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Though it is believed that Ukrainians began arriving in North America since European exploration of the continent, there are no records of arrival for this earlier period. The first recorded Ukrainian settlers arrived in Canada in 1891 when two immigrants, Vasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypiw, from the Galicia province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire landed in Montreal. Within the years that followed, tens of thousands of Ukrainians arrived in Canada. Most Ukrainian immigrants of this period were identified on government records as arriving from their respective provinces in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as Poles, Russians, or Austrians. The vast majority of these immigrants settled in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta where they obtained land to farm. Others who preferred industrial occupations settled in various towns in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Approximately 150,000 Ukrainian immigrants arrived between 1891 and 1914.
During the First World War, Ukrainians from Galicia were classified as enemy aliens by the Government of Canada and over 5,000 Ukrainian Canadians were interned in camps. Ukrainian language schools were closed and the Ukrainian language press restricted. Regardless of this, over 10,000 Ukrainian Canadians fought in the War, with many anglicizing their names to avoid discrimination.
The second large wave of immigration from the Ukraine occurred after the First World War when the Ukraine became a part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. These refugees were welcomed by the already established Ukrainian communities. The Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches had parishes in most Ukrainian centres and these establishments were important places for social gathering.
Over 40,000 Ukrainian Canadians fought in the Second World War. After the end of this war, there was a third wave of Ukrainian immigration to Canada. These were mostly refugees who began arriving from all over Europe in 1947. By 1952, over 32,000 new Ukrainian immigrants had settled in Canada. Most of these immigrants settled in the industrial regions of Quebec and Ontario.
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Ukrainian Immigrants, 1891-1930
Names appearing on passenger lists held at Library and Archives Canada were indexed by the late Walter Zayachkowski. He also indexed the names found in the series called "Sailing Records: Note Books" in the Vladimir Julian Kaye fonds. All the names were added in the following database.
Ukrainian Immigrants, 1891-1930
Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers (LI-RA-MA) collection (MG 30 E406)
The Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers (LI-RA-MA) collection consists of documents created by the Imperial Russian Consular offices in Canada during the period from 1898 to 1922. The Passport/Identity Papers series consists of about 11,400 files on Russian immigrants from the Imperial Russian Empire who settled in Canada, including Jews, Ukrainians and Finns. The index and digitized images of the files of the Passport/Identity Papers series are available online.
Immigrants from the Russian Empire / Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers (LI-RA-MA) Collection
Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association, 1926-1969 (MG 28 V15)
The Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association was established in 1930 with the purpose of promoting educational, cultural, and social activities. The National Executive was formed in 1933. In 1935, the society expanded to include branches in Eastern Canada and the Eastern Executive was formed. This fonds consists of records of the Eastern and National Executives, correspondence, conventions, and photographs.
Reverend Michael Fesenko, 1912-1976 (MG 30 D226)
Reverend Fosenko was the pastor of a Ukrainian congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Toronto from 1929 to 1976. Fonds includes church records, registers of memberships, and marriage and communion administrative records.
St. George's Parish, Grimsby, Ontario, 1943-1974 (MG 31 H44)
This sub-series contains a marriage register (1949-1974), reports of executive members, and copies of parish minute books.
St. Demetrius' Parish, Toronto, Ontario, 1961-1967 (MG 31 H44)
This sub-series includes church bulletins, correspondence, and membership lists.
Immigration Branch, Central Registry Files (RG76)
- Professor Josef Oleskow, 1895-1896, RG 76, volume 109, file 21103, part 1, microfilm C-4772.
- S.A. Armstrong, Inspection of Prisons, Toronto, Ontario, 1908, RG 76, volume 529, file 803192, microfilm C-10621.
- Ukrainian Refugees from England, 1946-1953, RG 76, volume 656, file B53802, microfilm C-10593.
- Galician and other Colonies in Western Canada, 1898-1904, RG 76, volume 178-179, file 60868, microfilm C-7334.
Other series of records
Library and Archives Canada holds other archival records relating to Ukrainian families. Consult the Archives Search database using keywords such as a surname or an organization name.
Research at other institutions
Research in published sources
Search our library catalogue, Aurora for these titles below, or use subject keywords such as:
- Ukrainian Canadians
- Ukrainian genealogy
- A classified dictionary of Slavic surname changes in Canada, by Robert Bogdan Klymasz. (AMICUS 8252095)
- Dictionary of Ukrainian Canadian Biography Pioneer Settlers of Alberta 1891-1900, edited by Vladimir J. Kaye. (AMICUS 4970795)
- Dictionary of Ukrainian Canadian Biography Pioneer Settlers of Manitoba 1891-1900, edited by Vladimir J. Kaye. (AMICUS 69961)
- Dictionary of Ukrainian surnames in Canada, by Forwin Bogdan. (AMICUS 898314)
- Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, by Brian J. Lenius. (AMICUS 13848433)
- How to research your Ukrainian ancestry in Saskatchewan: rodovid, by Kathlyn Szalasznyj. (AMICUS 7562582)
- Land of Pain, Land of Promise: Fist Person Accounts by Ukrainian Pioneers, 1891-1914, by Harry Piniuta. (AMICUS 11845)
- Political Refugees and "Displaced Persons" 1945-1954: A Selected Bibliography and Guide to Research with Special Reference to Ukrainians, by Yury Boshyk and Boris Balan. (AMICUS 4893385)
- Recollections about the Life of the First Ukrainian Settlers to Canada, by William A. Czumer. (AMICUS 2214978)
- Sources for researching Ukrainian family history, by John-Paul Himka and Frances A. Swyripa. (AMICUS 5869593)
- The Ukrainians in Canada, by O.W. Gerus and J.E. Rea.
- Ukrainian Genealogy: A Beginner's Guide, by John D. Pihach. (AMICUS 32764518)