Ion was the son of Metro and Axania Semeniuk. Domnica was the daughter of Vasile and Marina Bodicel. They were born in Bucovina, where they grew up and married. Two sons – Metro-Vasile and Pete and two daughters – Ioana and Vasilca wre born in Boian, Bucovina. Unfortunately Metro-Vasile and Ioana passed away as infants.
In 1899, the Semeniuks decided to emigrate to Canada along with many other families from the area. Their son Pete was four years old and their daughter was two. Upon arrival in Edmonton they journeyed to Andrew to take up their homestead in April.
Their first home was a bordei (sod house). Since the ground was still frozen, the young couple gathered dry grass from the sloughs and burned it to thaw out the soil. A hole was dug rectangular in shape, about twelve feet by ten feet and two feet deep. This would form the base of their shelter. Trees were cut down and limbed, then cut to appropriate lengths. These poles were used to build a roof in the form of a teepee in the sense that one end of a pole was against the base of sod wall and the other leaned inwards and met a similar pole leaning inward from the opposite side. These poles rested on a ridge pole which was supported across the centre of the whole structure. Back and front wall were built upright. The spaces between were filled in with a mud plaster made from clay soil and mixed with grass or slough hay with enough water added to make it soft and workable. The whole structure would be covered with more slough hay and then layers of sod to keep the rains out.
In order to bake bread a cuptor (oven) was built into a hill side. A hole large enough was dug out, a crude door was made and the oven was ready.
It was still the month of April and Orthodox Easter was fast approaching. Domnica was worried about the Easter dinner. How to make pasca (Easter bread) and the traditional colored eggs? Fortunately she was able to find some wild duck eggs in the rushes near the nearby lake. Also, she noticed a wild duck sitting on a nest and she crept close enough to grab the bird by the neck as it stretched its head curiously to see what was coming. The duck furnished the meat, she had eggs and flour, and the Easter dinner proved to be a small feast.
When the bordei (bordey) was liveable, Ion left for work on the railroad track far from home. He earned some money and brought back supplies for his hungry family. He also worked for farmers near Bruderheim. One farmer paid Ion some money and also donated a little pig because the sow had too large a litter.
After six years, the Semeniuks abandoned their bordei and moved to the Boian area and settled on S.W.24-56-14-W4. While their new log home was being built, the family lived with Mr. and Mrs. Nicolai Iftody.
Ion was also community minded. He did his share in helping to build the St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox
Church by volunteering his labour and also using a horse and an ox for hauling the huge logs.
Ten more children were born in the Semeniuk family. While at Andrew, twins George and Mary were born but both passed away as infants. Metro (No. 2) and Sanfira were also born at Andrew. At Boian, Sanda, Nicolai, Constantin, Andrei, Mary (No. 2) and Elasa were born. All attended the local school at Shalka. The parents lived on the farm till their deaths. Ion passed away in 1934, to be followed by his wife Domnica in 1936. Both are buried at Boian.
Pete Semeniuk the eldest surviving son was born July 9, 1895. While still a child at Boian, his parents took him to Vasile T. Toma’s home where Mrs. Toma (Raveta) taught him to read and write as there were no schools, as yet, in the area. As a young man he worked in southern Alberta and also in Saskatchewan.
In 1915 he married Domnica (Vasile) E. Cucheran and they homesteaded on S. W. 1-57-14. From this marriage there were six daughters and two sons who passed away as infants. The girls all married and have families of their own.
Vasilca, the oldest daughter, married Andrei Euchuk at 16. They lived in the Deep Lake district, north-east of Boian. Three children were born; Pete, Mary and Katie. When Katie was two weeks old, her mother went to the nearby lake to cut a hole in the ice so that the cattle could drink water. She caught a severe cold and died shortly after, leaving the young tots motherless. Several years later, Andrei remarried.
Metro (Mike) Semeniuk, like other farm boys, had to work hard on the farm and then went into farming himself. In 1922 he married Mary Strinbitsky and had three children; Jenny, Helen and George. From his second marriage to Katie, there were nine children.
Sanfira was born Feb. 26, 1903 near Andrew. She was baptised in St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church at Boian by a priest from the Shandro Orthodox church. Sanfira attended school very little as she was needed at home to take care of the younger siblings. At the age of 15 she married Nicolai Darda, a neighboring widower who had two daughters aged five and three years.
Sanda (Jenny) Semeniuk was born at Boian and worked on the farm like her brothers and sisters. She married Mike Miller in 1926 and farmed near Ash- mont, finally retiring in Ashmont. Mike and Jenny have thirteen children and thirty grandchildren.
Nicolai (Nick) Semeniuk was born in 1908, and he, too, worked on the farm. In 1929 he married Lena Michalcheon and they farmed in the Shalka area. They have one son. Lena passed away in 1977.
Constantin (Charley) Semeniuk was born in 1909. He attended Bojan School, a very eager student. In 1925 he left home to seek work and spent most of his working days at different types of jobs in Alberta and B.C. He is at present in the Willingdon Senior Citizens’ Lodge.
Andrei (Andy) Semeniuk followed the life pattern of his older brothers. Early in life he moved to Vernon, B.C.
In 1940 he married Sarah and they have one daughter and two sons.
Mary, the youngest daughter was born in 1914. She completed public school at Boian (Shalka) school. In 1935 she married George Sambor and they settled on the family homestead. Mary worked very hard on the homestead, but when she sat down she automatically would pick up her embroidery. Her handicrafts were always beautiful. Mary and George had two children, Lillian and Peter John (Pat). In 1958 George passed away suddenly. She later married George Dobush who passed away in 1981. Widowed again, Mary lives in Vegreville where she is active bowling, playing bingo, working in her garden in summer and, of course, still embroidering.
Alex (Elasa) Semeniuk was the baby. He left the farm early and became a mechanic by trade. He married Helen Scherba of Glendon, Alberta, and had one daughter. At present they all reside in Ontario.
Rocky (Darda) Chrapko
Serbu, Ion and Anifa
Ion Serbu came to Canada with his parents Sava and Maria Serbu in 1899. The first winter they spent in a bordei near Whitford, but next spring they moved to Boian.
Ion had completed grade VI education in Bukovina and this helped him a good deal when he went out working at the age of eighteen in Alberta. He married Anija Skirka and they homesteaded just east of his parents’ quarter of land. Eight children were born to this couple; Katie, Harry, Bill, Kost, Doris, Jean, Rita and Sam.
One very cold winter day in 1929 Ion was returning from the Mundare flour mill with his sleigh full of bags of freshly milled flour, but for some reason, the load overturned and pinned Ion under. He could not pull himself free and he knew if help did not arrive he would freeze to death. Fortunately another farmer travelling on the same road saw the accident and after struggling for some time managed to free Ion. The unfortunate man never fully recovered and died a year or so later.
Anita was left a widow but managed to bring up the children on her own. One of the sons, Constantine, became a chef in Toronto. Doris, who married Tom Zaharichuk, has become a well-known artist in Western Canada. Anita passed away in 1940. Both she and her husband are buried at Boian.
Records for this family has not been found yet. Please visit this page later.