Matryoshkas & Matriarchs

Matryoshkas & Matriarchs

Matryoshka dolls--more commonly known as Russian nesting dolls--are sets of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. Matryoshka means "little maiden" or "mother," and the dolls have become a symbol of the babushka, a strong female matriarch and central figure in the family. My grandparents are Polish--not Russian--but my grandmother always had Russian [...]

In Marcella’s Words

In Marcella’s Words

Marcella (Mintkiewicz) Witkowski & daughter, Agnes (Witkowski) Tarnowski Marcella (Mintkiewicz) Witkowski is my great-great-great-grandmother, and we're related solely on my maternal line; if you trace back from my mother to my grandmother to Grandma Hattie to Grandma Mary, you'll find Marcella at the top. She was born on January 2, 1855 in Poland, the daughter [...]

The Mystery Brother

The Mystery Brother

Mary (Witkowski) Marczynski // Restoration by Robin Clark In July of 1907, Maryanna Louisa Witkowski, the daughter of Nicholas and Marcella (Mintkiewicz) Witkowski, left Poland for the small town of Dunkirk, New York to marry a man she had never met. She and Casimir Marczynski, a widower with six young children, were wed on August [...]

From Poland to New York

From Poland to New York

On July 20, 1907, Maryanna Witkowska departed from Hamburg, Germany on the SS Lutterworth, listing her destination as "Dunkirk, NY." She was making the journey from Czarnowo, Poland to marry a man she had never met and to become a stepmother to his seven children. Casimir Marczynski's wife, Mary, had contracted typhoid fever and died at [...]