Tag: Zalewski


Tanta, 3rd from left. Click for larger.

The first funeral I remember attending was 25 years ago when I was 7 years old on December 7th, 1987.

My real great-grandmother passed away in May 1941 when my grandfather was only 20. My great-grandfather remarried a few years later to Agnes Pulshinski. I’m told she wasn’t much of a fan of the “step” prefix and since she wasn’t a true blood relative, she told her kids and grandkids to call her Tanta. From a previous post, commentors on the site helped me figure out that “Tanta” usually means “Aunt” in German, but is also sometimes used the way she used it.

I knew Tanta pretty well in my 7 years. I remember her as being a petite, white-haired old woman. She was very nice and I remember her small apartment having plastic on all of her furniture. I don’t remember really being that sad when she passed away as I was not extremely close to her and since I was 7, maybe I didn’t process it. It is interesting that I remember the date of her funeral 25 years later.

Rest in Peace, Tanta.

Joseph Zalewski – WWI – Click for larger

I’d like to thank all of our ancestral military veterans in our family trees. Thanks for fighting for this country in any way you could, be it fighting in combat, fixing machinery, or defending our borders. Thanks for helping fight to allow me things like freedom of speech and the right to vote. Here is a (hopefully full) list of all of our veteran ancestors.

  • Carey TONEY – My wife’s 5th-great-grandfather – Stories say that he served with the Virginia Militia in Rev. War in 1781 and was an eyewitness to the surrender of Cornwallis
  • William J DAKINS – My wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather – His obituary states that he served in the Civil War with the 17th Wisconsin Infantry and was with Sherman on his famous march to the sea.
  • Johann LAST – My 3rd-great-grandfather – My research tells me that he served in the Civil War with the 50th Wisconsin Infantry. It seems he was stationed in what was the Dakota Territory at the time to protect the western front.
  • Jesse TONEY – My wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather and Carey’s grandson – Served in the Civil War as Corporal in Company G 33rd Wisconsin Infantry.
  • Joseph ZALEWSKI – My great-grandfather – Served in World War I with the 86th Division, Company B, 331st Machine Gun Battalion. That division was split apart into other divisions. I wrote a post about my findings. I have not found information on where he went after the split, but stories say he fought in combat in France near the end of the war.
  • Richard ZALEWSKI – My grandfather and Joseph’s son – Served in World War II, though didn’t see any combat. He was stationed with the US Navy in Hilo, Hawaii as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate.
  • Keith MORAN – My wife’s grandfather – Served in World War II. No documented information on his experience, but my father-in-law says he was involved in some combat in the colder areas of Europe, probably around the Belgium area.
  • LeRoy THIELKE – My grandfather – Served in World War II – I have recently posted a large amount of information from his experience in WWII. Though, he’s not the one who likes to talk about it. Hopefully, I can find more information to honor his service.

I may have possibly missed a few individuals. I think there were more Civil War veterans, but it’s tough to search my information for that. In any case, today is the day to honor them, though we should always honor their sacrifices for our freedom.

Since I do have some data collected for my The Zalewski Project website, I decided to launch it in a “beta test” state.

It’s very basic looking and it only has data from the 1880 and 1900 US Census records, but it all can be browsed by city. I am currently working on the 1910 US Census and will also add other data as I get it. The Census was tough to get working at first, but I found a way to allow me to use all of the data and only pull what I need when you ask for it.

Take a look at the site now and let me know if there are any issues with the data, not the site, I know the site isn’t perfect, yet.

Here is another update on the previously-mentioned Zalewski Project I’ve been slowly working on.

I have collected the data from the 1880 US Census and the 1900 US Census and have created systems for it to allow you to view the data. I’m just working on making it “pretty” so it’s somewhat easy to view. Hopefully, this small phase won’t take long and you’ll be able to browse it in a basic format very soon.

How can I go through this week without a post about the 1940 Census? The digital images were released on Monday, April 2nd free for everyone, though I personally never got to see them until late on Monday night. I don’t think they expected as much traffic as they got on day one. I heard somewhere around 37 million visits on Monday alone. It was no surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting to be able to view the images right away. I’ve been through my fair share of first day launches with things like MMORPGs and other websites to know not to expect much on the first day.

