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Rootsweb Home Page of Jim Sponholz, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This site was last updated on February 25, 2003

Dedicated to Madam X:  At right is an undated portrait found in a box of family photos, apparently from my mother's side. As near as I can tell, this is either Katherine Nolan Gaffney or Mary Goggin Sullivan. This presents a lesson that we all need to learn: write names on the backs of those photos!


Surname Research

This site contains information and links that I would like to share on the following surnames:
Gaffney, Milwaukee, WI, New Berlin, WI
Goggin, Milwaukee, WI
Nolan, Milwaukee, WI
Sponholz, Milwaukee, WI
Kloehn, Milwaukee, WI
Sullivan, Milwaukee, WI; Butte, MT; Adrigole, Cork, Ireland
Wachal, Milwaukee, WI

Here is a list of surnames I am researching.


Village of Whitefish Bay, WI Historical Records



Occupational Research

One of the most common questions you might get asked when meeting someone at a party is, "What do you do?" We spend vast amounts of time working at our vocations, but very seldom do we document what we do to help future generations understand that portion of our lives. I have looked at several sources of workplace documents for the following industries:
Railroads and Milwaukee Firefighters


Historic Milwaukee

Milwaukee has been a melting pot of ethnic groups since the first Europeans made their way up the Lake Michigan shores to the place the natives called "Meolaki". Today, natives pronounce it "M'waukee" but it's still a great place to live!

The Pabst Brewery Bottling House, one part of the huge brewing complex which is today vacant and for sale. The fences and crash barriers were erected by the out-of-town owners after the brewery was closed down. The only Pabst beer brewed in Milwaukee today is brewed by Miller under contract. The complex stands as testament to the thousands of people like my father who toiled within making the commodity that made Milwaukee famous. Today, buildings from other defunct breweries survive as government offices, university administrative offices, and upscale condos. Planning is well underway toward turning the vacant property into a retail/residential/office center, and hopefully the complex will again be a center of activity. Click here, here and here to read the most recent news on plans for the Pabst complex.

The Germans made perhaps the greatest impact on the development of Milwaukee, and the breweries (Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, Blatz, Gettelman, among others) were just one industry dominated by that ethnic group. But the Irish were here too, in smaller numbers but never a silent minority. The first area of Milwaukee where the Irish settled was the Third Ward. This area soon became known as the "Irish Third Ward" or the "Bloody Third Ward", reflecting the hazards of life in an urban ghetto.

(Right) Commission Row, the Third Ward center of Italian fruit wholesaling that developed after the Irish largely left the Ward following the 1892 fire. During the urban renewal and freeway boom of the Sixties, all housing in the Ward was demolished leaving only warehouses and manufacturing centers. Today, the warehouses are being converted into condominiums and people have returned to the Ward in large numbers.

Explore the Irish Third Ward!


Some Genealogical Links of Interest


A Gleaner Award Winning Site


Gleaning Links

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Jim Sponholz   jsponholz@hotmail.com
Ferroequinologist, Genealogist, recovering System Administrator
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