Document: The 1920 Canadian Census – Koszlak Family

Bruchanski, Anna - 1921 Canada Census

The sixth census of Canada was taken in June of 1921. Here I found my great great grandfather Danylo Koszlak and his family. Just five years earlier on the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta they were living on a farm in the RM of Brokenhead. But by 1921 they had moved to nearby Beausejour town. Here’s the details of the census record:

Dan, Annie, Mike, Pete and Mary
Dan was the head of the house, Annie his wife, Mike and Pete were sons and Mary a daughter
Dan was 33, Annie 30, Mike 7, Pete 5, Mary 2
Dan and Annie were born in Austria, the children in Manitoba
All identified as Austrian in ethnicity
Dan came to Canada in 1910, Annie in 1912
Dan and Annie had not become Canadian citizens yet
No one could read or write
All could speak Polish
All were of Roman Catholic faith
Dan worked as a carpenter on odd jobs, no one else worked


Sunday’s Obituary: Harry Kosslak

From the Minneapolis Star, published Sunday, April 17, 1954:

KOSSLAK – Harry, age 68 of 4544 Knox Ave. N, Survived by his wife, Mary; 2 sons Fred of Mpls., Peter of New Jersey, 3 daughters, Mrs. John (Katherine) Sopeth, Mrs. Andrew (Annie) Loyas, and Mrs. Richard (Nancy) Procai; 5 grandchildren; 3 sisters, Mrs. George Faduck and 2 brothers. Funeral Mon, 8 o’clock from the Kapala Funeral Home; Requiem Mass 8:30 in the Church of St. Constantine. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Vigil services Sun. evening 7 o’clock.

Harry was my great great great uncle.

Sunday’s Obituary: Mary Faduck

I obtained my great great great aunt Mary Faduck (nee Koszlak)’s obituary by contacting the Minnesota State Historical Society. This is a snippet from the Minnesota Tribune, published Sunday, October 11, 1981:

Faduck, Mary. 85 yrs. Formerly of 4548 Knox Ave. N. Survived by 2 daughters, Mrs Victor (Ann) Serota, FL, Mrs Peter (Jen) Vicento, Mpls; 8 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren. Funeral services Mon. 9am from the Kapala, Glodek, Bertch Chapel, 13th Ave. & 3rd St. NE. Funeral Mass 9:30 am in the Church of St. Constantine. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery. Parastas Sun. 7:30 pm. Visitation Sun. after 4pm.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 9: Marie Sylvestre Olivier

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Marie Olivier Sylvestre was born in 1632 near the French settlement of Montreal. She was baptized sometime before she was 12 years old. She was named “Marie” for the Virgin Mary, “Olivier” in honor of her Godfather, Olivier Le Tardif, a friend of her father’s and French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s personal interpreter, and “Sylvestre”, a French name meaning “from the forest”. She received an education – something incredibly rare at the time – at a girl’s school run by Ursuline nuns and in the home of French settlers Marie Rollet and Guillaume Hubou. On November 3, 1644 at age 12, she was married to 33-year-old Martin Prevost in Quebec. This union is historically significant in that it is the first (recorded) of it’s kind – a French man marrying someone like Marie in a Catholic church.

Marie was a Native Canadian. There are conflicting reports as to exactly which tribe she was from, although her father’s name is derived from an Algonquian word meaning “Great Spirit”, so that is one hint. Her parents were named Manitouabeouich and Outchibahabanoukoueou, and her father had become friends with interpreter Olivier Le Tardif years earlier and acted as his guide, accompanying him on fur trading missions and exploratory voyages. Manitouabeouich is thought to have been an early convert to Christianity, as he was given the name of a French saint – Roch.

Marie and Martin had eight recorded children, five of whom survived to adulthood. In 1661, they lost 3 children in just a few months – a 12 year old, 6 year old and 4 year old. Marie herself died in 1665, at the young age of 37, just a short while after giving birth to her last daughter Therese. The French settlers brought with them European diseases which were devastating to the Native population who had never seen such before. Smallpox was the worst of these, and it’s very possible that’s what killed Marie and her children.

Martin remarried to a fellow widow Marie D’Abancourt mere months after Marie Olivier’s death. While this may sound heartless, the reality is that Martin had five children to care for including one infant, and Marie, as a widow, needed help too.

Marie is my 9x great grandmother. That is, there are 10 generations between us. The lineage connecting us goes through her granddaughter Anne Prevost, who was an early resident of the original Detroit settlement, to Anne’s granddaughter Genevieve Deshetres, the daughter of another Native interpreter for the French, to Genevieve’s great grandson – my great, great grandfather Edmond Langlois.

It is speculated that several other ladies in my French Canadian lineage could have been of Native descent, since there is no record of them arriving on any ships and European women didn’t just pop up out of nowhere to marry French men in Canada. Many people are excited at the prospect of having Native roots and are therefore quick to assume, but most of these ladies’ origins are speculations at best. Marie is set apart from these others in my family tree because she is a well documented Native American woman.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 8: Thankful Stebbins

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Thankful Stebbins was born September 5, 1691 at Deerfield, a village in the English colony in modern Massachusetts, USA. Her parents were John Stebbins and Dorothy Alexander. Her great grandfather Rowland Stebbins had been born in Stebbing, Essex, England (likely where his surname originated) and sailed to New England aboard the ship Francis in 1634 with his wife and children – a bold action, considering the puritan colonists in New England faced constant danger of Native American raids and hostility, not to mention the harsh weather and wild landscape. Deerfield was a small village on the frontier, right on the edge of English settlement.

