I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me. Donations of pre-1920 photographs are also most welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit!
Monday, September 2, 2013
Clearing the Land: Dick Stanker and friends, Piapot, Saskatchewan, circa 1910-20
Just before I found up this image at an antique shop near Duncan, BC, I had been visiting the BC Forestry Centre museum just down the road, so I must have had saws and land-clearing on the brain. The photograph is labelled on the back "Center: Dick Stanker." The two other fellows are not identified. Normally, I would think twice about picking up a photograph without at least some hint to the geographic location, but as I flipped through the stack of ephemera where I found this picture, I also found an empty, addressed envelope:
So I began with the 1916 Canada Census, focused on Saskatchewan and found Dick Stanker, aged 25, living with his older brother John Stanker and his family in Piapot, Maple Creek district, Saskatchewan1. Dick was a farmer and came to Canada from Russia around 1907.
I had a look at the newly released 1921 Canada Census and found the John Stanker family still in the Piapot area, but Dick was no longer a part of the household2. I kept looking and found Dick a few pages later now going by Benedick Stanker3. His home country has been narrowed down more appropriately to Lithuania. Benedick is living on a farm near Piapot, on section 34, twp 11, range 24, west of the 3rd meridian.
I turned to the local history book Piapot Prairie Trails, and found another photo of Dick (Bendick) Stanker, but unfortunately there wasn't a history of Dick provided4. There was one, however, for his brother John Stanker's family, authored by John's son, John Stanker, Jr. Again, no mention of Dick, but John Jr. may have provided us with a clue as to how the image may have made its way to Vancouver Island. He states that John Jr.'s sister, Julia, moved to Vancouver Island and raised her family there.
I believe Benedick moved to Swift Current, Sask. at some point later in his life, since a Benedict Anton Stanker appears in the 1974 federal voter's list for the city5. Benedict was buried in Mount Pleasant Burial Park in Swift Current, SK after his death in 19776. The birth year on the gravestone matches our Dick/Benedick Stanker's birth year from the censuses.
1 1916 census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 23, p.26 (penned), dwelling 233, family 238, John Stanker family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed Aug 22, 2013), citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-21940.↩
2 1921 census of Canada, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, population schedule, district 220, Enumeration subdistrict #43, p.7 (penned), dwelling 80, family 71, John Stanker family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed Aug 28, 2013).↩
3 1921 census of Canada, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, population schedule, district 220, Enumeration subdistrict #43, p.10 (penned), dwelling 116, family 106, Benedick Stanker, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed Aug 28, 2013).↩
4 Piapot [Saskatchewan] History Group. Piapot Prairie Trails. 1979; pp. 264, 270. ↩
5 “Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980.” Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Aug 2013), entry for Benedict Anton Stanker, Year: 1974, Swift Current, Saskatchewan, citing Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935-1980; Microfilm reel: M-6295.↩
6 Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, Mount Pleasant Burial Park, Swift Current, SK, digital image, (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansacem/photo/388mp.jpg ; accessed Aug 22, 2013).↩