Category Archives: Zierke DNA Testing

For Christmas this year, I decided that I wanted to get my mother and father DNA-tested through  While it’s true that my family tree is extremely well-elucidated and researched, there are still pockets where certain things are unclear.  For example, I only know back to my 3x great-grandparents on my Krueger side (due to records from Pomerania being difficult to find and the common nature of the family name), so if we matched someone in the world who had Krueger ancestors it would indicate a link between those families despite the absence of documentation.  Similar situations are present for many of the Irish lines of my family due to the scarcity of records from Ireland.

So at Christmas this year my mother spit into a test-tube and sent off an envelope to be analyzed.   Yesterday we got the results back.

My mother’s DNA matched at least 20 people “closely” (5th cousins or better).  I’ll have to investigate each one!

It showed that she has 19% DNA from Scandanavia (that would be the Norwegian side, Hanson and Olson), 32% “Europe East”, which would be the Prussian stuff (Krueger, Hoge, Schmidt, Zierke, Schulz, Winkelmann).  Then 38% from “Great Britain”.  I assume this is the Irish from the Mullins, Hammond, and all the British stuff from the Curtis side of my family.  Then there’s 9% of the DNA marked “Other”.

I have no idea how much confidence to give these results.  I know from my research that my mother’s grandparents break down as follows:

Oscar Krueger: 100% Prussian
Edith Curtis: 50% Irish and 50% English
Olga Hanson: 100% Norwegian
Edwin Schmidt: 100% Prussian

So my maternal grandfather was 50% Prussian, 25% Irish, 25% English, and my maternal grandmother was 50% Norwegian and 50% Prussian.  That makes my mother 50% Prussian, 25% Irish/English, and 25% Norwegian.  The DNA results have much more “Great Britain” than predicted.  No idea what that means.

On the Schmidt side of my mother’s family there was a family rumor that someone in the family brought back and married a “Mongolian Princess”.  Interestingly, my mother’s DNA shows 2% of her genetics are from “Asia Central” which is the area around Turkmenistan and Northern Iran.  Very interesting!

Here’s the full breakdown of her results:

Great Britain 38%
Europe East 32%
Scandinavia 19%
Ireland 4%
Europe West 4%
Asia Central 2%
Finland/Northwest Russia 1%

As time goes on and other people are tested, we can see if more matches are found.

Montello Postcard From Clara Young (Wells Lowe)

This is another non-family item that I’m posting purely for its historical value.  This postcard, sent from Montello, Wisconsin, was purchased on eBay.  It was sent by Clara Malinda Young to Miss Ina Cool on 2 Nov 1914.  It’s nearly certain that my Zierke relatives knew Clara since Montello is not a large town and the Zierkes lived in and around Montello from 1865 to the present day.

It shows the impressive, imposing, and lovely old Montello High School, taken during the construction of a newer school adjacent to this one.  Interestingly, as of this writing you can buy the newer Montello High School for about $70,000.  The postcard indicates the new school cost $19,000.  So… you know… $51,000 for 100 years of use?  Not bad.

Old Montello High School, 1914

Old Montello High School, 1914

The postcard reads:

“Miss Ina Cool, Berthoud, M, Colo.  Montello, Nov 2 1914.  Dear friend, Irvine(?) wrote me some time ago you was [sic] called home on account of sickness, and I hope all are well now.  It has been a lovely Fall.  No frost ’till a week ago, and a hard thunder-shower tonight.  This is our old school house.  A new $19,000 one erected this Summer at the right of this one, and both are in use.  Mrs. Clara M. Lowe.”


Some information about Clara:

Clara Malinda Young was the daughter of John C Young (b Burrell, Rhode Island to Othniel Young and Ruby Southwick) and Eliza Walcott (b Brookfield, Vermont to Zebina Walcott and Clarissa Ingalls).  Clara’s parents were married in Andover, Massachusetts on 11 Dec 1851 [link].

