History and Context
Writing and Learning a Pioneer History
St. Elijah Museum seeks to be a gathering place for archival materials documenting and interpreting the role of the Bucovinian pioneers in Canadian history. On this page is a collection of resources that can help researchers, descendents and anyone who is interested deepen our understanding of this cultural history. Many books, images, search tools and other materials are available online and can be accessed directly from the site in their entirety. It includes:
The Library of Other Resources includes general information on Bucovina, Romania and the Ukraine, the Immigration of Eastern European Peasants to Canada, Prairie Peasant Architecture and Artifacts, and Music, Art and Dance.
Please contact us by or using our easy-to-use form in the contribute section if you have any stories, media (photographs, video or audio recordings), or references that would add to the materials made available here for .
Primary Resources on the Bucovinian Pioneers
As in many pioneer communities, stories and events contributing to the local history of the Bucovinian pioneers of Manitoba were passed along verbally, from one person to another and from one generation to the next. This was especially true in communities where the early settlers were not sufficiently literate to record their experiences and observations in writing.
Fortunately, for the Lennard and Shell Valley communities, some local history was either written or passed along verbally by elders to their children who recorded it. Notable among these individuals were Nistru Onofercuic, who recorded some of the Lennard history in writing, and Agrapina Gabor, who had an exceptional memory and lived a long life. She related her stories, memories and names of most of the new immigrants to her daughter Maria Gabor who recorded these details for posterity. Another person with an amazing memory was Paul Galatiuk (see video in side bar) who recorded his personal experiences of living in the pioneer community in book form in later years.
Much of this material, plus other information obtained from descendents of the early pioneers, resulted in some of the history of the community being captured and put into written form for readers to marvel at and enjoy. Some of these documents are listed below. However, there is probably more material that will hopefully be discovered and brought forward to add to what now exists. Contact us by or using our easy-to-use form in the contribute section.
Cover of Where Money Grows On Trees: A History of the Romanian Pioneers of Lennard Manitoba
John Goodes, 2003, 212 pages.
The first comprehensive history ever written on the subject. This unique book is an intimate portrait of 100 years of Romanian ancestry in and around the Lennard community. It is a true people’s history, a vivid record of how peasant immigrants adapted, survived and contributed to shaping the Canadian rural landscape.
John Goodes, 2010, 10 pages.
A historical overview of the development and decline of the hamlet of Lennard and the community of Shell Valley. Includes a historic map of the hamlet of Lennard.
Nistor Onofreiciuc, orginally published in Calendarul Credinfa (The Faith), Romanian Orthodox Missionary Archdiocese of America, Archimandritul Bartolomeu V. Anania si George Alexe, Detroit, Michigan, 1977. Republished on the Studii Româno-Americane web site.
A short account of the pioneers of the Lennard region which gives dates and names of the people who arrived from Bucovina, and gives details of the events related to their lives. Also gives historic information related to the church and spiritual life of the immigrants.
John Goodes, 2008, 2 pages.
A short essay on a ghost town that was a thriving early settlement 3 miles from Lennard (link below). See also the Manitoba Historical Society Asessipi Townsite page with photos and documents, and these recent photos and these historic photos [ 1, 2, 3 ] of the town site.
J.G. Kippan (nee and the Russell Women's Institute, 1967, 272 pages.
An extensive and sometimes detailed history of Russell, Manitoba touching on themes such as agriculture, pioneers, churches, banks, businesses, schools, culture, etc. It also includes short essays on Asessippi (p.39), Boulton, Shellmouth and Silver Creek Municipalities, as well as family histories from all these municipalities. The focus is predominantly on English settlers, but also includes stories from other ethnicities including Bucovinian Pioneers such as Dominica Paulencu and Nestor Onufreiciuc (p. 173-174)
Never Far From Eagle Tail Hill: A brief history of the Romanian pioneers who settled in east-central Alberta at the turn of the twentieth century
Michael G. Toma, 1985, 179 pages.
