There are a few threads I need to tie together here about the Zierke family. It’s far from a complete story at this point, but the evidence is growing so I want to document some things I found today. First the backstory. My great-great grandmother Ottelie Zierke’s parents were Friedrich Zierke and Wilhelmine Schulz. That’s my connection to both families. There is some circumstantial evidence that they knew each other in Prussia and after Friedrich Zierke came to Harris, Wisconsin in 1865, Wilhelmine Schulz came to Wisconsin shortly after, and they were married here in November of 1866 or 1867 (their obits disagree on the year).
We know the Schulz family came from Podstolitz (today called Podstolice, Poland), and the town we currently believe the Zierkes came from was called Jablonowo, which is about 18 miles to the West of Podstolitz.
My Zierke relatives landed in the US in 1865. They spent up to a year in Waukesha, Wisconsin before settling down in Harris, Wisconsin. I have spent a fair amount of time documenting another group of Zierkes who lived in Princeton, Wisconsin, which is only 18 miles away from Harris. So far I have had no hard proof that the two families are related, but I am nearly certain that they are. (For example, the brother of my grandmother Wilhelmine Schulz, Martin Schulz, spent years in Princeton, Wisconsin after coming to the US from Posen, and got married there.) So I keep looking for evidence.
Today Jörg Schrick reminded me of a website I had visited before which does transcription of Posen, Prussia marriage documents. I had looked there for Schmidt and Zierke records before and struck out, but I know they are always transcribing more records, so I looked there today. I didn’t get a hit on my family, but I got a hit for one of the Princeton Zierke families:
Protestant community in Margonin, entry # 4 in 1858
Gottlieb August Zirk (24)
Wilhelmine Sommerfeld (22)
This is great for several reasons. This is 100% certainly the family that I’ve been working on in Princeton, Wisconsin. The marriage, while recorded in Margonin, actually took place in Siebenschlößchen. That town is only about 5 miles away from Podstolitz, where my Schulz relatives came from. This says to me that MY Schulz family and the Princeton Zierke family were all in the same area. To me, it is strong evidence that this Princeton Zierke family and my Zierke family are the same. I’m expecting to find out that all of them came from this basic area of Posen, and I feel it’s just a matter of time before I understand the connection between the Princeton Zierke clan and my family from Harris.
Here is a map showing the relative locations of Podstolitz and Siebenschlößchen: