Porozni-Gheorghe-and-DomnicaLack of land and opportunities resulted in George and Domnica Porozni leaving the province of Bukovina in Austro-Hungary, November, 1899. They came to Canada from Hamburg through the New York. The last record in the Old World are dated on September 9th, 1900 when George and Domnika sailed away on a ship Bulgaria from Hamburg. The first record in the New World are dated on September 22th, when they arrived to the New York, USA. They had a two-year old little girl Pachitsa.

After arriving in Canada they had four more children – John 1903, Velma 1905, George 1908 and Metro (Mike) 1917.
Gheorghe was 28 years old and Domnica was 21 when they arrived here. They had spent six weeks crossing a stormy Atlantic Ocean. Most of the passengers were very seasick. After docking in Halifax they took the train and finally arrived in Strathcona, Alberta, the end of the railroad.
They decided to settle in the Boian district among other Romanian settlers who had preceded them by about seven months. They found Alberta to be a land of rolling prairies, trees, grass, lakes, rivers and wild life. Only the Indians and the earliest settlers had seen this panorama before them. Incredible as it seemed, they could buy 160 acres of land for ten dollars!
The Poroznis spent their first winter with Gheorghe’s sister Elena and Mihai Cucheran whose land was adjacent to their quarter of land. The next summer they built a bordei on their own land. This sod house was warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer but lacked all of today’s comforts.
In 1905 they built a thatched house close to the road allowance. It had two large rooms, and a porch. The kitchen had a cuptor (clay oven) and a §parhat (shparhut). The cuptor was used for baking bread and the top was a bed especially comfortable after a batch of bread had been baked inside. The other room was used as a storeroom for clothes, food, carpets, quilts, etc. Later it was also used for receptions.
In 1918 a larger three-room house was built to accommodate the growing family.
Clearing the land was an onerous task – so much back-breaking manual labor. The trees were cut down and burned. The roots were grubbed out. The ploughing itself was difficult as this was virgin sod. Then the mosquitoes in swarms pestered the workers.
Fortunately, Gheorghe had been trained as a carpenter in the old country and brought with him a set of tools and a plow. With his skill and tools he was able to build window frames, fit doors, made a set of wooden harrows and even built pine coffins from the local native trees.
Like other immigrants Gheorghe went working on the railroad track to earn much needed currency. Domnica, with another lady, was left to look after the home and the small children.
In 1903, which was his last year on the railroad track, Gheorghe purchased two high-spirited grey horses from a rancher in the Fort MacLeod area. These horses were only partially broken but he managed to lead them home to Boian, a trip that took eighteen days. Early in the trip he lost control of these broncos and had to engage the help of some local cowboys to round them up. The journey was resumed. When the trip seemed to be almost over, the horses attempted to turn away again. Poor Gheorghe was dragged over the rough prairie but being stubborn and tenacious he held on to the rope. He arrived home with his shirt almost torn off, his back bleeding from numerous cuts and bruises, but nonetheless proud owner of a team of strong, healthy horses.
Looking to the future, Gheorghe knew he would need more land so in 1915 he bought an additional quarter of land across the road from the homeplace, for $17.00 an acre. In 1925 another quarter section was added. This land was a mile directly south. Three years later still another quarter of land was purchased. As his sons grew up and learned to farm, Gheorghe had land for each of them.
Machinery was added too as needed. A seed drill was bought early and in 1917 a Huber steam tractor was purchased. In 1927 he acquired a McCormick Deering threshing machine. His first car was a Model T Ford bought in 1921. His next automobile was a fashionable 1924 Buick Phaeton Touring Model bought in 1925.
Life was not easy for Domnica. Beside the usual household chores and looking after the children, she, like other pioneer women, worked beside her husband in the yard and in the field. To supplement her food supply she would pick wild berries and mushrooms and, of course plant a large garden.
One day while helping her husband by holding the team of horses, she was knocked down by the wagon pole as the animals tried to bolt. As a result she spent several weeks in the hospital at Pakan. Once she recovered she was back working hard as ever.
In 1927 a windmill was erected on their farm to pump water for their livestock. It still stands as a sentinel over the land where so many changes took place.
Gheorghe and Domnica were married in 1896. George was born in 1872 and died in 1948 at age 75. Domnica (née Toma) was born in 1879 and died in 1962 at 83. Pachija (Katie) is an efficient homemaker and an accomplished seamstress. She is now retired. John lived across the road from his dad’s place. He was always involved in community work and ably held many executive positions. He resides in Vegreville with his wife Anne. Velma was an excellent worker. She liked farming and could handle horses better than most men. After running several successful businesses, she and her husband Fred Fediuk retired and live in Burnaby, B.C. George, like his older brother, chose farming as a career. He lives a mile south of his parents’ homestead. He also took an active part in community affairs, along with his wife Sandra. Metro (Mike) farmed his parents’ quarter section for a time, then went into business. He built a series of motels and after thirty-five years he returned to his harrows and even built pine coffins from the local native trees.

