When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?
I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. About the same time I had run across an article in our local paper about a new website that was opening called FamilySearch.org by the Latter-Day Saints (and how busy it was on the first day.) After finally getting onto the site, finding all of the information sparked something in me.
I was also given a small file of random family items like notes and photos. One photo of the Zalewski family really interested me and it's still both my favorite family photo and my favorite line to research.
It also made me realize that if I want to get the most out of my genealogy, I’d probably get a lot more information from the people that knew some of these older ancestors, my grandparents.
Unfortunately, one of my major brick walls in my research is my Zalewski line, whom my Grandpa Zalewski would’ve probably been pretty helpful with. I’m hoping that this site can help me a little bit with that.
Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from my time doing this, especially with the advent of the Internet. It’s been a big help.
Born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, just north of the Milwaukee area, I still live nearby. All of my ancestors spent many generations in Wisconsin and previously came from outside of the United States. Some of my earliest Wisconsin ancestors were here not long after Wisconsin became a state in 1848. The latest arrived in about 1892.
In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy. A few years later came the birth of our wonderful daughter. Her middle name, Jean, was borrowed from her grandmother (my mother) and her great-grandmother, my maternal grandmother. Our son was born in 2012 and his middle name, Lee, was borrowed from his maternal grandfather. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.
Outside of genealogy, I am a Software Engineer for a large media company. I have doing web development and software engineering back since the Internet was starting to become a thing in around 1993-94. I still really enjoy it and I try to involve genealogy in my work as much as possible.
I have tested my DNA and it is available in many places. I did my first DNA test around 2006 for National Geographic's Genographic Project and became hooked ever since. That test was also transferred to FamilyTreeDNA, which was then used for Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. I have also tested directly with 23andMe and AncestryDNA. I have uploaded my results to GEDMatch (ID: PT5895258) and MyHeritage.
My overall ethnicity includes mostly Eastern European, which follows a lot of my ancestry. The other areas are Ireland (my Corrigan roots), a bit of Western Europe (my French-Canadian and Dutch/Belgian roots), and surprisingly a good chunk of Scandinavian. I have yet to find any Scandinavian ancestry, but I have recently discovered some distant DNA cousins who seem to have 100% Swedish ancestry, so we'll find out.
I am fascinated with DNA and my results and I hope to encourage many of my DNA Cousins to join WikiTree to help connect us all.
My paternal line has been calculated by the yDNA Family Tree DNA test I took. It 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 my 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 my Zalewski line into Central & Northern Europe (e.g., Poland) possibly around the Carpathian Mountains.
My Maternal Haplogroup is H11a and so far in my own ancestry that seems to point to Germany in the more recent past. Historically H11a is found across most of northern, central and eastern Europe and in Central Asia / found in Mesolithic Lithuania, Middle Neolithic Germany and Megalithic Spain.
St. Louis (St Louis, Gadiou, Gadiou St Louis) : Olivine, b. 1835, Yamachiche, Saint-Maurice, Lower Canada 𐂷 → Guillaume St Louis, b. 1610, ⇟ (10)
Van Price (Van Parijs, van Parys) : Mildred, b. 1903, Mattoon, Shawano, Wisconsin, United States 𐂷 → Livinus van Parys, b. 1700, Drongen, East Flanders, Belgium ⇟ (8)
I plan to flesh out the rest of my direct ancestors and my wife's direct ancestors, proof them, and try to connect some of the lines to the larger WikiTree. My wife's lines especially go deep into the American Colonies and mine go deep into French Canada.
Continue researching profiles and lines from both the Zalewski surname and the Thielke surname. My two main surname lines. I may create surname projects for my wife's surname lines at some point.
Continue adding and updating more counties in the Wisconsin Project that I have taken over.
Continue working through adding/connecting profiles to the interment list of St. Finbar's Cemetery in Saukville, Wisconsin and West Fork Cemetery in Excelsior, Wisconsin. West Fork has many of my wife's ancestors.
Continue proofing my already created profiles, some that were added when I first joined and need some work.
Occasionally jump into challenges to help fix and improve already existing profiles that aren't mine.
Almost all of my notable ancestors come from my French-Canadian side, though I'm always fascinated to find other connections from my other lines. Most of them I am connected to in dozens of different ways, but will list one.
Others are noted to also descend from Zacharie Cloutier, but they are not yet connected directly on WikiTree: Shania Twain (Wikipedia).
I recently purchased a collection of orphaned cabinet card photos from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. I have put together small family trees of the people labeled on these photos as as way to try to return them to their families. All of the individuals I have traced are listed on my Milwaukee Orphaned Photos personal category.
If you are a descendant of this individual, contact me and I will try to return the physical photo to you free-of-charge (as long as they have not already been given back to another family member.) Also check other related family members for other possible photos.
Paternal relationship is confirmed by a 3586 cM match between Brian Zalewski GEDmatch M092030 and his father John Zalewski GEDmatch M210715.
Maternal relationship is confirmed with an AncestryDNA test match between Brian Zalewski and Sharon Zalewski, parent-child. Predicted relationship reported by AncestryDNA: Parent, Child - immediate family member based on sharing 3460 cMs. Confidence: Extremely High
It may be possible to confirm family relationships by comparing test results with Brian or other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA.
Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:
Family Tree DNA Y-DNA Test 37 markers, haplogroup R-Z283, FTDNA kit #N18451, MitoYDNA ID T10572[compare]
Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line:
Family Tree DNA mtDNA Test HVR1, haplogroup H11a, FTDNA kit #N18451
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Brian: