Tag: Troka


The thirty-second ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my paternal 3rd-great grandfather, Michael TROKA. Michael is one of the few ancestors that I have confirmed as an ancestor with my DNA matches on chromosomes 1, 6, 9, and 11 as I talked about in my last post.

I don’t know when Michael Troka was born. The first documented information I have found for him is his marriage to (as it says in this document) Justyna GRABOWSKA in Lipusz, which today is located in Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship in northwestern Poland.

Michael and his wife has 12 children in Lipusz from about 1860 to 1881, including my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Troka, who was one of the previous ancestors I wrote about.

Many of their children later left Poland and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin including Joseph, his brothers Mathias and Thomas, and his younger sister Maryanna. There are probably more, but I have yet to dig deep into that line of research.

This post is 32 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

After getting my DNA tests completed and for the past few years pouring over that data using tools like GEDMatch, and most recently, Genome Mate, I’ve started to accumulate Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCA) with some of my DNA matches. How to figure those out is another post entirely.

Granted, I don’t have a lot of confirmed MRCAs, yet, but I do have a few. You can use this data to make a chromosome mapping. Genome Mate does this for you in the software, but there is also a web version (seen below) that will do it for you. This will paint all of the segments on your chromosome that match those ancestors. Once you get a lot of confirmed MRCAs, the mapping looks really cool. Mine is getting started.

Click for full version.Do your own here: http://kittymunson.com/dna/ChromosomeMapper.php
Click for full version. Do your own here.

As you can see, I only have 2 MRCAs confirmed, one on each side. My paternal 3rd-great-grandparents, Michael Troka and Josylna Grabowska and my maternal great-great-grandparents, Carl Last & Augusta Luedtke.

The Troka connection is not yet fully confirmed, but the information we have is pretty solid. The Last connection is confirmed as I’ve matched up family trees with a 3rd cousin I found via a 23andMe match. I have a few more matches in progress that are close to finding information on our MRCA. It can be tough work sometimes, but there is hope of finding all new ancestors.

The seventh ancestor in my 52 Week Challenge is my paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph TROKA (pronounced like Truck-a).

Joseph Troka and his wife, Clara.
Joseph Troka and his wife, Clara in 1944.

Joseph was born on 17 November 1871 in the town of Lipusz located in modern day Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland. His parents are listed as Michael & Joslyna (GRABOWSKA) TROKA. He is listed as immigrating to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin are in about 1889. It is not yet known if he traveled alone, or with family, as there are other Troka families in Milwaukee that are more than likely related to Joseph.

On 29 January 1894, Joseph married the daughter of Ignatz & Nepomuncena SZULTA named Clara. Ignatz was the 5th ancestor that I posted about. They were married at St. Hedwig’s Church on the east side of Milwaukee, which at the time was the go-to Polish church in the area.

He started working as a tanner in the tannery industry in Milwaukee as a lot of the Polish immigrants did. By 1905, Joseph is listed as a Tavern Owner at a tavern on 28 Lee Street in Milwaukee, which was also his residence. Today, 28 Lee Street is now about 900 E. Meinecke Avenue and his tavern was probably located somewhere in this vicinity near the intersection with North Bremen St. He ran the tavern until somewhere around 1930. After that point he was listed as being a Treasurer for the Pulaski Building and Loan Association, a position he was said to hold until about 1960.

From the Milwaukee Journal, 1962.
From the Milwaukee Journal, 1962.

Joseph and Clara had 4 living children (4 died during or not long after birth) including my great-grandmother, Emily. In 1959, Clara passed away. Tragedy struck in 1962 when Joseph was walking from his home on Bremen Street  a few blocks to St. Casimir’s church on the morning of Januray 1st. He was struck and killed by a man named Frank Merz , who was later only fined $200 for failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Rumor has it that he was also drinking and driving. Joseph was 92. He was buried next to his wife at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

This post is 7 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Well, after over a decade of doing genealogy research, I finally made a trip to one of the “local” Family History Libraries. I put local in quotes, because it was still a good 30 miles away, but not too far. I’m not exactly sure why I never visited one. I like knowing how things work before I go since I hate being somewhere and not knowing how to act. For example, I had my iPhone with me, but hidden in my pocket since I wasn’t sure the rules on electronics/cameras. I wasn’t even sure if I could use a pen and paper. Some places are strict in that regard. Later on in the day I saw a man using a laptop right next to a microfilm reader, so now I know.

