Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday...M as in "Look at ME!"

Class is in session and it's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." Head over to her blog for information on Alphabe-Thursday and a list of this week's participants. Today we are working on the letter M.

Did you ever do this as a child? Hang from your knees on the monkey bars and yell, "Look at ME?" You did? You're a show off!

And now down to something very serious. On August 31, 1968 I married into the MARTIN family...or so I thought. I was misled and deceived.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law decided to do some genealogy work on the MARTIN side of the family. Much to our surprise she discovered that we're not MARTINS at all. No, we're Kwiatkowskis. My husband's grandfather was Roman Kwiatkowski, but somewhere along the line he decided he'd be Raymond MARTIN. Who knows why? Perhaps he liked the letter M. He apparently used the name for many years and then in 1941 made it legal by having his name officially changed while living in Jersey City, NJ. Around the same time he was issued a Delayed Registration Certificate of Birth from Manistee, Michigan. I would imagine he needed a birth certificate to have his name legally changed.

So, my husband isn't really a MARTIN. I married a Kwiatkowski and didn't even know it. My husband never knew he was of Polish descent, but his great grandparents were born in Poland. His father's birth certificate lists his name as James MARTIN and his father as Raymond MARTIN. We now know that the name hadn't even been legally changed to Raymond MARTIN when his father James MARTIN was born.

So, if you happen to know any Kwiatkoskis in Michigan please let me know. They could be cousins of my husband.

This is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Kwiatkoski on our wedding day when we thought we were Mr. and Mrs. MARTIN.

I've posted pictures before of my great aunt MARGARET MORRIS. She was a Ziegfeld Girl and performed in the Ziegfeld Follies and the Ziegfeld Frolic. I know of at least one silent movie she performed in too.

Here are a few pictures...

And here's a theater program.

Margaret is in the second row, second from the left.

I received a copy of this theater program and some pictures from Jane over at Historical Ziegfeld. There are a lot more old pictures, programs, information, etc., on this site. There's additional information about MARGARET too. Jane is very knowledgeable about all things Ziegfeld.

Class dismissed! Mrs. Matlock told me to tell you.


  1. Get the hell out of town! My maternal grandparents were Julia and Walter Kwiatkowski!

  2. I love those photos of your great aunt, those are so cool! Did you feel different when ou found out your had a different name?

  3. I'm just curious as to how he went from Kwiatkowski to Martin. Maybe you're right, he just liked M better! Love the photos of your great Aunt, what a neat part of your family history. Great M post! Kathy

  4. Wow! This post started out good and got better and better!!!

    What a fascinating discovery - that you're related to Julie Schuler! MWAHAHAHA!

    Discovering your husbands family name was Kwiatkowski is going to open up the door to some other great genealogical discoveries! It's so cool!

  5. When we take the time to look back at the people who came before us, we usually find some real characters and some great stories to tell! Oh you might be related to JULIE!! HOw cool would that be?

  6. My grandmother's maiden name was Kwiatkowski (I think that's how it's spelled). I'll have to see if my mom remembers for sure. Mom's one uncle changed his name to Flowers (I guess that's what it means in English). He was the only one in the family that did.

  7. Hi Betty,
    What an interesting post. How did your hubby respond when he found out about his family history? It is so interesting. I love your wedding picture. You were a very beautiful bride. Love those pictues of your great aunt. I found out not long ago that my Mom sang for the Brooklyn Dodgers "Take me out to the Ball game." My Grandpa was a musician.If is fun learning all about your family history,,isn't it? Love the swing set scene by the way.

  8. My mother's mother's name was Kwiatkowski. I'm pretty sure that's the way it was spelled. Her one brother changed his last name to Flowers. I think that was translated from Polish to English.

  9. WOW..awesome.
    Must be very humbling to be related to her.
    Wonderful post.
    Happy Thursday!
    Have you a great week!

  10. I had seen the photos of your aunt before so of course I have to comment on Ginny. As usual very, very cute. Nice wedding photo even if you married under "false" pretenses!

  11. How fun is this post! Of course, the "Look at Me" is precious, but the whole Kwiatkowskis thing.... so interesting.... and you and Julie long lost relatives :).... You're an absolutely lovely, elegant bride. It must be the Z girl gene in you.

