Mary Bereta Glinka was born in Poland in 1876. The passenger ship list, when she came to America in 1906, names her birthplace but the handwriting was illegible. Mary Kopec Norwood, granddaughter of Mary, subscribed to Ancestry.com. It is through this service that Mary and I, Gayle Glinka Weyland, found a brother of Mary's, that came to America the same year she did, His name was Jacob Bereta and it is on his ship list we find the name of the village he was born in which is Stary Wisnicz. This village, Stary Wisnicz, is in the administrative district of Nowy Wisnicz, within Bochnia County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in Southern Poland. It is 27 miles East of Krakow. According to the oral history taken by granddaughter Ann Collette, Mary Bereta Glinka had one sister and one brother. When Mary Bereta met Michael Glinka, she was working as a Pastry Maid in Austria-Hungary. Mary delivered twelve children between the years of 1897 and 1922. Of those twelve births, only nine children survived. The following children of Mary and Michael were born in the years that follows: Anna born in Oderberg, Austria-Hungary in 1897; John born in Oderberg, Austria-Hungary in 1899; Michael born in Oderberg, Austria-Hungary in approx. 1901 (died at birth); Carl born in Oderberg, Austria-Hungary in approx. 1902 (died at six months of age); Charles born in Oderberg, Austria-Hungary in 1903; Emil born in Chicago, IL in 1908; Mary born in Lublin, WI in 1910; Sophia born in Lublin, WI in 1912; Henry born in Lublin, WI in 1916; Emily born in Lublin, WI in 1918; Alice born in Lublin, WI in 1920; and Anthony born in Lublin, WI in 1922 (died at birth).
According to Mary Glinka Burford and Sophie Glinka Lainey, Mary Bereta Glinka spoke only Polish and German. She understood English but could not speak it. She also could understand Czech. She did know how to write and often wrote letters to her sister back in Poland. Sophie Glinka Laniey gave a copy of a letter to myself, Gayle Glinka Weyland, that her mother wrote to her when she was younger. The letter was given to several people on Gayle's behalf in hope of it being translated but the translation did not make sense. Mary Kopec Norwood also gave a copy of this letter to her German friend and her translators when she visited the Czech Republic in 2009. From her understanding, the letter was written in 'pidgin' language which would explain why translation of it has been difficult.
According to Sophie Glinka Lainey, Mary and Michael were happy coming to America. From reading about the Poles in Austria-Hungary during the late 19th and early 20th century, discrimination was a common practice in this area for people who were of not of Germanic origin. This would explain why Mary and Michael both knew how to speak German since Polish was not allowed to be spoken. Both John and Charles baptismal certificates are both written in German which John was baptized 'Johann Stephan' and Charles was baptized 'Karl Peter'.
While Michael used herbs for healing the farm animals while in Lublin, Mary used herbs to heal the children when they were sick. Sophie remembers that when she had an abscess on her finger when she was a young girl, her mother Mary soaked dandelion leaves and bread in milk and then wrapped the leaves and bread around the finger. She also remembers her mother rubbing their chest with heated goose lard and putting flannel material over this when they were sick with a cough and cold. Mary also gave them chamomile tea when they had stomach aches. Mary grew her own herbs and dried them specifically for medicinal purposes.
In 1924, two years after Michael died, Mary sold the farm in Lublin, Wisconsin and used the money to help buy a house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Anna and her husband Carl Glapa along with their two year old son, Edwin; and herself and the remaining children which consisted of Emil, Mary, Sophie, Henry, Emily and Alice. The house in Milwaukee was at 1567 W. Lapham St. which is still standing as of 2009. After she moved to Milwaukee, Mary worked nights doing janitorial work at a railway station, according to the 1930 Census Record for Milwaukee, WI.
In 1934, Mary developed cancer which eventually affected her brain and resulted in her becoming blind at the end of her life. Sophie recalled her mother had lucid moments and at one point wanting help to go to the bathroom. Acorrding to Sophie, she and Alice led her to the bathroom in which she lost consciousness. Between the two of them, they carried Mary to her bed and vowed secrecy to each other keeping it from their sister Anna. Mary Bereta Glinka died April 24, 1935. On her death certificate, it lists Carcinoma of the left kidney as the principal cause of death and Carcinoma of the liver for the contributory cause of death. She is buried in St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is buried in Section 11, Block 8, Lot 29, Grave 3. St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery is located at 3801 S. 6th St. at the corner of W. Howard Avenue.