Tag: Wisconsin Research


The second ancestor in my 52 Ancestors project this year is my maternal great-great-grandfather, Carl Friedrich Herman LAST, also known as Charles. I’m related to Charles via my mother → her father (LeRoy THIELKE) → his mother (Madora LAST) → her father (Carl LAST).

Germany

From the information we have, Charles was born in the small town of Döringshagen, Naugard, Pommern, Germany on 26 September 1851. This area is now known as Wołowiec, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland. He was the second child, and first son, of Johann & Charlotte (STRASSMAN) LAST. Even though I’ve found the baptism and marriage records for both of his parents, I have yet to find his baptismal record in the Germany/Prussia/Pomerania church records available online.

When Charles was 5 years old, his family left Germany and traveled to the United States from Hamburg to New York, arriving on 14 September 1857. From there they made there way to southeastern Wisconsin, settling in the town of Grafton in Ozaukee County.

Wisconsin

Plat Map of Grafton, Wisconsin, 1892 – Charles Last land is yellow box at right.

Charles and his family lived in the Grafton area from 1860 through the 1880 census records. On February 25, 1883, Charles marries another German girl, Augusta LUEDTKE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have yet to figure out why they were married 25 miles south in Milwaukee. It is possible that Charles was temporarily living there. I think Augusta lived there at the time, but I have no proof of that as she immigrated in 1881, just after the census record.

I think Charles and his family ended up taking over his parent’s farm as it seems they were in the same area in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census records.

On June 5, 1926, Charles passed away at the age of 74, of what they labeled as “Apoplexy.” Today, they would probably call that a stroke. It is said to have been caused partly by senile dementia. He is buried nearby at Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

DNA

I do actually have some info on the DNA I possibly received from Carl and his wife. I have a DNA match that is related to me through Carl and his wife Augusta, through one of their daughters (my great-grandmother’s sister.) I actually received a few photos of Carl and his family from them.

  • Chromosome 15: 50 – 60
  • Chromosome 23: 118 – 134 & 146 – 155

There are a few other matches that overlap this area, but I have yet to confirm anything with them.

Firmenich Family 1895

I decided to start up the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project again. I last did it in 2014, even though I didn’t make it all the way through. Even if I don’t again this year, it still allows me to dig deeper into specific ancestors. As always, you can view all of the 52 ancestors here, updated as I post.

The first ancestor of 2017 is my paternal 3rd-great-grandmother, Pauline Henrietta (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH, also known as Polly. I’m related to her via my father → his mother (Mary Jane CORRIGAN) → her father (Maurice CORRIGAN) → his mother (Emma Jane FIRMENICH) → her mother (Polly THOMPSON).

Granville

Polly Thompson was born on 5 May 1849 in the town of Granville, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. She first shows up in the 1850 Census for Granville at one year old with her parents William and Frances THOMPSON and siblings. Granville is still mentioned today, though more of as an area of Milwaukee than an incorporated location. It is on the north side of Milwaukee County near today’s Brown Deer and Menomonee Falls.

By the time the 1860 Census rolls around, Polly and her family have moved north on to the town of Morrison, Brown County, Wisconsin presumably with the Firmenich family who also lived in Granville. On February 11th, 1867, Polly marries one of the Firmenich men by the name of Mathias FIRMENICH. According to the Wisconsin Marriage Certificate, the marriage took place in the nearby town of Holland and the witnesses were Chas F Cross and Polly’s sister, Emilia Thompson.

Their first child, Albert, is born in nearby Wrightstown in March 1868. Two more followed before the birth of my great-great-grandmother, Emma Jane, in June 1873. When all was said and done, they had a total of 13 children. According to the obituary of Emma Jane in 1941, the Firmenich family moved from Wrightstown in 1882, finally settling way in the north of Wisconsin into the forests of Ashland County.

