Tag: Polish


My ancestor post is a little late this week as we were on vacation this weekend. It was nice to escape the clutches of a winter that is hanging on a bit too long this year.

Nepomuncena (Syldatk) & Ignatz Szulta
Nepomuncena (Syldatk) & Ignatz Szulta

The fifth ancestor on my 52 Week Ancestor challenge is Ignatz Peter SZULTA, pronounced like Schulta. Ignatz is my 3rd-great-grandfather on my father’s side. Ignatz was born on 30 January 1849 in a little town called Bukowa Góra in the what is today, Sulęczyno Parish, Kartuzy County, Pomorskie, Poland. According to his baptism, which was sent to me by another local Polish researcher, his parents were Anton & Marianna (MALSZYSKA) SZULTA.

On 3 February 1875, he married Nepomuncena SYLDATK in the nearby Sulęczyno Parish. Their first child was my great-great-grandmother, Clara, born in 1876. They had two more children in Sulęczyno Parish before Ignatz emigrated to Milwaukee. He lived here a few years before Nepomuncena and the children traveled over, which was gleaned from the Milwaukee City directories at the time and the second passenger list that does not include Ignatz. When I was attending a local Polish researchers group, it turned out that Ignatz rented a house from one of the other researcher’s ancestors while he was living here on his own.

Ignatz and Nepomuncena had 6 more children while living in Milwaukee. The photo at the top is the only photo I have of Ignatz and I need to find it again in my grandmother’s collection to rescan it. That is the highest quality I have. The photo seems normal, but I just don’t know why his wife looks to be carrying a rolled up newspaper.

The only first-hand information I heard about Ignatz was from my grandmother, who never met him. She also wouldn’t have heard it from my grandfather, as he was only a year old when Ignatz died in 1922. I’m guessing maybe it was from my great-grandfather. She told me Ignatz was a mean, strict man, so I guess I can take that for what it’s worth.

Ignatz passed away 25 May 1922 and is buried near most of my Polish ancestors in Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

This post is 5 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

After some research, I think I’ve traced the marriage of my great-great grandparents, Frank Zalewski & Anna Lindner, to Parafia św. Barbary w Świętem (or the Parish of St. Barbara at Święte.) According to a translation of their Polish Wikipedia entry:

The parish was founded in about 1300 by the Teutonic Knights. During the Thirteen Years’ War the church was destroyed and the parish declined. The present wooden church was built in 1723 on the land of the owner of the village – Waclaw Kozlowski. The last thorough renovation of the church took place in the 1990s.

Also according to their (wonderful) website, this church is the largest wooden structure in the area and one of the largest in Poland.

Their website has a great photo gallery of the church, inside & out, including the adjacent cemetery. They also have a very cool gallery of the cemetery on All Saints Day, November 1st, 2011. The photo above is from that gallery. Click on it to view more photos from that day.

It’s very cool to see the actual church from across the world that your somewhat distant ancestors were married in and baptised some of their children in.

Update 11/5/2014: I made another run-through of this translation and am fixing a few things.

I recently took another shot at translating an entry from the Slownik Geograficzny. This time I worked on translating the entry for Święte, which is the town where my great-great grandparents were married and some of their family had lived.

Here is my translation. You can find the original entry by visiting the University of Warsaw’s website that allows you to view the original book with a Firefox plugin. You can also view it on this site, without a plugin, though the site is in Polish so you may need some translation.

The translation is a work-in-progress and is obviously not completely perfect. I am grateful for some help from Al at Al’s Polish-American Genealogy, who has translated many entries himself. I will mark the words or phrases that I am confident are wrong or are not even translated as I could not find any information on them, with italics. The rest, while they may not flow very well, are mostly right and just need some small tweaking. Some of the diacritics on the letters did not copy over, I plan to fix those once I have some time. Any errors in the translations are completely my own. (more…)

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?
Grudziądz, Poland

Grudziądz, PolandI had a Thursday off this past week, so I decided to visit one of the local Family History Libraries in the area. The last time I went I ordered some microfilm from the area that I had hoped my ZALEWSKI family originated. I was confused since they told me that it takes about six weeks for the microfilm to arrive and then they will send me my self-addressed postcard to let me know, but I never received anything. Six weeks from my last visit would’ve been sometime in May and it still didn’t arrive by August.

