Sunday’s Obituary – Mary C. (Dreffs, Kolba) Heward
Oct 23rd, 2011 by Jessica

This is an obituary for my grandfather Walter Anthony Dreffs’ sister, Mary C. (Dreffs, Kolba) Heward. It was published in The Saginaw News in Saginaw, Michigan on Tuesday, July 17, 1973 (page A5).

Obituary for Mary Heward

Obituary for Mary Heward

Heward, Mrs. Mary C.

1517 Queen Street.

Wife of Andrew E. Heward passed away Monday afternoon, July 16, 1973 at St. Luke’s Hospital.  Age 77 years.  Mary C. Dreffs was born June 10, 1896, in Gaylord and was married to Mr. Heward Oct. 22, 1962.  She was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  Surviving besides her husband are three sons and three daughters, Mrs. Marie Torka, Bay City; Mrs. Arlene Cuellar, Mrs. Isabelle Stephens, Andrew and Frank Merkiel and Edward Kolba; all of Saginaw; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; two brothers, Paul Dreffs, Daylord; Martin Dreffs, Detroit; several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will take place 9:15 a.m. Thursday at the Case Chapel, 409 Adams St., 10 a. m. at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Jerome Schroder, O. F. M. Cap. will officiate with burial in Roselawn Memorial Gardens.  Friends may call at the chapel after 7 p. m. Tuesday where they will meet with relatives 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to pray the Rosary.

Surname Saturday – Gerszewski
Oct 22nd, 2011 by Jessica

This week we take a look at the lineage of the Gerszewski surname as it pertains to my family’s history.  I haven’t had much luck with this line either.

Earliest Known Ancestor

Mary Gerszewski, my 2nd great-grandmother, was born in September of 1847 in Lippuschutte, Poland.  The 1900 US Census shows she arrived in the United States in 1868, which is the same year she says she married Frank Stroik (1835 – 1918).

Mary and her husband Frank Stroik had approximately seven children, all of whom were born in Wisconsin I believe in the Stevens Point area.  They children were: John (1871 – ?), Teophil or Francis (1873 –  ?), Anna (1875 – ?), my great-grandfather Andrew Anton Stroik (1876 – 1929), Anastacia (1877 – ?), Johnie C (1884 – ?), Nicholas (1886 – ?) and Ladislaus (aka Landie or Walter) Joseph Stroik 1890 – ?).

Mary died on February 15, 1930 in Wisconsin, probably in or near Stevens Point.

Lineage of the Gerszewski Surname

Lineage of the Gerszewski Surname


Jessica Marie Cole > Diane Marie Dreffs > Mary Rose Stroik (1910 – 1994) > Andrew Anton Stroik (1876 – 1929) > Mary Gerszewski (1847 – 1930)

Family Notes

I don’t know who Mary’s parents were, nor any of her siblings.  I don’t know where she and Frank are buried, or anything about her immigration or naturalization.

If you can help me track down any information about this Gerszewski family, I would love for you to leave a comment below.  Any assistance would be appreciated.

Additional Information

See the family of Mary (Gerszewski) Stroik in the 1880 US Census and the 1900 US Census.

Check out my Ancestry Family Tree for Mary Gerszewski.

There are currently 106 Gerszewski family members listed on Find A Grave.  Unfortunately, at this time I don’t think Mary is one of them.  None of them are in Wisconsin.

Treasure Chest Thursday – My Childhood Rings
Oct 20th, 2011 by Jessica

In an effort to document my family treasures which cannot be scanned in, I am publishing this series of pictures as part of the Treasure Chest Thursday theme at Geneabloggers.  Someday in the future, I hope to shed some light on these treasures for my family who might inherit them.  What were they for?  Who did they come from? Why were they considered treasures?  Let’s find out.

Jessica's Childhood Rings

Jessica's Childhood Rings

These little rings were some of my favorites when I was in Junior High and High School.  I wore them often, which is especially evidenced by the middle ring from which most of the gold plating has worn off.  They are all costume jewelery but I liked them very much.  They now reside in a memory box in my closet.

