To help with my research, I have put together a website dedicated to tracking my great-great grandfather, Frank Zalewski. It is located at Everything I Know About Frank Zalewski.
Frank Zalewski, Sr., his wife Anna (Lindner), and their three oldest children - Martha, Angeline, and Elisabeth emigrated to the US from the German port of Bremen (possibly via the Baltic port of Danzig/Gdansk) and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, in November 1889. Elisabeth is assumed to have died not long after the voyage as she is never again listed with the family. The couple's fourth child, Mary, was born in Baltimore in March 1891. The family then traveled west to Nebraska and east, from there, to the Polish community in Chicago. By May, 1892, the family had settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Recent research disproves some of the following information. For example, I found that Anna and Frank were married in what is now western Poland, then under German rule. I will keep this here for future reference. Still no exact location of Frank's birth.
According to an interview conducted in April 1980 with Frank Gierszewski, Jr, a grandson of Frank and Anna Zalewski. He indicated his grandparents left Poland from the Baltic port of Danzig and entered the United States through the port of Baltimore, Maryland.
There is some confusion, however, as to the area of Poland in which Frank and Anna Zalewski resided prior to their emigration to the United States in 1890. During a telephone interview with their granddaughter, Caroline (Walczak) Sullivan, conducted in January 1995, she indicated that Frank and Anna lived somewhere in the province of Poznan -- an area of Poland then under German jurisdiction and known as South Prussia. his would correspond with information supplied on the death certificate and in the newspaper obituary of Frank Zalewski, Sr in 1941. Although neither source mentions Poznan as his place of birth, both list Germany as his country of origin. (Much of western Poland, including Poznan Province, became German territory after the three partitions of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century.)
There is, however, a conflicting story as to the area of Poland from which Frank and Anna originated. During a 1993 telephone interview with another granddaughter, Irene (Zalewski) Lutzenberger, she indicated that her late father had always said his parents came from eastern Poland -- an area then under Russian rule. Irene's father also stated that when his parents entered the United States, their surname was spelled "Salefsky," thereby reflecting the Russian influence. Although no official documents can be found to verify this, it is interesting to note that in the 1934 obituary of another grandchild, Norbert Cybela, the maiden name of Norbert's mother is spelled "Zalesky."
It is hypothetically possible that Frank Zalewski, Sr is, indeed, born and raised in Russian Poland and, at some later point in his life, moved to the German section in which Poznan Province was located. Although traveling across political borders was difficult in 19th-century Europe, to say the least, it was not impossible. In Russian Poland, for example, all debts to the government, including military service in the czar's army, had to be fulfilled before travel documents would be issued and borders would be crossed. Two years of active military service followed by two years in the reserve forces was required of all males when they reached their twentieth birthday. In Frank's case, that would have accounted for the years 1878 through 1882. We know he married Anna Lindner (a German) in November 1884, which means he probably relocated from Russian-held, eastern Poland to the German-held, western area sometime between 1882 and 1884. This, of course, is only speculation but would explain the Russian "sky" ending on the surname.
More detailed information on Frank Zalewski is available on his "Everything I Know About Frank Zalewski" website.
- Marriage: Katholische Kirche Schwenten (Święte, Grudziądz County, Poland), Taufen, Hieraten, Marriages, 1884, Franz Salewski & Anna Lindner, 2 Nov 1884; FHL microfilm 72741.
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Frank by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:
- Brian Zalewski - Family Tree DNA yDNA 37 markers
Family Tree DNA kit N18451
- Brian Zalewski - AncestryDNA
Ancestry.com member brianjz
- Brian Zalewski - Family Tree DNA Family Finder
Family Tree DNA kit N18451
- Brian Zalewski - 23andMe
GEDMatch ID M092030
- John Zalewski - 23andMe
GEDMatch ID M210715
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