On Trains & Tolstoy

On Trains & Tolstoy

This past week, I've been re-reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina--one of my favorite novels. Anna's and Vronsky's ill-fated affair is framed by the coming-and-going of trains: they're a symbol of their love, of ties to the "West" and, ultimately, of the tragedy at the novel's conclusion. Trains were, in many ways, at the center of [...]

DNA Connections to Pomerania

DNA Connections to Pomerania

With surnames like Marczynski, Zielinski, Gostomski and Kuznicki in my family tree, I'm undeniably Polish. My great-great-grandparents, Mikołaj Kuznicki and Wiktorya Drag, left Galicia for Dunkirk, New York in their early twenties, and the Zielinski's, Gostomski's and Marczynski's all arrived at Ellis Island in 1900. Some of my ancestors started working in the coal mines [...]

A Shower Bouquet of Roses

A Shower Bouquet of Roses

The patron saint of Poland is Saint Hedwig of Silesia. The Marczynski family lived at 17 St. Hedwig's Avenue in Dunkirk, New York, attended St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church and studied at St. Hedwig's Catholic School; naturally, Casimir and Mary named their third daughter Hedwig. Hedwig Adrianna Marczynski was born on July 10, 1913 in [...]