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Debra Briggs



Joined: 07 Oct 2017
Replies: 3
Location: Flagstaff, AZ USA

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:03 am      Post subject: Translating Ruthenian message
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My grandmother was Ruthenian, born in 1892 Lezachow in what is now Poland. Her mother Katherine Ciorko hand-wrote her a message about 100 years ago on the back of a picture. My Polish relatives can't read it and neither can my Ukrainian friends. I am hoping someone in this community can help translate Katherine's message. Please see attached and thank you!


writing on the back of Evelyn's mother's picture.jpg
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Sophia



Joined: 05 Oct 2014
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:07 am      Post subject:
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Hi Debra,
I may try to pick out a few words here, and then hope that some others join in.

[Edit: ignore this part.... First, though, may I ask if your grandmother's name was Elisabeth (Polish = Elzbieta)? I think that is who the writing is being addressed to (vertical writing on the left begins with "Elo!" which is the form in which one would address a woman named Ela, which itself is a nickname for Elzbieta).]

The vertical writing on the left begins with what I initially read as "Elo!" but now I see that it is using the Cyrillic alphabet, and is actually saying what would be "Ewo!" in our alphabet. Ewo is the form in which one would address a woman named Ewa. So your grandmother Evelyn was named Ewa. Perfect! I do not, however, think the whole thing is written in Cyrillic.

I am not sure that the words were written by your great-grandmother, though, because the word "Mama" is sprinkled throughout. My initial guess is that it was written by one of your grandmother's siblings, talking about your great-grandmother. Further, I am guessing that the person who wrote it has put their name in the upper left-hand part of the card (the upside-down word). Possibly Dorosia (nickname of Dorota). Do you know if she had a sister by that name?

At the very bottom left, I see "z tato" which means "and Dad."

Sophia
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Sophia



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Post Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:31 am      Post subject:
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Here is a first attempt at the text on the bottom left, which seems to be a single sentence in Polish. I will show it here as the 9 lines you see on the card:

1. Mama
2. ___ ___
3. jeszcze czy ___
4. patrz ___
5. włosy ___ ___
6. Ewciu nasza dro-
7. ga Mama tak
8. nas ___ ___
9. z tato.

"Ewciu" is the writer directly addressing Ewa. "Nasza droga Mama" is "our dear mother." Beyond that, I cannot make sense of it....
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Elzbieta Porteneuve
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:48 pm      Post subject: Re: Translating Ruthenian message
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Debra Briggs wrote:
My grandmother was Ruthenian, born in 1892 Lezachow in what is now Poland. Her mother Katherine Ciorko hand-wrote her a message about 100 years ago on the back of a picture. My Polish relatives can't read it and neither can my Ukrainian friends. I am hoping someone in this community can help translate Katherine's message. Please see attached and thank you!


Hi Debra,

The printed text "Fotogr. Atelier H. Probstein, Jaroslaw, ul. Hetmanska (kolejowa)" gives the name and address of the photographe in Jaroslaw, which is circa 20 km south from Leżachów. More printed text is about this photographe receiving silver award on agriculture exhibition in Jaroslaw 1908, and gold award in international exhibition in Paris in 1908.

The manuscript is written mostly in Polish (Latin script), with the exception of few nice words, written in Cyrillic script (Russian/Ukrainian). Very hard to translate emotions.

Best,
Elzbieta

Left:
Мамю // Mamiu
дуже добре // duze dobre
Jeszcze wyglonda (wyglada)
Patrz ruznice (roznice)
włosy siwe lecz
Ewciu Nasza dro-(ga)
(ga) Mama tak
nas kocha
z Tato.
==
Mamiu duze dobre, jeszcze wyglada. Patrz roznice, wlosy siwe, lecz Ewciu Nasza droga, Mama tak nas kocha z Tata.
NOTE: My first perception was it is one sister writing to another one, to Ewa, about their Mother.
Our Dear Good Mom, still looks nice. See differences, the hair is grey, but our dear Ewcia (Ewa), Mom and Dad love us so much.
==

