Another Brick Wall Bites the Dust

Another Brick Wall Bites the Dust

I've been searching for clues into my great-great-grandfather's past since I began researching my genealogy seven years ago. According to my grandfather, John Peterson was born in Sweden, and he married an American woman, Celestia Merrill, around the turn-of-the-century. Gramps and his parents lived with John and Celestia when they were first starting out as [...]

The Mystery Brother

The Mystery Brother

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 26, 1907 at St. Hedwig's Catholic Church. At [...]

Of Unusual & Heavenly Names

Of Unusual & Heavenly Names

Celestia is of Latin origin, meaning "heavenly," and evokes all things ethereal and otherworldly. It's a diminutive form of Celeste and, more notably, "celestial," the latter of which means "positioned in or relating to the sky or outer space," "belonging or relating to heaven" and "supremely good." My great-great-grandmother was a Celestia; she was born [...]

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 [...]

John Nation’s Journey to America

John Nation’s Journey to America

According to family legend, the first Nation ancestor to settle in America--John Nation of Rowan County, North Carolina, my 8th great-grandfather--was kidnapped as a young boy in England and brought to New Jersey as an indentured servant. It is much more likely, though, that John Nation entered into indenture in exchange for passage to the [...]