This book is about Bucovinian immigrants to Alberta, rather than Manitoba and its focus is on pioneers who left the town of Boian (about 25km west of Voloka). However, the proximity and parallels between these old and new world places allows for many interesting connections to be made with the Bucovinian pioneers of Lennard, Manitoba. Never Far From Eagle Tail Hill presents numerous short family histories, mostly of people from the town of Boian, Bucovina, but some individuals from Voloka are also mentioned. In addition it gives a history of churches and schools in the community, and presents the Romanian pioneers' traditions of Christmas and Easter, as well as those of baptism, weddings and funerals. It presents a short text on the traditional Romanian pioneer house, and even offers a few recipes and musical notation of traditional songs. The book is well illustrated with historic photos and documents.
Romanian/Ukrainian Pioneer Family Histories
Over the years many family histories have been written. These give personal insight into the Pioneer families of the Lennard area and how the ancestors of these evolved. If your ancestors are part of the Bucovinan immigrants who settled around Lennard and you have printed documents related to your family history we would be happy to make a PDF copy available here
For those who wish to investigate family genealogy please see the Genealogy Resources section below and Jim Ungrin's excellent Genealogy of the Bucovinian Pioneers of Lennard Manitoba: the Voloca Church Records
Written and compiled by Bruce Mintenco, with texts by various authors, 1993, 190 pages.
A collection of short biographies of the decendants of Petru and Agrapina Mintenci who emigrated from Bucovina, in 1912 and settled in the Lennard/Shell Valley districts of Manitoba. This family history is richly illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs, and includes a short history of the region in Romania from where they originate.
The Past is Our Future: Shell mouth - 100 Years (1908-2008), Boulton - 125 Years (1884-2009)
Various authors, 2008, 336 pages.
A collection of family histories as well as community histories and information on the history of area churches, schools and businesses
Portrait of our Past: Bezan Family Heritage
Jim Bezan with Thayne Pelletier, n.d., 212 pages.
Family history including a brief history of the old country with many photos, historic and contemporary.
Letters to Larissa
Paul Galatiuk, 2005, ? pages.
Eilleen F.P. Lupastin, 1983, 384 pages.
Despite its meandering style, this hand-typed publication is full of valuable cultural and historic information, documents, statistics and insights. It's focus is on the background, arrival and assimilation of Bucovinian Romanian immigrants to Saskatchewan, particularly in Regina and Dysart, at the turn of the century. It also provides an overview of the history and culture of the Carpathian, Moldavian and Bucovinian regions, from ancient to modern times. Family histories for individuals living both in Bucovina and Saskatchewan with the following names are included: Lupastin, Lupastean, Hiutu, Surzu, Ursan, Petrari, Lonti, Petrariu, Irimescu, Petrar, Lupastian, Sturzu, Lupton, Lupastin and Brancescu.
Primary Historic Documents
St. Elijah Pioneer Museum, Karen Funk and Jim Ungrin, 2011, 108 pages.
Marco Zilinsci was a devoted lay priest to Bucovinian immigrant communities in rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan, around the beginning of the twentieth century, and later in British Columbia. The rituals he performed from 1899 to 1935 were recorded in rudimentary Romanian in a personal notebook, which has been transcribed and translated to facilitate your reading and help enrich your understanding of this important primary historical document.
The births, baptisms and deaths recorded in the notebook provide us with significant genealogical information; a number of these events are not officially registered anywhere, lost until now. It also holds historical information. The notebook speaks of the high birth and infant mortality rates in these early immigrant communities. And on occasion Marco provides us with anecdotal information that gives clues about the realities of pioneer life.
