"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."


Portraits From The Past

by  Phyllis Zeck

In 2015 I wrote about a long-hidden secret. My father Robert had changed his last name from Winkofske to Winike. For many years I was frustrated that I couldn’t find any information about my father’s birth father.  Dad passed away in 1970 while I was still a teenager and I never thought to ask questions about his father. I only knew that my grandfather’s first name was Frank and I consistently searched for him by the last name of Winike. I was shocked to discover that his last name was Winkofske. I was very curious to discover more about Frank and this new branch of my family tree. I’ve been able to connect a few more dots over the years but so much time has passed most of the relatives who might have know what Frank’s personality was like along with his life story have long since passed.  

Francis John Winkofske (1899-1959) married Grace M. Norder on 05 Nov 1928 in Chicago. Their son was born 30 Dec 1928 in Chicago. Dad’s name on his birth certificate was Francis Winkofske Jr however dad changed his name to Robert Thomas Winike.

In 2018 I connected with a relative through Ancestry.com. Tom’s mother and my grandfather Frank were siblings. I asked Tom if by chance he had any photos of my grandfather. He didn’t, however a few days ago he sent me three photos I’ve never seen before along with the following memories; “
Charles owned a house at 5926 S. Honore St. in Chicago. As I was only twelve at the time of his death I don’t recall very much. As we did not have a car it was a rarity to visit. I do recall he kept homing pigeons, which I thought was kind of neat. I believe he was a teamster – that is he drove horses. I believe for a while he delivered coal.  His father’s name was Louis. His first wife (Catherine) died in 1915. With 8 kids in the house, he married a second wife, Anne Duball, she had two children from a previous marriage, one was Gertrude.”

Charles Peter Winkofske
Catherine GannonThe photos above are my paternal great grandparents Charles Peter Winkofske (born in Germany) and Catherine Gannon (born in Chicago). Dad would never meet his grandmother Catherine as she died in 1915. Since Charles lived until 1960, I wonder if dad and his grandfather had a relationship. 

Edward & Marie WinkofskeThe photo on the left is a snapshot of my paternal grandfather Frank’s brother. Edward & Marie Winkofske pose with their two daughters Marie (Bonnie) and Edith (Kitty).

Charles Peter Winkofske (1874-1960) and Catherine Gannon (1879-1915) had 
eight children:
Jessie Agnes (1895-1983)
Charles P. (1897-1965)
Francis John (1899-1959) (my grandfather)
Jane L. (1901-1978)
Thomas Edward (1903-1937)
Edward John (1905-1982)
Katherine (1907-1922)
Patricia Mary (1911-1991)


One Response to Portraits From The Past

  1. 1 month ago by John Sabella

    The upper picture on the left is my maternal great grandfather.
    The lower picture is my maternal grandfather Edward, my grandmother Mary Agnes, my aunt Catherine (my grandmother called her kitty) and my mother Rose (who always went by her middle name Marie). I have many pictures of all of them, and the exact same picture of my great grandfather.


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