The Beginning

Please read the blogroll called  “The Marriage.”  In it you will find the story of how Adrian and Wanda met and another of mom’s poems written not long after they were married.

Ellis Island

After a lot of reading and writing, I have written a summary of Raymond Werbicki’s entry into the United States by way of Ellis Island.  There are two documents that you will need to open in order to get both the written text and graphics.  They are filed under the term “blog roll” on the right.  Please watch the power point as a slide show by clicking on “slide show” then “view show” as that would make the images larger.

I hope you enjoy what you see and read.  More will come as I get Linda involved as she is our “Polish expert.”


Wanda is on the left.

Wanda Maria Werbicki was born on January 24, 1921 in the Polish neighborhood of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.  She was the first child of Raymond Wierzbicki and Pauline Bregetta Jaroszewska, both of whom emigrated from Poland through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. (More on a later post.) English was not her first language; in fact, Wanda did not learn English until she was in elementary school.  In addition to Wanda, Raymond and Pauline had another daughter and two sons. Raymond was known to his grandchildren as Grandpa and Pauline was called “Bachie” which is a child’s pronunciation of the Polish word babka which means grandmother.


Adrian - far left in front of Granny

Adrian Woodrow Fortenberry was born on December 7, 1918 on the family farm in Osyka, Mississippi just above the state line between Mississippi and Louisiana.  He was the third son of Ferman Esco Fortenberry and Nellie Mae Simmons.  Ferman and Mae had six sons and no daughters!  Just imagine the clothes washing and cooking she had to do!  Adrian grew up in a rural setting with lots of extended family around him.  Our direct Fortenberry (Falkenberg) ancestor came to this country from Holstein, Denmark (now part of Germany) in the mid 1600s.  This pioneer, Hendrick Jacobs Falkenberg, was a renowned translator between settlers of New Sweden and the Lenape natives of New Jersey and is noted on many deeds during the 1670s and 1780s.  To read a really interesting article about him, see the Wiki article at:

(Note:  click on the picture for a larger view.)

Wanda and Adrian

Adrian in Sacramento, 1942

Wanda and Adrian were married in 1939 and were separated during World War II.  The following is a poem Wanda wrote about her feelings during this time.


Never doubt my dearest love,

But keep your brightest hopes in view.

Never doubt that I am faithful,

Thinking all the time of you.

Never doubt that I’ll be waiting,

Waiting for you patiently.

Trust, believe and never doubt

The best is yet to be.