Names included in the document: Alexci [Olesky] ; Andony [Andoney, Andoni]; Anton; Antosh; Avram [Avram]; Axenty [Axenti, Acsenti]; Babiac [Babiuk, Babyak]; Barchuk; Barnetsky [Barnatsky, Bernatsky]; Bernaloski?; Boiciuc [Boychuk, Bojczuk, Boichuk]; Bordian; Buleziuk; Burla; Calancia [Calanchie, Calancea]; Carcia [Karcha]; Chopec [Chopyk]; Chorney; Circiluc [Kiriliuk, Kereliuk, Kereluk]; Cisiliuc [Kisiliuk]; Cocotailu [Kokotailo,Kokotilo]; Cohanuc [Kohanik, Kohaniuk]; Cosec [Kozyk, Kozak, Kuzyk?]; Costiuk; Cozariuc [Kozariuk]; Cretzul [Kretzul]; Cril [Krill]; Cuhur; Curchia; Custiniuc [Kosteniuk] ; Dari [Darry]; Dnihur; Dragomatz; Ducat; Federchuk [Fedorchuk]; Frasca; Fustai [Fushtey, Fustey]; Gibson; Gilcuic [Gilchuk]; Guraliuk [Guraluk, Goraluk]; Holunga; Husar; Hutuliac [Hutuliak]; Iftody [Iftoda, Eftody, Eftoda]; Ilasciuc [Elaschuk]; Ilasuc [Ilaschuk, Elaschuk]; Ilia; Ilie [Ilia]; Iremco [Eremko, Yaremko?]; Ivaniuk; Janson [Jensen, Johnson?]; Kassian; Kitch [Kitsch, Kitz, Kish]; Lesencu [Lisenko]; Levitci; Lupasca [Lupasko]; Maluic; Maneliuc [Manuliak, Manuliuc, Manuluk] ; Manial; Mankish; Markosci [Markosky, Markoski, Markowsk, Marcosci]; Martiniuc [Martiniuk, Marteniuk, Martenuk] ; Mereniuk [Merinuk, Meriniuk]; Morarash [Morash]; Moriar; Mostoway; Nasacziuc [Nassichuk]; Nassichuk; Nevistiuk; Niriuca; Olesky; Onufreiciuc [Onufreichuk, Onufreychuk, Onofrechuk, Onofreychuk]; Orisca; Osesky; Pantir; Paulencu [Paulenko]; Penteliciuc [Pentelechuk, Pentlechuk]; Petraschuk; Petriniac [Petruniak]; Pilestic [Peleshytyk?]; Pitz [Pitts, Peatz]; Plesciuc [Plisciuc]; Plissiuc [Plischuk, Polischuk]; Presniac [Presniak]; Prigi?; Prokopetz; Puritch [Puritch, Purych]; Pursega [Purshaga]; Repciuc [Repchuk, Rapchuk]; Romanciuc [Romanchuk] ; Romaniuk; Ropchan [Ropcean, Rupchan]; Rosca [Roska]; Rotar [Rotary]; Rurak; Sabatura; Saico; Salahub; Sarafinchan [Sarafincean, Sarafincian]; Sava; Savliuk [Savalek]; Sawchuk [Sauciuc]; Scraba; Screpenic [Scepnek]; Shullman [Sulman]; Starchuk; Strutz; Sturuc; Tkachuk [Tkatchuk, Katchuk]; Toderian [Toderan]; Todosichuk; Tokar; Trafananko [Trefanenko]; Unchulenko [Onchulenko]; Ungurean; Ursulak; Varvaruc; Versciuc [Verschuk, Werstiuk, Vistiuk?]; Viciaruc?[Wiwcharuk?]; Vichiaruc; Vicziaruc [Wiwcharuk, Vivchariuk]; Vilesciuc [Vilischuk, Vilishuk]; Vipruk; Vudvul; Wasilinchuk [Waselenchuk, Wasylenchuk]; Zilinsky [Zilinski, Zilinsci]
Library of Other Resources
The Our Roots web site is an ever-growing library, archive, museum and school of Canadian local histories, it includes thousands of full-text e-books.
The mandate of the Manitoba Historical Society is to encourage research and publications relating to the history of Manitoba, and promote and encourage public interest in Manitoba and Canadian history. This site is rich in historic documents, articles and other information related to all aspects of Manitoba history.
An online searchable database of documents held in the Manitoba Archives. Few documents seem to be digitized and available on the site, but it is a good research tool.
An immense collection of print, digital, photographic, media documents. Searchable.
Search the collections of participating archives, libraries, museums and universities from across Canada for images.
BUCOVINA, ROMANIA AND UKRAINE
"Monograf of the Village of Voloca" (Romanian Monografia satului Voloca) by Toader Ionică, edited by Radu Onofreiciuc, translated by Jim Ungrin, 308 pages.
