Donald Miller dnmiller at whiz.to
Tue Jul 26 10:36:05 PDT 2005


A number of years ago I started collecting anecdotes (single events/happenings) of people who have their roots in Volhynia.  After I finished my most recent book, "Under Arrest," I decided to seek additional stories from relatives, friends and acquaintances, with the view of publishing them.  I now have approximately 200 such stories.  That alone merits publication, but I have not yet solicited stories from members of SGGEE (except from a few friends in the organization).  I am now ready to do this and have received permission from the SGGEE President and Board of Directors to proceed.  It should be noted that this project is sufficiently different from what Virginia Less has been doing and in no way competes with her worthy endeavor to collect entire family histories.  I am looking for anecdotes on any subject from 1861 to the present.  This includes stories of experiences (single events) of those who retreated with the German Army and those repatriated to Russia following the war.  Anecdotes can be a few paragraphs to 500-700 words.  Old photos, especially of those taken in exile in Siberia, Kazakhstan, etc. are especially welcome.  The following anecdote and accompanying information is a sample of what I am looking for:  


Ida Mueller


ZHELEZNNITSA, CA 1907 - The kids all had jobs growing up on the farm.  Even though Ida, my mother, was just a little girl, she had a job, too.  It was to herd the geese and keep them out of the garden and grain fields.  In the flock there was a mean old gander.  He was a constant threat to anyone who tried to cross his path.  He would come after you and nip at your heels.  One day he came after my Mom.  Mom had a stick in her hand and gave him a good whack on the side of the head.  The old gander dropped on the spot.  My mother, thinking she had killed him, panicked.  She grabbed the old gander by the neck and threw him into the pond.  If her mother asked what happened to the gander, she was prepared to say, "He must have drowned."  Sad and troubled, she continued on her way, when suddenly she heard something behind her.  When she looked back, there he was, that same old mean gander.  He looked a little dizzy, as though he had been drinking, but otherwise he was fine.  It was a great relief to know the gander was alive and that she wouldn't have to lie.



Ida Mueller was born March 4, 1900 in Korytyszcze.  Her parents were Adolf and Paulina (Czaretski) Mueller.  They had nine children:  Julius, Adolphine, Wilhelm, Heinrich, Ida, Ruth, Olga, Ludwig and Ernest.  Ida was married to Daniel Elke from the colony of Dolganietz on November 20, 1920 in Kolowert.  They had two children:  Daniel and Elma.  In 1929 they immigrated to Canada under the sponsorship of the Mission Society of the German Baptist Churches of North America.  Their destination was Leduc, Alberta, where Ida's brother, Wilhelm and family, already lived.  When the family arrived in Halifax, Novo Scotia, Ida was detained because of the illness of her daughter, Elma.  Her husband, Daniel, and son, Daniel, decided to go on ahead to Leduc by themselves, but while passing through Winnipeg, MB, he decided to stop off in Minitonis, and visit other newly-arrived relatives.  Homesteads were still available for $10. and so he decided to buy a farm and stay.


When Ida's daughter was well enough to travel, they took the train out west to meet the family.  When they arrived in Leduc, they were surprised to learn that Daniel and their son had not arrived as planned and that no one knew his whereabouts.  Some time later, a letter arrived from her husband in Minitonis explaining what had happened.  Ida and her daughter then took the train back to Minitonis and joined the family.  In due time Ida and Daniel had three more children:  Milbert, Ruth and Hilda.  A number of children died as infants.  Daniel died in September 1985 and Ida passed away August 2, 1998 at 97 years of age.


Source:  Ruth Hart, daughter, Minitonis, MB. 2005.


You can send your anecdotes or questions to me at:

Donald N.  Miller

12814 NW Bishop Road

Hillsboro, OR 97124

E-mail:  dnmiller at whiz.to  

Telephone:  (503) 647-5858  Fax:  (503) 214-5490

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