Tag: Zalewski


I made some great discoveries this weekend and late last night. I’m going to try to spell it all out here, so excuse me if I ramble a bit. While the information I found paints a better picture of the family of my ancestor, it also throws a wrench into the whole thing, but when doesn’t genealogy do that?

Let’s start from the beginning, though instead of writing it all out again, I will point you to an older post and one recent post. Though, you should just be able to skim over the newer one. Long story short, this has to do with the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI – ZALEWSKI connection I have been researching recently.

After finding the passenger list and 1910-1920 Census records for the GWIAZDOWSKI – GORALSKI families, this is how it was all laid out in my head (Thanks to Google Draw for this easy to make figure):

Gwiazdowski - 1
Gwiazdowski Connection - Exhibit AClick for larger

That makes sense to me. Either August or Anna is Frank’s uncle or aunt, respectively. I can deal with that. It helps me a little bit.

Fast forward to last night. I “run across” the website for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries. I use quotes there because I’ve been to this site before, it’s been there for years. I just never knew they had such a wonderful genealogy/burial record search. Not only does it have up-to-date burial records for eight prominent cemeteries in Milwaukee, it includes death date, burial date, last know address, marital status at death, and burial location. That’s not even the best part. It also includes a link to “Search for nearby graves or crypts.” With this feature, I can see which graves are nearby to this one. I was able to make (pretty confident) connections between people. More than likely people were buried near family.

So, with this I not only found the death date of Jacob ZALEWSKI (on the figure above) that I’ve been trying to find, but I also found the burial information on a Mrs. Mary GORALSKA (as it’s listed on the site.) She is buried near her husband Joseph and Mr. and Mrs. August GWIAZDOWSKI. On a related note (har har), also buried in the same location is a Jacob George ZALEWSKI (the above Jacob’s son) and his wife Alice. Now that doesn’t prove that Jacob is related to them (which also includes Frank, his brother) but it gives hope.

Now, this information is very helpful on it’s own, but when I use it along with the century of archives of The Milwaukee Journal, it gets even more powerful. Unfortunately, before about 1930 or so, they didn’t list much in the death notices. I found both August and Anna GWIAZDOWSKI, listed in the paper, but it’s just their name, address, death date, and cemetery. What I did find was Mary’s obituary from April 2, 1940.

Mary Goralska

You see it, don’t you? “…also survived by 1 brother, Frank Zalewski…I was elated at this point. I thought to myself, “I found Frank’s parents!” Then, I started doing the math.. How can Mary be Frank’s brother if there is no way, under normal circumstances, that she would ever have the last name of ZALEWSKI? She was a GORALSKI when she was married and according to the other documents, her parent’s last name was GWIAZDOWSKI. How does that work? Then I thought, maybe it’s not my Frank Zalewski, but another Frank. So, Mary would be my Frank’s cousin. That makes sense logically and follows the info in the passenger list, but again doesn’t solve the name issue. Here, again I visualized it, which helped a bit.

Gwiazdowski - A
Gwiazdowski Connect - Exhibit BClick for larger

So, after all of that running through my head I decided the only outcome that made sense is that Mary is my Frank’s cousin (the brother is another Frank), which is safe with the “nephew” info from the passenger list. The only way I was able to solve the surname issue was assuming that Anna is Mary’s real mother and August is her step-dad. Maybe Anna’s first husband (Mary’s father) passed away and she re-married before travelling to the US. Now, this is only true if all of the information is correct, which is another possibility.

I’m still no further in my research, though I now have things I can do. Unfortunately, it seems Joseph & Mary had no children, so I probably need to order Mary’s death certificate from the Wisconsin Vital Records office to find her maiden name. Hopefully, she also lists her parent’s names on it. I should maybe even order Jacob’s or Anna’s. I’ll have $20 riding on that hope.

Did that all make sense? Can you follow it and come up with another conclusion?

itchys @ FlickrAfter running out of gas on trying to find more online records about my great-great-grandfather, Frank Zalewski, and his brother, Jacob, I decided to work the other way. I’ve read about people making awesome discoveries by connecting with distant cousins and finding out that they have some amazing record or photo that breaks down a wall. That sounded like something good to shoot for.

I was going to try to work my way down their trees, from Frank & Anna and then Jacob & Pauline’s families, and see what I could find using tools from early 20th century newspapers all the way to Facebook. With a few tools at my disposal, I was actually able to get much more information than I thought I would in only a few days.

