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Zalewski Name Study

Privacy Level: Open (White)

Surnames/tags: Zalewski Zaleski Salewski
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This is a project that we hope will become a valuable reference point for any Zalewski researchers alike to share their knowledge by posting their DNA tests, resources, pictures, stories, and anything else of interest to this surname.

Please join by contacting the project leader, Brian Zalewski. See the section on goals and what you can do below. Post questions and comments to the bulletin board and add details about your particular area of interest.



The Zalewski surname is Polish: topographic name for someone who lived by a flood plain or a bay, Polish zalew, or a habitational name for someone from a place named with this word, in particular Zalew in Sieradz voivodeship or Zalewo in Olsztyn voivodeship. There has been considerable confusion with Zaleski.[1]


This surname study is still very new. Currently, it mainly includes Zalewski lines from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, though there are some from Michigan and New Jersey. The main goal would be to try to at least connect some of these lines back to Poland/Prussia/Russia/Germany where the Zalewski name seems to originate.

The purpose of this study is to bring together any Zalewski descendants who are willing to work together to establish an accurate Zalewski Family tree by using the best possible sources available for documentation to make new connections. There are many spelling variations (i.e., Salewski, Zaleski.)

WikiTree is the for-record repository of family tree information (individuals and their ancestors and descendants). The Zalewski Name Study website at TheZalewskiProject.com is operated concurrently and is the repository for reference materials, unique family artifacts like photographs and bible records, and project activities related to the Study.


There is no obligatory time commitment or work responsibility required. Contribute as you like, when you can. Researching and refining the documentation of your own Zalewski ancestry is obviously of enormous value.

To keep abreast of WikiTree communications dealing with the Study, add the G2G tag "Zalewski".

To view individual WikiTree profiles currently associated with the effort, please visit the Study's WikiTree Category page.

Category Code

To get started as a Study participant, all you need to do is add the Study's WikiTree Category Code to the profiles of people you manage who were born with the surname or any of its variant spellings:

[[Category:Zalewski Name Study]]

Just copy and paste that line immediately above the "== Biography ==" line of the relevant profiles that you manage. Simple and easy. This adds the profile automatically to the page that maintains a list of all associated profiles. If you don't wish to have the ONS sticker displayed near the top of the biography section of a profile, using only this Category code will include the profile in the Study in an unobtrusive way.

Profile Stickers

Optionally, there are two WikiTree "stickers" you can use to highlight your Zalewski profiles.

Sticker for Ancestral Profiles

This profile is part of the Zalewski Name Study.

The first is specifically for Zalewski (and related variant) lineages. It can be used in place of the Category code shown above: including the sticker automatically adds a profile to the Category. Category information now appears at the very bottom of the profile page, so if you wish to better highlight that the profile is part of the Study you can add this sticker directly underneath the "== Biography ==" line:

{{One Name Study|name=Zalewski}}

The result—with a unique icon designed for the Study—will look like the small box at right, above.

Sticker for Your Own Profile

... ... ... is a member of the Zalewski Name Study Project.

The second sticker is for use only on the profiles of living people who are participating in the Study. Like you! Again, paste it underneath the "== Biography ==" line:


It will look something like the second box on the right, but your name will be inserted automatically in place of the dots that you see.

What Can I Do?

If you've put up all of the Zalewski individuals in your family (or at least all the ones you've found so far), and are looking for something else to do, here are some tasks that you might be willing to help with:

  1. Biographies:
    • We need to make sure that each Zalewski on WikiTree has a narrative biography containing all the genealogically relevant facts about them (birth, marriage, and death at the very least). For information on biographies, see the Biographies help page.
  2. Categories:
    • We need to make sure that each Zalewski on WikiTree has the appropriate categories applied to their profile. For information on categories, see the Categorization help page and the Categorization Project.
  3. Connecting:
  4. Merging:
    • We need to merge any duplicate profiles for the same person into one profile for that person. For information on merging profiles, see the Merging help page.
  5. Sourcing:
    • We need to have sources for all the profiles on WikiTree. Specifically, we need at least one (and preferably more) sources added for all the Unsourced Zalewski profiles on WikiTree. (This can count towards the Sourcerers Challenge if you're feeling competitive.) For information on sourcing profiles, see the Sources help page and the Sourcerers Project.
  6. Zalewskis in Wikipedia:
    • We need to make sure that all deceased Zalewskis with Wikipedia entries have profiles on WikiTree, and are sourced and connected to the main tree.


DNA is becoming a very important piece to our genealogy research toolbox. As they say, DNA doesn't lie. Currently, we're only aware of a few Zalewski descendants who have been tested and are available on GedMatch, including Brian and his father John.

Their Y-DNA line is matched as R-Z283.

There are a few other Zalewskis tested on 23andMe and Ancestry.

