Our Family Genealogy Pages Portage County, Wisconsin

Anton Bigalke Homestead
  Anton Bigalke 1800's homestead (2004)

Bigalke, Gillmeister, Andryczka, Sobiesczyzk, Somers, Klopotek, Felckowski, Feltz, Tomaszewski, Wierzba and related families that settled in Portage County, Wisconsin

Welcome to the Bigalke.biz website. Family history is the collection of stories and research that have been contributed by many family members including the story tellers, the researchers, the historians. This website includes several researchers hard work, which they are proud to share with other family members. We hope you enjoy the stories, pictures and actual source records pertaining to our family history. There are several different family trees posted on this website and family members may be included in more than one tree. Check back often, as we have many photos and family research sources to add to this site. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated. Currently the website is divided into five distinct researcher sections: Donna Stefani, Myron Felckowski, Jane Rock Costanza, Susan Chapman and Brian Wierzba. Links to the individual webpages can be found on the right side of this page.

My name is Susan Chapman. My parents are Chester Bigalke and Lorraine Vopalensky Bigalke. My great-grandfather, Anton Bigalke and his wife, my great-grandmother, Michalina Sobiesczyzk (Somers) Malek Bigalke immigrated in 1872 from Fanianowo, Dzwierszno Wielke, Kr Wirsitz, Poland (Germany). My great-great-grandfather Simon Felckowski (Feltz) along with his wife, my great-great-grandmother Marianna Trawicki Felckowski (Feltz) and their daughter, my great-grandmother Anna immigrated in 1868 from Tuszkowy, Lipusz, Pomorskie, Poland (Germany). Also from the Lipusz area, immigrated my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Ostrowski Gillmiester (Gilmeister) and her son, my great-grandfather John Gillmeister (Gilmeister). I have been working on the family history for many years. I have collected family history memorabilia since my childhood. This website is my way of sharing my research with family and friends. To contact Susan Chapman please send an email.

In my family tree, I have several cousins that have collected and put together a lot of information about the family. I am proud to present their work on this website. We have all shared information with other and each researcher has then done further research on each of their branches of the family tree. You will therefore find different information in each of our sections.

Donna M. Stefani, is also a descendant of Anton Bigalke who immigrated to Portage County, Wisconsin. Anton's daughter, Kate Bigalke is Donna's great-grandmother. Kate Bigalke married Philip Andrews (Andryske) and lived in Chicago. Philip Andrews (Andryske) immigrated to Portage County, Wisconsin about 1872 from Lubiewo, Poland (Germany) and his parents were Luke Andryczka and Rose Ochenel. Donna is a descendant of Carlo Stefani who immigrated to Michigan in 1887 from Segromigno in Piano Comune di Capannori, Lucca, Italy. Donna has genealogy information posted on Ancestry, Genealogy, RootsWeb and AOL websites. Her family tree of over 10,000 people, is currently posted on this site and it contains many original source records. I first meet Donna in 2004 and at that time I provided Donna with the basic Bigalke family tree and she has since found many of the missing branches to the tree. To contact Donna Stefani please send an email.

Jane Rock Costanza, is a Klopotek relative whose family lines intersect with Susan, Donna, and Myron. She is the great granddaughter of Martin von Klopotek Glowczewski and Victoria von Cyszewska; granddaughter of their son Nicholas; and daughter of his daughter, Rosalie. Her maternal great grandmother was Rosalia Ochendal Jendryczka Tomaszewska, mother of Philip Andryczka who married Katherine Bigalke, daughter of Anton Bigalke. Her love of genealogy began as a child when she would spend hours with her mother's photo albums and ask for the stories about each person. She spent many years deep among the Irish stones tracing her paternal roots before turning her attention to her mother's family. Her current focus is divided between Glowczewice, Poland and Lubiewo, Poland for the time period 1700-1875, with the primary goal of finding and documenting the family bridges between Poland; Wilno, Canada; Portage County, WI; and Chicago IL. Jane is especially grateful to her dear friend and "Genealogy Godmother," Betty Martz for her numerous and continuing contributions. To contact Jane Rock Costanza please send an email.

Brian Wierzba, is a descendant of the Wierzba family that immigrated from the village of Tuszkowy, Pomorskie, Poland to Wisconsin in 1872. After arriving in Wisconsin, two of the Wierzba families stayed in Milwaukee, one moved to Chicago, while Brian's ancestors moved to the town of Sharon in Portage County, Wisconsin. Brian's research extends from Portage County, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Poland. A few other Portage County family surnames that have connections with the Wierzba family are Eckendorf, Jach, Zywicki, and Grzywacz. To contact Brian Wierzba please send an email.