When I first arrived, I just double-checked some of the local Milwaukee church records for some more information and also to try to find Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother’s marriage record (Jacob to Pauline WONDKOWSKI.) Still no luck in finding that record. I had thought that maybe they got married at another church, but there were no other churches in the area with records back to 1891-92. Only St. Hedwig’s church had records that old from that area. Jacob and Pauline baptised most of their children there, but I could not find a marriage record. I’m hoping they didn’t get married before they came to Milwaukee since that would be tough to track down.

After lunch I got back and I asked the volunteer on site about my order. She was somewhat new, but she tried looking through all of the orders from the past to see if maybe it didn’t get sent out, etc. She then asked me to get the film number from the Family Search website and she’d look it up that way. Before I could sit and check, she found my order. In big letters written over the card it said, “Film already here. Needs refund.” I guess the film was already on-site when I ordered it, though the volunteer that day obviously didn’t help me check. Either way the news is great. (more…)

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week is to:

  1. Determine who your most recent unknown ancestor is – the one that you don’t even know his or her name.
  2. Summarize what you know about his or her family, including resources that you have searched and the resources you should search but haven’t searched yet.

My most recent unknown ancestor is actually on my ZALEWSKI line. I am not sure about Frank J Zalewski’s parents’ names. Frank married Anna LINDNER in 1885 somewhere in German Poland, though I’m slowly cracking down this wall. Frank and Anna had 9 children, 2 boys and 7 girls. Just recently I have good feelings about tracking down the origin location of Frank and Anna before they emigrated to America. I have tracked this to a place called Gottschalk during the late 1800s which is probably now called Goczałki in present day Poland.

No records that I have searched including census, passenger lists, death records, or church records have named Frank’s parents. I did, in the last few years, connect him to his brother Jacob Zalewski who came over to America a few years later and also settled in Milwaukee.

That reminds me to check back with the Family History Library. I ordered the church records from the Goczałki area last time I was there and I sort of remember that they were supposed to arrive sometime in May. The FHL was supposed to mail me a postcard letting me know that they arrived. Either they forgot, or I put down some wrong info and the records didn’t arrive. These records will be my next research opportunity to hopefully extend my tree further back. I actually do not know Anna Lindner’s parents either, but I do have a little more possible info for them, including names.

 

 

One of the things you need to do once you track down the origin of your Polish ancestors, is to search for an entry for the location in the Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich (or Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries.)

According to a description of it on the “Genealogy of Halychyna/Eastern Galicia” website:

This massive collection took over 20 years to publish all 15 volumes. [15 volumes. 1880-1902.]  The gazetteer was published when officially there was no Poland in existence. From 1772 to 1918, Poland was dominated by three empires: Austria (later known as Austria-Hungary), Russia and Prussia. The gazetteer contains a great wealth of information on cities, towns, and villages, as well as mountains, rivers, and other geographic points of interest in the lands that were once a part of the old Kingdom of Poland.

When I searched for the location that I was pretty positive was the origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, Gottschalk or Goczałki, there were a few entries. But, after some searching I think I narrowed it down to one entry. The entry is located in Volume 2, Page 755 under Goczałkowo. You can use the online search engine to find an entry, though you do need to install a document viewer plugin, but it works nicely.

The book gives amazingly detailed descriptions of even the smallest towns.

(more…)

Since I’ve done a lot of Polish/Prussian research this week, I’m going to point at some helpful resources and blogs.

Al’s Polish-American Genealogy by Al Wierzba

This one has been on my blogroll for awhile, since Al posts useful Polish information and interesting tidbits on his blog. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also researching mainly in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. I visit it frequently. I actually just went there to copy the URL and got lost in some other posts. Keep up the good work, Al.

Steve’s Genealogy Blog by Stephen Danko

This one has also been on my blogroll for awhile. Steve mostly posts original family documents, but a lot (or maybe all of them) are Polish and he usually also posts translations and other useful information. It’s interesting to browse the documents and learn about the different areas and records.

Kartenmeister

Kartenmeister is a must bookmark for anyone with German/Polish/Prussian roots. According to its front page it’s “the most comprehensive database of its kind in the world. It contains 88,334 locations with over 38,691 name changes once, and 5,500 twice and more.” Using the site, you are able to search place names by German version or Polish version, get much information about the location and even other researchers looking for ancestors in these places. This is how I found the (hopefully) current location of my ZALEWSKI ancestors using the German name of “Gottschalk.” There is no equal.