See other Zalewski profiles that are connected to DNA tests on WikiTree.

Country of Origin

Current research points to modern day Poland being the origin of the Zalewski surname, though there are definitely lines that have been found in Germany and Russia (usually ending in -sky.) Furthest lines have been found in central and north-central Poland.

The yDNA Family Tree DNA test by Brian has been shown to be part of the R-Z283 Y Haplogroup based on research by the R1a1a and Subclades Project.

More specifically, they have broken his yDNA down to Z282>Z280>CTS1211>YP343>YP340*-z (YP340 not tested, more STRs and/or Big Y needed) This test is currently only done at 37 markers, but will hopefully be upgraded or other STRs tested.

This "subclade" puts the origin of this specific Zalewski line into Central & Northern Europe (e.g., Poland) possibly around the Carpathian Mountains.

Confused by a lot of the terminology related to genetic genealogy? Hop on over to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy's Wiki (ISOGG) for tons of helpful information.

Interactive Map from Aleš Trtnik and WikiTree+

This interactive world map can be adjusted to filter for various options, and you can pan around the map and even zoom in to display the names of the individuals whose profiles are categorized as part of the WikiTree Zalewski Name Study.

Here is the URL to view the fully-interactive map: https://plus.wikitree.com/findmap.htm?aid=Zalewski_Name_Study&grouptype=C. You can use the URL to link to the map from any WikiTree profile or FreeSpace page you wish. The map content is updated automatically as new profiles are added to the Zalewski Name Study.

Zalewski Lines

Here are some Zalewski lines that were collected via the Zalewski Family Facebook Group and the ongoing Zalewski Project Website. Currently, most of these lines are from the Milwaukee area, please help by adding more.

You can also see all profiles linked to the study by viewing the Zalewski Name Study category.

ID Earliest Ancestors Earliest Date Earliest Location Current/Main Location Y-DNA GEDMatch Genesis ID(s) Notes
A Martinus Zalewski / Marianna Sobotka 1796 Krottoschin, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany - Marriage in 1820 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States R-Z283 PT5895258, QC1262390
B August Zalewski / Julianna Wyttbrut 1851 German Poland Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
C Andreas Zalewski / Hedvigis Balcerzak 1839 Jaksice Parish, Inowrocław, Poland (Jakschütz) - Marriage in 1839 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
D Leon Zalewski / Emilia Koszela 1920s/30s Koszalin, Koszalin County, Poland Sterling Heights, Michigan, United States Possible connection to Line A. Some notes mention Leon's father being cousins to Frank of Line A.
E Peter Zalewski / Julia Blasyewicz 1870 Western Poland (West Pruessen, Germany) Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
F Michael Zalewski / Magdalena Szymanska 1858 German Poland Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
G John Zalewski / Marianna Unknown 1829 Suwalki, Suwałki County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland Stevens Point Wisconsin, United States Connects to Jacob Zalewski line (A) via Ambrose Zalewski (G) marrying Phyllis Zalewski (A)
H Vitold Zalewski / Josphae Brzostouska 1885 Poland New Jersey, United States
I Simon Zalewski / Eva Zalewska 1794 Peterwitz, Rosenberg, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany Fittowo, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany
J Friedrich Zalewski / Eva Kochanowska 1846 Krottoschin, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany Krottoschin, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany
K Adamus Zalewski / Catharina Schwankowna 1785 Fittowo, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany Krottoschin, Löbau, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany
L Michael Zalewski / Louisa Radke 1833 Stradem, Rosenberg, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany Stradem, Rosenberg, West Prussia, Prussia, Germany
M Zygmund "Ziggy" Zalewski / Wladyslawa "Lottie" M Kroll 1888 German Poland Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
N Chester Zalewski / Mary B Matecki 1888 Poland Toledo, Ohio, United States


Even within one family, there are many pronunciations of the surname. Most seem to pronounce it like it looks in American English, which is Zuh-loo-ski. Other family members have pronounced it closer to the original Polish like Zuh-leff-ski. Others pronounce it Zuh-less-key. This doesn't include how other people try to pronounce it when reading your name.


  • Wikipedia: Zalewski including a list of notable Zalewskis with articles on Wikipedia.
  1. Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press'

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Comments: 5

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Excellent! A ONS that looks worthwhile.
posted by Gregory Morris
Thanks. I looked at other ONS pages as inspiration.
posted by Brian Zalewski
I wanted to commend you on a most excellent One Name Study page. While I don't have any Zalewski in my family branches, I am in the Milwaukee area and work on other Wisconsin articles, mostly focusing on Sauk County, my ancestral county.
posted by Steven Greenwood
edited by Steven Greenwood
Thanks Steven. If you run across any Zalewskis, let me know. :)
posted by Brian Zalewski
Very, very nice Name Study page, Brian !
posted by Maggie N.