An in depth history which describes the events and the culture in the village of Voloca, Bucovina–the village where the Lennard/Shell-Valley pioneers originated. It covers ancient times, to the 1930's and beyond, always contextualizing the village in local and world affairs. It is written by an amature historian Toador Ionică and was first published on the internet http://www.voloca.blogspot.ca/ by Mihail Onufreiciuc. It was tirelessly translated from Romanian by Jim Ungrin and is published by The St. Elijah Pioneer Church, Lennard, Manitoba, Canada. For Canadians it is valuable to learn more about their roots and to consider how their lives might have been different if their ancestors had not migrated to Canada at the turn of the 20th century.
Wikipedia web site.
General information about history, population, towns, etc.
Created by volunteers directed towards anyone interested in their Bucovinian ancestry. Full of information on genealogy, villages, customs and culture, maps, etc.
Antique book about the history of Boian, Romania in Bucovina.
This is a small hand-written book about the history of Boian, Romania (~25km west of Voloca). Written in 1930 expressly for the people of Boian, Alberta, who seem to have sent a similar document to Romania for their Buconvian ancestors. Romanian with an English translation at the end, it has many photos and is a most interesting read. It was dontated to St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Boian, Alberta by Ann Moscaliuk in 2005.
"Bucovinia: An Austrian Heritage in Greater Romania" in Cultural Politics in Greater Romania: Regionalism, Nation Building and Ethnic Struggle, 1918-1930 by Irina Livezeanu, Cornell University Press, 1995, 341 pages.
Modern History of Bucovina.
The chapter entitled "Bucovina: An Austrian Heritage in Greater Romania" in this academically praised book gives an excellent and well researched overview of the political history of Modern Bucovina. It speaks of the sometimes friendly, sometimes conflicting relations of the various ethnicities (Ukrainian, Romanian, Jewish and German), in an area unique in the Austro-Hungarian Empire for its ethnic diversity. Unlike elsewhere in Romania where Romanians were united under one political party, Bucovinian Romanians were active in several competing political parties, running the gamut from a "Free Thinking Union" formed of Ukrainian, Romanian, Jewish, Armenia, and German deputies (19, to social democrats, pro-Austrian Liberals, anti-Semetic Christians and irredentist Nationalists. The fortunes of these ethnic groups is chronicled in relation to changing political rulers from the 1918 to 1930 in the context of Romania's nation building efforts.
IMMIGRATION OF EASTERN EUROPEAN PEASANTS TO CANADA
Multicultural Canada web Site
Detailed information about arrival, economic life, culture, religion and more of the various waves of Romanian immigrants to Canada
Multicultural Canada web Site
Detailed information about arrival, economic life, culture, religion and more of the various waves of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada
Myrna Kostash, Hurting Publishing, 1977, 414 pages
A seminal book on the social and political history of the integration and assimilation of Ukrainian Canadians in Western Canada.
Jaroslav Petryshyn and Luba Dzubak. Manitoba History, Number 12, Autumn 1986.
Peasants in the Promised Land focuses on the formative period of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Drawing on his exhaustive research, including Ukrainian-language archival sources, Jaroslav Petryshyn brings history to life with extracts from memoirs, letters and newspapers of the period. Illustrated with maps and historical photographs.
Jaroslav Petryshyn and Luba Dzubak. Manitoba History, Number 12, Autumn 1986.
A series of vignettes, each describing an incident or relating an experience in the struggle to become established in Manitoba. More than a record of individual reminiscence, it offers insights into the emotions and attitudes of those who pioneered the West and records the diversity of experience in the pioneering process.
Cathy Chonrniawy, Occasional Paper no. 17, Historic Sites Services, Alberta Culture, March 1989, 130 pages.
While the story revolves around a store and post-office which served the immigrant community in Alberta, it also describes the lives of the Ukrainian immigrants in the area, from 1890 to 1939.
Boian, Alberta – Oral History Video Interviews: Mike Toma, George Morar, Ion Toma, Willis Toma, Maria Toma and Maria Dyrda. [in Romanian], Oral History Print Interviews: Micheal G. Toma, Nick G. Hauca and John I. Toma [in English] and History of Bioan video and essay
St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church of Boian, Alberta Web site, 2005, and Canadian Romanian Society of Alberta Web site.