Right:
Mama Ci
nie z checiom fotogr
chciala wyslac
Wiesz Droga zawsze Ci Mama zazy
wa schowaniem.
?Jeczylo jedynie
na to iz lzy po zobaczeniu po to nie
Powrucila (powrocila) tak wl?et?
==
Mama Ci nie z checiom fotogr chciala wyslac. // Mom was not pleased to sent this photo to you.
Wiesz Droga zawsze Ci Mama zazywa schowaniem. // You know my Dear that Mom always surprise you, she hides
?Jeczylo jedynie na to iz lzy po zobaczeniu po to nie powrocila tak wle?et? // ? only that tears after seeing ? then she did not come back ?.
==

Right vertical:
Daj, Kostkowi widziec. Ja?? Nie mialam
na wiecej przywiazc. Komu tez.
// Please show this picture to Kostka. I did not have more (money) to bring more. (Show it) to whom you want.

Left vertical:
Дорога Эво! Твоя любов та Мама // Droga Ewo! Twoja miłość jest Mama.
Dear Ewa, Your love is Mom.
==
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Sophia



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Post Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:12 pm      Post subject:
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Beautiful!!! Thanks, Elzbieta. You have amazing ability to read old handwriting!
So, Debra, what I thought (at the very top left) was Dorosia, is not - - actually it is the cyrillic handwriting for Droga, "dear".
Best,
Sophia
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Debra Briggs



Joined: 07 Oct 2017
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Location: Flagstaff, AZ USA

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:15 pm      Post subject:
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Wow, this is all very interesting, Sophia and Elzbieta!

My grandmother was one of 5 girls: Anna, Evelyn, Katarzyna, Anastaszja, and Marja (according to my cousins this is the spelling). I always thought it odd that my grandmother had the name "Evelyn", which does not sound Polish at all compared to her siblings. So you both are saying that "Evelyn" is actually "Ewa" - correct? Would "Kostka" be a nickname for Kataryna? Evelyn, Katarzyna, and Marja came to the US, the other 2 girls did not.

Is this a typical Polish dialect for the time or is it, as my grandmother maintained, Ruthenian?

This really is very interesting. Thank you both!

Debra
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Elzbieta Porteneuve
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:37 am      Post subject:
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Debra Briggs wrote:
Wow, this is all very interesting, Sophia and Elzbieta!

My grandmother was one of 5 girls: Anna, Evelyn, Katarzyna, Anastaszja, and Marja (according to my cousins this is the spelling). I always thought it odd that my grandmother had the name "Evelyn", which does not sound Polish at all compared to her siblings. So you both are saying that "Evelyn" is actually "Ewa" - correct? Would "Kostka" be a nickname for Kataryna? Evelyn, Katarzyna, and Marja came to the US, the other 2 girls did not.

Is this a typical Polish dialect for the time or is it, as my grandmother maintained, Ruthenian?

This really is very interesting. Thank you both!

Debra


Debra and Sophia,

Two given names are handwritten on the card: Ewa (feminine) and Kostka (masculine, variant of Konstanty; can be sometimes Kostia -- CORRECTION: Kostka can be also diminutive of Konstancja, feminine. However on the card, there is a declension Kostkowi - with i at the end, masculine.). NOTE: please remember that Slavic languages means variants of given names, and also easy transformation and usage of words, it is "music of the language". Impossible to translate for example to French, where we have only "petit" to add. On Polish ID you have canonical version of given name. In everyday life you use plenty of variants, sometimes to express nice emotion, or love, sometimes to express anger. Slavic languages names are like impressionist's painting catching the light and changing with light.

One of sisters writes to Ewa, describing their Mother with love, and telling her that Mom and Dad love them all.
She adds "Please show this picture to Kostka. I did not have more (money) to bring more. (Show it) to whom you want", which means there is also a person, Kostka - Konstantyn, and she wants Ewa share with him Mother's picture. She cherish this picture, my perception it is a treasure, intimate tresure. Kostka must be a member of the family, or very close friend. Then she adds to Ewa, she can show the picture to anyone she wants - she transmits to Ewa the tresure, and let Ewa decide to whom she may show the picture of their Mother.

The language on the card is Polish, usual Polish, written in Latin script, with the only exception of the nice naming of the Mother, written in Cyrillic, which adds this "music of the language". Imagine a little girl snuggling in Mom's arms and whispering soft words.