Outbreak

Tragedy struck in early September 1885 when an outbreak of Diphtheria plagued the family. Within only a few days, the disease took the lives of at least three of their children, though probably four, including Hattie (6), Edmond (4), Sarah (2), and possibly Anna (8). Adding to the chaos was the fact that Polly was pregnant during this time as their daughter Rose was born there on September 20th, 1885.

Polly shows up again in the 1900 Census and 1905 Wisconsin State Census in Ashland. In 1910, Polly passes away. I have no exact date, just the date from her headstone at Saint Agnes Cemetery in Ashland where she is buried near the children she lost in 1885. She is not listed in the 1910 Census, Mathias being listed a “Widowed.” The Census for their home was taken on April 30th, 1910, so we can assume she passed away sometime before then.

I have only one photo of Polly, which is the from the family photo on this post. I estimate the photo was taken sometime around 1895 based on the ages of the children and (not joking) Mathias’ beard length.

Something new I’d like to add to these posts this year is determining if and how DNA may play a role in my relationship. I have yet to find any proven DNA that I share directly with Polly. I do have matches from that side of the tree that share Polly as an ancestor with me, but we don’t yet know where those chromosomes or positions may be.

Frank Braatz and Margaret StearnsThe forty-first ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my paternal great-great grandfather, Frank F BRAATZ.

According to his obituary, he was born 17 April 1867 in Bavaria, Germany, though there is some confusion as to where in Germany the Braatz family is from. His parents has listed birthplaces in other parts of the country. He immigrated to Wisconsin in June 1868 with his parents, Wilhelm and Maria (Klegin) Braatz. In the 1870 census, his family’s first after arriving, they lived in Caledonia, Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

In June 1891, he married Margaret STEARNS in Bear Creek, Outagamie County, Wisconsin. From then until 1898, they lived in Waupaca, Waupaca County, Wisconsin. In 1900, he was working at a Tannery and living in Philips, Price County, Wisconsin. In 1903, my great-grandmother, Agnes Braatz, was born in Mellen, Ashland County, Wisconsin. The family seemed to move around a lot as they were living way deep into the upper peninsula of Michigan in Munising, Alger County from about 1911 to 1919.

Frank seemed to settle down a bit after he moved back to Ashland County in 1919, living in that area for the rest of his life, working on his farm.

He passed away on 10 July 1948 after a short illness at 81. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Ashland, Wisconsin.

This post is 41 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The fortieth ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my wife’s paternal 3rd-great-grandmother, Mary Jane (Lint) Dieter.

She was born 28 May 1842 in Ohio (some items say Pennsylvania) to Henry and Eleanor (Murphey) Lint. Her family may have been of the Pennsylvania Dutch or Mennonites as they lived in York, Pennsylvania and then to Holmes, Ohio before moving to Wisconsin. Information says that she married Johannes Dieter in 1859. He passed away about 1867 and she married his brother, Friedrich Dieter on 18 August 1868, whom my wife descends from.

With Friedrich, she had 12 children, including my wife’s ancestor, Emma Amelia Dieter in 1870.

Her death certificate says she passed away on 20 October 1913 in Dayton, Richland, Wisconsin. She is buried at Luther Cemetery in nearby Richwood Township.

This post is 40 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

PeshtigoFireCemeteryThe thirty-eighth ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my wife’s maternal 3rd-great-grandfather, Adrien FRANCOIS.

His birth is listed as 18 March 1832 in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Brabant, Belgium, which actually is not too far from where my Belgian ancestors originated. His parents are noted from his birth record as Guillaume Francois and Marie Josephe DENIS. In 1851, it says her married a woman named Flora Seetnogle, but I have no source for it, so it may or may not be definitive. She died not long after this in 1852. This was not my wife’s ancestor.

