This installment of “Stories from the Past” is a more personal version of the blog post I wrote from records and secondary sources. We can learn so much more from the people themselves.
Stories from the Past: The Move to Canada (Part 2)
Note: The following stories were written by a Kelm family member who was close to Julius and Martha. They were both interviewed and their stories retold revealing insights into their personal lives, marriages, births, and deaths. The stories were transcribed by Phyllis Kelm Reakes with permission to share from the original author.
Canada wanted immigrants and was aggressively advertising for people to come and settle in Canada. The Lutheran and Baptist church had ministers that acted as immigration agents. It was through the auspices of the Lutheran Church that Julius Kelm and others from Volhynia immigrated to Canada. Martha Kirsch and others from Volhynia came under the auspices of the Baptist Church. In each case they sold whatever they had to pay their fare to Canada and arrived with very little.
Julius and Serafina had one child that died in Russia [unconfirmed]. They came to Canada with the two remaining children, Olga and Gustav. They arrived in Quebec City in May 1904. Julius later would say that he came to Canada with nothing but 10 fingers [note: the ship manifest notes the Kelm family arrived with $5.00]. Julius said that when they arrived in Quebec City everything was in bloom. He and his family we glad to be in Canada. Those who they were travelling with told them that it was more beautiful in Winnipeg. He wanted to stay in Quebec City but was unable to do so as their designation was Winnipeg. They boarded the train along with the other immigrants they had come with and traveled to Winnipeg. Julius said that when they arrived in Winnipeg there was snow on the ground and the weather was very cold.