My 12th Birthday Ring

My 12th Birthday Ring

My 12th Birthday ring is special, however.  This ring is real gold.  It was not costume jewelery by any means.  I received this ring on my 12th birthday from my DaD’s girlfriend at the time, Noreen Ackerman.  I loved Noreen and this ring was very, very special to me.  I wore it every day until I got my class ring in High School at age 16.

On June 20, 2011 I gave this little gold ring to my niece, Rachel, during her summer visit to Arizona.  I told her that I received it on my 12th birthday and since she was now 12, it was her turn to have it.  I hope she treasures it half as much as I have over the years.

I took the picture to the left on the day I gave it to Rachel.

Sunday’s Obituary – Edward Kolba, Junior
Oct 16th, 2011 by Jessica

This is the obituary for Edward Kolba, Junior.  He is the son of Mary C. (Dreffs) Heward, the sister of my grandfather Walter Anthony Dreffs.  This was published in The Saginaw News on October 5, 2000 on page C11.  I was really hoping this obituary would provide more information about him.

Obituary for Edward Kolba, Junior

Obituary for Edward Kolba, Junior

Kolba, Edward Jr.,

Saginaw, Michigan.

Passed away Tuesday, October 3, 2000.  Age 77 years.

Funeral service will take place 2:00 p.m. Friday at the W. L. Case & Co. Funeral Chapel, 4480 Mackinaw Rd.

Stroik = Zdrowski
Oct 15th, 2011 by Jessica

Sometimes, the best help arrives when you’re not even looking for it.

I was searching on (thanks to a tip from my friend Sarah) and browsing through the Stevens Point Daily Journal from Wisconsin.  I ran across an obituary for Joseph Stroik.  I’m not even sure this man is the same one that’s in my tree, but I was amazed at the first line in his death notice:

The Gazette, Stevens Point, Wisconsin (16 OCT 1912)

The Gazette, Stevens Point, Wisconsin (16 OCT 1912)

Retired Farmer is Dead.
Joseph Zdrowski, or Stroik, as the name is commonly called, died at his home, 912 N. Second street, on Monday of last week and was buried from the Polonia church Thursday. He was about 65 years of age and had lived on a farm in Sharon township until five years ago. The cause of Mr. Stroik’s death was cancer of the liver and other complications, with which he had suffered more than a year. He was twice married, his first wife dying several years ago, leaving four sons and three daughters, all of whom are well-to-do residents of Sharon. The present Mrs. Stroik was formerly Mrs. Gudapof this city, whom he married about five years ago.

Incredible…  I have been researching the Stroik surname for several years now, and I have never heard the surname referred to as Zdrowski.  This opens a brand new opportunity for searching!

Surname Saturday – Stroik
Oct 15th, 2011 by Jessica

This week we take a look at the lineage of the Stroik surname as it pertains to my family’s history.

Earliest Known Ancestor

My 3rd great grandfather was Andreas Stroik.  Andreas was born around 1802 in either Lipusz, Prussia or Gandsk/Danzig, Poland.  He married a woman named Marianna Pellowski (or Pelowska) around 1824, based on the birth years of all of their children.  We don’t have their marriage record nor we have their immigration records.

I honestly don’t know how my ancestors were able to manage with such large families, especially with as poor as they were.  It simply amazes me.  The children of Andreas and Marianna were:

Victoria (1825 – 1917), Dorothy (1828 – 1914), Andreas (1831 – 1832), Mariana (1833 – 1898), my 2nd great-grandfather Francis Stroik (1835 – 1918), Magdalene (1836 – 1916), Rosalia Julianna (1837 – 1837), Albert (1840 – 1841), Josephine (1842 – 1862), Joseph (1843 – 1919), Christoph (1845 – 1915), John M (1849 – 1920) and little Elizabeth Stroik (1852 – 1852).

All 13 of their children were born in Prussia, Poland so I believe they immigrated to the United States sometime after 1852.  Andreas died on 26 Jan 1868 in Sharon, Portage, Wisconsin.