Boian, Alberta is a settlement with a very similar history to Lennard, Manitoba. These interviews are with the children of Romanian immigrants from the Boian, Bucovina area (about 30km west of Voloca) whose families settled in the Boian, Alberta area at the turn of the 20th century. The video interviews are in Romanian. The print interviews are in English (look for links to these on the top right of the "History of Boian, Alberta" page, which alsoincludes a short general history and the names of the first settlers to the area in 1898-1899, as well as a few historic photographs). The "History of Boian" essay on the Canadian Romanian Society of Alberta Web site is a bit longer and also includes a video in Romanian.
PRAIRIE PEASANT ARCHITECTURE AND ARTIFACTS
Parks Canada web site.
Information and images from the superbly preserved Ukrainian pioneer homestead with many restored buildings near Gilbert Plains, Manitoba.
Mrs. Gwen Dowsett. Manitoba History, Number 12, Autumn 1986.
An anecdotal history of the Negrych family with descriptions of the buildings, well illustrated with photographs.
John Hvozda - editor, The Lemko Research Foundation, New York 1978 (Lemko web site)
This essay about wooden architecture of the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains describes building techniques, roofs and special layout for both domestic and church architecture. It offers insight into some of the traditions which might have been brought to the Canadian prairies by immigrants. With two beautiful water color illustrations.
Donald Goodes, in Informal Architectures, Anthony Kiendl (ed), Black Dog Books, 2008, pp. 90-97.
This article considers a farm house near Lennard, Manitoba built by a second-generation Bucovinian pioneer couple as a material evidence of how its inhabitants negotiated the contradictory world views of their inherited peasant culture and that of their adopted capitalist consumer culture.
John Lehr, Alberta Culture, Historical Resources Division, 1976, 43 p.
John Lehr has written extensively on the peasant vernacular architecture of Ukrainian settlers in the Canadian prairies. This early work is a report of the findings of what appears to be an extensive field study, which included interviews with surviving pioneers and direct study of existent buildings. The various aspects of the vernacular form: construction, ceiling and roof construction, etc. are described. There is also a comparison of the Galician and Bucovinian (Bukowinian) styles. The publication is well illustrated with photographs of different dwellings.
Christopher Martin, in Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Vol. 3 (1989), pp. 86-98 (Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3514296)
This essay stems from a survey of vernacular architecture constructed by Ukrainian settlers from the province of Galacia in North Dakota around the turn of the century. The focus is on the unique post-and-earth houses (a skeletal frame of earthfast vertical posts and horizontal laths that was packed with earth infill and covered with mud plaster), different than the saddle-notch log construction used by Romanian and Ukrainian peasant immigrants the Lennard area. It is a good mixture of oral history, field observations and research in this article.
Demjan Hohol, Occasional Paper no. 14, Historic Sites Services, Alberta Culture, March 1985, 200 pages.
A detailed description of the construction of a second generation house on the Grekul homestead in Alberta. It includes a history of the Grekul family and a description of the village in Bukovina from where they came in 1902.
Sonia Maryn, Occasional Paper no. 13, Historic Sites Services, Alberta Culture, March 1985, 200 pages.
A narrative history describing the farming practices of the Salahub family and the influence that their farming experience in Bukovina had on their Canadian farming operations in Alberta.
George E. Dragan funds, National Archives of Canada
This world-renouned open-air museum is an impressive and diverse collection of 47 dwellings, 3 wooden churches, and other buildings, all are authentic examples of peasant folk (or vernacular) architecture from various regions of Romania, which were actually moved to the 4.5 hectare location in Bucarest. It opened in 1936. Here is a good description and history in English.
The official Web site is only in Romanian. However, this page links to individual pages for each of the buildings. Here are two homes that resemble the Paulencu House in their vernacular style: Audia village house and Tărcăiţa mountain house (both from the end of 19th C and early 20th C.); and here is a road-side monument which was an inspiration for the Common Memorial in the Pioneer Cemetery
Asociatia prietenii, Muzeul National de Istorie a Romaniei (National Institute of Historical Monuments, National Museum of Romanian History)
Searchable online database (in Romanian) of all types of buildings from all regions of Romania from antiquity to the present. Can be browsed by category of building (e.g. Orthodox Churches, houses, wooden houses, farm yards) or by region (e.g. Bucovina). In the advanced search, queries can be limited by location, period and content. Each listing includes time period of the building, its importance and location, and in some cases photos.
