Tag: Wisconsin Research


For whatever reason in the last few weeks, I’ve dove straight into everything related to WikiTree. Once I started looking at all of the things that were possible with a huge, helpful, friendly community of users and a system that allows a lot of interconnectedness, I was able to find the power in the site. I’ve always used the site, but I picked up a bunch more responsibility with it recently.

Not only have I started up the Zalewski Name Study project on the site, I also started one up for the next largest surname in my tree, the Thielke Name Study. Those are still in their infancy, with the Zalewski one being a bit further. The Thielke one only has two lines on it so far, but it’s a start.

I also spent a lot of July adding sources to a lot of profiles on the site, mostly my own. This got me the “Sourcerer” and “Club 100 – July 2017” badges for my profile. I also became a member of the US History project, the Categorization project, the Wisconsin project, and the Cemeteries project (aka a Cemeterist.) But, not only did I join those, I am also now the Project Coordinator for the Wisconsin Project itself. This means I get to coordinate all of the sub-projects under Wisconsin and try to recruit volunteers to help build Wisconsin’s information and profiles.

Once I became that coordinator, I noticed Wisconsin has no county sub-projects. So, I went ahead and created the Ozaukee County project since it is the one I feel that I have the most expertise with.

Then once I became a Cemeterist, I decided to pick one local cemetery and work on it. Back in May of 2000, I transcribed a small, local cemetery in the area named St. Finbar’s Cemetery. I posted it up on interment.net as this was probably the leading cemetery transcription site at the time. Surprisingly, it’s still up and listed.

So, I added the St. Finbar’s Cemetery project up onto WikiTree and added my transcription even though it’s slightly outdated. Now, my goal is to either link existing profiles to the listing or create new profiles for every person buried there. I’ve added a few so far and learned a bit of history about the cemetery and its “inhabitants.”

I’m excited and I hope I do well coordinating all of these things. My profile is getting long. The one thing I love to do outside of researching my own family is to help others find information about their family. If you do genealogy, I recommend you join the site or at least visit and look around at all of the amazing things people are doing on their own time to help others.

The seventh ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is my wife’s maternal great-great-grandfather, George Henry CLEVELAND. The relationship line is my wife →  her mother → her father (Lloyd GYRION) → his mother (Luella May CLEVELAND) → her father (George Henry CLEVELAND).

George was born on 12 July 1871 in Berlin, Waupaca, Wisconsin to Edward CLEVELAND and Nancy WHIPPLE. In 1880, the family was located in West DePere in Brown County. It seems George’s father may left the family or his parents separated sometime between 1871 and 1880 as his mother is now married to a Daniel MOON. In George’s obituary in 1924, it mentions his father, Edmund Cleveland, residing in California.

On the 4th of July in 1891, George married Harriet Adeline LANT (also known as Nettie) in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Between 1892 and 1914, they had a total of 7 children. My wife’s great-grandmother, Luella, was the second born in 1892. The family lived in Waupaca throughout George’s life until he passed away there on 3 December 1924.

He is buried with his wife at Lakeside Cemetery in Waupaca.

 

The fourth ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project this year is my maternal great-grandfather, Leon Joseph DeBROUX. I’m related to Leon via my mother → her mother (Marjorie DeBROUX) → her father (Leon DeBROUX).

Leon was born on 2 November 1901 in the small town of Phlox, Langlade County, Wisconsin, which is very much the near center of the state. His parents were Joseph & Mary Philomene (LAURENT) DeBROUX. He had 5 brothers all with the middle name of Joseph and 2 sisters all with the middle name of Margaret.

Leon’s father passed away in 1918 in Phlox. Sometime between then and 1920, the family moved to DePere near Green Bay in Brown County to live with Leon’s aunt and uncle. About a year later, Leon was back in Phlox, this time marrying a local girl, Mildred Vida VAN PRICE. At the time, he was listed as being a “cheese maker” which is a standard Wisconsin job that every boy must do*. It may have been a rushed wedding, who knows, but the couple did have a child in September 1921. Sadly, the child did not make it. Two years later in 1923, their first son, Norbert, was born. He was better know later as “Dee Bee.” In 1927, my grandmother, Marjorie, was born after the family had moved south to Port Washington in Ozaukee County, where they would stay.

*May or may not be true.

Union Organizer

In 1940, Leon was listed as a laborer at the local chair factory, the Wisconsin Chair Company. By the 1950s, Leon was making a living as an AFL-CIO union organizer. I see his name mentioned many times in local stories about helping workers around the area. In an article from the Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press in June 1953, it mentions Leon:

PORT WASHINGTON — Employees of the Harnischfeger Corporation, houses division, N. Spring St., Port Washington, voted recently to become affiliated with the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (AFL). Their vote was 92 for joining, 16 against, according to Leon DeBroux of Port Washington, union organizer who started on this project in May.

Hospital

One big thing that Leon was part of in Ozaukee County was getting the local hospital built. At the time, in 1938, there was no local hospital. Discussions were started after an accident in the area that cost the lives of five people because they had to go to outside hospitals. A few people, including Leon, met at his house in 1938 to figure out how to get a hospital built. In 1939, all of the planning came together and the building of a hospital was approved with the cornerstone being laid on November 3rd, 1940. St. Alphonsus Hosptial opened on May 1, 1941.

I find it quite interesting that this hospital weaves its way through my maternal family. My great-grandfather helped get it built. My mother worked there for many, many years. I was born there, as was my younger brother. Once the hospital moved to a larger facility to the south in 1990s (I think) they converted it into assisted living apartments and a nursing home. My grandmother, Leon’s daughter, would end up living there. She also sadly passed away there in 2015. I had no idea how connected our family was until I found the article about how Leon helped get it built.

Faint Memories

I was alive while Leon was alive, until I was almost three years old. I have this strange memory of him. Sometimes you think you have memories of someone you barely knew, but it was just from a family photo or something similar. I remember being on the ground by my great-grandfather’s feet at his house in Port Washington and he was using them to play around with me. I can see it pretty clearly in my mind, the chair, his feet, the living room, everything. There is no photo of a moment like this. It may be one of those early childhood memories that sneaks its way into adulthood, instead of getting forgotten like most of them. I do cherish it.

On 15 September 1982, Leon had a heart attack and passed away in Port Washington at the same hospital he helped build. He is buried in Port Washington at St. Mary’s Cemetery overlooking the rural fields of Ozaukee County.

In terms of DNA, I still definitely have DNA passed down from Leon. His mother, a LAURENT, connects me to my French-Canadian ancestry and is my connection to large family lines like the Cloutier line. I have a lot of matches on Ancestry, 23andMe, and GedMatch that I can tell are from that line.

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.