In March of 1704 there was a particularily notable attack on Deerfield, known as the Deerfield Massacre and it was associated with Queen Anne’s War. A force of some 200 French soldiers and about 150 Native warriors under the command of Jean-Baptiste Hertel, Sieur de Rouville from the New France colony attacked the village, razing the buildings to the ground, killing dozens and taking dozens more as captives. 13-year-old Thankful and her family were among those taken captive. The French brought these captives back north to Canada – walking on foot in March, mind you – and along the journey many more died. They were handed over to the French authorities in Canada at Chambly.

Thankful was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith on April 23, 1707 and re-named “Therese Louise Stebenne”. Four years later, on February 4, 1711 in Ste-Famille-de-Boucherville church, she married Adrien Charles LeGrain dit Lavallee, Captain of the militia  at Fort Chambly. The couple had 11 children in total, the last was born in 1729. Thankful passed away one week after the birth of her last child, aged 38 years – likely due to a complicated birth – and was buried at Fort Chambly, rather than in the church graveyard.

Thankful is my 9x great grandmother through her son Charles Legrain dit Lavallee. The surname had transformed into just the dit name of Lavallee by the time it was given to my 4x great grandmother Ozilda Lavallee (who married Joseph Bessette). The line goes Thankful – Charles – Jean Marie – Jean Baptiste – Pierre – Ozilda -Louis Bessette – Corinne, my great, great grandmother.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 7: Pierre Miville dit Le Suisse

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Pierre Miville was born around 1602 in Fribourg, Switzerland to Isaac Miville and Salome Lomene. He was a joiner (a kind of detail carpenter, making stairs, window frames, other things with joints) in Fribourg, and later joined the Swiss army, to be sent to neighboring ally France to participate in Cardinal Richelieu’s siege of LaRochelle (a religious war between Catholics and French Protestant Huguenots). After the siege of La Rochelle, Pierre next went to nearby Brouages, where Richelieu was appointed governor and began many new construction projects. It can be assumed that Pierre, with his past as a joiner found employment there. In 1631 he married local French woman Charlotte Maugis in Brouages and the couple had seven children. Several important Brouages figures served as Godparents to his children, suggesting that he had a relatively high social standing amongst his French peers.

Pierre brought his family and his capacity for skilled work to New France in the 1640’s, one of the small group of French colonists to come freely and of their own accord, not bound to any company or cause. The Governor of New France granted him a tract of land in the seigneurie of Lauzon. He took up the “dit name”, of “Le Suisse” and is known as “Pierre Miville dit Le Suisse”. Dit names were popular in New France – they were aliases, sometimes referring to a persons’ place of origin, as in Le Suisse, sometimes referring to a physical characteristic of a person – “Lebrun”. Sometimes they referred to an ancestor’s given name, “dit Noel”. There are other sources for these dit names as well, and they sure do add complications to French Canadian genealogy. Some family branches dropped the original surnames altogether, and many dit names-turned-full-fledged-surnames live on today – Lavallee, Lafleur, Lavigne, Laframboise, Desrochers, Desjardins, Lebrun, Langlois… Castonguay is another, derived from original settler Gaston Guay. Some dit names were dropped though, as is the case of Le Suisse. Miville is carried on today in descendants in Quebec.

His family flourished and multiplied in the harsh new world. He became Capitaine de la Cotes in the late 1660’s in his parish – a community leader, justice keeper, defenseman of sorts. He died at age 67, on 14 Oct 1669 in Lauzon and was buried in Quebec City.


I am descended from Pierre through more than one of his children, and I am not alone on that one – Pierre left a plethora of descendants of all different surnames, especially since he had many daughters who married into other family names. He is considered to be the 7th of 10 French settlers identified by the University of Montreal’s PRDH with the most descendants married by the year 1800. He has been well researched by other descendants, there are even several websites devoted to the research of his descendants and the details of his life.

Mappy Monday: Podhajce and Nowosiolka, Ukraine

A Ukraine message board poster presented this map. It’s a compilation of incredibly detailed maps of a large portion of Europe from around 1900.

You can find Danylo’s Novosilka in the southeast, near Lwow (Lviv) and Ivano-Frankivsk. This map uses Polish place names, so Novosilka is “Nowosiolka”.

It’s a good idea to gain an understanding of the geography of the area your ancestor hails from. In my case, I noticed several other Ukrainian families and people on both the Canadian census and the SS Cassandra passenger manifest. 28/50 of the people listed on the same census sheet in Brokenhead as – and therefore neighbours of – Danylo and family were also Ruthenians from Galicia (the other 22 were Polish from Galicia!)

On the same ship as Danylo, travelled 7 other Ruthenian Galicians, including one “Anna Kit”, who I first suspected could maybe be Danylo’s future wife Anna. Anna Kit left behind her mother, named “Maria Podhaja” in Siolka, Galicia (Podhaja = Podhajce??). There are a few others from Siolka as well, and if you notice on the map… Siolka is very close to Nowosiolka, as is the village of Podhajce (Pidhaitsi). It’s not hard to imagine that maybe Danylo travelled with friends, or even relatives, to a new country, so some of his fellow passengers could turn out to be relevant to my research later on!

No concrete evidence of such as of yet, of course, but good all-around knowledge that could be useful later on!!