52 Ancestors, Week 4: Danylo Koszlak

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

My great, great grandfather Danylo was born November 22, 1890 to Prokop Koszlak and Krystyna Fink. Prokop and Krystyna lived in the small village of Novosilka (Nowosiolka), located in Pidhaitsi (Podhajce) raion, Ternopil (Tarnopol) oblast – modern-day Ukraine. They had at least 2 more children besides Danylo, named Hawrylo and Mary who also eventually immigrated to North America ( to Minneapolis, Minnesota). At the time of Danylo’s birth, the region was known as Austrian Galicia and it was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. People from the region identified themselves as either Austrian Galicians or Ruthenians, and the language they spoke is known as Ruthenian (though they were probably familiar with Polish as well). As the area was often ruled by different kingdoms and empires, the place names often have several versions depending on language and period in history.

Galicia was one of the poorest places in all Europe in the late 1800’s, and from about 1885 until World War One broke out in 1914, it experienced a mass emigration of its people to other countries in search of jobs and a better life. In 1910 at the age of 19, Danylo followed suit. He chose to go to Canada aboard the SS Cassandra, a steamship with the Donaldson Line that sailed from Glasgow to Quebec. His outward passenger manifest from the UK tells us that he was travelling with a large group of Eastern European/Russian immigrants on their way to Canada, and that they had come to England via the port of Leith travelling with the Gibson Line which ran services from Belgium and Holland to Leith. These immigrants probably made their way through Europe travelling by train to one of the western ports. The Cassandra sailed for almost a week, departing Glasgow, Scotland on June 4th and arriving at the port of Quebec, Canada on June 12, 1910. His passenger manifest upon arrival to Quebec states that he was on his way to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit his brother Jakiv at 419½ Aldrich Ave, however this is the one and only record of any Jakiv that I have found, so I am hesitant to add him as a sibling. Danylo’s passenger manifest tells us another interesting fact – it states that he had black hair and grey eyes.

Danylo did not stay in Minneapolis long. Shortly after his arrival in North America he went north to Canada, and the next record I’ve found of him is his marriage to Anna Bruchanski, a fellow Ruthenian immigrant, on February 10, 1914. The marriage took place in the Regional Municipality of Brokenhead, Manitoba, at a Greek Catholic church (likely Holy Trinity). Anna had come to Canada in 1911 on the SS Montreal, Antwerp-Quebec as a domestic (live-in maid). I am quite sure (but yet without documentation) that Anna already had family in Brokenhead – at least one married sister (Pelagia “Polly” Benzik) and her family, and likely more, since there is another Bruchanski family from Pidhaitsi living there at the time. Brokenhead had a large Ukrainian immigrant farming population, many land grants were given by the Canadian government to new immigrants in an effort to help populate the area. The marriage document details that Danylo was a farmer, his father was a farmer, and Anna was a farmer’s daughter.

At the time of the 1916 Canadian Census taken of the western prairie provinces, Danylo, Anna and their first two children were living in rural Brokenhead while Danylo worked as a farmer, but soon after, the family moved to the town of Beausejour where Danylo was employed as a carpenter at the time of the 1921 census. The couple had 3 children – Michael, Patrick and Marie (Mihail, Pietro and Maria in Ukrainian). Beausejour is a small town completely surrounded by the Regional Municipality of Brokenhead, but is technically separate. One of the first big business established in Beausejour in the early 1900’s was Manitoba Glassworks, who made primarily glass beverage bottles. Co-founded by German immigrant Joseph Keilback – who’s granddaughter would eventually marry Danylo’s second son Patrick – the original factory is a protected provincial heritage site.

Danylo became a naturalized Canadian citizen on October 16, 1932. He passed away February 11, 1967 in Beausejour, Manitoba, apparently in an accident falling down a church stairwell. His funeral was held at St. Vladimir church in Beausejour, and he is buried in St. Vladimir’s Greek Catholic Cemetery. His headstone can be viewed HERE and his obituary HERE.

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4 thoughts on “52 Ancestors, Week 4: Danylo Koszlak”

  1. Interesting reading!!!! It is nice to know I have relatives in Canada. Someday if we get to eastern Canada, I would love to meet you in person.

      1. That would also be wonderful!!!! You could meet the relatives of Mary Faduck…grandchildren (me) and the great and great great grandchildren!!!!!

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