Litz Family History:
From Russia to Winnipeg



There is not much documentation on Hulda.  I have been unable to find her birth records or her 1940 registration.  What is known from third party sources is also scant, but here goes.


Hulda was probably born in the parish of Zhitomir, but unknown what village or hamlet.  Her birth date and year are unknown.  Different documents where she is listed give differing dates. 


In 1903, when they immigrated she was 20, making her birth year around 1883.  She is 20 on the 1906 census making her birth year 1886 and 26 on the 1911 census making her birth year 1885. On Ron’s birth record in 1914 she was 24, making her birth year 1892. On her 1971 interment certificate she is listed as 88 years old, making her birth year 1883.  In Violet’s family Bible, Figure 2-1, she has her birth date as October 18, 1883.  So for the sake of majority rule, we will go with October 18, 1883 with a bit of hopeful optimism.


Figure 2



Back in Zhitomir, Hulda had at least 4 other siblings.  A brother Christian who was at that time serving in the Russo Japanese war, another brother Ferdinand who also immigrated with her and Robert, a sister…name unknown who was married to Rudolph Yessie, and another brother named August who must have stayed in Russia.


It is said that Hulda came from a family that had some wealth, property and orchards.  This may have been in Poland where I believe the family was situated for years before being forced east after lands were appropriated from German ethnics.


There were also reportedly other sisters that sent correspondence written and read to the family by the ministers of their respective churches.  The last letter apparently came in the 1930’s indicating it would probably be the last that they heard from them, and it was.

This loss of family may have been due to the Great Famine of the 1930’s in the Ukraine, or because of WWII.


Hulda’s parents were said to have been arrested and never seen again; but we do not know when this was.


Her life here was that of wife, mother and business woman.  It is said that she had several properties and rooming houses; One on Langside Street where her brother Christian lived his last years. It was also said she owned a fair chunk of Broadway Avenue at one time.  Where and when and to what disposition these properties no longer were in her possession is a mystery to me, but somewhere I’m sure there are records.  I just haven’t located them yet.  After finding the building permits for the company, I wonder if they were purchased by the company and put in her name.


My most vivid memories are of a short rotund woman, who spoke little English, sitting with Opa at family functions at the head of the table, or end of a room, watching their adult children and small grandchildren running around in Uncle Richard’s or Aunt Velma’s basement or sitting in front of the boat house at our cottage in Breezy Point.


Susan and I spent 1 overnight visit with her and Opa on Alverstone Avenue and if I remember correctly, we were put to bed very early and in the morning, as we were leaving she said she would have liked to have made us some soup.  I guess we were too young and she was too old at that time to get to know them.  Add into the equation our not speaking German/Russian or as we referred to their language “Litz”, a mishmash of dialects that every eastern European could understand, the possibility of a meaningful conversations was at best limited.


Susan, being older, has more recollection;  PS from Susan

I remember the brick bungalow on Alverstone Street. The backyard was all runs of concrete and some of it railed and raised.  I often saw Oma and Opa sitting on the front wide brick railings when I walked by on my way to and from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate.



The house was full of tchkeys and mumlichins. Being a bit of an antique dealer I can estimate their value at many many many thousands of dollars . The house was full of furniture and rugs.


 Being the older child I remember running plates of food over to Oma and Opa they were only 200 meters away. She always told me I was a “tierest kindt” . I now call my daughter Karen tierest kindt and she calls me tierest mummy. It’s pure LITZ and has travelled at least 3 generations.


I remember Oma dropping in to see mom and dad with mail they couldn,t read and signing documents with their X which was witnessed by dad and or mom.


I remember Oma having many hankies tucked in her already well endowed bosom. Some were for the normal use and others were for carrying her money.


She shopped regularly at Jennies Bakery (by appointment to HM Queen Elizabeth II) I would see her carrying the little boxes tied with string.


I remember Oma and Opa came over for dinner but never on Sunday as that was the day we went to our Swedish grandparents in the North End of Winnipeg.



Unfortunately, Hulda spent many of her last years living with Alzheimer’s. Our last visit with her in Selkirk was memorable in that it was disturbing.  She had no recollection of my father and she was intent on finding her baby; a doll she had in her room. 






Hulda died in Selkirk, June 7, 1971 and is interred at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg.