I recently came across some documents, in my grandmother’s home, related to my family’s history. Finding them fascinating even apart from my personal interest in my own family, I thought they might be of interest to some of you as well. The author of the two short passages written below is Effie (Bryza) Adamski (9 September 1887 – 24 April 1984), the eldest sister of my great-grandmother (specifically, my father’s mother’s mother), Martha (Bryza) Hanna (21 July 1901 – 1 July 2008). I have reproduced the passages exactly as they appear (on two separate sheets of paper), including grammar and spelling errors. The name headings are the headings as she wrote them. I have not been able to find out why she wrote them or for whom.
Effie Bryza Adamski
I was born in Poland Poznan 1887. I remember doing little errands, going to a neighbor to get linseed oil for toast. My Grandma lived with us. My father, John Bryza came to America 1890 with his brother-in-law, Nick Michalski and his wife.They lived in Tawas City. They worked on rail road going north. Then got a job in Alabaster in 1892. Grandma Michalski, Mother, my sister (2 years old), and I (4 years old) came 1893, Landed in Alabaster at the dock. My Auntie Mary Michalski came to meet us. I was 5 years old that fall, started school at 7yrs. Had to talk and learn in English — hard to pronounce right; went to school at age 14 and quit, got a job patching bags Alabaster plaster. When I was 16, my sister 14, we worked in Hotel help wait on tables, dry dishes. In fall age 17 got a job in the sugar beet fields, worked with girls from Alpena. Made friends, one took a liking to me (Hattie Adamski), wrote letters. Hattie came for Easter she, got a job, kind girl. She stayed until fall. Wanted me to go back with her to Ossineke, we finely came on the Train — No one to meet us, had to walk 5 miles. I was tired, sat on bench and went to sleep. My friend’s brother (Walter) came in the house. He said he feel in love at first sight. In following spring, we got married.
The second page:
I was born in Poznan, Poland September 30, 1887. A sister Katie born in 1889. Grandmother lived with us. Mother went to work in field. John Bryza, his brother-in-law, and wife came to America. Landed in Tawas, Michigan. Lived there for years (1890) Then they moved to Alabaster, got a job in the quarry. Two years later (1893), Mother, I, my sister Katie and Grandma Michalski came to America, landed in Alabaster at the dock. Aunti Mary Michalski came to meet us, got house on first block from the lake. Three years later moved on 40 acre farm. Had over 1 mile to school, quit at 14 years old, went to work. At 17 got acquainted with Hattie Adamski. She wanted me to come with her to Ossineke in the fall. I got acquainted with her brother Walter. In the spring of 1906 we got marrid. Walter and I raised 10 children all were baptized and went to St. Catherine Church, and went to St. Charles School on Nicholson Hill Rd. 2 graduated from Alpena High School. All married, 4 to polish families. Walter and I bought an 80 acre farm on Nicholson Hill, closer to the St. Catherine Church, and half a mile to St. Charles School. We had 11 children. Viola died at as an infant, 18 months, in December 1914 — May 1916. Viola is buried at St. Catherine’s church cemetery — Infant daughter of Walter and Effie Adamski.
On the back of the paper containing this passage is written in both Polish and English the hymn “Serdecezna Matko.” The Polish is handwritten, whereas the English is typed in very small letters and has a small black-and-white image of the Madonna and Child next to it. I’ve reproduced the English as written on the paper below and following that is a video I found on YouTube of a choir from Catholic parish in Minnesota singing the hymn in Polish:
BELOVED MOTHER Guardian of our Nation,
Hearken O Hearken, to our supplication.
Your loyal children, from the plain and city,
We kneel beseeching, Your great love and pity.
God of our Fathers, for so many ages,
Has shown us Justice, Mercy and His Grace;
Still we implore our Mother kind and tender;
Oh be our refuge; O be our Defender!