Tag: strelka


Richard & Mary Jane Zalewski

Ok, back to it. The tenth ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2017 project is my paternal grandfather, Richard ZALEWSKI. I noticed after updating a handful of biographies and sources over at WikiTree recently that I haven’t really written much about my close ancestors, besides my maternal great-grandfather and my maternal grandfather’s war biography. He is related to me through my father → his father (Richard ZALEWSKI).

My grandfather was part of the reason I started on this genealogical journey over the last 18 years (wow, 18 years.) When he passed away in April 1999, it coincided with the launch of FamilySearch’s first website. One thing led to another, and here we are.

Richard was born on 9 Dec 1921 (one day after my son’s birthday) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. He was the 2nd child of three after his older sister Irene and before his younger brother Robert. He was also a middle child, like me and my father, and his father. The family was living at 826 Bremen St in Milwaukee at the time. His middle name was actually Melvin at birth (not sure where that came from), but it was changed to Joseph a bit later on.

US Navy

In October 1940, Richard joined the US Navy. He was stationed in Pensacola, Florida in Spring 1941 as an Aviation Support Equipment Technician when his mother suddenly passed away on 1 May 1941 of a stroke. The story goes that he could not afford the trip home for her funeral and just happened to find a $20 bill on the  ground that he was able to use for his ride home. I have a few letters that his mother wrote to him in April 1941, so these would be the last words he had from her, which is probably why he kept them.

During most of World War II, Richard was stationed with the US Navy in Hilo, Hawaii where he was a Aviation Machinist’s Mate, 3rd Class. They were responsible for “maintaining aircraft engines and their related systems, including the induction, cooling, fuel, oil, compression, combustion, turbine, gas turbine compressor, exhaust and propeller systems” and many other things.

Milwaukee

When Richard returned from the war, a young woman named Mary Jane CORRIGAN was living with her aunt and uncle, Edy & Ethel (CORRIGAN) STRELKA in Milwaukee. Edy Strelka was Richard’s first cousin, so Richard and Mary Jane met and after some time were married on 11 October 1947 at St. Gall’s Church in Milwaukee.

The family lived in Milwaukee where their first two children were born, including my father. In about 1955, the family moved north to the “suburbs” in Cedarburg, Ozaukee, Wisconsin where they lived for the rest of their lives and had one more child.

Richard worked with the US Postal Service in Milwaukee for many years, retiring in 1978. On 18 April 1999, Richard passed away from a quick bout with Pancreatic Cancer. His death was my first loss of a grandparent and it hit me a bit hard at the time, which I’ve written about a few times. Every year since his death and the beginning of my journey into genealogy, his Zalewski line was, and is still, my most difficult line to research. I’ve only recently pushed back one more generation. He is buried at St. Francis Borgia Cemetery in Cedarburg.

In terms of DNA, I definitely share DNA with him. Probably 25% based on how DNA recombines. My father and my paternal cousin has also tested, so I can see a lot of the DNA I know I got from them.

The third “ancestor” in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project this year is (in one direction) my first cousin, twice removed, Edward John “Edy” STRELKA. I say, “in one direction” because that is how I’m related to him through my paternal grandfather. If I go through my maternal grandmother, he is my great-great-grandaunt’s husband. I ran a relationship report on Edy for myself and found the 1C2R relationship through my grandfather. I ran it again on one of his children, and I am also a first cousin, twice removed to them, though through my grandmother’s line. Genealogy can be weird sometimes when people cross the streams.

My first connection to Edy is through my father → his father (Richard ZALEWSKI) → his father (Joseph ZALEWSKI) → his sister (Martha ZALEWSKI) → her son (Edy STRELKA). The second connection is through my father → his mother (Mary Jane CORRIGAN) → her father (Maurice CORRIGAN) → his sister (Ethel CORRIGAN) → her husband (Edy STRELKA).

Milwaukee

Edy was born 19 September 1909 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to John & Martha (ZALEWSKI) STRELKA. Martha is my paternal great-grandfather’s older sister. Martha passed away in 1930 at the age of 45 when Edy was 21. In July 1933, Edy married Ethel CORRIGAN, my maternal great-grandfather’s sister. It is actually due to this marriage that my grandmother meets my grandfather, so in turn, partly why I exist today. Ethel was living in Milwaukee in 1930 with her mother and a few other siblings. Her mother had re-married after my great-great-grandfather died in 1915. I’m told my grandmother was down in Milwaukee working when she met my grandfather.

I do actually have video of Edy, along with many of the other Corrigan family. I put it on YouTube a few years back. There is no sound, but I did put some quiet music over it. Edy was found and bookmarked in a few places, thanks to my first cousin twice removed, Jackie. You can view the video here. To view Edy’s clips, just browse to the description and click on the timestamps. It will take you there automatically.

The Grocery Business

Edy ran a grocery store in Milwaukee in 1940s/1950s called “Edy’s Food Market.” I found it listed in the 1950 Milwaukee City Directory. It was the earliest year I could find it. The directories they had from the 1940s were missing a lot of pages. It was located at 2900 N 7th St. Today that location is still a food store called 7th Street Foods, though the area may be a bit different. It’s also shown a bit in the video I mentioned above and linked in the video description. Before that, in 1937, it looks like Edy worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company as a Yard Clerk according to railroad employment records. According to his obituary, he also ran a place called “Edy’s Recreation” on E. Clarke St.

Edy and Ethel had two daughters. I don’t have a lot of information on the family after the 1940s, but at some point I think they moved north to Random Lake in Sheboygan County. Edy passed away on 2 May 1990 in Milwaukee at the age of 80. They are now buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Random Lake. They were originally interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee. I know this because of the information I had and when I went to take photos a few years ago, I could not find them. The person working there told me they were moved to Random Lake. I’m not sure why.

DNA

In terms of DNA, I probably share some with Edy. Though, I do not have any known connections that descend from him. Since we both came from the Zalewski family, it’s very possible. We don’t share Y-DNA, since his connection to Frank & Anna Zalewski is through his mother. His mtDNA would be up through Anna’s line and then through her mother, Eva Sonefeld. I do have at least one known connection with the Zalewski line, though it matches one generation back before my great-great-grandparents.

Doing this post does give me a few things to do. I’m going to try to contact Edy & Ethel’s daughters, or grandchildren, to see if they may have any photos of Edy’s mother Martha and beyond.