Monday, 30 May 2016

"Where Would I be..."

As I began researching and finding information on my roots, I originally assumed my maternal roots came from Poland and my paternal roots came from Scotland and Ireland. All my life I have grown up knowing that my mother’s side of the family is from Poland. I grew up eating home made Polish foods as well as foods from the Polish store near my grandparents house. However as I did some further research I found out that my family, on my mother’s side, is also from England and Russia.

In this project I will focus on my maternal roots that immigrated from Poland and Russia to Toronto, Ontario.

This is an image of Poland and Ukraine, Europe as well as the borderline of Russia

While researching information about my roots on my mother’s side of the family, I learned that my great great-grandparents were the first to immigrate to Canada. All 4 sets of great great-grandparents immigrated from Europe to Canada, but all for different reasons. On my grandfather's mom’s side of the family, my great great-grandfather, Emilio Swatuk, was originally born and raised in Russia (Godovitz). Although I do not know where in Russia specifically, family rumours of Emilio being a supporter of the Romanov Family confirm that he lived somewhere in Russia.

Around the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1915, Emilio forced himself to leave Russia for his own safety. When the Soviets over through the Romanov family, who were in power at the time, they would execute those who were supporters of the Romanov family, and the family themselves. Therefore, because of this, Emilio left Russia and moved to England where he lived, met and married his soon to be wife Annie. Once they married, Annie and Emilio decided it was in their best interest to immigrate to Canada to escape the Russian Revolution and to begin a new, better life.

Once in Canada, my great great-grandparents settled in Toronto. Although I was unable to find or locate their immigration records, when talking to my grandfather in a phone call, he stated that they lived in a house on Bathurst Street and Queen Street in Toronto, Ontario with their 11 children (Godovitz). In Order to provide for and care for their children, Annie was a stay at home mother and Emilio worked for a mattress company called Simmons.

On the other hand, my grandfather’s dad’s side of the family immigrated to Canada from Russia as well. Joseph Glodowicz, his grandfather, was born and raised in Ukraine, Europe and lived in a part of Ukraine that was very Russian influenced. I am not specifically sure of the time period, however some time before the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1915, Joseph moved to Poland, Europe where he eventually met Josephine (Godovitz). Josephine (also known as Sophie) lived in Poland her entire life also growing up in an area that was highly influenced by Russia.

This is a map of Ukraine. It shows where it is in comparison to Russia and Poland. Although I am unaware of where exactly my great grandparents lived in Ukraine, I do know it was a Russian Ukraine area so I can assumed it was close to the border of Ukraine and Russia.

In Poland, Sophie and Joseph met and married just before the first World War and the Russian Revolution. As the Revolution began, they decided to immigrate to Canada to start their life together and to escape the chaos that was about to begin. Once they were in Canada, they lived in a little house on Dundas Street, just west of Bathurst Street and only a few miles from the Swatuks (which is how my great-grandmother and great-grandfather met). Joseph then found a new job working for Massey Ferguson, a tractor and farm machine company, providing for himself, his wife and their 7 children. Also, when they moved to Canada, the Glodowiczs’ changed their last name from that to “Godovitz” in order to “fit into” the English culture and to sound more english (Godovitz).

For my great great-grandparents, the main causes for immigrating from Europe to Canada was the fact that the Russian Revolution had begun and they wanted to escape the chaos. Also, because the first World War was beginning, it was safer for them to leave the their country. Not only that, but at this time new job openings and factory work in Canada, specifically Toronto, had become a prime work opportunity for Canadians and Canadian immigrants, so starting a new, safer, and better life in Canada were their best options (Godovitz).

While going into further research I found some very interesting information on what life in Poland is like today. When looking at their current government structure, I found that Poland is run by a Parliament, just as Canada, and has branches of judicial, civil, constitutional, and administrative law (THE WORLD FACTBOOK). Poland follows many of the same governmental and legal ideas as Canada as they are also a democratic country with a very strong legal system.

When looking at the education rate and schooling in Poland, in comparison to Canada, it is very similar. Children go to school by the age of 7 and attend a primary and middle school and have the choice of 3 different “high schools” to attend before university (Education and Schooling in Poland). They attend school 5 days a week from ages 7 to 18 just as students in Canada. Not only are our education opportunities the same but the unemployment rate in Poland is very low. In comparison to Canada's unemployment rate of 6.9% (THE WORLD FACTBOOK), Poland has a very strong workforce and work availability for youth, such as my age, as well as adults with an unemployment rate of about 10.2% (THE WORLD FACTBOOK).

In conclusion, I believe that overall my life in Poland would be very similar to my life in Canada today. Had my ancestors not immigrated from Poland, Russia and Ukraine, my life would not have had a severe impact if I was to be living there currently. Because Poland is such a modernized country; trading, importing and exporting with more developed and richer countries, their economy, education, healthcare, and workforce opportunities for youth, adults and families are very good. Just as I do here in Canada, I believe I would live a very privileged and lucky life in Poland.

This is the URL to my reference page:

1 comment:

  1. Very good post Sophie! It seems like most of our ancestors immigrated from Europe to Canada. I liked how you mentioned an important push factor at the time which was the Russian Revolution. This caused many people to leave their home countries and guided them to a better place which at the time was Canada. Also you mentioned how many immigrants would come to Canada for the reason they had job openings and factory work. This made the immigrants think that Canada was the perfect place to start a new beginning as well it was safe and had many options. I did not know that Poland would be so much like Canada and it seems that if your ancestors did not move to Canada, your life would be about the same other than the environment you would be living in. You talked about many important facts about Poland and what impact it had on your ancestors which made it very interesting to read.