Document: The marriage of Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska

After some postal difficulties, I received the marriage certificate of my great great grandparents Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska from the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. So, voila:

The penmanship is somewhat difficult to read, but here’s my transcription:

Registration Division of: Beausejour Brokenhead
1. Name of GROOM (surname first): Surname: Koschlak; Given name: Danyto Danylo
2. Rank or profession: farmer
3. Bachelor, widower or divorced: bachelor
4. Age: 23
5. Religious denomination: gr. cat
6. Usual residence: Brokenhead T. 14, R.8, m.29
7. Name and surname of father: Prokop Koschlak
8. Rank or profession of father: farmer
9. Name and maiden name of mother: Chrystina Fink
10. Name of BRIDE (surname first): Surname: Bruchanska, Given name: Anna
11. Rank or profession: farmer
12. Spinster, widower or divorced: spinster
13. Age: 19
14. Religious denomination: gr. cat
15. Usual residence: Brokenhead
16. Name and surname of father: Dmytro Bruchanski
17. Rank or profession of father: farmer
18. Name and surname of mother: Nastia Rozdobudko
19. When married: 10th day of February, 1914
20. Where married: Brokenhead Church of the Holy Ghost
21. How married (license or banns; if by license, give number): Banns
22. Names and addresses of witnesses: Name: Nykola Rostlinkski; Address: Brokenhead T.14, R.7, m.13; Name: Michal Wialogowski; Address: Brokenhead, T.14, R.8, m.31
23. Signature, address and religious denomination of person solemnizing marriage: The above-stated particulars are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Signature of officiating clergyman: Rev. Eaudraibuim (sp?); Address: Beausejour; Religious denomination: gr. cat
24. Registered number: 14. Filed at this office this: 5th 3 4th day of Feb March, 1914

This also further confirms that Danylo and Mary Faduck were siblings, since their parental information is the same on this marriage certificate and Mary’s death certificate.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 16: Prokop Koszlak

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Prokop Koszlak was born around the year 1865 near the village of Novosilka in Pidhaitsi raion (region), Ternopil oblast (province) in modern day Ukraine. He is my 3x great grandfather, the father of  Danylo Koszlak. I have absolutely no documents pertaining to him other than 3 of his children’s marriage certificates from here in North America that list his name as their father. He was a farmer, and he married a woman named Kristina Fink. At least 3 of his children (possibly more) immigrated to North America in the early 1900’s, as did a large number of residents of the area. It was one of the poorest regions in Europe at the time, and the mass exodus of natives left to carve out a better life for their future generations.

I feel like my Ukrainian branch of family tree are the most exotic, to me anyways, and I was not expecting many records to be available. But happily I was wrong, there are church records and state held records available.

Roadblock number one in pushing my Ukrainian research back further: because my father was adopted, I don’t have birth certificates and hard evidence – documents directly connecting me to Prokop, and this is necessary for some research. However I have been told that because the records I am looking for – Prokop’s birth/marriage/death/other children – are more than 100 years old, it is possible the state archives, known as the RAHS would grant me a privacy release. Roadblock numbers two is a language barrier. I have overcome language barriers before, but the mix of Ukrainian/Polish/Russian in Cyrillic alphabet is proving to be a challenge for me, and I have to admit I have been putting it off.

There are two ways for me to get my hands on more information: Metrical (church) records, held by the LDS church that can be ordered on microfilm for viewing, and records held by the RAHS. The metrical records are from 1864 and earlier, which is a problem because I can’t be sure Prokop was born earlier than 1865, it’s possible his baptism is not included here. PLUS language barrier. As for the records held by the RAHS, and I believe this is the route I will pursue soon, there is the issue of language barrier again, I would have to compose a letter that the archivists can read, which should surely be in Ukrainian, thought there is a small chance someone will speak English there. There could also be fees involved in foreign currency, and up until now I have been a neglectful Ukrainian genealogist because it has just seemed too difficult! However, writing this post has got me going again in this direction, and I believe I will attempt to contact the archives soon, if I can find help!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 15: Giacomo DeGrandis

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

I thought I’d explain in my next few posts why the rest of my 52 ancestors challenge might end up being heavy on the French Canadian information. This is because the French Canadians left a magnificent paper trail in their wake in the form of Catholic church records. Tracing my other ethnicities, particularily from the comfort of my own home on a computer has it’s limitations. So next up: some of my (current) dead ends.

Giacomo DeGrandis was born circa the year 1845 near the modern comune of Castelfranco Veneto, within the province of Treviso, region of Veneto, Italy. Castelfranco is a medieval town, complete with town walls and a castle, both of which are well preserved to this day. At the time of Giacomo’s (Italian for “Jacob”) birth, the region of Veneto was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, a kingdom within the Austrian Empire. Venetia had long been it’s own self-governing republic (697-1797) with it’s own unique culture and language. Residents considered themselves Venetians and continue to do so to this day. They spoke Venetian, similar to Italian but definitely unique. During Giacomo’s youth, he would see Venetia and Italy’s wars of Independence (Risorgimento), culminating in 1866 when Veneto became unified with the Kingdom of Italy.

Giacomo was quite likely an agricultural worker, either on a farm or (of course, in Italy) a vineyard. Veneto is known as the birthplace of Prosecco wine (and tiramisu!) and still produces some of the most expensive wines in the world. However Castelfranco Veneto is also at the junction of three railways, and a railway station was opened in 1877, so it is also possible he was a railway worker of some kind.