Francois emigrated to America from Antwerp, Belgium and arrived in New York on April 1856 aboard the Trumbull. He made his way west and settled in Door County, Wisconsin (which for you non-Wisconsinites, is the little arm on the east side of the state.) He married my wife’s ancestor, Fulvie Adelaide PIETTE (presumably there) in about 1863. Their daughter, and my wife’s ancestor, Josephine FRANCOIS, was born in Brussels, Door, Wisconsin in 1871.

There are also some random notes listed on his entry, though not well sourced (he is one of the ancestors that we have not yet cleaned up.) It is noted that he served in the US Civil War with Company F 34th Wisconsin Infantry from 1862 until he “deserted” in January 1863.

According to the book titled History of Door County Wisconsin it is said that he “lost house and contents, barn, crops, farming tools, and cattle in the Great Fire of Northeastern Wisconsin, October 1871.” Also listed here on a nice historical write-up of the event.

Francois was a farmer throughout most of the US Census records. It is not known yet when he died, though he is presumed to be buried somewhere in the Brussels area.

This post is 38 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Braatz FamilyThe thirteenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my paternal 3rd-great-grandmother, Maria (KLEGIN) BRAATZ.

The only documented evidence that I have seen of Maria’s birth was from her death certificate which states that she was born 15 Februrary 1842 in Schoenwalde, Germany. Trouble is that there is no modern city with that name and multiple historical cities with that name. Some basic research from other experts suggests that it may be somewhere in the northern area of Germany, as Klegin is a somewhat rare surname. Though, I also don’t know how solid the evidence is that her surname is actually Klegin as that is also from her death certificate, so it was given by a third party.

A glimmer of  hope, though, is that her son, my great-great-grandfather, Frank Braatz is listed as having been born in Bavaria, Germany. I did a search for Schoenwalde and Bavaria and it turns out that there is a municipality in Bavaria named Schönwald. I may be on to something.

She married Wilhelm BRAATZ at some point, probably the mid 1860s, and gave birth to their first child (and my ancestor) Frank. Shortly after, they decided to leave Germany and head to Wisconsin. On 15 June 1868, they arrived in New York aboard the Ship Auguste traveling from Bremen, Germany. They first settled in New London in Waupaca County, Wisconsin where their next child, William, was born. Next, their third and final child, Ida, was born.

They seemed to have stayed in Waupaca County as Maria passed away there in March 1890 and is buried there at Little Wolf Cemetery. Mysteriously, I lose Wilhelm after 1880. I’m assuming he passed away and is also buried there, but I have yet to find documentation on that.

I think the photo at the right is a photo of Wilhelm, Maria, and Frank as the photo was in a frame that my grandmother had. It was also labeled something like “Grandma and Grandpa Braatz” assuming it was originally in the possession of my great-grandmother as they look nothing like my grandmother’s Braatz grandparents. It’s also labeled as being taken in a studio in the New London/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, where the Braatz family lived for quite awhile.

This post is 13 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The tenth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my wife’s great-great-grandfather, George Washington SHANNON.

George was born on September 11th, 1859 in the small town of Stockton in Portage County, Wisconsin. His parents were Nathaniel SHANNON & Rosina Winslow ARNOLD. He was the eighth child of ten and according to the data I have, the first born in Wisconsin.

On October 3rd, 1899, he married Mary DAKINS, the daughter of William DAKINS and Helen WARNER in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. About a year later, the couple’s one, and only, daughter was born, Marie SHANNON. Tragedy struck in 1904, when Mary died of peritonitis, which can be caused by things such as abdominal trauma or even appendicitis.

Not much is known about George after Mary’s death. His daughter, Marie, is found in the 1910 Census living with Mary’s parents. There is no matching George Shannon in the 1910 Census. Though, in the 1920 Census, there is a widowed “G W Shanon”, born in Wisconsin in 1860, living in Winan, Rice, Kansas, though that lists his parents as having both been born in Ireland, which is very false.