Lineage for the Stroik Surname

Lineage for the Stroik Surname


Jessica Marie Cole > Diane Marie Dreffs > Mary Rose Stroik (1910 – 1994) > Andrew Anton Stroik (1876 – 1929) > Francis Stroik (1835 – 1918) > Andreas Stroik (1802 – 1868)

Items of Interest

  • The Stroik families have led very, shall we say, productive lives?  Andreas and Mariann had 13 children.  Their son Frances and his wife Mary had at least 7 children, although I am sure I haven’t found them all yet.  Frank and Mary’s son, my great-grandfather Andrew Anton Stroik and his wife Helen Goretski had 11 children, including a set of twins.  Their daughter, my grandmother Mary Rose Stroik had 16 children including three sets of twins.  Andreas and Mariann Stroik have hundreds of descendants in the United States today.
  • Marriage License Announcement for Andrew and Helen Stroik

    Marriage License Announcement for Andrew and Helen Stroik

    The marriage announcement for Andrew Stroik and Helen Goretski was printed in the Stevens Point Journal in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on Saturday, September 8, 1906.  A strong Polish accent may have contributed to the spelling of Helen’s name in the newspaper: “Ellen Gerechi.”

Family Notes

  • I need to complete the following basic research for Andreas and Mariann Stroik:
    • Grave locations
    • Immigration details
    • Naturalization records
    • Death Records

Additional Information

Check out my Ancestry Family Tree for Andreas Stroik.

See the grave of Andrew Anton Stroik on Find A Grave.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Cabbage Patch Kid Magnets
Oct 13th, 2011 by Jessica

In an effort to document my family treasures which cannot be scanned in, I am publishing this series of pictures as part of the Treasure Chest Thursday theme at Geneabloggers.  Someday in the future, I hope to shed some light on these treasures for my family who might inherit them.  What were they for?  Who did they come from? Why were they considered treasures?  Let’s find out.

Cabbage Patch Kid Magnets

Cabbage Patch Kid Magnets

This week, my featured treasure is this rather large pair of Cabbage Patch Kid magnets.  This little boy and girl used to reside on the refrigerator at my grandmother’s house.  Mary Rose (Stroik, Kasper, Karpuk, Dreffs) Romaine used to let me play with them when my mother and I came over to visit.  One day, probably sometime in 1981 or 1982, she let me have them.  I have treasured them ever since.

I was absolutely enthralled with Cabbage Patch Kids.  My very own CPK was a boy with dark brown curly hair and a yellow jumpsuit.  I officially had his name changed to George Michael.  I even got a name change certificate in the mail.  I don’t know what happened to George or his birth certificate.  I’m sure he was thrown out or donated at some point when my DaD tired of me not cleaning my room as a child.  Thankfully, these two magnets survived, probably because they were smaller and hidden away somewhere in the bedroom.

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Locate Sisters & Daughters
Oct 11th, 2011 by Jessica

If you’re been researching your family history for some time, chances are you have started “climbing down” your family tree.  Your great-grandfather no doubt had a few sisters.  Have you tried branching out to find them?  It can be difficult finding female family members since they often married after leaving the home.  If you don’t know who they married, quite often you stare straight into a roadblock and move along in your research.

The time has come to knock some of those roadblocks down!  I’d like to share with you a few quick tips on locating females in your family research when you don’t know their married names.  This will take some time, but it can have wonderful results.

This exhaustive search method assumes you know the approximate area (county, township) where she lived at some point, but you don’t know who she married.

Sanity Check

Sanity Check

Let’s pause for a sanity check.  Have you done your due diligence?  Make sure you have already searched for her in the following types of records:

  • Have you searched for her marriage record?  Make sure to look through vital records in addition to searching local newspapers.
  • Did you look through all the obituaries for her known family members to see if she is listed by married name?  Many times the obituary will list “Mrs. Gallagher” as a sister and that can be your very best lead.
  • Did you already check for a death record by searching for her father’s name?
  • Did you look for birth records in the county or state of her known residence for possible children that might list her maiden name on their birth certificate?
  • Have you searched through city directories to find her nearby where here parents lived?
  • Have you already performed census searches for her under her maiden name?  Many young women moved out and into a home nearby as a servant.  This might also be a lead, since sometimes young women married a son of the family she served, or a neighbor.
  • Did you try searching for her on  Find the cemetery that other members of her family are buried in, then search that cemetery’s interment records for her first name and/or year of birth.

