Monday, August 03, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #31 – Wasyl Cazakoff, From Russia to Canada

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

For the 31st week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Easy) to write about my husband’s maternal great-grandfather, Wasyl W. Cazakoff.

Wasyl W. Cazakoff
Wasyl W. Cazakoff

As my husband’s ancestors go, Wasyl has been pretty easy to research, even though I don’t have all the documentary evidence I’d like for him. Wasyl, like others who belonged to the Doukhobor pacifist sect, avoided “bureaucratic intervention in their lives by refusing to register births, deaths, marriages, and in particular, by steadfastly opposing military service”. [1] For this reason, a certain amount of potential records don’t exist.

Despite a lack of records, I know the following information about Wasyl:

• Name: Wasyl (aka Wasilii) W. Cazakoff.

• Parents: Wasyl A. Cazakoff and Anastasia Horkoff. [2]

• Birth: 25 April 1848 in the village of Orlovka in the Akhalkalaki district of Tiflis province in southern Russian Empire. [3] Orlovka is now in the republic of Georgia.

• Spouse: Married Fedosia N. Savinkoff in 1875. [4] (I wrote about her in 52 Ancestors 2015: #5 Fedosia Savinkoff, possibly a plough woman.)

 Children: Mikhail (Michael), Gregorii (George), Nicholai (Nicholas), and Pologea (Polly), born in Orlovka between 1877 and 1891.

 Immigration: Wasyl and his family, along with other Doukhobors, sailed on the chartered Canadian freighter S.S. Lake Huron from Batum, a port on the Black Sea, on 22 December 1898. [5] They arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada at noon on 20 January 1899. [6] Most of the passenger list for the Lake Huron is missing or lost. An incomplete list exists, but unfortunately, there is no one on it by the name of Cazakoff. [7] Family tradition, however, maintains that the Cazakoff family sailed on this ship.

S/S Lake Huron
Lake Huron

 Residence: Upon arrival, in temporary accommodations in Brandon, Manitoba until the spring thaw. Later, in various Doukhobor-established villages like Petrovka, Simeonovka, and Vera in the future province of Saskatchewan. Eventually, Wasyl left his farm to live with younger son George when he acquired a homestead near Nadezhda, northwest of Kamsack. [8]

 Occupation: Communal farmer for the first few years after his arrival, then an independent farmer. [9]

 Death: 15 November 1926 at the home of his son George. Although no marker exists, Wasyl is buried in Nadezhda Cemetery, near Veregin, Saskatchewan. [10]


1. “Folk Furniture of Canada’s Doukhobors”, database, Doukhobor Genealogy Website ( : accessed 2 August 2015). Once established in Canada, Wasyl, like many of his fellow Doukhobors, relaxed his objection to some governmental authority. For example, he was enumerated on federal and territorial censuses beginning in 1901.

2. St. Philips/Pelly History Book Committee, History Coming Alive: R.M. of St. Philips, Pelly and District, 2 vols. (Regina, Saskatchewan: FOCUS Publishing, 1988), I, 382.

3. Family tradition and History Coming Alive, I, 382. Alternate dates of birth for Wasyl are about 1846 or about 1849, based on his age on Canadian censuses.

4. History Coming Alive, I, 382.

5. Steve Lapshinoff & Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928 (Crescent Valley: self-published, 2001), 2. Photo of S/S Lake Huron (built 1881), digital image, Norway – Heritage ( : accessed 18 January 2014).

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

7. Lapshinoff, Doukhobor Ship Passenger Lists 1898-1928, 2.

8. History Coming Alive, I, 383.

9. History Coming Alive, I, 383. Also, Jonathan J. Kalmakoff, 1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (Regina: Jonathan J. Kalmakoff, 2002), 66.

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

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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