There is also an inmate at the Albany County Penitentiary in New York in 1905, born in the United States in 1858. Though, not sure why he would be in Albany, New York only a year after his wife’s death, but it’s not an impossibility. More than likely, though, he is the widowed Geo Shanon living in Plover, Portage, Wisconsin working for the Geo D Warner family (his mother-in-law’s maiden name was Warner) in the 1905 Wisconsin Census.

He is listed, in my database, as having died in February 1930 in Limon, Lincoln, Colorado. There is no source on the information and I really don’t know where it came from, but I leave it in there just in case there is something to it. Maybe one day we’ll track him down.

This post is 10 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The ninth ancestor in my 52 week challenge is my 4th-great-grandfather, William Henry THOMPSON.  With a name like William Thompson, how hard can it be to pinpoint him?

This has been my trouble with William. I have records of him starting in 1850 once his family settled in Wisconsin, but before that is a mystery. If I do a search based on his information, I get thousands of results.

William ThompsonAccording to the sources I do have, William was born sometime between 1810 and 1816 in either England, Ireland, or Scotland. His headstone says he was 77 years of age when he died in 1890, so I usually use 1813 as his birth year. There is a Wisconsin death record over at FamilySearch that I’m pretty sure is this William Thompson that lists his parents as William THOMPSON and Fasmie RUINNET. Though, a lot of other user’s information lists his parents as Edward & Isabella THOMPSON, but no solid sources so far.

According to my records, in 1839, he married Claude-Françoise “Francis” QUINET in Syracuse, New York. I have yet to find solid evidence of this marriage, but the Quinet family was recorded to have been in that area during that time. They must have left not long after the marriage, as their first child was born in Wisconsin in 1841. They settled in in Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin, which is now no longer around, but part of multiple towns in the area. Sometime between 1854 and 1857, they relocated north to the Morrison and Wrightstown area in Brown County, Wisconsin.

On 4 February 1890, William passed away and is buried next to his wife at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Wrightstown. I wrote a post about our trip to that area and the finding of William’s resting place.

This post is 9 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The eight ancestor is my 52 week challenge is my wife’s paternal great-grandmother, Anna (HUIZEL) COLLINS. I’m not completely sure of the pronunciation of that surname, but I’ve heard both Oot-zuhl and Ooh-zuhl.

Anna (Huizel) Collins - unknown year
Anna (Huizel) Collins – unknown year

Anna was born around July 1881 in what is today, Netolice in the Prachatice District, South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. In 1881, I think this was just considered Bohemia. Her parents are John HUIZEL and Barbara REINDL. There is no birth record that we have found, yet, but I did find records of her parent’s marriage and the births of some of her other siblings in the area.

I basically tripped into the Czech records one day while browsing FamilySearch. I found a lot of info on her family at the online records available at the State Regional Archives Trebon. I got a lot of help from a very well-done blog about Czech Genealogy. You can read more about what I found on a post I wrote about it.

Anna immigrated from Bohemia around 1885-1888 with her parents. On Valentine’s Day 1899, she married Albert COLLINS in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, where her parents resided. Albert and Anna had four children, including my wife’s grandmother, Barbara.

One of Anna’s siblings, a brother named Jacob, gave us one of the first humorous family mysteries. We had some photos from her grandmother and one of them was a photo of a gentleman and all it said on the back was “Uncle. One arm.” We ended up finding out that this was Anna’s brother, Jacob, whom we all refer to now as “Uncle One-Arm.”

Albert passed away around 1945 and Anna lived on in Madison, Wisconsin until she passed away in 1945. She is buried with her husband in Boscobel, Grant County, Wisconsin, where they lived for many years.

This post is 8 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The fourth ancestor on the 52 Week Ancestor challenge was picked using my patented ancestor-o-matic. It’s really just a random number generator and then using that number on my daughter’s ahnentafel chart. This week is William J DAKINS.