Clara was born 8 Aug 1852 in Wisconsin.  She and her family are in the 1870 Census for Shields, Wisconsin.  She married Barney Herbert Wells in Montello about 1874, and they had the following children:

Walter Warren Wells, 1874-1885
Willis Wilson Wells, 1875-1968.
Wilber Walcott Wells, born 23 Dec 1879 in Montello, died 1900 in Montello.
Mary Elizabeth Wells, born 7 Jan 1884 in Montello.
Unnamed Son (possibly stillborn), born 4 Nov 1887 in Montello.

Clara and Barney are in the 1880 Census for Montello, Wisconsin with their first three children.

Barney Wells died 18 Nov 1890 in Montello, and Clara remarried to George Leroy Lowe in Montello on 15 Jun 1897.  Clara died 15 Mar 1917 in Wisconsin, likely in Montello.

For her part, Ina Cool seems to have been born in 1894 in Minnesota, the daughter of Willis Cool and Susan E Vroman.  They can be found in the 1900 Census for Nekoosa, Wisconsin and the 1910 Census for North Berthoud, Colorado.  Ina’s father Willis was born in Wisconsin, and he can be found in the 1870 Census for Adams, Wisconsin.

Ina apparently married Everett M Haworth in Berthoud on 27 Jan 1915.

Schmidt Saloon – Rothschild, Wisconsin

A little after the turn of the century my great-great-grandfather Wilhelm Schmidt opened a saloon on the outskirts of Weston, Wisconsin.  [In 1917 the part of the town where the Schmidts lived was incorporated and became the village of Rothschild, Wisconsin.]  The saloon was located on what is today Highway 51, and was was then called Grand Avenue.  It was the only place to drink between the Rothschild Paper Mill and Wausau, where most of the workers lived, and it was right along the highway that led from the mill to town.  It did big business with the mill’s thirsty workers whenever each shift ended.

The saloon underwent several name changes.  It was known at various points as the “William Schmidt Rothschild’s Saloon”, the “Five Mile Saloon” [so-named because it was five miles from Wausau], and the “Schmidt and Throm Saloon”.  From what I’ve been able to determine from land records, the saloon was located near the present site of “PJ’s Log Jam” just outside of Rothschild.

Saloon location shown on modern-day map

Saloon location shown on modern-day map

The saloon apparently opened sometime between 1900 and 1905 since Wilhelm was listed as a “farmer” on the 1900 US census for Weston, Wisconsin, then was listed as a “Saloon Keeper” on the 1905 state census.

This photo was taken right about 1905 outside William and Ottelia Schmidt’s “Rothschild’s Saloon”.

Rothchild's Saloon, 1905

Rothchild’s Saloon, 1905

The photo is from the book “Wisconsin Heartland: The Story of Wausau and Marathon County” by Michael Kronenwetter. The caption reads

“From left to right: Dogs “Lody” and “Rover”, E.F. Schmidt, Loui [Louis] Schmidt on horse “Katie”, William Schmidt and Grandma [Ottelia] Schmidt, William Schmidt Jr., and “Muxie”, Fred Altenburg of Merrill with “Fredie” and “Maude” (horses that helped build the [Marathon Paper Company] dam), and Albert A Schmidt with his pet “Lambie” standing in front of the Wm. Schmidt Rothschild Saloon.”

Fred Altenberg is listed as a farm hand living with the Schmidt family in the 1905 census.  I find the caption somewhat humorous because Ottelia would not become a grandmother until 1912 when the Schmidt’s first child, Mabel, was born.

Apparently the bar could be a fairly rough-and-tumble place.  The experience of working in the saloon lead Wilhelm’s son Albert to become a teetotaler, according to his son Russ Schmidt.

This next photo, likely taken a couple of years later, shows another angle of the Saloon with a bevy of locals drinking and celebrating.  The man in the doorway seems to be my great-grandfather Edwin Schmidt.

Patrons outside the Schmidt Saloon

Patrons outside the Schmidt Saloon

Photo courtesy of Jayne Schmidt Robinson.

This photo shows the saloon during its “Five Mile Saloon” phase.  Seemingly not much was changed except the name.

Five Mile Saloon

Five Mile Saloon

Photo courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock.

This next photo, taken on Labor Day, 1908, shows my grandfather, the proud owner, behind his bar.  If you have some time, download the photo and really go over it in detail.  There’s so much to see behind the bar!