I do not know how is the picture, but this card is love.

"Anna, Evelyn, Katarzyna, Anastaszja, and Marja (according to my cousins this is the spelling)"

"Evelyn" is English transformation, Ewa.

"Marja" - that was the Polish orthography before its reform in 1936. I have ID documents of my aunt Marja, then Maria.

"Anastaszja" - today it is Anastazja.

Addendum: Would "Kostka" be a nickname for Kataryna? Evelyn, Katarzyna, and Marja came to the US, the other 2 girls did not.

The Polish diminutive for Katarzyna is Kasia. We may deduce that Anna or Anastazja wrote this card to Ewa.

"Is it Ruthenian?"

No, it is not Ruthenian. But my experience here on this PO forum, to type and translate some post cards or short handwritten letters in "strange" Slavic language, is following (1) mixture of Latin and Cyrillic, (2) when I read it and spell, I can almost always find the meaning in Polish.

My own family is from Przemyśl, my ears remeber perfectly the music of language from that area of Poland, even if I did not live there.

Best,
Elzbieta
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Debra Briggs



Joined: 07 Oct 2017
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Location: Flagstaff, AZ USA

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:40 am      Post subject:
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Elzbieta and Sophia,

So my grandmother's name was Ewa! Just that information alone opens my whole world. I don't know any Kostka but then I didn't know very much about Evelyn (Ewa) either - although I was 13 when she died. She never talked about the past and I hardly ever saw her, due to circumstances beyond my control, which I regret to this day.

This is a beautiful translation, Elzbieta! I can feel the love coming through your words. You have given me a great gift.

I have attached the picture - it is my way to express my gratitude to you both.

Debra



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Elzbieta Porteneuve
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:13 pm      Post subject:
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Thank you Debra! Beautiful card. The picture of K.E.Ciórko, Katarzyna E. Ciórko, mother of 5 women:
Anna, Evelyn, Katarzyna, Anastaszja, and Marja.

The lady on the picture is in her 60s. I deduce she was born in 1850s.

Your grandmother - Evelyn=Ewa, was born in 1892 in Leżachów. The card was written circa 100 years ago, that means 1917 or so - by Anna or Anastazja. In 1917 Ewa is 25. Similar age for her sisters in Poland. They are all litterate, I was told by my parents that at the time, the basic education was 4 years elementary school. The person who wrote the card - Anna or Anastazja - used to write, there is no mistake, neither awkward expressions.

Today distribution of the name Ciurko (current orthography of Ciórko):
http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/ciurko.html
The big red spot in the south-east is your area.

Best,
Elzbieta
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Sophia



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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:08 am      Post subject:
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Hi Debra,
Thank you for posting the photograph of your great-grandmother. She looks so very dignified! Her clothing is quite interesting; the fabric looks quilted, and the pin is intriguing, too. I understand her sensitivity to being photographed at that age, (the card-writer's comment, "Mom was not pleased to send this photo to you") but it is wonderful that she went ahead with it anyway, had the photo taken and had it sent off to your grandmother. Her eyes look very kind.
I just want to comment about your grandmother's given name. The Polish name Ewa would be most commonly rendered in English as Eve. One thing that changes, in that case, is the sound of the "E" which is a "short E" in Polish and a "long E" in Eve. If you follow a more British pronunciation, Evelyn keeps that "long E," and the name comes out with two syllables, sounding something like "Eve-lyn." On the other hand, if you follow a more American pronunciation, Evelyn has a "short E," and the name comes out with three syllables, sounding something like "Eh-va-lyn." All of this is to say that going from Ewa to Evelyn-with-an-American-pronunciation would feel much more familiar to her than being called Eve. Just my opinion. If pronunciations are of interest to you, you may be aware that you can go to Google Translate and listen to how words are said in Polish, for example this is how "Ewa Ciurko" would sound: http://translate.google.ca/?hl=en&tab=wT#pl/en/Ewa%20Ciurko . Listen to it twice, and the voice will say it at normal speed and then at a slower pace.
All the best to you in your research,
Sophia
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