Friday, January 30, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #5 Fedosia Savinkoff, possibly a plough woman

I’m participating in “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition” by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small.

For the 5th week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Plowing through) and chose Fedosia N. Savinkoff (about 1848-1927).

Fedosia, known in English as Fanny, was my husband’s maternal great-grandmother. She was born about 1848 to 1852 in Transcaucasia, Russia. [1] Her parents are unknown, but since Fedosia’s middle initial is ‘N’, her father’s name might be Nikolai, Nikita, Nikifor, or Nestor.

In 1875, Fedosia married Wasyl Wasilievitch Cazakoff. [2] The couple had four children: Mikhail (Michael), Gregorii (George), Nikolai (Nicholas) and Pologea (Polly).

Fedosia, Wasyl and their children were part of a group of over 2,000 Doukhobors who left Russia in December 1898 for Canada. According to family tradition, the family sailed on the Lake Huron, which arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia a few weeks later in January 1899. [3]

Doukhobor women ploughing
"Doukhobor women are shown breaking the prairie sod by pulling a plough themselves, Thunder Hill Colony, Manitoba. c 1899"

I don’t know if Fedosia is in the above photo or if she was one of the women that pulled a plough in the early years of the Doukhobors presence in Canada. It would not have been unusual if she had, because when these Russian pacifists first came to the Prairies, many of their menfolk worked away from their settlements in order to earn money. It wasn’t a case of men exploiting women, though, but of women who “took the initiative and proceeded to break the sod for spring planting”. [4]

Fedosia died on 15 November 1926 in Lily Vale District, Saskatchewan. [5]


Photo credit: Library and Archives Canada/C-000681.

1. History Coming Alive: R.M. of St. Philips, Pelly and District, 2 vols. (Pelly, Saskatchewan: St. Philips/Pelly History Book Committee, 1988), 1: 382. Fedosia’s approximate years of birth are calculated based on her age on Canadian and Doukhobor censuses. “MacKenzie District, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1906 Census”, database, ( : accessed 5 April 2009), entry for Fanny Casokoff (age 58); MacKenzie District; citing p. 10, line 11 on Library and Archives Canada (LAC) microfilm T-18359. “Assiniboia District, The Territories, Canada, 1901 Census”, database, ( : accessed 5 April 2009), entry for Pheodocia Kazakoff (age 49); Kamsack, Assiniboia District; citing p. 6, line 28 on Library and Archives Canada (LAC) microfilm T-6552. Jonathan Kalmakoff, compiler, 1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors (Regina, Saskatchewan: Jonathan J. Kalmakoff, 2002); entry for Fanny N. Kazakoff (age 66), p. 66; Veregin, Saskatchewan; citing Saskatchewan Archives Board, Regina Branch Microfilm Reel No. R.2.46.

2. History Coming Alive, 1: 382.

3. “Doukhobors at Halifax”, The Globe, 21 January 1899, p. 13, cols. 6-7; digital images, The Globe and Mail ( : accessed 10 April 2009).

4. “The Role of Doukhobor Women”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 27 January 2015).

5. History Coming Alive, 1: 383. Also, “Nadezhda Cemetery – Verigin District, Saskatchewan”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 5 April 2009), entry for Fedosia Cazakoff.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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