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SS Weser Ad

The last few days I’ve been doing a lot of searching through old newspapers for hints of information, obituaries, articles, etc. On a whim, since my ZALEWSKI ancestors arrived in Baltimore, I decided to see which newspapers Google had from Baltimore. On a side note, as amazing as Google is at organizing data, their historical newspapers are not very well organized. I simply love the fact that I can browse these old papers, so that’s awesome. It’s just that you can easily search everything all at once, but not specific papers. The Milwaukee papers I mentioned in my recent post were different because JSOnline did some of their own code to search all 3 papers at once. Also, the papers are listed alphabetically, but not by location. It’s tough to find all papers from one location, except if the paper was named for the city. To find the location of, say, “The Daily Republican,” you need to open one and look at an image. A lot of work.

Anyway, I found that Google had images from the Baltimore American from 1857 to 1902. I had originally gone in to see if they possibly had any information on one infant ZALEWSKI daughter, Elsa, who was on the passenger list but never seen again. I had assumed she died not long after arriving and thought there may be a mention of it. Instead, I ended up seeing that every day the paper would list the comings and goings at the Port of Baltimore. The first paper I browsed was Saturday, November 23, 1889, the day my family arrived. Nothing listed in there. Then I checked the next day, Sunday, November 24, 1889 and found this:

Baltimore
Baltimore American, 24 Nov 1889

The first line on the “Arrived Yesterday” list is the ship the ZALEWSKI family arrived on, the S.S. Weser.

Stmr Weser (Ger). Bruns, from Bremen Nov 6 — 426 passengers and mdse to A. Schumacher & Co.

From what I can find, I think “mdse” stands for “Merchandise.” I’m also pretty sure “Bruns” is the name of the captain as the other entires have similar mentions. There is also a bit about the pilot of the Weser seeing some other ships and giving descriptions of them at the bottom. Though, there is no “new” information from this article, except the exact date the ship left Bremen, it’s very cool to see the actual article from when they arrived in America. It almost makes it more real, if that makes sense.

The only thing I did find in the November 23rd edition of the paper was an ad for the S.S. Weser from their shipping company, Nord Deutscher Lloyd.

SS Weser Ad
Baltimore American, 23 Nov 1889

I think my immigrant ancestors may (or may not) argue that the ships had “splendid Cabin accommodations,” but maybe I’m wrong. I might just have to do some research on “A. SCHUMACHER & CO.” to see what I can find.

This week’s surname is from my paternal Polish ancestors. I’ve heard it pronounced both Troh-kuh and Truck-uh. The TROKA surname first shows up in my family tree with my great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1896. Her father, Joseph TROKA, was born in 1871. I have traced his birth to the Lipusz area of what was then West Prussia. It is now located in Kościerzyna County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. He immigrated in about 1888 or 1889, either by himself or with his family. I have not tracked down his parents in the US, but have seen note of his brothers and sisters here. His parents are listed as Michael & Joslyna (GRABOWSKA) TROKA on his marriage certificate. Joseph married Clara SZULTA at St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee in 1894.

According to the map below, courtesy of World Family Names, the surname is most popular in the Polish county mentioned above, Kościerzyna.

Troka Surname
Public Profiler Worldnames. (2010). Surname Troka Polish Map.Retrieved March 18, 2011

 

(After posting this I ran across some new info. Listed at the bottom.)

I thought I would revisit the GWIAZDOWSKI connection in my family tree. As I mentioned in a previous post, Brick Wall Coming Down?, I ran across the GWIAZDOWSKI surname by searching for information I found in a short  paragraph in a letter I received. You can read that process in detail in the post I mentioned. Go on, I won’t go anywhere.

So, I use all of those names and did some searching and found the GORALSKI family and GWIAZDOWSKI family in a passenger list with this note written next to them.

"Visitors nephew Franz Zaleski 902 Pulaski St." Click for larger image

Frank and his family lived at 902 Pulaski Street until about 1900, when they moved to Fratney St. This information all put together makes either August or Anna GWIAZDOWSKI Frank’s uncle or aunt, respectively, as he is listed as their nephew. It would all depend on if they are related to Frank via his father or his mother. If I get lucky, maybe I can find where the GWIAZDOWSKI’s came from, which may give me information on where my ZALEWSKI family originally came from as I’ve had no luck, yet. Frank and his family traveled from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland. It turns out the most of Bremen’s records (at least from 1889) were destroyed either in the war or to make room for new records, so I can’t search those.

Sometimes you find the most important information in a place where you wouldn’t normally look. So, check those extended families!

