Here is the beginning pages of my journal.
To read the full version just click on the links above and below.
When grandfather Gregory Pankoski, and spouse Mary (Mysko), four sons, Joseph, Fred, Stanley, Howard (my
father) and daughter Rose (who would become Sister Julianna), immigrated to Canada in 1903, the eldest daughter Anastasia,
was then married to Mikhail Varko. They chose to remain in the old country, in the home village of Dmytrowice, (now Alszinka,
Poland). At the time the area was known as Galicia, administered by the Polish population under the Austro/Hungarian Empire.
Two more sons, Alex and Mathieu were born in Canada.
Growing up in the 1940's, I recall hearing in conversations around the house that a relative from the old
country, (Anastasia's oldest son), Andrew had come to Canada for a few years around 1930. He appears in a photo from 1932
at Grandmother Mary (Mysko) Pankoski's funeral. I was born in 1933. The 30's era was not the time to come to Canada looking
for opportunity. He returned to the old country.
There were letters from time to time. Sister Julianna corresponded, as did Uncle Matt. Correspondence
ceased during the war. I left home in 1952, a teenager embarking upon a career on the railroad as a telegraph operator in
northwest Ontario. The war was over.
Eldest brother Elben had returned safely from Europe where he had participated as an infantry man in the
army through the campaigns in Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and finally victory in Germany. He was now farming. Eldest sister
Eleanor was away teaching school, Morley was a fireman on the railroad, Eveline was working for the postal service.
Clem remained at home with Mom
and Dad on the farm. All seemed well and although I was lonely for home from time to time out in the bush country of northwest
Ontario, I did not think much about family in Eastern Europe. Over time I had moved farther from home, married and struggled
to succeed and raise a family in the Canadian way. Our Dad Howard, passed away in 1959, young at 59 years of age. I was 26
at the time. Our lives seemed to become busy, (or was that an excuse), and we seemed to lose touch with extended families
that spread all across Canada.
In 1987 the Sisters of Mary Immaculate
in Ancaster, Ontario, sent a note to Mother that Sr. Julianna had passed away. My Mother was unable to attend the funeral
but she wrote asking, “was there not some memorabilia of Sister that we might have in her memory?” They did sent a few things, medals and an empty envelope from Anastasia from 1966.
It was addressed to Sr. Julianna in Rome when Sr. Julianna was posted there in the sixties.
In the autumn of 2004, five years
into retirement, and on a visit to Yorkton to visit Mother and Clem, I browsed through old family albums. In one of the old
albums I came upon the envelope from Anastasia to Sr. Julianna. I discussed the envelope with Clem. We assumed Anastasia had
passed on and wondered about her family and what became of Andrew and how was it that the letter originated from a village
called Ivanivka in the Ternopil Oblast, some 250 miles east into Ukraine from where the family departed for Canada. With Clem’s
encouragement when I returned home, I embarked upon some preliminary genealogical searches on the internet.
Discussion boards on the Galicia-Poland-Ukraine
website as well as Ukraine.Com indicated that many individuals of Ukrainian descent in Canada and America were there actively
looking for family. Many kindly shared their experiences and successes on the boards. A theme that stood out was that, if
you had a village name, write the Mayor (in Ukrainian of course) and ask
if family members live there. On the discussion boards I also learned that Vitaly and Iryna Vandrovych, a young Ukrainian
couple from near Lviv, attend Brandeis College near Boston. They do translations to and from Ukrainian over the net at very
reasonable cost. My letter to the Mayor (Holova) of Ivanivka went forth two weeks before Christmas, 2004. As time passed into
February 2005, I was beginning to wonder. Then surprise! During the first week in March I received a letter from Nadya (42),
Grand-daughter of the late Anastasia. One week later, another letter from Vera (52) another Grand-daughter of Anastasia and
two weeks beyond that, a letter from Olga, widowed daughter-in-law of Anastasia. All enthusiastic and happy letters, surprised
that some one over here was interested in family over there, and invitations to please come visit.