William is my wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather on her maternal side. His obituary in the Stevens Point Daily Journal from Stevens Point, Wisconsin says that he was born 29 April 1846 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This matches up with his census records that indicate he was born in Canada. It looks like his family, including father Amos DAKINS and mother Phoeba C (RILEY) DAKINS, moved from Canada to Wisconsin early in his life as they are found in the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin area in the 1850 US Census. In 1860, the family is found further north in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, though close to where William would settle later in life, in Weyauwega.

On 14 December 1864, William did what a lot of other young men in the country did that year, he enlisted to join the Civil War. He was stationed with Company I in the 17th Wisconsin Infantry. At the time of William’s enlistment, the 17th Infantry was involved in the Carolinas Campaign.

In January 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman advanced north from Savannah, Georgia, through the Carolinas, with the intention of linking up with Union forces in Virginia. The defeat of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army at the Battle of Bentonville in March, and its surrender in April, represented the loss of the final major army of the Confederacy.

Burning of McPhersonville 1865
Sherman’s March Through South Carolina – Burning of McPhersonville, February 1, 1865

The obituary also states that he was involved in the famous Sherman’s March to the Sea, but that looks to have taken place right when William was enlisting, so I’m not sure if he was.

After William returned from war, he married Helen Marion WARNER on 4 October 1871 and they settled on a farm in Plover, Portage, Wisconsin. Together, they had 6 children, including my wife’s ancestor, Mary DAKINS. They lived in Plover until William’s death on 18 April 1916. The obituary says he was ill with heart and stomach problems. He is buried nearby in the Plover Cemetery.

This post is 4 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The third ancestor I chose on my 52 Ancestors challenge is my maternal great-great-grandmother, August (LUEDTKE) LAST. She holds a unique position in my ancestry as the only ancestor that I know of to have lived to at least 100 years of age. Though, she passed away 11 days (0.03 years) after her 100th birthday, but it still counts.

Augusta (Luedtke) Last
Augusta (Luedtke) Last in 1948.

As the information I found notes, Augusta Johanna Wilhelmine Luedtke was born around 3 July 1863 in Storkow, Pomerania. Her parents are listed as Carl LUEDTKE and Friederike FRITZ on her marriage record. Funny thing about Storkow is that there are many villages with this name in old Pomerania, which is around modern-day northwestern Poland. There are at least 3 according to Kartenmeister. Fortunately, a lot of the church records for Pomerania are available digitally on FamilySearch. I’ve looked through a lot of them record-by-record in the vicinity of these towns with no luck, so the search continues. It’s one of those nagging brick walls that I always come back to since I feel that I’m very close.

According to census records, she emigrated to the US sometime around 1881-1882. This would make her about 18-19, so it’s hard to say if she came with her family or on her own, but I have found information on a sister living in Wisconsin, so that’s another avenue of research. This is also in that fuzzy area since the 1890 census is missing and by the time I find her in the 1900 Census, she is married and has had 11 children. Some of my next steps are to dig into Milwaukee records from this time as she was married there.

On 25 February 1883, she married Charles Carl LAST in Milwaukee. They soon settled in Grafton, Ozaukee, Wisconsin and, according to an 1892 Plat Map, they lived on a farm close to the town of Port Washington. Charles and Augusta were experts in the field of creating children as over the course of 25 years, they had 16 of them. My great-grandmother, Madora, was born in 1898. A few of them did not make it through childhood, but a lot of them went on to have full lives and create many, many cousins for me to connect with. I actually met a 3rd cousin from this family line through a match over on 23andMe and we’ve shared some information, including the first family photo I saw of this family.

Augusta’s husband died in 1926 soon after they moved out of the rural area and into a house in the City of Port Washington, right near the high school. After she had trouble getting around she moved in with some of her children, including my great-grandmother, where she was when she passed away. She lived long enough that my mom can remember things about her. Augusta passed away 11 days after her 100th birthday on 14 July 1863 and is buried with many of her family at Union Cemetery in Port Washington.

This post is 3 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.