Tag Archives: Pedigree

Expanding the family tree


It is always fun and exciting expanding the family tree. I have talked with cousins from around the world, from Australia to Germany. That is often thanks to this very blog. People find my notes on so-and-so, and then write to me.

Recently I learned about a man named Milczewski — Zygmunt Milczewski. It is such a rare surname that I am sure he is a distant cousin, so I am working on learning more about him and his work.

I have a Google Alert set up for that name. Every time the Google bots find something with that name included, I am alerted via email. I highly recommend using Google Alerts.

I am particularly interested in the ethnic diversity of where my ancestors lived in Germany, near the Polish border. There were many Jews, Poles, and Kashubians living among the Germans, or Germanized people, in the Bütow area, where my great-grandparents lived before emigrating to America.

One of the questions I want to answer: Is the Milczewski name German or Polish? I am guessing that it is Slavic and that through the years some with the name became more and more Germanized, including a few of my ancestors.


The Wolfs of Wayne County, Indiana

Maria Wolf & Brazilla Van Note, who married in Wayne County, Indiana in 1844.
A deed abstract of Frederick Wolf’s estate recorded in Montgomery County, Ohio.

I am convinced that my family, specifically my ancestor Maria Wolf, wife of Brazilla Van Note, is related to Frederick Wolf and his wife Barbara. They are probably her grandparents.

One of the key clues is the fact that Brazilla and Maria married in Wayne County, Indiana in 1844. This is where Frederick and Barbara’s son Jacob had settled with his wife and kids, as mentioned in the deed abstract above. Other family too were in Wayne County.

I’ve seen the name Barbary before, which confused me till a few days ago. I thought it may have been a man whose parents had an affliction for bizarre names. But now that I researched this family a bit, it’s obviously Frederick’s wife, who was named Barbara.

The missing connection is Maria’s parents. Her mother was named Elizabeth. Elizabeth was born in 1795, according to her gravestone, though the censuses have recorded varying years. She may have lied about her age or not known her birth date.

But her father has been elusive. I don’t know his name, other than Mr. Wolf. So I am hoping that if I dig into this family, plod through the tree and research, I may find some clues to connect, hopefully resulting in a name and some other details on Maria’s dad.


I’ve been wondering about the name August, the Germanic form of Augustus. It is prominent among my maternal grandfather’s family.

Augustus II the Strong (German: August II. der Starke) | His great physical strength earned him the nicknames the Strong, the Saxon Hercules and Iron-Hand.

My great grandfather was Albert August Fromke. His younger brother was August L. Fromke. Albert’s wife was Augusta Wilhelmina Lentz.

I am hoping to learn about why this was such a strong tradition in Germany. There is many a German prince with the name and a few princesses too.

There’s Augustus the Strong, born in Dresden and elected King of Poland. There’s Augustus the Third, son of Augustus the Strong who also became King of Poland.

Then, there’s Augustus the Younger. He had the largest collection of books and manuscripts north of the Alps. There is Augustus d’Este, a grandson of King George III of Great Britain.

It all goes back to Augustus, Elector of Saxony. And, of course, before him, there was Rome. The first Roman emperor is known as Augustus.


A Life of Purpose

Everyone should learn about their ancestors. Start asking questions.
Everyone should learn about their ancestors. Start asking questions.

I think there is more to life than this. But it’s a good place to start.

Remembering those who came before us is important, particularly in this age of constant distraction.

I don’t understand those who overlook history. I never have. The past makes up who we are today.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of devotion and perseverance. But, in the end, learning about the people in your family tee and their lives is well worth the effort. So often genealogists compile a list of names and dates and places, neglecting to discover the essence of the people and their times.

What major events did they witness? How did these moments in history affect their lives? What was life like for them?

That’s what I want to learn. I want to get to know them. I want to retell these stories, to record these men and women for posterity. What can we learn from them?

Go ahead. Start asking questions of the older generations. Plunge into it, before they are gone forever, and the stories with them.


Grandpa’s Pedigree Chart

I have been working on the family tree, literally, experimenting with an online site that makes charts using HTML, the web programming language. I have created a site using my Eastern Oregon University Google account. The first file starts with my grandfather, Raymond (Ray) Hill, and shows five generations of his ancestors, at least what I’ve been able to research so far. I’ll be doing Grandma’s side when I get a chance. And then the maternal family is next.