Tag: Zalewski


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.

Update 11/5/2014: I made another run-through of this translation and am fixing a few things.

I recently took another shot at translating an entry from the Slownik Geograficzny. This time I worked on translating the entry for Święte, which is the town where my great-great grandparents were married and some of their family had lived.

Here is my translation. You can find the original entry by visiting the University of Warsaw’s website that allows you to view the original book with a Firefox plugin. You can also view it on this site, without a plugin, though the site is in Polish so you may need some translation.

The translation is a work-in-progress and is obviously not completely perfect. I am grateful for some help from Al at Al’s Polish-American Genealogy, who has translated many entries himself. I will mark the words or phrases that I am confident are wrong or are not even translated as I could not find any information on them, with italics. The rest, while they may not flow very well, are mostly right and just need some small tweaking. Some of the diacritics on the letters did not copy over, I plan to fix those once I have some time. Any errors in the translations are completely my own. (more…)

Sometimes I’m late to these, but her is Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week. He had completed  The Ancestors’ GeneaMeme from Geniaus.

According to the instructions, the list should be annotated in the following manner:

  • Things you have already done or found: bold face type
  • Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
  • Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
  • You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item
  1. Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2. Can name over 50 direct ancestors [with a little help from my genealogy program]
  3. Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times [Don’t think more than 3, but I have a few 3-timers]
  5. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [Not that I found, yet]
  6. Met all four of my grandparents [Yes, and fortunately, two are still with us]
  7. Met one or more of my great-grandparents [I, fortunately, remember meeting 3 of them, but 5 were alive when I was a baby]
  8. Named a child after an ancestor [If you count middle names. Our daughter Aerissa’s middle name is Jean after my mother’s and my grandmother’s middle name]
  9. Bear an ancestor’s given name/s
  10. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland [CORRIGAN, McCANN, THOMPSON]
  11. Have an ancestor from Asia
  12. Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
  13. Have an ancestor from Africa
  14. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer [Probably a good 75%+]
  15. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings [I’m told one of my ancestors had a good sum of money, which I also assume land was involved]
  16. Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi
  17. Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18. Have an ancestor who was an author
  19. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z
  23. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
  25. Have blue blood in your family lines [Nobility, no, but my great-grandfather, Joseph ZALEWSKI, was a police officer. They’re sometimes called Blue Bloods. My wife’s line has the noblility]
  26. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28. Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
  29. Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
  30. Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31. Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X [More than likely, I just haven’t seen it]
  32. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  33. Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence
  34. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35. Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) [on here, more than likely, many times]
  36. Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) [Would like to someday]
  37. Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries
  38. Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39. Have a family bible from the 19th Century
  40. Have a pre-19th century family bible

My inspiration for this post had come from, what I thought was a one-off post about this, but it turns out that it was one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun projects. He’s always thinking of clever things to post about.

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want!

I was thinking about it this week and this is what I came up with right now.

  1. I’d definitely like to visit one of my many ancestral homelands. There are a lot, though most of them seem to cluster around Germany and Poland, as you can see on my custom Google Map. The top three that I’d like to visit, in no particular order, are:
    1. Killeeshil Parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Origin location of my CORRIGAN ancestors. I just love Ireland and the history of the area.
    2. The origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, which looks to be the Święte and Goczałki areas in modern north-central Poland. As with a lot of people, I feel a deeper connection to ancestors in my direct surname line, Zalewski. Plus, pictures I’ve seen of the area make it look beautiful.
    3. The origin location of most of my Belgian ancestors, DeBROUX, LAURENT, etc. They all came from the Walloon Brabant area of Belgium. Some of them came from the area of Chaumont-Gistoux, which during WWII was part of the famous defensive KW-Line.
  2. I would like to publish some smaller books either based on a specific family or just my ancestry in general. Both, I think, could be helpful to future researchers.
  3. I would like to become a certified/professional genealogist. I’d love to be able to help other people find their family history and hopefully spark the appreciation for everything that has come before them.
  4. I would also love to attend a national genealogy conference of some sort. I have yet to meet any of the extremely friendly and helpful geneabloggers that I socialize with almost every day. Unfortunately, most of them are never around in this area, so I have yet to have a chance to attend one.
What is on your genealogy bucket list?

Anyone following the latest research into my ZALEWSKI line knows that I’ve run across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname on a few occasions. They have something to do with my ZALEWSKI family, but I’m still not 100% sure what it is. Research points to many conflicting options: These are Frank ZALEWSKI’s parents, these are Frank’s aunt and uncle, or maybe they’re just good friends. I have more research to do with the Polish/German church records I recently found at the FHL.

Above: More evidence that they’re related to me somehow is that (among other things) they’re buried with members of the Jacob ZALEWSKI family (the brother of Frank) at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their plot is located at the back part of the GORALSKI stone (another family somehow related to me.)