I just wanted to make a quick trip and look over the records they had on “perpetual” loan. The lady who showed me around seemed confused when I said that, though all of the records I used said that they were on “indefinite” loan, so I’m sure it’s the same thing. They have all of the Milwaukee church records and vital records on-hand. I really wanted to look through the church records for both St. Hedwig’s and St. Casimir’s churches on the east side of Milwaukee since those two are where most of my Polish family attended. My main ZALEWSKI ancestors first went to Hedwig’s and then Casimir’s when they moved.

I was also really hoping to find the marriage record of Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother, Jacob to his wife Pauline WONDKOWSKI. I am somewhat lucky in the fact that Jacob was unmarried when he immigrated. This should hopefully allow me to find his marriage record and maybe his parent’s names (which would also be Frank’s parents, my 3rd-great-grandparents.) As luck would (not) have it, I couldn’t find the record. Jacob and Pauline baptised all of their children at St. Hedwig’s, but I could not find their marriage record. I looked countless times going back and forward a few years, too. It is possible that they may have been married at another church in the area, which I will pursue or there is a very rare possibility that they married elsewhere before coming to Milwaukee, which would not be fun to track down. Plus, I also found many spellings of Pauline’s last name, from WADKOWSKI to LUTKOWSKI.

I did, again, solidify the relationship between the ZALEWSKI, GWIAZDOWSKI, and GORALSKI families. A lot of both Frank’s and Jacob’s children were sponsored by one or more of the families. Frank and Anna ZALEWSKI’s last child, Agnes, was sponsored by both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI. It also seems that in some of the earlier baptism records, they listed the female sponsors with their maiden names as I found Pauline listed as Pauline LANDKOWSKA on my great-grandfather Joseph’s baptism record (which I posted about earlier this week.) Also, on their next child, Frances Dorothy ZALEWSKI, I found the female sponsor listed as Maria GWIAZDOWSKI, better known as Mary GORALSKI, which now (somewhat) proves that she is the daughter of both August & Anna, though it still messes up the fact that she is listed as Frank ZALEWSKI’s sister.

I also found some other possible family connections that I need to pursue, mainly on the LINDNER side, though some on the TROKA side, too. I ordered the records from what I hope is the original location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, Goczałki (or more specifically, the parish of Święte.) We’ll see how that turns out once the records arrive, usually in about 6 weeks.

Image from crowderb@flickr

This week’s surname is from my paternal Polish ancestors. I’ve heard it pronounced both Troh-kuh and Truck-uh. The TROKA surname first shows up in my family tree with my great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1896. Her father, Joseph TROKA, was born in 1871. I have traced his birth to the Lipusz area of what was then West Prussia. It is now located in Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. He immigrated in about 1888 or 1889, either by himself or with his family. I have not tracked down his parents in the US, but have seen note of his brothers and sisters here. His parents are listed as Michael & Joslyna (GRABOWSKA) TROKA on his marriage certificate. Joseph married Clara SZULTA at St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee in 1894.

According to the map below, courtesy of World Family Names, the surname is most popular in the Polish county mentioned above, Kościerzyna.

Troka Surname
Public Profiler Worldnames. (2010). Surname Troka Polish Map.Retrieved March 18, 2011

 

Troka Family

Troka FamilyThis is a photo from my paternal Milwaukee line. I don’t know the names of everyone in the photo, but there are a few I know. My great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, is at the top-left. Her mother, Clara (SZULTA) TROKA, is right below her. Clara’s mother (and my 3rd-great-grandmother), Nepomuncena (SYLDAKT) SZULTA, is to the right of her. The only other name I know is that of Nepomuncena’s son, John SZULTA, in the middle of the back row. The remaining people are either part of the SZULTA family or TROKA family. I have other photos from this day that include other family members. Click photo to enlarge.

The history for this week in my family tree. As always, you can find this on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

Clara (Szulta) Troka and her daughters.

July 19th

1959 – Died – Clara (SZULTA) TROKA – Clara is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 6 Jan 1876 in Sulęczyno Parish, Kartuzy County, Pomorskie, Poland. She immigrated with her mother and siblings in 1881 and met up with her father in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had come over earlier. She married Joseph TROKA in 1894 and had 4 children. She passed away in Milwaukee and is buried there with her husband at Holy Cross Cemetery.

July 20th

1817 – Born – Charlotte (STRASSMAN) LAST – Charlotte is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born somewhere in Germany and married her husband, Johann LAST, there before coming to Wisconsin in about 1857. Together, they had 4 children. She passed away on 20 Apr 1900 at Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is (supposedly) buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Wisconsin. I recently found her husband’s headstone, but have yet to find her’s as I talked about in a post.