If you didn’t have any luck with those methods, then you’ve got a true roadblock on your hands.  With all of that searching behind you, it’s seriously time to tackle it!

Note: This search method is very time consuming but if you are serious about finding her, it’s worth a shot.  It has worked for me a few times already.

  • Make a list of all US Census entries you already have for her.  You will need to know the state, city, township and any further location information that tells you where she lived in the previous census.
  • Estimate the birth year as best you can based on all available information.  If a girl is listed in the 1910 US Census and her age is 7, she was likely born in 1902 or 1903.  If it was enumerated on April 10, 1910 then she was born before April 10, 1903 which means statistically she has a higher probability of being born in 1902.  There were 8 months of 1902 (between April and December) and only 4 months of 1903 (January through April) that are potential birth dates for her.  You must consider this when searching by age for anyone in the census.
  • Armed with her first name (with any nicknames), along with the county which she previously resided and her estimated year of birth, start searching the US Census records.
  • Select the US Census after the last one you know she was in.  If you’ve found her with her family in 1910, then start your search in the 1920 Census.
  • Searching for Married Women in the US Census

    Searching for Married Women in the US Census

    Enter her First Name, Birth Year +/- 1, Birth Location, last known Residence information and her Gender.  I suggest starting with an “Exact Match” search and widening it if you don’t find what you’re looking for.  Click on search and see what comes up.  This search assumes she hasn’t moved too far away after moving out of the house.  Once you exhaust the results from the county she was from, you can widen the search to the state and country if necessary.

  • Here’s where your search gets tricky.  Every result is a potential lead. You have to research each one of them in turn, individually.  What you’re looking for is the low hanging fruit that you can discard quickly.
  • Make a list of every lead in the search results, and try to disprove each one by finding out as much as you can about the woman listed.  You might have just a few or there might be several dozen.  You’ve got to assume each one could be her, and rule them out one at a time.
  • Research Every Lead

    Research Every Lead

    For each female, run her married name through all of the common websites you search frequently for genealogical information.  Look her up on and at to see if any familiar surnames are unearthed.  Search for her on to see if someone else has a family tree with the lead listed.  See if you can find her obituary for listings of family members.

  • Think of this as “innocent until proven guilty” scenario.  Assume that each lead could be her, until you prove otherwise.  A majority of your leads will get thrown out within a few minutes.  You will likely find enough information about each one that you can comfortably assume that she is not part of your family.
  • Once you weed out all the obvious mismatches, you will be left with a few that are real possibilities.  It might take some time, but hopefully out of all the leads you research, you will find her!

If you still can’t find her, consider the following possibilities:

  • She might have died before the Census you are searching was enumerated.
  • She might have moved out of the county or state before or after getting married.  You might need to broaden your search to other states, and sometimes to other countries.
  • She might be indexed incorrectly in the census, or may not have been indexed at all.  Try another census year if possible.

I wish you the very best of luck in your searching.  If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment below!


Jessica M. Green

Please visit my personal genealogy blog, Random Mews.

Sunday’s Obituary – Lorraine Agnes (Cole) Berg
Oct 9th, 2011 by Jessica

Obituary for my grand Aunt, Lorraine Berg, published in The Times, Valparaiso, Indiana on August 5, 2003.

