Cultural Family History Research Essay – Assimilation of Ancestors
Professor Edmund Pries, Professor Bina Mehta
Wilfrid Laurier University
Sto lat, sto lat, Niech żyje, żyje nam. Sto lat, sto lat, Niech żyje, żyje nam, Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, Niech żyje, żyje nam, Niech żyje nam! As a child I heard this jumbled collection of words flying out of my family’s mouths in song, directly after the celebration jingle ‘Happy Birthday’. Other children would ask me what it meant and all I could comprehend was that it was Polish. I was mildly aware while growing up that I had European family members and ancestors but as I transitioned into adulthood it became less
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Ella only being 16 at the time was ready to bare children and soon enough Joe Sinko was born in 1960. Ella and Anton continued establishing their family with the birth of Frank in 1961, Donna, my mother, in 1962, John in 1966, Fred in 1967 and finally Dave in 1972. Their lack of schooling in Europe made it difficult to find a stable job but Anton found work at FAG Bearings in Stratford while Ella was home with the six children, which made for a very busy household. In 1976 tragedy struck when John was given a particular vaccine that caused him severe brain damage. He was hospitalized and was later declared mentally and physically handicapped from the reaction. This was a complicated time for the Sinkos, especially for Anton and Ella, for they were never exposed first hand to an individual with such impairment. Life continued on, houses were built to accommodate the large family and visitors. Anton and Ella traveled back to Europe frequently with full suitcases packed full of Canadian goods to visit relatives and others still living in the village. Soon enough, their children were getting married and creating their own families, almost doubling the already large, Sinko family. In 1978 Stephan Glosnek passed, then Elizabeth in 1988 both from old age. It was a tough time for everyone who had settled in Stratford, for those two were the pioneers for their new lives in Canada.