Free Research Courses at FamilySearch

There are more than just Polish research classes here, but I really enjoyed the “Intro to Polish Research” course I watched the other day. It was very informative, easy to follow, and it helped me try some new things. I am currently watching the next video, “Advanced Polish Research.”  The presenter of the class, Ceil Wendt Jensen, was very well-versed in the subject matter and easy to listen to.

Germans to America (1850-1897) search tool by Steve Morse

While this search tool is helpful by itself, it’s much more powerful if you have access to Ancestry’s passenger lists. You can search by name, origin, destination and then use those results to find the corresponding passenger list image. I found my great-great-grandfather Frank Zalewski’s brother’s passenger list this way. There are also many other useful search tools on his main site, stevemorse.org.

Today’s surname is another one from my Polish side. SZULTA is presumably pronounced like SCHULTA. This surname first shows up in my ancestry with my great-great-grandmother, Clara SZULTA, who was born in Poland (or Prussia or Germany, I’m not sure yet.) I can only trace it back to Clara’s father, Ignatius SZULTA, who brought his family to America from Europe.

Ignatius SZULTA was born 1 Feb 1849 in Poland (Austria, as it’s noted.) He married Nepomuncena “Annie” SYLDAKT (I’ve also seen it written as SOZAK) in 1875. Together, they had 9 children with the first 3 born in Poland; Clara, Valerian, and Martha. These three children are listed on the passenger list along with Nepomuncena. Ignatius probably came over first, but I have yet to find his record. They settled in Milwaukee. I first find an “Ignats Szulta” in the Milwaukee City Directory in 1883 living at 943 Sobieski St.

Clara was born in Poland 6 Jan 1876. She married Joseph TROKA at. St. Hedwig’s Church on the east side of Milwaukee on 29 Jan 1894. They had 4 children, including my great-grandmother, Emily M TROKA, where it finally connects to my ZALEWSKI family. Ignatius passed away 25 May 1922 and Annie shortly thereafter on 22 Dec 1925. They are both buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee. Clara lived until 19 Jul 1959, only a few years before her husband was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Day in 1962.

It’s one of those surnames that is somewhat uncommon, so finding ancestors is usually simple. I search and if I find results, it’s usually a family member. I do run into some issues when it shows up under SCHULTA or SCHULTE since it usually groups names like Schultz and Schulz along with it, which makes it hard to browse. Googling SZULTA usually just brings up links to my sites and a few general Genealogy surname sites. It doesn’t seem to be very common. I have another researcher that I am in contact with that has been researching this family, as she is descended from one of Ignatius and Annie’s children. One of those lines that I get a lot of searches from is the URMANSKI family that branches out from their daughter Leocadia “Lilly” and her husband, Ignatz URMANSKI. That one seemed to spread out pretty far from the SZULTAs.

I need to spend some time searching these names but replacing SZULTA with either SCHULTA or SCHULTE and see what I get, though most sites include those using Soundex.

I thought I would recognize some helpful posts by the genealogy blogging community.

Creative Gene

Jasia at Creative Gene has a very good writeup on an extremely helpful (depends on your ancestry, I guess) online dictionary that translates from Polish to English and vice versa. It’s not only online, but it’s completely free. She does a good job explaining why this dictionary is as helpful as it is. I learned a bit about the Polish language and I also used it to help another Zalewski researcher with some documents he had that were written in Polish. Check out her I Won’t Be Going Bald Anytime Soon! post.

The Genetic Genealogist

Blaine has a good Q&A post up on his site explaining your two “family trees.” He talks about the differences between your Genealogical Tree and your Genetic Tree and how they each may help you find information about the other one. Read his Q&A: Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree post.

Kick-Ass Genealogy

Besides the in-your-face blog name, Katrina has a good post on how to deal with roadblocks when interviewing relatives. Sometimes the interviewee may dodge or block a question you ask. Did Great Aunt Erma have more children? Was Uncle Jerry a wild child of the 60s? Read over this post to help you with this issue. Dealing with Roadblocks When Interviewing Relatives

Olive Tree Genealogy

Over at Olive Tree  Genealogy, there is a great start to a series of 12 posts looking at some of the less obvious resources in finding information on your ancestors. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on this, since I feel like I’ve exhausted some of the normal resources on some of my lines. The first post is about medical records and how these may be helpful in your research. Check it out at 12 Months of Finding Ancestors: Medical Records (Part 1 of a 12 Part Series)

I hope these posts will be as helpful to you as they were to me.

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.