Since the 1940 Census was just released on Monday, there is no name index created, so you cannot search by name. There is currently a massive indexing project going on, that anyone (including you) can help with, that will hopefully bring us this index soon. You need to know the Enumeration District where your ancestors lived in 1940 and browse page by page through it. If you do not know the 1940 Census ED, the website has a nice little  form that will convert the ED from the 1930 Census to the ED in the 1940 Census. In my experience, most EDs are only 30 pages are so on average. Though, when I was able to access the images, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I could download the entire Enumeration District to browse via my own computer instead on needing to browse one-by-one online.

I was able to find all four of my grandparents pretty quickly since I knew where they lived in 1940 and also my great-grandparents at the same time due to the fact that my grandparents were all in their teens. I also ran across my great-great-grandmother from the same area as one of my grandparents. The first image I found is below.

Frank Zalewski; Ward 13, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; ED 72-288; Household 172 - Click for larger version

The 1940 Census image for my great-grandfather, Frank ZALEWSKI. Frank’s wife, Anna, died in 1939 so he is listed alone in his specific “household.” His youngest son, Frank, Jr., is listed in the same building with his wife Louise. (This also proves the marriage I wrote about the other day.)

I found my grandfather, Richard ZALEWSKI, living near his grandfather, Frank, in Milwaukee, his dad working as a Milwaukee Police Officer. I found my grandmother, Mary Jane CORRIGAN, living in Kingsford, Michigan, her dad working as a machine operator at the Ford Motor Company. I found my other grandfather living in Grafton, Wisconsin and my other grandmother living in Port Washington, Wisconsin. I am currently trying to find my wife’s grandparents. Her paternal grandfather giving me some trouble since I didn’t find him in the ED he lived in in 1930. He was also 21 at the time, so he could be living as a boarder, etc if he is out on his own.

I’m just getting started digging for my family and I also hope to do some indexing soon enough. I know the indexes will help me in the future, why not help everyone else by creating it?

History and documentation has always hinted that my great-granduncle, Frank Zalewski, Jr, the brother of my great-grandfather, Joseph, never married, never had children. There was never any mention of a wife, anywhere, and he was buried with his parents, Frank & Anna, when he died in 1976.  I, surprisingly, can’t find his obituary in the Milwaukee Sentinel archives from November 1976. The Milwaukee Journal does not have any editions during that time available online.

One day, while browsing through the Milwaukee Journal archives at Google News, I ran across an interesting news story.

The title of the article didn’t surprise me much. I picked up, through the years of research, that Frank, Jr seemed to never really “amount to much” in his life. There seemed to never be a lot of mention of him or photos of him. He seemed to be the black sheep of this Zalewski family. A far cry from his older brother, Joseph, who was a WWI veteran and a 33-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department. Though, according to the article, it seemed his wife wasn’t much better. That was the key to all of this. It says, “his wife Louise.” I’m almost certain this is Frank, Jr since his age matches up exactly, and this is the same address he lived at when his father died in 1941. I also found him in the 1940 Milwaukee City Directory at the same address, listed as “Frank E jr (Louise K).”

The funny thing is, I can’t find any mention of this marriage (though, by the looks of it, it probably didn’t last much longer) in any records. I’m pretty sure Frank, Jr is always listed as “Single.” Though, come April 2nd, when the 1940 Census comes out, it looks like he was married according to the City Directory. Maybe that will shed some light on the subject.

The Zalewski Project is officially under way. During the last week, I started collecting data. I plan on collecting data from families with the ZALEWSKI surname, or something very similar. I decided against ZALESKI or variations during this first collection since that multiplies the amount of data by a lot. If it’s pronounced like ZALEWSKI, than I probably added it this time. During this collection, I’ve grabbed names like ZELEWSKI, ZALUSKY, and even some like ZIELEWSKI. I also plan on adding SALEWSKI and variations since I’ve seen my ancestors name spelled that way in church records, but I’m going to start small first instead of trying to do too much at once.