Wilhelm Schmidt in his Saloon, Labor Day, 1908

Wilhelm Schmidt in his Saloon, Labor Day, 1908

Photo courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock.

This next photo shows the “back room” of the Saloon (you can see that the wallpaper is the same).  There is an elaborate pot-bellied stove in the center of the room, a scale and packaging paper on the left, and a display selling cigars, cigarettes, and chocolates on the right.  There is also a smaller room for employees visible in the back with a beautifully-carved dresser.  A barely-visible calendar on the wall shows the year: 1909.

Schmidt Saloon Backroom

Schmidt Saloon Backroom

Photo from the archives of Norma Schmidt Krueger.

Wilhelm apparently ran the bar with help from his wife, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt, and his son Edwin Schmidt Sr., my great-grandfather.  Edwin Schmidt’s WWI Draft Registration Card from 5 Jun 1917 lists his occupation as “Bartender in mother’s Saloon, Rothschild”.  It was listed as his mother’s bar because Wilhelm was in Waupun Prison at the time.

Edwin Schmidt WWI Draft Card

Edwin Schmidt WWI Draft Card

The last photo I have was part of a photo album owned by Wilhelm’s son Billy Schmidt.  It shows a somewhat remodeled Schmidt Saloon in 1915, a few years before Prohibition took effect in 1919 shutting down most Wisconsin taverns.  There are, however, family rumors that the Schmidt saloon kept operating with illicit liquor “coming in the back door” even during prohibition.

Schmidt Saloon, 1915

Schmidt Saloon, 1915

Photo courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock.

This photo seems to show the view from the doorway of the Saloon looking out onto Grand Avenue, showing a passing Model T truck.  It was probably taken about 1915 also.

Saloon View, c1915

Saloon View, c1915

Photo from the archives of Norma Schmidt Krueger.

Wilhelm’s son Billy eventually opened his own bar called “Schmidty’s” at or near the same location.  This is a flyer for that incarnation of the bar, which shows the exterior of the bar as well as a map with its location on the back (courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock):

Billy Schmidt Bar Flyer (front)

Billy Schmidt Bar Flyer (front)

Billy Schmidt Bar Flyer (back)

Billy Schmidt Bar Flyer (back)

Finally, a photo of Billy Schmidt’s tavern showing the interior of the bar c1938.

Billy Schmidt Tavern, 1938

Billy Schmidt Tavern, 1938

Photo courtesy of Norma Wendorf Bandock

Missed Opportunities – Photo of Schmidt’s Rothschild Saloon

A cousin of mine contacted me recently and let me know that he found this auction result in a Google search:

Vintage Glass Plate Negative RPPC Photograph Schmidt Saloon Rothschild Wausau
Item 181107240529 is no longer available.

I’m guessing this was the original negative of this photograph, or one very much like it:

Wilhelm and Ottelia Schmidt's "Rothchild's Saloon", c1905

Wilhelm and Ottelia Schmidt’s “Rothchild’s Saloon”, c1905

This photo shows the exterior of William and Ottelia Schmidt’s “Rothschild’s Saloon”.   It is from the book “Wisconsin Heartland: The Story of Wausau and Marathon County” by Michael Kronenwetter, and it shows Edwin Schmidt, Louis Schmidt, William Schmidt, Ottelia Zierke Schmidt with William “Billy” Schmidt in front of her, an unknown man, and Albert Schmidt (l to r).

The copy from the book was half-toned.  It means the resolution is not good enough to really zoom in and get details of all the faces.  I would love to be able to contact the buyer and arrange to purchase a copy of the photo, but eBay doesn’t keep records of buyers and sellers beyond 60 days.  Maybe someone will find this blog entry and contact me about it.  We’ll see.

FHC Records – Kreis Kolmar

Since four families related to mine lived in Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia, I’m just making note of these available films here:

Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1809-1874

Authors: Evangelische Kirche Kolmar (KrSt. Kolmar) (Main Author)
Format: Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
  • German
  • Polish
Publication: Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969, 1981
Physical: auf 7 Mikrofilmrollen ; 35 mm.
Heiraten 1809-1811 — Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1818-1822 Family History Library International Film 807991
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1823-1831 Family History Library International Film 807992
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1832-1845 Family History Library International Film 807993
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1848-1859 Family History Library International Film 807994
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1860-1865 Family History Library International Film 807995
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1866-1871 Family History Library International Film 1201273 Items 30-35
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1872-1874 Family History Library International Film 1201274 Items 1-3

Zierke Origins – New Information

Often the process of going back over records you’ve seen many times can be very fruitful.

