Finding My Great-Aunt Michalina's Immigration Records

A few weeks ago I received an email from Jim Onyschuk, the President of the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group, announcing the January meeting along with a notice of new Canada Passenger Records from 1881 – 1922 now available online at Family Search ( ). 

Always on the look out for my great-aunt Michalina’s records, I hit the link and searched her name as usual, to no avail. I then searched just her last name (proper spelling) and found about 10 hits with different spellings, including one that I knew immediately was her: Michatine Heukan. Her name had been transcribed incorrectly with a scratch on the page changing the ‘l’ to a ‘t’ and the last letter appearing blurry as an ‘e’ not an ‘a’. The last name was mangled due to a peculiar formation of the letter before the ‘k’ which I think was intended to be ‘c’ and the addition of an ‘e’ before the ‘u’.

Michalina Huckan c.1910

Michalina was 17 when she arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick on April 4, 1910 on the SS Lake Michigan. She was listed as single, having $24 and heading to Winnipeg, Manitoba to her brother on her CPR ticket. Her previous occupation as well as her intended occupation was ‘servant’. 

John Huckan c.1910

Now that I had that information, I searched for her again on to find any additional details. I had some difficulty finding her as her name was shown on Ancestry as Michatina Henskan. The only new information was a photo of the ship and the fact that it had departed from Antwerp, Belgium. Finding her on Ancestry allowed me to link this record to her on my family tree. I was also able to correct her name so that future researchers can find her more easily.

When I compared Michalina’s arrival dates with other family members, I made an another interesting discovery. I had previously searched all the boat records for the ship my grandmother ( her sister) arrived on (SS Samland June 4, 1911) , her brother John (SS Montreal April 6, 1908), his wife Frances (SS Corinthian October 30, 1910) and brother Nikolai who made several trips back and forth but it never occurred to me to check my grandfather’s ship: SS Lake Michigan April 4, 1910. She was sent over with her brother-in-law, John Zarecki, my grandfather.

This makes some sense. Michalina’s father was sending John and (later) his wife to Canada. John was literate and spoke several languages. On the other hand, he was being send to Canada because he was mentally unstable (diagnosed manic/depressive later). This makes me think that Michalina’s fiancé was with her on the ship, as well as other people from her village. I may be able to determine her fiancé's name after all. A needle in the haystack but perhaps. 

Michalina’s fiancé – name unknown
from Repuzhintsy c.1910
Another find on the Family Search list of Huckans was her brother Nikolai  Hucan showing when he arrived in Quebec City May 1910 on the Prinz Adalbert and on Ancestry (Nicola Hucan) I found he returned to the U.K. on November 5, 1921 on the SS Minedosa. I had previously found an arrival record for 1913 proving he made several trips to Canada to work before returning to his wife and family in Repuzhintsy.

Nikolai Huckan c.1910
Nikolai Huckan c.1910


Unknown said...

Ruth, the story of your search and research and how those precious details came to light is a true marvel and testament of your commitment to your life's work. So inspiring, thank you! Dace

Ruth Zaryski Jackson said...

Thanks for your comment and encouraging words.

Christian Cassidy said...

That is great news !