UPDATE #1: From the last 30 minutes of researching. It turns out that in the beginning of the passenger list document, someone wrote out all of the names alphabetically and where they came from, etc. Listed next to the GWIAZDOWSKI’s (and GORALSKI’s, though written as KORALSKI) is the name “Gottschalk” for Place of Origin. I can’t find a place named that, yet, just people with that surname. Any ideas? Gottschalt, maybe?

UPDATE #2: After some searching around without any luck, I tried an old trusty bookmark: Kartenmeister. It returned a result for “Gottschalk” which looks to now be called “Goczałki” in present-day Poland (Google Map link.) This opens up some new research paths that I’m excited to go down.

Troka Family

Troka FamilyThis is a photo from my paternal Milwaukee line. I don’t know the names of everyone in the photo, but there are a few I know. My great-grandmother, Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI, is at the top-left. Her mother, Clara (SZULTA) TROKA, is right below her. Clara’s mother (and my 3rd-great-grandmother), Nepomuncena (SYLDAKT) SZULTA, is to the right of her. The only other name I know is that of Nepomuncena’s son, John SZULTA, in the middle of the back row. The remaining people are either part of the SZULTA family or TROKA family. I have other photos from this day that include other family members. Click photo to enlarge.

It’s the bane of any genealogy research. Finding out you have incorrect information long after you’ve added it to your family tree. In the worst cases, this could have ended up with you researching the wrong line for years. Fortunately, I’ve never (at least not yet) had that issue.

While I love Ancestry.com with their user-submitted family trees and I have used it constantly in my research, it’s a double-edged sword, especially for newer researchers. I sigh and roll my eyes every time I see their television commercial that shows a woman who notices the “shaky leaf” on some of the names in her family tree. When she clicks on them, she is able to add whole new families to her tree. Unfortunately, it seems most people think it’s that easy. Just click and boom, all your work is done.

I admit that in the beginning of my research over ten years ago, I usually just went for quantity over quality. It was so exciting to find new people and information that you just added it. I’ve paid the price for that now, but fortunately not in any major way. I’ve just had to go back, change a few pieces, and re-find all of the sources. That has actually indirectly helped me find new information, since now I look closer at every source I find.

I can use my great-great-grandfather’s profile to prove my point.

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Today would have been my grandfather’s 89th birthday. Richard Joseph Zalewski was born on December 9th, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2nd child of Joseph & Emily (Troka) Zalewski.

He passed away in April 18th, 1999 when I was freshman in college. His death, and a few other moments in 1999, was the reason I became interested in Genealogy and the researching of my family tree. The funny part is that my Zalewski line is probably the one part of my tree that I could use more information on. Information that he probably had.

He was taken early from us by pancreatic cancer.  Of all cancers, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates and is the fourth-highest cancer killer in the US. Everyone probably knows someone who has died from pancreatic cancer, including celebrities such as Patrick Swayze.

If you’re in the giving mood, please give to one of these pancreatic cancer researchers:

Hilo, HawaiiFor Wayback Wednesday, I’m going to give you more than just the one photo shown here. I’m going to give you a whole collection of 119 photos. I recently uploaded my grandfather’s Navy photo collection to Flickr. I was hoping that maybe somebody from the photos, or their families, will find them. It would just be nice to let them see the photos. He has a lot of photos of his fellow navymen from when he was stationed in the Hilo, Hawaii area from about 1942 to 1946. There is also a lot of Hawaiian history in some of his photos, like of old Honolulu.

I’d love for you to visit the Flickr photo set and enjoy the history.

AerissaIt’s been 5 days since Aerissa was born. Today is the day that she was scheduled to be born. We were supposed to be going in last night to start the process. It’s still 6 days from her original due date, which was November 10th. Since she’s very healthy, I’m glad she came early. The other day I finally added her to my family tree software, which felt really good. For one, it finally merges my wife’s tree and my tree together. Now I do feel more of a connection to her ancestors now that they are the ancestors of my daughter.

She joins a small group of people in her family tree with the same birthdate:

  • Her maternal 5th-great-grandfather, Peyton WEY. Born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1805. He lived to 76 years of age, passing on 4 May 1882 in Wisconsin.
  • Her maternal 4th-great-granduncle, Thomas Peyton WEY, son of Peyton WEY. Born in Virginia in 1835.
  • Her paternal 4th-great-grandaunt, Elisabeth Maria FIRMENICH, sister of Mathias FIRMENICH. Born in Eicks, Rheinland, Prussia in 1844. She later married August GRIEPENTROG.
  • Her twin paternal 7th-great-grandaunts, Marie Therese GRIGNAC and Marquerite GRIGNAC. Born in Cap-Santé, Quebec, Canada in 1748.