  12. Martin is so much easier to say. What a fun history lesson on families.

  13. love the fashion :D

  14. Is Julie serious?

    That would be really uncanny.

    I never hung by my knees...unless I was wearing a dress. Ha!

    What a great post!

    I enjoyed my entire Mesmerizing visit here today on my journey through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "M"!


    And thanks for dismissing the class so well.

  15. Goodness, it must be very strange to discover you have a whole different family than the one you thought was yours! What a shame your husband didn't grow up knowing them...but it's never too late!

    Your Ziegfield aunt sounds so interesting. At least, you have lots of history and photos of her.

  16. Betty, you're so funny. Looks like there are lots of Kwiatkowskis for you to get to know. Love the caption with your wedding photo "when we thought we were...".

  17. We have something in common! My maiden name is Bilen, because there were too many Johanssons in Sweden and my great-great-great grandfather wanted to be different and changed our name. Thanks for sharing your family heritage.

  18. That is so neat to have mementos of the interesting history. Do you have them displayed anywhere in your home? They are so cool!!

  19. Oh.My.Gosh! I can't imagine how I'd feel about finding out about the name change thing!!! ...I am sooo happy for you that you have such wonderful pictures of your great aunt! What a treasure! ...and those doll scenes of yours are too much! Hope to see you checking out MY MINI CUPCAKE PINCUSHIONS!

  20. Wow!!!! First of all...I love your scenes that you post with the little dolls and settings!

    And then...oh my goodness! for a family member to go from Kwiatkowski to Martin and then find out you are an undercover Kwiatkowski in a Martin disquise... whew! You have to admit that Martin is much easier to spell. :o)

    I agree that no matter what name Mr. and Mrs. K or Mr. and Mrs. are a stunning couple! What a great wedding photo!

    And then how fun and neat is that about your great aunt! Love all the photos of her!

    And last of all...I had to laugh at the comments from the other bloggers :o) How cool is that if you are related to Julie and Viki!

    Your post was Marvelous!!!!!

    Blessings & Aloha!

  21. How interesting and surprising it must have been to find out the real family name. I don't think it was so unusual though, for families to change their names when they emmigrated backin those days. It was a way to "start fresh" and feel more American and blend in.

    Your aunt's photos are wonderful! You have such interesting family history on both sides.

  22. what a fascinating post ... the whole name change thing seems like such a Mystery ... i hope you find others or maybe relatives so learn the reason for the change.

  23. What an interesting M post :) !
    Perhaps he chose Martin because it was easier to spell ... or pronounce :) .
    Lovely photos of your aunt. You have a fun family history!
    Catherine :)

  24. Betty, I LOVE your wedding photo! You look so pretty. Your dress is beautiful. (not like the dresses of today) I also love the photos of your aunt. You always have such interesting posts.

  25. PS: Betty, I'm also of Polish descent. My great grandparents chaned their name from Gujowski to Gusa. I bet we're cousins somewhere along the line!

  26. Wow! I love those pictures from the Follies. What a fantastic piece of history right there.

    Meanwhile, I can only imagine why Kwiatkowski became Martin - maybe it just sounded more, for lack of a better term, "American". I know that my great aunt and her siblings sometimes went as "Jennings" from "Janczewska". Granted, I think that was a natural translation but still. It may have been easier that way, at that time. I'm interested in finding out why the change occurred, if you ever find out.

  27. Well isn't that something? WOW, I can't get over that. I bet you still can't either. At least your husband knows his descent now....thanks for stopping by, and yes I did hang on the monkey bars and say look at me, still do, no just kidding:)

  28. Truly precious pictures of your Great Aunt. Hope you do find some connections to other Kwiatkowski's...

  29. Late getting to the M posts but had to come glad I did! No, I'm not a Kwiatkoskis or even a Martin, but what fun to read about it! Strange thing, names. Some of my family did that too coming through Ellis..future blog post.
    Thanks for visiting my M and I'll be back soon, still kinda in transition

  30. So did you change the name back? Your aunt's photos are just gorgeous! What a superstar!

  31. That was an adorable post! I look forward to reading more of your writings! Thanks for taking a moment to come by my blog recently and comment.

    New follower.


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