Merrill’s Barn Dance

Merrill’s Barn Dance

When I asked my grandfather how his parents met, he told me it was at a barn dance--but he couldn't remember where or when or how or why. I've always kept that barn dance in the back of my mind; I know my parents met at my dad's twenty-first birthday party, my dad's parents were [...]

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 [...]

The Seven Marczynski Sisters (& Eddie)

The Seven Marczynski Sisters (& Eddie)

SS Patricia Casimir and Marianna (Fabich) Marczynski left Poland for the Fourth Ward of Dunkirk, New York on January 17, 1900 with their four young children--Apolonia (b. 1895), Franz (b. 1897), Katha (b. 1897) and Stefan (b. 1899) in tow. Casimir worked as a boilermaker at Brooks Locomotive Works and opened a penny-candy store on [...]

The Bachelor

The Bachelor

Serafin Zielinski, according to my grandmother, was quite the catch. He was born in 1909 in Dunkirk, New York to John Michael Zielinski and Pauline Louise Gostomski, two Polish immigrants who arrived in America at the turn-of-the-century and purchased land in nearby Springville, New York. John worked as a machinist at Brooks Locomotive Works--a profession [...]

Sorting My Ancestors into Hogwarts Houses

Sorting My Ancestors into Hogwarts Houses

You can tell a lot about a person by the house they’re sorted into at Hogwarts, or so I've been told. Back in December, I sorted my family members--Gramps, Grandma, Mom and Aunt Holly--into Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, respectively, and I've decided to sort the previous generation of Kuznicki's and Zielinski's this month. There's [...]