example of poster for immigration to Canada
In the early 1900s, a settler could still get 160 acres of land from the government for $10 on condition that they work and develop the land. You could not simply let it sit and hope to sell it later for a good price. If you broke some land, built a home and other buildings you got to register and keep the land. If not, it went back to the government and someone else could apply for the same homestead. Apparently many people let their land go if they didn’t like it or found something better. That was the case for Grandpa Szczepan and Anton Zelinski.

Grandpa Szczepan (Steve) Zelinski – 1913

Grandpa applied for homestead SE Quarter, Section 34, Township 30, Range 16, West of the 2nd meridian (SE 34 – 30 – 16 – W2) in 1913. This is the “old farm” on the East quarter. His application was made out by the agent in the name of “Steve Zelinski” and list two adults: Grandpa aged 56 and Grandma aged 40. They list their country of birth as European Austria, from Husmtyn ,Galicia and the previous occupation as “farmer”. Grandpa probably did not write because the application is signed with an X not a signature. The citizenship is listed as “European Austria with the promise to later become a British Subject”. The witness on the form is listed as Paul Matyn.

Paul Matyn was the previous homesteader. He was also from Galicia and made his application for the land in 1911. His official form, the “Declaration of Abandonment”, dated May 2, 1913, is attached to Grandpa’s application. Paul Martyn held the land for 2 years but gave it up. His reason for abandonment of the land was, “Too much bush, sloughs and stones”. An Englishman, All Jackson, a widower aged 52, had the homestead before that and gave it up to Paul Matyn. Jackson’s reason for abandonment is listed as follows: “Land has too much water and bush, impossible to cultivate”. So, Grandpa finally got his piece of land even if it was “impossible to cultivate”!

Grandpa registered his land on January 15, 1919. He was still called Steve but there is an attached form by the agent which states that “Steve Zilinski” and “Szczepan Zilinski” are one and the same person. Steve is identified as the English name and Szczepan being of the “old language”. The form lists the residents as two adults and two children but the names of the children are not given. As proof of working the land in order to be granted full ownership, the form lists the following:

  • Broke and planted 2 acres
  • Broke 2 acres and planted 4 acres
  • Broke 3 acres and planted 7 acres
  • Broke 3 acres and planted 10 acres
  • Broke 2 acres and planted 12 acres.

Also, the form lists 3 horses in 1918 with a 15 foot by 20 stable worth $200 and a 16 by 16 home valued at $175. The form states that Grandpa had become a Canadian citizen on April 4, 1915. The agent notes that he had seen and returned the official naturalization papers. The forms were filled out in Wynyard and filed with the land office in Humbolt.

Anton Zelinski 1918

Dad’s brother Anton, listed as “Andy Zilinski” on the Homestead Application, applied for his land (NE 27 – 30 – 16 W2) on July 14, 1913 at the age of 27. He lists the occupants as one male aged 27 and 1 female aged 25. The country of birth is European Austria, Galicia but the last place of residence is given as Shoal Lake, Manitoba where he was listed as a labourer.

This homestead also had a history. It was abandoned by a John Soroszynski in 1912. He was a Galician also aged 32. He got it from a 29 year old Swedish immigrant called Eimil Bremer in 1911. Eimil’s reason for abandoning the land was, “That the land is so much covered with slough and bush that it will be impossible to work it”.

Anton registered the land in 1918 at the age of 32. By then he had broken 12 acres of land and had 10 horses, a log house 24 x 16 valued at $300 and a 24 x 20 stable valued at $75. The form notes that Anton was a naturalized citizen as of November 25, 1914. The land was filled out in Wynyard and registered with the Saskatoon land office.

Stanley Zelinski 1924

Dad’s brother Stanley received his homestead land (SW 34 – 30 – 16 – W2) in 1924. This is the quarter of land where Kazmer’s home is now located. The form states that Stanley had applied for this homestead on June 29, 1915 but that he had lived with his dad on the adjacent quarter. His application in 1915 is for himself as a single person and the country of birth is simply listed as Austria. Stanley signed his own name on the application as “Stach Zilinski”.

From March, 1921 to 1924, Stanley had worked the land as follows: 23 acres broken; a 24 x 10 house valued at $275; a 20 x 30 stable valued at $300; 40 acres fenced and assorted stock. The family listed was a wife and 2 children. Stanley also had evidence of citizenship dated April 4, 1915. The registration was completed in Wynyard and filed with the land office in Humboldt.

Nick Zelinski 1917

Dad’s brother was called Mikalaj Zilinski on his registration form in 1917. His homestead was (SW 25 – 30 – 16 W2). Nick made his application in 1912 as Mikalay Zilinski of Whisart, Sask. at age 30 with a wife aged 25 and one child. The country of birth was European Austria, Galicia but his last place of residence is listed as Shoal Lake, Manitoba where he was a farm labourer.

In 1917 Nick listed the improvements on the property as follows: 14 acres broken and 9 cropped; 8 horses; a 16 x 24 house valued at $200; a 16 x 22 stable valued at $75. He had a wife and 2 children. Proof of citizenship was given as April 9, 1914. The forms were filled out in Wynyard and filed at the land office in Humbolt.

Location: The Farm

A township in Western Canada is six miles by six miles divided into 36 sections of land. This was based on the American survey system. Each section was further divided into four quarters of 160 acres.

Source: Copies of the originals can be obtained from:
Saskatchewan Archives Board
Room 91, Murray Building
University of Saskatchewan
3 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK.
S7N 5A4
Phone: 306 933 5832
Ask for File Numbers as follows:

Grandpa Szczepan (Stephen) Zelinski – File 2473066
Mikalaj (Nick) Zelinski – File 2397351
Anton Zelinski – File 2443772
Stanley Zelinski – File 2483881

info compiled by Victor A. Zelinski