1848 – Died – Charles PIETTE – Charles is my wife’s 5th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born 4 Mar 1773 in Malèves, Wallon Brabant, Belgium. In 1797, he married Marie RENIER and together they had 6 children. He passed away at Thorembais-les-Beguines, Brabant Wallon, Belgium.

July 22nd

1845 – Died – Leonardus CRAYBECK – Leonardus is my 5th-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born on 25 Oct 1782 in Genk, Limburg, Belgium. He married Florentina Francisca KNUDDE in about 1812. They had 6 children including my ancestor, Jacobus KREBBEKX (not sure why the name changes.) He passed away at Hoofdplaat, Zeeland, Netherlands.

Joseph Troka & Dad
Joseph Troka & my Dad

This is a photo of my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Troka, and his great-grandson (my father.) It was taken in May 1959, probably at my Dad’s first communion. You will notice that Joseph liked to wear his pants very high.

Emma Jane Firmenich

Here are these week’s important dates. As always, you can view these whenever you like on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 27th

Happy birthday to my grandmother, Mary Jane, and her twin brother, Tom!

April 28th

1941 – Died – Emma Jane FIRMENICH – Emma Jane is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born on 23 Jun 1873 in Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. She married Thomas CORRIGAN in 1892 and they had 9 children, including my great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN. After Thomas died in 1915, she married twice more before her death. She died in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Agnes Cemetery.

April 29th

1756 – Died – Laurence HENRY – Laurence is my 8th-great-grandfather on my father’s side. He was born about 1690 in Vaivre, Haute-Saône, France. He married Jacques GRANGIER in 1714. He passed away in Menoux, Haute-Saône, France.

April 30th

1866 – Born – Margaretha STEARNS – Born Barbara Margaretha Magdalena STEARNS, she is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was  born in Württemberg, Germany and after immigrating with her family to Wisconsin, she married Frank F BRAATZ in 1891. Together they had 5 children, including my great-grandmother, Agnes BRAATZ. She passed away in 1943 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

May 1st

1941 – Died – Emily M TROKA – Emily is my great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born on 5 Jan 1896 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Clara (SZULTA) TROKA. She married Joseph ZALEWSKI on 25 Jun 1919 and they had 3 children. Emily died suddenly of a stroke on May 1st, 1941 at only 45 years of age.

Troka/Zalewski/Szulta

This is a picture of the men of the Troka, Zalewski, Szulta, and other families. The photo includes both my great-grandfather and his father-in-law, my great-great-grandfather. Also included are some great uncles and some other family members. Here are the names of everyone in the photo. Back row: Joseph Zalewski (my great-grandfather), Leo Troka (my great-granduncle), Steve Kolasinski, John Szulta (my great-great-granduncle), Roman Troka (my great-granduncle) – Front row: Barney Kuszewski, Jos. Malzewski, Joseph Troka (my great-great-grandfather), Ignatz Urmanski.

Thanks to a higher amount of Polish records online and the help of some of the usual friendly genealogists (Thanks, Al and Rita!) I have traced a few of my Polish ancestors back to Poland.

I now have the baptism location of my 3rd-great-grandparents, Ignatz Peter SZULTA and Nepomuncena SYLDATK. Ignatz was born in Bukowa Góra in the Sulęczyno Parish of Kartuzy County, Pomorskie, Poland. Nepomuncena was born nearby at Gowidlino in the Sierakowice Parish. Their first three children, including my great-great grandmother Clara SZULTA, were all born in Sulęczyno before the family emigrated to America. I also found Ignatz’s parents, who are Anton SZULTA and Marianna MALSZYCKI and also Nepomuncena’s parents, who are Jacob SYLDATK and Tecla KREFFT.

Rita also found information that my great-great-grandfather, Joseph TROKA, was probably from Lipusz which is a village in Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. The one family that still eludes me is my ZALEWSKI family. I have not yet been able to trace them back to Poland/Prussia. All I have is that Frank and Anna ZALEWSKI were married in the Poznan Province, but I have no source information on that besides it being listed on a family tree I have. I also know that they immigrated from the Port of Bremen, Germany, but that doesn’t really help pinpoint anything. I’ve checked the Poznan Project website and haven’t run across anything, but hopefully someone indexes their records at some point.

Breaking down these brick walls piece by piece, while aggravating at times, is really very fun. Plus, I am meeting some great people. Hopefully we will help each other more along the way.