Obituary for Lorraine Berg

Obituary for Lorraine Berg

Lorraine Berg
Lorraine A. Berg Valparaiso Lorraine A Berg, age 72, of Valparaiso, passed away Saturday, August 2, 2003.  A lifetime area resident, she was born June 21, 1931 in Gary to Lyal N. and Agnes (Barkley) Cole.  She graduated from Morgan Township High School and received her diploma in nursing from Gary Methodist Hospital.  Lorraine worked at Porter Memorial Hospital for 43 years, retiring in 1995 as a nursing supervisor.  She was a member of Heritage Lutheran Church.  On December 29, 1951 in Valparaiso she married Eugene L. Berg, who preceded her in death on November 24, 1999.  Surviving are eight children: Jeanne (Randall) Earhart of Valparaiso, Cynthia Berg of Valparaiso, Rebecca (Richard) Shellenberger of York Haven, PA, Annette Williams of Valparaiso, Paul (Tonya) Berg of Peru, IN, Mark (Judith) Berg of Warsaw, Eric (Ellen) Berg of Valparaiso and Michelle Berg of Valparaiso; three brothers, Blaine (Carol) Cole of White Bluff, TN, Wayne (Jaclen) Cole of Palos Heights, IL, Zane Cole of Valparaiso; three sisters, Darlaine Lorz of Hobart, Marlaine (Gerald) Gordon of Crown Point and Arlaine (Lewis) Jacobs of Ottumwa, IA and 12 grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Duane and Laine Cole, two sisters, Elaine Snider and Charlaine Cole and one grandson.  Funeral services will be Wednesday, 1:30 PM in Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso, IN, the Rev. Joseph Ostafinski officiating with burial at Kimball Cemetery.  Visitation Tuesday 4:00 to 8:00 PM.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice.

Check out my Ancestry Family Tree for Lorraine Berg.

See the grave of Lorraine Berg on Find A Grave.

Surname Saturday – Kozminska
Oct 8th, 2011 by Jessica

This week we take a look at the lineage of the Kozminska surname as it pertains to my family’s history.  This is by far the tiniest little tree in the history of family trees.  It reminds of the tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Earliest Known Ancestor

My great-grandmother, Anna Kozminska, was born in Poland on April 26, 1867.  Her maiden name may have been Kozminska, Kozminski, Kozmanski or Buzinski. Her first name has also been documented as Annie instead of Anna.  Various records have indicated multiple possibilities, although I have seen references to “Kozminska” more than any other variation.

Anna arrived to the United States in 1891 according to the 1900 US Census, in 1889 according to the 1910 US Census and in 1888 according to the 1920 US Census.  All of the census records show her living in Otsego County, Michigan in the Gaylord area.  The 1900 US Census says she had been married for 14 years, putting her wedding date circa 1886 prior to her arrival.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found Anna’s or Joseph Dreffs’ ship passenger records.  We know absolutely nothing about her family.

Anna died on April 8, 1926 in Saginaw, Michigan.   Her son (my grandfather) Walter Anthony Dreffs was 26 years old when she passed away.  She died more than two decades before my mother was even born.  We have no other information about her.  She is buried with her husband Joseph Dreffs at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan.

Lineage of the Kozminska Surname

Lineage of the Kozminska Surname


Jessica Marie Cole > Diane Marie Dreffs > Walter Anthony Dreffs (1900 – 1958) > Anna Kozminska (1867 – 1926)

Items of Interest

Obituary for Anna (Kozminska) Dreffs, April 15, 1926 in the Otsego Herald Times, Otsego County, Michigan

Mrs. Joe Dreffs Died at Saginaw Thursday

Mrs. Joe Dreffs, a resident of Otsego county for 25 years, died last Thursday, April 8, at her home in Saginaw following a lingering illness. Mrs. Dreffs left Gaylord 13 years ago and has since lived in Saginaw.

Mrs. Dreffs was born in Poland 57 years ago, coming to Gaylord 38 years ago. She leaves to mourn their loss, her husband and ten children, Martin and Vincent of Gaylord; Frank, Walter, Paul, Andrew and Cassimer Dreffs; Mrs. Paul Grabowski, Mrs. Stanley Remyszewski and Mrs. Mary Kolba, of Saginaw; 37 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral services were held at St. Casimers church at Saginaw, Saturday morning, Rev. Fr. Valerlan S. Szymanski officiating.

Family Notes

  • I would love to see the passenger entry for Anna Dreffs or Anna Kozminska.  I am hoping it is with the passenger entry for Joseph Dreffs, which I cannot locate.
  • The death record for Anna has “unknown” listed for the information name and birthplace of both of her parents.

Additional Information

Check out my Ancestry Family Tree for Anna (Kozminska) Dreffs.

See the grave of Anna (Kozminska) Dreffs on Find A Grave.

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