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Roman and Lena Shindruk,

and they also live in Thunder Bay with their three children, Kevin, eleven years old and twins, Penny and Paula, who are nine. Lena remarried to Del Hackey and they presently reside in Thunder Bay. They have one son, Del Jr., who works as a heavy duty mechanic in Sudbury.


John was the youngest son of Nels and Maria Olafson in a family of four sisters and one brother. Why the name Sillen? Swedish custom was for the sons to take their father's first name and add son - hence Neilson. John's brother Nils Erik left home for further education and changed his name to Sillen (name of a place). He suggested John use the same name.

John was confirmed in 1879, Margreta Erickson in 1882, in the Lutheran Church. They were married in 1888, their home was in Sihl, Angermanland, Sweden where Erik and Mary were born. This home was still there in 1980. Dad was coachman and very fond of horses, a trait which never left him. On his many jour­ neys, he heard glowing accounts of Canada. He and his friend Erik Boleen decided to immigrate to Manitoba as they had heard about Mr. Lundgren - Immigration Officer in Manitoba. They left on the American Line, August, 1892, leaving their families in hopes that they could go later. When they arrived in Minnedosa, Mr. Boleen (a mason) stayed there but dad went to Scan­ dinavia in search of a homestead, we presume with the help of Mr. Lundgren.

In 1895, they were able to send for their families.

Mother was reluctant in leaving her parents, brothers and one sister. Needless to say there were many tears shed ­ her father trying to comfort her said, "You must go to John, but after three years, if you still want to come back, I'll send you the fare".

In preparation for coming to Canada it must have been a difficult decision deciding what to take with them. A wooden trunk was made - hinges and lock made by mother's father who was a blacksmith. A large packing box was made for the spinning wheel, carders, sugar case (this was used for making loaf sugar) and bedding. Dad's mother gave her two candlesticks, three tablespoons and a sugar spoon with their names engraved. The sugar spoon is unique - the bowl is perforated - used for sprinkling sugar and cinnamon (mixed) on the rice porridge which was the first course of the dinner Christmas Eve - Swedish tradition. Elida has this spoon now. Other items mentioned are also in the family.

June 21, 1895, mother, Erik and Mary with Mrs.

Boleen and her children left Sweden. After a three week voyage, they arrived in Minnedosa. This was the end of Mrs. Boleen's journey. Dad had made arrangements for mother to stay at Mrs. Block's boarding house until the next day when Mr. John Thompson (mail driver for Scandinavia) was to pick them up. He had a democrat with one seat - so mother had to have the two children on her lap. Not being able to speak a word of English, she must have been glad when dad met them at Christopherson's Post Office. Mother must have found her new home quite a contrast from their home in Sweden. This house was later moved to a different site on the homestead, also enlarged, as now besides Erik and Mary, there were Elida, Winnifred, Fred, Ellen, Adolph and Ellis.

Dad got his certificate of Naturalization in October, 1895, and in October, 1897, his homestead 16-18-17 patent. In 1914, he sold the homestead and bought a quarter section 7-17-17 in Hilltop.

In 1926, Dad made a trip to Sweden - mother did not want to go, said she had said "good-bye" once and her parents were gone now. Dad's father had died when he was nine years old and the rest of the family were gone by now. Dad had not been well while away but glad he had gone. He died in 1930.

Margreta and John Sillen.