Like other immigrants Gheorghe went working on the railroad track to earn much needed currency. Domnica, with another lady, was left to look after the home and the small children.
In 1903, which was his last year on the railroad track, Gheorghe purchased two high-spirited grey horses from a rancher in the Fort MacLeod area. These horses were only partially broken but he managed to lead them home to Boian, a trip that took eighteen days. Early in the trip he lost control of these broncos and had to engage the help of some local cowboys to round them up. The journey was resumed. When the trip seemed to be almost over, the horses attempted to turn away again. Poor Gheorghe was dragged over the rough prairie but being stubborn and tenacious he held on to the rope. He arrived home with his shirt almost torn off, his back bleeding from numerous cuts and bruises, but nonetheless proud owner of a team of strong, healthy horses.
Looking to the future, Gheorghe knew he would parents’ original homestead where he lives with his wife Jean in a very modern home.
George and Dominica rest in peace in St. Mary’s Orthodox Romanian Church cemetery

Birth and marriage records from church books. Boian, Bukovina

George’s father Ioan was adopted by the Porojni family. For this reason he changed his family name from Bota to the Porojni.

parascheva-birth-record-1897

Parascheva birth record – Dec.27, 1897
Father – Georgie, son of Ioan Bota – Porojni. Mother – Domnica Toma.

gheorghe-porojni-birth-1872

George Porojni birth record – Apr.12, 1872 
Father – Ion, son of Andrei Porojni. Mother – Vasilka Todoschuk. Godmother – Domnica, wife of Ion Toma.

domnica-toma-1879

Domnica Toma birth record – Dec.19, 1879
Father – Ion, son of Vasile Toma. Mother – Paraschiva Dirda. Godmother – Vasilca Toma.

george-porojni-and-domnica-toma-marriage-record-1893

George and Domnica marriage record – May14, 1895.
George, son of Ion, who was son of Andrei Porojni and Vasilka Todoschuk, married Domnica, daugther of Ion, son of Vasile Toma and Paraskiva Dirda. Godparents – Alexandru and Maria Svecla. Witnesses – Ion, Andrei Porojni – father, Stefan Costel and Alecsa Fedoreac.

ioan-bota-and-vasalca-todoschuk-marriage-record-1857

Ioan Bota and Vasalca Todoschuk marriage record – Nov.3, 1857
Ioan, son of Andrii Bota married Vasilca, daughter of Ioan Todoschuk. Ioan was 23 and Vasilca 22 years old.

ioan-toma-and-parascheva-darda-marriage-record-1867

Ioan Toma and Parascheva Darda marriage record – Feb.12, 1867
Ioan, son of Vasile Toma married Parasceva, daughter of Ioan Darda. Ioan was 25 and Parascheva 20 years old.

ion-toma-birth-recor-1842

Iwan Toma birth record – Feb.13, 1842
Father – Vasile Toma. Mother – Ecaterina.

parascheva-darda-birth-record-1847

Parascheva Darda birth record – Oct.14, 1847
Father – Iwan, son of Vasile Darda. Mother – Maria.

ion-darda-and-maria-toma-marriage-record-1845

Iwan Darda and Maria Toma marriage record – Nov.11, 1845
Iwan, son of Vasile Darda married Maria, daughter of Stefan Toma. Iwan was 22 and Maria 19 years old.

Passenger ship lists

Hamburg. Sept.9, 1900
Hamburg. Sept.9, 1900
New York. Sept.22, 1900
New York. Sept.22, 1900

Censuses

Census - 1901
Census - 1901
Census - 1911
Census - 1911
Census - 1916
Census - 1916
1 Comment
  1. Trevor Kayzer

    Gheorghe’s sister Elena and Mihai Cucheran were my great great grandparents.

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