Giacomo married Santa Ambrosi on February 15, 1876. Their daughter, my great great grandmother Maddalena was born June 22, 1886 in the frazione of Campigo, comune di Castelfranco Veneto. Of course, they likely had more children in between, in the 10 years of marriage before Maddalena’s birth. Typically, especially for a Catholic majority society, I’d expect parish records of Baptisms, marriages and burials to be the first place to begin my genealogical search. But in Italy a more readily available, albeit less detailed source of information is civil registration records – births, marriages, and deaths. SOME… and I stress SOME civil registration records are available digitally online through FamilySearch.org, but another way to access a larger archive of these is to write to the stato civile office in the comune in which you are searching, which is the route I went -however I got the bare minimum of Maddalena’s birth, Giacomo and Santa’s marriage, and both of their deaths.

I do know of one other child of Giacomo and Santa, his name is Giovanni, born in 1880 and he served in the Italian military (a link to search that database HERE). He apparently immigrated to Germany and the U.S. in the early 1900’s, but I can find no further documentation on him. I am also told Maddalena had a sister named Josephine (Giuseppina). I DID find records for a Josephine De Grandis born in 1901, she married a man named Edward Barduca/Bardina. But on her marriage record, she lists her parents as Angela Dario and Valentino DeGrandis. The records indicate she was related somehow, and indeed there are many DeGrandis and Dario families in the Castelfranco area at the time, but perhaps she was a niece of Giacomo’s rather than a daughter. Maybe some records were fudged at some time to gain passage to Canada by declaring a closer relation than was real, I can’t be sure.

Giacomo lived to be 74 years old – he died February 13, 1920, just two days shy of his 44th wedding anniversary. 74 years is quite good when you consider that he lived through some major wars (Risorgimento and WWI) and was likely quite poor. His widow Santa lived another 12 years without him, and without their daughter Maddalena and her family as well, since she immigrated to Canada in 1923.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 14, Louis Bessette

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Louis Bessette was born September 6, 1876 in Essex County, Ontario. He was the third of 13 children born to Joseph Bessette and Marie Ozilda Lavallee. Joseph and Ozilda were from Montreal, and their first two children were born in Fall River, Massachusetts (1873) and Detroit, Michigan (1875) respectively. They settled in Essex County just before Louis’ birth and that’s where they stayed. Joseph was a carpenter, and the family lived in the town of Sandwich, which would become central Windsor later on.

Louis was baptized with the name Joseph Louis Telesphore Bessette. He married Clemence Josephine Elisabeth – or Elise/Eliza Gagnon on November 16, 1897 at St. Joseph’s parish in River Canard. The couple first lived in Sandwich town, where Louis briefly worked as a labourer in a coal pit. But by the 1911 census they had moved to Lot #17, 1st Concession in Sandwich – Louis became a farmer. Interestingly because at this time many people were choosing to move to cities and industrialized.  Coincidentally, being one of thirteen children, Louis himself had thirteen children. Their address was also noted as 938 Martin Lane in River Canard, but it appears that during the Great Depression, Louis fell on hard times and was forced to sell his farm, but remained in the River Canard area, living on 2nd Concession.

Louis died February 4, 1966 at River Canard, having been a lifelong resident of the area.

Danylo Koszlak’s Canadian Naturalization

Another resource (albeit sometimes not a particularily genealogically helpful one) are old Canadian Naturalization records. An explanation of the Naturalization process can be found at the Government of Canada’s website. All newly naturalized citizens were listed in a report published by the Secretary of State, and also published in the Canada Gazette (the official newspaper of the Canadian Government).

The Government of Canada’s website offers a searchable database of these records. You can search by name from 1915-1932, OR you can search by date from 1936-1951.

Danylo Koszlak became a naturalized citizen on July 18, 1932. At the time, he was a labourer in Beausejour. His record was published October 15, 1932.

I have not yet found Passenger or Naturalization records for wife Annie Bruchanski.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 13: Henri Antoine Meloche

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Henri Antoine Meloche was born October 10, 1862 to parents Etienne Meloche and Soulange Dufour in Amherstberg, Essex County, Ontario. He was baptized October 13th at St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic church and his godparents were his father’s brother Antoine Meloche and his mother’s sister Rosalie Dufour.

He lived on his parent’s farm at either Lot 5, Anderdon Township, South Essex OR Lot 41, 18th Concession, Anderdon Township, South Essex. They grew crops and also raised muskrats – yes, muskrats. Muskrats were primarily raised for their fur – similar to that of a beaver’s – but also for their meat, which is supposed to taste a lot like a mix between duck and rabbit. This could be a profitable venture, since muskrats needed very little to thrive, aside from marshy wet lands. All you had to do was trap them. Sometimes farmers would allow outside trappers to do so on their land, for the payment of a portion of the profits, furs or meats. At the time of the census of 1881, Henri was 18 years old and was his occupation was “hunter” – one could assume of muskrats.

On November 9, 1888, he married Cecile Olivia Meloche, daughter of his godfather Antoine Meloche and Marie Martin – she was his first cousin. They acknowledged their consanguinity in their marriage record at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic church in Riviere-aux-Canards. They moved to a farm not far from Henri’s parents at Lots 38-39 in Anderdon, and Henri is noted as a “game keeper” on the 1901 census, so likely he went into the muskrat business like his father. Henri and Cecile went on to have 12 children – Alice, Raymond, Ernest, Leo, Rose, Lea, Charles, Moise, Stella, Bella, Eugene and Bertha.

Henri died in May 1918 of “carcinoma of liver and lungs”. He was only 56. His wife died not long after him – she passed away on January 20, 1920 of pneumonia.

My ancestor's stories, and how I found them!

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