact year, but Frances died in 1899 and Edwin was born about 1889. If I had to guess I’d say it’s from about 1894-95 or so since Edwin looks to be about 5 or 6.

Click for larger version


The headstone of my wife’s 3rd-great-grandmother Margaret KEARNS from her father’s maternal side. Born in 1822 in Ohio, she first married Nelson ENYART (sometimes spelled ENGART) in 1841. There is mystery surrounding what happened to Nelson, but in 1875 she ended up marrying Robert MORAN, who is actually my wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather from her father’s paternal side. They didn’t have any children, so the branch of that tree didn’t get too twisted. She died in 1890 and  is buried near Robert at Tavara Cemetery in Richwood Township in Richland Co., Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of B. Coberley at Find-A-Grave.

[Find-A-Grave Page]

Circa 1927 - Maurice Corrigan Family

Today’s Way Back Wednesday photo is from a recent scan from my grandmother’s photo collection. This is a photo of her family. Her parents, Maurice & Agnes (BRAATZ) CORRIGAN, along with her twin, Thomas, and her older sister, Shirley. The photo is probably from around 1927 or so based on the age of the twins.