Thursday, July 5, 2012

Genealogy 101...Gusa/Brutke Family

For two weeks I have been working on my family tree.
I have actually began to dream about them!
I'm lost in lists and more lists and photographs and clues.
It's a fantastic summertime project, especially during chilly temperatures and monsoon rains.
Last evening I visited my parents and my Mom showed me pictures I don't recall ever seeing before.
I was familiar with this one of my Mom, as I have a colour reprinted copy.
Isn't she adorable? She reminds me of Shirley Temple.
She was holding her hands out to catch a ball!

This is the photo I was after. I have a huge one in an original frame. The frame needs to be repaired.
I wanted a smaller copy, and my Mom had one.
This is my maternal grandparents, my mother's parents.
Helen's maiden name was Guse. I'm having a difficult time tracking them down online!
They changed their surname from Gusowski. I believe that's the correct spelling.
Yes, it's Polish, as Helen's father, August Guse, was born in Poland in 1866.
Helen was a wonderful seamstress, and she made her wedding dress.
Her sister in law, Helen (Brutke) Keene borrowed it for her wedding and refused to give it back!
I wonder what happened to it.
Helen was 21 when she was married, just like me!
She was married 70 years before I was.

Isn't this another adorable photo? It was taken in San Antonio, Texas, at the McMahon Studio.
These are my mother's cousins.
Their mother is Helen (Brutke...sister to Adolph Brutke, my mother's father) and their father is Edward Keene. My mother often played with their younger sister, Louise, as she was the same age as her.
I just love old photos!


Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I've been doing the same thing. Actually, I first got involved in family history in the 1980's when it meant visiting libraries and writing many letters. Then we moved and I never got back into it again until last summer when I bought Family Tree Maker and started entering all my information. I finally got my tree up on this past week. I hope to find time to fool around with it soon.

By the way, we only found out about two years ago that our last name shouldn't be Martin. Jim's grandfather changed his Polish name to Martin. I think it might have been because the Polish were discriminated against for jobs. He never changed it legally until it was time to apply for Social Security. He needed a birth certificate that said Martin, so he legally changed it then. I was really surprised that my husband and his sister never knew. I guess the family didn't talk about it.

Harald Prüfer said...


Researching the family name Brutke I found your blog.

My grandmother from father's side was Emilie Brutke, born 1899 in Pabianice, Poland. Her father Karl came from the Kalisch area. Most of the Brutkes I found in online databases were born in this area in villages like Tlokinia, Debe Kolonia... Alternate spellings include Brudke, Brudka, Brutka, Bródka. Any link to your ancestors? (I don't doubt there is a link, looking at the picture of Adolf Brutke)

BTW, doing research in the Pabianice / Lodz area I regularly encountered the name Guse.

Melissa Bly said...

I believe that you and your family are related to my family :) My grandma has a lot of information about her parents and grandparents and they are all Brutke and Keene. I do not know nearly as much as she does but they came to America and most of them came into Texas. This month we are actually having a Brutke-Keene family reunion and I cannot wait to meet some of the family.

Judy Mitchelldyer said...

I am the daughter of Louise mentioned above. Edward and Helen Keene (Kiehn) were my grandparents. I believe that I met you a few years ago when my mom and I visited Suzy in Canada. I took my mom to Galveston and Pflugerville, TX this year to find information from their time in Texas. I was able to get a copy of their marriage certification and believe we found the church they were married in.

Loretta said...

Hello Judy! If you see this, would you please email me at
I'd love to get in touch with you! That is wonderful you took your mom to Texas.