[Find-A-Grave link]

Grudziądz, Poland

Grudziądz, PolandI had a Thursday off this past week, so I decided to visit one of the local Family History Libraries in the area. The last time I went I ordered some microfilm from the area that I had hoped my ZALEWSKI family originated. I was confused since they told me that it takes about six weeks for the microfilm to arrive and then they will send me my self-addressed postcard to let me know, but I never received anything. Six weeks from my last visit would’ve been sometime in May and it still didn’t arrive by August.

When I first arrived, I just double-checked some of the local Milwaukee church records for some more information and also to try to find Frank ZALEWSKI’s brother’s marriage record (Jacob to Pauline WONDKOWSKI.) Still no luck in finding that record. I had thought that maybe they got married at another church, but there were no other churches in the area with records back to 1891-92. Only St. Hedwig’s church had records that old from that area. Jacob and Pauline baptised most of their children there, but I could not find a marriage record. I’m hoping they didn’t get married before they came to Milwaukee since that would be tough to track down.

After lunch I got back and I asked the volunteer on site about my order. She was somewhat new, but she tried looking through all of the orders from the past to see if maybe it didn’t get sent out, etc. She then asked me to get the film number from the Family Search website and she’d look it up that way. Before I could sit and check, she found my order. In big letters written over the card it said, “Film already here. Needs refund.” I guess the film was already on-site when I ordered it, though the volunteer that day obviously didn’t help me check. Either way the news is great. (more…)

I was put in charge of creating the memorial video that was to be played at my Grandmother’s funeral today, so that everyone could remember her through the years. I assume this is due to the fact that I seemed to have inherited the title of “Family Historian” which I have no problem with. I love seeing all of these old documents and photos. I ran across this photo of my grandmother from 1938 and I really like it. She looks like she’s saying, “Hurry up and get that picture taken!” I also notice on a lot of the older photos of my grandmother that she had prominent freckles. I don’t remember seeing them on her when she was older. It must be her Irish heritage shining through.

Mary Jane Corrigan – 1938

After the break, I have embedded the memorial video that I created. Even though you may not know her, I hope you enjoy the video. (more…)

Richard & Mary Jane Zalewski

Mary Jane (Corrigan) Zalewski
April 27, 1926 – August 10, 2011

Today we lost my grandmother, Mary Jane Zalewski, one of the world’s biggest fans of Irish heritage. Born in Ashland, Wisconsin on April 27, 1926 along with her twin brother, Tommy, to Maurice & Agnes (Braatz) Corrigan. Story has it that they were born so small that my great-grandmother would bundle them up and put them on the stove door to keep them warm. While in Milwaukee visiting her aunt Ethel Corrigan, who ended up marrying my grandfather’s cousin, Edy Strelka, she met my grandfather, Richard Zalewski. They tied the knot on October 11, 1947 and had their first child, my uncle, in 1948. My dad soon followed in 1951 and then my aunt in 1960.

Throughout my life, they always lived in the little house in Cedarburg, Wisconsin that we used to visit for Christmas Eve and many other times throughout the year. My paternal grandparents were very loving, as most grandparents, but they were also stern. Grandpa would scold us for sneaking into the basement or jumping into the window wells, but Grandpa and Grandma also used to have the greatest toys to play with including the matchbox car track and the puzzles. She was always a big fan of Ireland and anything Irish. Even though she was probably just as much German (and some French) than she was Irish, no one dared to correct her on it. She was a CORRIGAN and she was full-blooded Irish and that’s that!

When I was in my first year of college, my grandfather got sick and passed away on April 18, 1999. It was very sad to me since this was the first major death in my family and the first loss of a grandparent. I didn’t know how my grandmother would handle it. It turns out she did very well with herself. She drove (albeit slowly) where she needed to go, met with friends, knitted like she always did, and was usually in good spirits. Sadly, she fell while living alone and had to move to an assisted living center, but she still made the best of it. I ended up buying my grandparent’s old house from my grandmother and we currently still live here. It’s comforting at times. Unfortunately, during the last few years, Grandma started to forget things and had trouble getting around, but she was her normal self a lot of the time. Even at 85, she still loved her pizza and beer. I’m told that she passed away peacefully in her sleep and now she is in a better place, probably catching up with my Grandpa. He’s probably got the “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” vinyl record already playing on the record player.

You can view the memorial video I made for her funeral.

We’ll miss you, Grandma. Thanks for everything. Ireland has one less fan today.

How do I live without the ones I love?
Time still turns the pages of the book it’s burned
Place in time always on my mind
And the light you left remains but it’s so hard to stay
When I have so much to say and you’re so far away

I love you, you were ready
The pain is strong and urges rise
But I’ll see you when it let’s me
Your pain is gone, your hands untied

Avenged Sevenfold, “So Far Away”