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Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Yesterday I got a great email from my cousin, Marilyn.  She sent me this link  

and wrote, “ I have been lost in researching Olha, Oakburn area. . . Wish you were around the corner as you seem to be interested in this stuff..

Marilyn, you are so right.  I got into the link at bedtime and Bryan had to PULL me out so that he could check his emails, too.

Within the first 30 pages I found information about the heartbreaking Patterson Lake Disaster and was astounded to learn that my father’s father was in that group of immigrants!  

Here’s a short extract from the link:

The first group that settled at Olha in 1898 came to Winnipeg by train from Halifax and stayed here for several days. They needed a rest after their hectic voyage across the Atlantic. They had a chance to buy seed potatoes and a few other necessities. A few families bought stoves 27 which were shared by the group when they reached their destination. These people were detrained at Strathclair in May, 1898.  

At this point, I have omitted a long section describing the epidemic that killed so many of the settlers' children.

As soon as the land was surveyed the families moved to their homesteads. Wasyl Swystun chose Section 30-19-22 as his homestead. Michael Drabniasty moved eight families by wagon to Wasyl Swystun's homestead where they built six huts in a row. These huts were made of wooden poles and then covered with turf. The first hut was occupied by three families, namely Michael Sitko, Nykola Kuzyk and John Shatkowsky. The second one was the home of Onofrey Ma1anchuk. Wasyl Swystun lived in the third hut, Tom Woychyshyn in the fourth, Zahery Jumaga in the fifth and John Stadnyk in the sixth. These huts were only temporary shelters. As soon as the homesteads were surveyed for these settlers, they moved and built log homes for their families. These huts were used by many families who migrated to Olha district later. The remains of them can still be seen on Michael Swystun's farm today.

A few pages later, I found another reference to my grandfather, John Stadnyk! So exciting!


Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing that link, 
and allow me to offer you
a great recipe:


            From BURGER MEISTERS by Marcel Desaulniers

1 tbsp sugar
½ cup warm water
1 ½ tsp yeast
½ cup milk
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped black brine-cured olives
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cornmeal, divided
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

*Dissolve sugar in warm water.  Add yeast and let stand 3 minutes to foam.
*Pour milk into large mixing bowl.  Add yeast mixture.
*Stir in 1 ½ cups flour, olives, Parmesan, ¼ cup cornmeal, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, pepper, and salt.
*Knead in more flour (about ¾ cup).  Knead for 2 minutes.
*Cover and let rest for 10 mintes.
*Knead again until elastic (about 8 minutes).
*Oil the mixing bowl.  Put dough in and cover with a towel.   Let rise in warm place for 1 ½ hours.
Punch down and form into a round loaf.
Sprinkle baking sheet with some cornmeal. 
Set loaf on baking sheet and allow to rise in warm place for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 35 minutes.

Serve burgers between slices of this bread:  FANTASTIC! 

Thank you Alison Awerbuch and Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Restaurant in New York for an excellent recipe.