I used Ancestry.com’s search to go through the census records. I didn’t find any ZALEWSKI families of note in the 1860 US Census or earlier and only one family in the 1870 US Census. I collected a few families from the 1880 US Census and a whole bunch from the 1900 US Census. I can only imagine it will grow with every new census.

After collecting and sorting the 1900 US Census data, it seems there are three big locations for ZALEWSKI families in 1900. They are, in order: Chicago, Milwaukee, and then Detroit with a few other areas thrown in. They don’t surprise me as those three cities are known for their large Polish populations.

I put the 1900 US Census data online, though only in a quick and dirty HTML table. The next step is to get this info into a database so you can sort and export and view the data in other cool ways. Next on my list, the 1910 US Census. I imagine this one will be much larger. Those ZALEWSKI’s seemed to like to have big families.

I recently ran across a website for a specific surname that’s goal was to collect all of the information it could and provide it in one easy location. The Rainwater Collection of Genealogy Resources purpose is “to assist serious genealogical researchers in their research by providing an archive of well-documented, accurate and uninterpreted data related to the Rainwater family in America.

This was similar to something I’ve always wanted to do for the ZALEWSKI surname, so recently I purchased the domain for thezalewskiproject.com. Currently, it just redirects here. My plan is to do something similar, collect data and records related to ZALEWSKI families and individuals and present them in an easy-to-use fashion. I like the Rainwater site and I think it’s organized very well. Though, I want to do it my own way. I want to allow you to view data in different ways, to sort data, etc. Collecting, displaying, and analyzing data really interests me, as I mentioned in my post about why genealogy interests me.

One challenge is that, surprisingly, Zalewski is more popular than Rainwater, though not in the US, but worldwide. The Rainwater site specializes in US info only, though I think I will also add data from outside of the US, specifically Poland. In Poland, Zalewski is very popular which could make for a lot of data.

I’m not sure when I will get the site up and running. I need to find time and I also need to spend time researching how best to collect and display this data so researchers can use it however they want. So, keep an eye out.

I am participating in this week’s “Sunday’s Obituary” with my great-great grandfather’s obituary. I’m told that he received a larger obituary since he worked for the city of Milwaukee. From The Milwaukee Journal on Saturday, August 9, 1941.

FRANK ZALEWSKI

Frank Zalewski, 82, of 2630 N. Buffum st., was found dead on the floor of his home late Friday afternoon by his son, [my great-grandfather] Joseph, a police officer, who came to visit him. He had been living alone since his wife died two years ago. Death was due to natural causes, according to coroner’s assistants.

Mr. Zalewski was born in Germany and came to this country 51 years ago. He worked for the department of public works for 39 years, retiring six years ago. He and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1935. Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. at St.  Casimir’s church, with burial in Holy Cross cemetery.

Survivors include two sons, Joseph and Frank, jr., and five daughters, Mrs. Angeline Pierzchalski, Mrs. Mary Gierszewski, Mrs. Frances Cybela, Mrs. Helen Stroinski and Mrs. Agnes Walczak.

You can actually view the obituary in the newspaper using Google’s News Archive website. I found it when I searched for “Zalewski” in their archives. Fortunately, he had a larger obituary that was picked up by Google’s character recognition software. Most of the normal obituaries aren’t picked up.

After some research, I think I’ve traced the marriage of my great-great grandparents, Frank Zalewski & Anna Lindner, to Parafia św. Barbary w Świętem (or the Parish of St. Barbara at Święte.) According to a translation of their Polish Wikipedia entry:

The parish was founded in about 1300 by the Teutonic Knights. During the Thirteen Years’ War the church was destroyed and the parish declined. The present wooden church was built in 1723 on the land of the owner of the village – Waclaw Kozlowski. The last thorough renovation of the church took place in the 1990s.

Also according to their (wonderful) website, this church is the largest wooden structure in the area and one of the largest in Poland.

Their website has a great photo gallery of the church, inside & out, including the adjacent cemetery. They also have a very cool gallery of the cemetery on All Saints Day, November 1st, 2011. The photo above is from that gallery. Click on it to view more photos from that day.

It’s very cool to see the actual church from across the world that your somewhat distant ancestors were married in and baptised some of their children in.