By: Orysia Tracz
Your great-grandfather came to Manitoba as a pioneer from Ukraine in the 1890s. His last name was Yashchyshyn (or, as it said on his emigration papers, Jaszczyszyn). Your surname is Yashyn, your uncle’s is Shyn, and your other uncle’s is Yash. You’re all one family. How did that happen?
The Ukrainians who began arriving in Manitoba 120 years ago had many hardships and hurdles to overcome. Adapting to and integrating into the predominantly English milieu was difficult, to say the least. Their language and even surnames were not welcome (the pressure on names lasted well into the mid-20th century). While most kept and treasured both, some tried to assimilate by changing or modifying their last names. For this reason, while many Ukrainian names are immediately recognizable, there are very many “secret” Manitobans of Ukrainian descent out there, and even they may not know the story of their early ancestors in this province.
THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES
Immigrants from Ukraine who arrived a century ago found that along with learning how to live in a new land, they would have to learn to live with a new name. Continue reading