Chernivtsi is the closest commercial centre to Voloca. This museum has over a dozen folk structures including log peasant homes that display obvious similarities to the Paulencu house, elaborately carved gates, a log church, agricultural artefacts and the Napivzemlyanka house, which is the reconstruction of an ancient dwelling based on the information found in archeological sites in the area. Click on the images to enlarge, but the dwelling name for more information. Use the Google translate drop-down to get an approximate translation of the pages. And check out their Facebook page with is full of interesting content.
MUSIC, ART & DANCE
Audio files of Romanian carols
Listen to an impressive collection of Romanian Orthodox church carols on the Romanian Orthodox church site. Of particular interest to the Bucovinian pioneers are the collection titled ASCOR - Colinde din batrani (traditional carols), which includes O ce veste minunata (O What Great News) a carol that is remembered by the surviving grandchildren of the Bucovinian Pioneers.
St. Elijah Pioneer Museum encourages people with Bucovinian pioneer ancestors to research their family histories! We will do our best, but cannot answer all your inquiries. However, here are some resources that you can use. If you find any information you would like to share with others, please send it to us and we will see if we can find a place for it on the site.
Jim Ungrin offers his notes on how to interpret the four censuses that followed the arrival of the first Bucovinian pioneers to the Lennard, Manitoba region: 1899, 1901, 1906, 1916. He also includes a meticulous transcription of the information on many of the pioneer families in the region from each of the censuses.
This excellent essay by Jim Ungrin describes his genealogical research and provides instructions for reading Volocan birth and death records available from www.familysearch.org (see below). His focus has been on the Ungurian, Hlopina, Onufreiciuc and Penteliciuc families. But, the paper also includes a list of all the Lennard, Manitoba and area families for which he has found documented evidence of having originated in Voloca: the Antosh, Burla, Ceuca, Cohan, Georgetts, German, Gorda, Gorlick (2), Gudz (Goods), Holovach (2), Hlopina, Holunga, Manial, Mintencu, Onufreiciuc (4), Paulencu, Penteliciuc, Savliuk, Sadoway, Ungurean and Ursulak families.
*NOTE that this data is provided for your use and enjoyment. Anyone feeling they have gained substantially from it can show their appreciation via a donation to the St. Elijah Museum or Cemetery Funds.
A well conceived site that provides the names and photos of the tomb stones of over 300 parisioners who were part of the Romain pioneers who settled in Alberta at the same time as the Bucovinians of Voloca. Names include Iftody, Romenco, Toma, and many more.
Chasing the Clouds: Book Two, The Legacy by Grant Smith
A few chapters in this Anglo family history provide information about the Onofrichuks (Onofrychuk, Onofricuic, etc.) who came from Voloca, Bucovina. The other half of this family was named Hleucka. They may have touched on immigrant communities such as MacNutt, SK and Lennard-Shell Valley, MB. The author married an Onofrichuk and they live in southern Ontario.
Search census and other government records including an index of more than 200,000 naturalizations from 1915 to 1932. A powerful combined Ancestors Search combs everything from divorce records to land petitions to WWI courts-martial.
Searchable records from the 1901 1906 and 1911 census by district (for example these pages from Marquette District (#5), Subdistrict: 18 B, 1906 census show the entries of the Burla, Strutz, Paulinka and Paulinko famlies, and the Penteleczuk, Gorda, Charsnuk, Newerstuk and Slusarzruk famlies)
Post or answer questions about ancestors
For a small fee records from monumental inscriptions for over 1200 cemeteries within Manitoba can be ordered. The society also has a physical library with many valuable resources.
A loose collection of resources
Resources and records gathered by the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) (The Mormons) which was able to visit many villages in Bucovina and were able to microfilm the original church records or copies deposited in other repositories. These records cover births, marriages and deaths recorded by the churches. This online resource provides an easy search tool and family trees.
A massive collection of hundreds of databases around the world, that allows you to search by specific database, country, date, category, or all the available data at once.