Tag: Zalewski


Wordless WednesdayWordless Wednesday’s photo is a picture of my grandfather Richard Zalewski (in the back) and my great-great grandparents, Joseph & Clara (Szulta) Troka. I don’t have a date down for it, but I assume it’s sometime in the 1950s. Clara passed away in 1959 at the tough ol’ age of 83. Joseph died in on New Year’s Day in 1962 at the age of 90. He probably would have lived much longer, but he was hit by a drunk driver on his way to church in Milwaukee. You can read an excerpt from the newspaper article on my family tree site. Both Clara and Joseph were born in the Poland area and immigrated to the United States. They were married in Milwaukee in 1894.

When I bought my house in 2005, I ended up purchasing my grandparent’s house. My grandpa had passed away in 1999 and my grandma was moving into an assisted living apartment since she hurt herself in a little fall. I did get a very nice deal on the house. It’s perfect “starter” house, being the house that they bought new in 1955 and that my dad and his siblings grew up in.

When she moved, a bunch of boxes were left in the basement. Most of it was just things like blankets and pots and pans, things she doesn’t need right now. I found one box a few months back when I was taking inventory that I saw had funeral cards and old newspaper clippings in it. Today, I decided to just browse through them to see if there were any of my ancestors that I could use to squeeze out some more information.

I only found a few funeral cards on the top and they were probably of old friends, I assume, and not relatives. But, I did find a nice collection in the news clippings box. Most of the items were just random clippings of recent photos and articles from the newspapers. But, I did find a nice selection of old obituaries, though. A couple were straight from the newspapers and a few others were copies. The obituaries that I found were from Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) COOK (my gg-grandmother), George S COOK (Emma’s 3rd husband), Margaret (STEARNS) BRAATZ (my gg-grandmother), Frank F BRAATZ, Sr (her husband and my gg-grandfather), and Margaret (SCHUMACHER) STEARNS (her mother and my ggg-grandmother.) Most of the obituaries didn’t have any new info of note, but the big find was the last one. In my tree, all I had was “Margaret” listed and her death date. This obituary gave me her birth info and her surname, which is brand new to me. Plus, it listed all of her siblings and locations. I need to start looking for SCHUMACHER now, any tips?

Another treasure find in the box was some old letters written to my grandfather from his parents in 1941. It seems, from the address that he was in navy school in Pensacola, Florida. There are about 5-10 letters all written from March 31, 1941 to April 27, 1941. One weird note here is that my great-grandmother, his mother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, passed away on May 1, 1941. In the later letters that I just quickly scanned through, there is no mention of being sick, etc. So, this points to her death being quite sudden as she was only 45 years old at the time. Maybe my grandfather saved these letters due to the fact that he was away in Florida when his mother died. There are no letters beyond the April 27th one. I am in the process of scanning them so I can read them and archive them. This is the only comunication from my great-grandmother that I’ve found. Then, I plan on taking this box over to my grandmother since I’m assuming she’ll want it.

Weee!

This Carnival of Genealogy has to do with “The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy. Almost everyone has experienced it. Tell us about the first time, or the last time, or the best time. What event, what document, what special find has caused you to stand up and cheer, to go crazy with joy? If you haven’t ever done the Happy Dance, tell us what you think it would take for you to do so.”

Let’s see. I had a few and, if my thought process works, you probably get more of them as you first start your genealogy research. But, they get much more exciting as your research goes on. I have only been researching for slightly under ten years now (so I’m a bit young in the process) but I’ve had a few of these pop up.

  • Funny thing, the most recent one happened just this weekend. I posted about it. To summarize, I pinpointed the exact division and battalion my great-grandfather was with in World War I. Previously, no one could find any information on his military record because they burned in a fire in 1973.
  • A few years ago when I found an alternate spelling to my great-grandmother’s maiden name. I also posted a bit about this at the time. I had always been stuck on her last name of “Van Price.” Turns out the last name can also be spelled “Van Parijs” in back in their native country of the Netherlands. This find opened me up to tons of new family members and vital records for the area.
  • I had a bit of neat find a few weeks ago (I know, two in one month. How do I handle it?) This one was more of a cool find. It also deals with my wife’s family line and not mine. It also relies on a bit of research to cement the sources and connections, but neat nonetheless. I connected her maternal line back to the Royal Family in England, which also connects to thousands of other famous individuals.

I know I’ve had more joyous moments and I hope I will have many more. This is one of the things that keeps me plugging away at some of these not-so-exciting documents day after day. All it takes is that one little piece of information to blow open a cavern of new information to dig through. And, boy, is that good feeling.

I’d like to compile the largest database of Zalewski family trees this side of Poland. The first step in this process is to collect these family trees. So, I’m asking all of you with Zalewski family trees out there to send them my way. As long as you send them in a format that I can read, it doesn’t matter to me what it is (GEDCOM, Family Tree Maker, XML, Text files, etc.)

Contact me using my quick and easy contact form and we’ll work on getting your data into this project.

I started a database of some of the Zalewski information that I have. I got most of the information from a quick record search, including census records. View the current database.

I am no longer adding to the database, but I did start The Zalewski Project website, which has similar goals.