For 2015 I’m taking on the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge. Created in 2014 by Amy Johnson Crow of the great blog No Story Too Small, the challenge offers an “optional” theme each week. I thought the challenge would be a great way to 1) organize some of my research, 2) tell some stories about my ancestors, and 3) be creative by trying to use the theme of the week. Each week I’ll post my entries here:
Week 1 ~ Fresh Start: Elizabeth Miller Pater (1890-1972) is my great-grandmother. She was born in Russian-occupied Poland but both sides of her family originally were Czech exiles. With a common name like Miller, I needed a “fresh start” on researching her to make sure I had the correct Elizabeth Miller.
Week 2 ~ King: Václav Jirsak (1715-1793) is my 7th great-grandfather and also an ancestor of my Czech-Polish great-grandmother from Week 1. Václav came from a town in Bohemia with “king” in the name and as an adult he fled one king’s religious persecution to settle in a new land offered by the King of Prussia.
Week 3 ~ Tough Woman: Rozalia Kizeweter Piątkowska (1866-1937) is another of my great-grandmothers. Born near Warsaw, Rozalia, or Rose as she became known in the United States, was one tough woman based on the facts I uncovered in some common genealogical records!
Week 4 ~ Closest to My Birthday: Dionys Daniel (1784-1873) is my 4th great-grandfather on my Bavarian side of the family. He was a farmer from a small town – and happens to be the only one of my ancestors to have a birthday closest to mine.
Week 5 ~ Plowing Through: Joseph Bergmeister (1873-1927) is my great-grandfather. In one particular 13-month period from October, 1918 to November, 1919, he had to plow through some tragic events.
Week 6 ~ So Far Away: Six Welshofer (c. 1487-?) is my 14th great-grandfather. At sixteen generations back, he is the ancestor who is farthest away from me on my family tree.
Week 7 ~ Love: Hilaury Bergmeister Thumann (1870-1943) is not a direct ancestor. She is my great aunt, the sister of my great-grandfather Joseph Bergmeister. “Which ancestor do you love to research? Which ancestor do you feel especially close to? Which ancestor seemed to have a lot of love?” I love researching Laura because she continues to surprise me with facts about her and her family that I didn’t know. I feel especially close to her – she had no direct descendants and neither do I, so if I don’t remember her amazing life, who will? Finally, she seemed to have a lot of love for her family and friends. I hope that I can be as fun-loving, caring, and thoughtful as she was!
Week 8 ~ Good Deeds: Jan Poláček (1759-1812) was my 5th great-grandfather. Son of a Czech exile to Poland, he was one of the founding fathers for the founding of the town of Zelów, Poland, in 1802 – his name is on the deed! Zelów became home to generations of Czech immigrants living together in Poland to practice their religion freely.
Week 9 ~ Close to Home: Mae Zawodna Pater (1907-1986) is my maternal grandmother. She was very close to home because we lived together for the first sixteen years of my life! Mae, known as “Nan” to me, was afraid of a lot of things but the biggest lesson she taught me was about overcoming fear.
Week 10 ~ Stormy Weather: Karl Nigg (1767-1844) was my 4th great-grandfather, the stadtzimmermeister or city carpenter of Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm in Bavaria. In 1813, it was a dark and stormy night in the city. A lucky newspaper find told me the story of Karl’s actions that night.
Week 11 ~ Luck of the Irish: Jakob Zinsmeister (1741-1797), my 5th great-grandfather, wasn’t Irish. But depending upon your definition of the phrase “luck of the Irish”, Jakob either had the luck of the Irish or could have used some due to his unfortunate demise at the age of 56.
Week 12 ~ Same: Ignaz Echerer (1803-1874), my 3rd great-grandfather, had a lot of things about his life that were exactly the same as his father’s – starting with his name.
Week 13 ~ Different: Teofila Zakrzewska Pater (1840-1907), my 3rd great-grandmother, is one of the many female ancestors in my family tree whose lives were radically different than mine. Teofila (the only Teofilia in my ancestry!) was married at the age of 18 and had ten children in 24 years. Since I’m single and don’t have children, that counts as different to me!
Week 14 ~ Favorite Photo: Ursula Dallmeier Bergmeister Götz (1846-1911), my 2nd great-grandmother, appears in one of my very favorite photos with her three children. You’ve already met the middle child (my great-grandfather) and his big sister in previous weeks (Week 5 and 7)!
Week 15 ~ How Do You Spell That?: James Pointkouski (1910-1980), my grandfather, literally made up my surname. I’m proud that he’s an inventor of sorts, but couldn’t he have picked a name that doesn’t require people to constantly ask, “How do you spell that?” Find out what my surname would be if he didn’t get creative.
Week 16 ~ Live Long: Maciej Miller (1824-1909), one of my 3rd great-grandfathers, was almost 85 when he died…and that’s the longest-lived documented ancestor that I have found so far.
Week 17 ~ Prosper: Jan Drogowski (1818-1894), another 3rd great-grandfather, was the son and grandson of farmers. Yet by the time he was 20 years old and marrying a farmer’s daughter, he had become a linen merchant. Given his eventual literacy and ability to support a large family, I’d say he prospered in that profession!
Week 18 ~ Where There’s a Will: Józef Ślesiński (1821-1866), yet another 3rd great-grandfather, found a different kind of will – the town of Wilczyn, where he found a wife.
Week 19 ~ There’s a Way: Franciszka Wojciechowska Pluta (1840-1914), one of my 3rd great-grandmothers, found a way to be with her daughter – even if it meant traveling to America all by herself at the age of 69.
Week 20 ~ Black Sheep: skipped this week (on a blogging break)
Week 21 ~ Military: skipped
Week 22 ~ Commencement: skipped
Week 23 ~ Wedding: skipped
Week 24 ~ Heirloom: skipped
Week 25 ~ Old Homestead: skipped
Week 26 ~ Halfway: skipped
Week 27 ~ Independent: skipped
Week 28 ~ Road Trip
Week 29 ~ Musical
Week 30 ~ Challenging
Week 31 ~ Easy
Week 32 ~ 32
Week 33 ~ Defective, Dependent, & Delinquent
Week 34 ~ Non-Population
Week 35 ~ School Days
Week 36 ~ Working for a Living
Week 37 ~ Large Family
Week 38 ~ Favorite Place
Week 39 ~ Unusual
Week 40 ~ October
Week 41 ~ Colorful
Week 42 ~ Proud
Week 43 ~ Oops
Week 44 ~ Frightening