Kate Bigalke and Philip Andryske DONNA M. STEFANI 
    Stefani, Bigalke, Andryske,
    Andryczka, Kopta, Layer,
    Houska, Skwarek, Michalski,
                       & Ciabattari

Kate Izydor and Martin Felckowski MYRON M. FELCKOWSKI (1947-2015) 
    ORIGINAL database of
     Felckowski, Feltz, Kawlewski,

    Gilmeister & includes over 197,000
     from Portage County, Wisconsin

Kate Izydor and Martin Felckowski MYRON'S LEGACY CONTINUES... 
    UPDATED database of
     Felckowski, Feltz, Kawlewski,

    Gilmeister & includes over 198,000
     from Portage County, Wisconsin

Veronica Tomaszewski and Nicholas Klopotek JANE ROCK COSTANZA 
    Klopotek, Tomaszewski,
    Ochendal, & Andryczka

Susan Gillmeister and Theodore Bigalke SUSAN BIGALKE CHAPMAN 
    Bigalke, Gilmeister & Gillmeister

Marianna Eckendorf and Vincent Wierzba BRIAN WIERZBA 
    Wierzba, Eckendorf, Jach,
    Zywicki, & Grzywacz


If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact Susan Chapman. I look forward to hearing from you. Any and all contributions to this website are welcome and will be greatly appreciated. This is the story about our families, our legacy. Thank you to all the relatives that have contributed photographs, documents, and stories.


I would like to mention several other researchers, whose own work is not on this site, but they have contributed extensively to the above mentioned family trees. Thank you Audrey, Cynthia, Betty and Raymond!

Audrey Somers, is a Somers (Sobiesczyzk) relative, who has traced this family in Portage County, Wisconsin, and Poland. Anton Bigalke married Michalina Sobiesczyzk. Audrey's husband, Joe Somers' ancestor is Antonius Sobiesczyzk - Michalina's brother. Audrey Somers is the authority on the Sobiesczyzk family. It was through her research that the Polish Church records were found for the Bigalke and Sobiesczyzk family. Audrey has visited Poland many times.

Cynthia Sobieski, is a Sobieski (Sobiesczyzk) relative, who has traced this family in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Poland. Anton Bigalke married Michalina Sobiesczyzk. Cynthia's husband, James Sobieski's ancestor and Michalina Sobiesczyzk Bigalke's common ancestor is Simon Sobiesczyzk. It was through Cynthia's research that the Polish Church records were throughly documented for the Sobiesczyzk, Sobieski, and Somers family.

Betty Martz, is a prominent researcher of Portage County, Wisconsin families. She has shared a lot of her research. Thank you Betty for all your help.

Raymond Groshek, has researched Portage County, Wisconsin's Polish immigrants for many years. He shared his work with Emil Kitowski, and many of his research files are now in the Kitowski collection at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.

Myron M. Felckowski (1947-2015), has traced this huge family Felckowski (Feltz) and many of it's branches from Portage County, Wisconsin. He wrote a book about his mother's family, the Kawlewski family, and he wrote a book about the Jenkin family. His family tree, dated July 27, 2015 of over 197,000 people, is currently posted on this site. His 2 books are in pdf files and posted in his section on this site. Many people learned about their family history through his genealogical research of Polish Portage County families.

Adeline Sopa (1933-2017), is Portage County, Wisconsin's most renowned researcher. She had traced the Polish village of origination, and passenger ship record of most of Portage County, Wisconsin's original Polish immigrants. It was through Adeline's research of the Quebec ship passenger records, that the Gilmeister ship records were found. The Kaszuby Region - Home of the Polish Pioneers of Portage County by Adeline Sopa.

Emil Kitowski (1925-1985), had researched Portage County, Wisconsin's Polish immigrants. After his death his research files were donated to the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point - Archives Library. My family corresponded with Emil in the 1970's. He interviewed several of my relatives. It was through Emil's research of passenger records, that the Felckowski ship records were found. Thank you to the Kitowski family for sharing Emil's genealogy collection!


For privacy, unregistered visitors to this site will not be able to see information about living family members. Registered users of this site may be given access to view family trees containing living family members. New researchers on this site may also be given access to upload family trees (gedcom files) and maintain their trees. To Register for a User Account for Donna Stefani, Myron Felckowski, Jane Rock Costanza, Susan Chapman, or Brian Wierzba's sections, please see the individual researchers pages and select "Register for a User Account".


Please note that not all data in family files has been verified and some requires additional research. Researchers family genealogy files are updated as additional data becomes available.


Thank you to Kevin Kazmierczak, for scanning and sharing the photographs from the estate of his grandmother, Bertha Bigalke Tetzlaff.

Thank you to David Benbennick, for granting the public right to use the Portage County, Wisconsin photo that is featured in the upper right hand corner of this page.


Main page revised on March 21, 2017.

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Our Family Genealogy Pages at www.Bigalke.biz maintained by Susan Chapman. Copyright © 2006-2017.
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