Tonight I was looking at the German passenger list for the Zierke family, who came to America from Prussia in 1865 aboard the “Neckar”.  Curiously, a transcription for the town where the family had come from had been added, and it said “Jablonowo”.


One thing I’ve come to learn about the German passenger list transcriptions on Ancestry… they are usually pretty good.  The people who do them seem to be experts in German handwriting of the 19th century, and they are often able to pull out information that would not be apparent to English-speakers.

So I looked up Jablonowo, and almost immediately I saw one entry from Kreis Kolmar.  This was quite interesting to me since the Hadow and Willegal families were from Kreis Kolmar, as was the Schulz family, as was the Zierke family who immigrated to Princeton, Wisconsin.  All four of these families are linked to my Zierke family in some way.  Some circumstantially, others definitively.

This map shows the proximity of the towns where these families came from.  The Hadow/Willegal family is highlighed in yellow.  The Schulz family is highlighted in green.  The Princeton Zierke family is highlighted in blue, and Jablonowo is highlighted in purple.  If Friedrich Zierke did marry Dorothea Hadow as I believe, you can see how close those towns are to each other.  From Usch-Neudorf to Jablonowo is only 3 miles!

Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia

Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia

Detail of the town of Jablonowo

Detail of the town of Jablonowo


Emma Zierke – 1871-1960

Emma A. Zierke (1871-1960), was the younger sister of my great-great-grandmother Ottelia Zierke.  Like all the Zierke children, Emma was born on the Zierke family farm in Harris, Wisconsin.  She was the second of five surviving children of Anna Wilhelmine Schulz and Friedrich Zierke Jr.

I was lucky enough recently to get in touch with Emma’s great-grandson Tim Dittmer, and all the photos listed below are courtesy of him.

Emma Zierke as a younger woman.

Emma Zierke as a younger woman.

Emma married Albert William Barwineck (an immigrant from Pommern, Prussia) in 1893, and they had four children that I know of: Walter, Ella, Albert, and Flora.  The Barwinecks lived in Wood County, Wisconsin for a while before moving to Schofield and Wausau.  While they were in Schofield, Albert worked at the Marathon Paper Mills where my great-grandfather Edwin Schmidt also worked.  Later the Barwineck family moved to Milwaukee, and finally to Marshfield where Emma died in 1960.

Albert Barwineck

Albert Barwineck

This photo shows Emma as an older woman with her grand-daughter Jacquelene Barwineck.  It was taken about 1944.


Emma Zierke & Jacquelene Barwineck c1944

This one shows Emma with her grandchildren Gerald and Jacquelene Barwineck, taken about 1950.


Emma Zierke with grandchildren Gerald and Jacquelene Barwineck. c1950

I didn’t expect to get photos of Emma’s sister (another of my great-great-grand-aunts), Minna Pauline Zierke (1885 – 1970).  But there are two photos of Emma and Minna together. You can definitely tell they are sisters.


Minna Zierke (left) and Emma Zierke. c1955

The other photo of the two sisters.  At first I thought it was some kind of funeral floral arrangement in front of them, but looking closer I think it’s just a flowering plant in a wooden plant stand.


Emma (left) and Minna Zierke c1955

Finally, a real treat, also sent to me by Tim.  This is a photo of my 3x great-grandmother Wilhelmine Schulz.  I have written about her family on this blog many times.  She was born in Podstolitz, Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia and came to the US in 1866.  I had this photo previously, except it was just her face.  This is the full photo, and you can see her in her entirety, which I love.  I especially like the fur rug at her feet.  So random!


Anna Wilhelmine “Minnie” Schulz, c1915.

It makes me realize that somewhere is a matching photo of her husband Fred Zierke, from which the hand-tinted portraits that Gary Zierke owns were made. Hopefully I can find it someday.