HOMELAND – Warren Kreway stands next to a statue of a horse within a horseshoe. It is the emblem of Kitsman

HOMELAND – Warren Kreway stands next to a statue of a horse within a horseshoe. It is the emblem of Kitsman

Lacombe man finds family history in the Ukraine

When Warren Kreway left for a month-long trip to the Ukraine with Medical Mercy Canada at the beginning of May

When Warren Kreway left for a month-long trip to the Ukraine with Medical Mercy Canada at the beginning of May, he was hoping to do more than help out a country in need.

For Kreway, there were also personal motivations for going on the trip. He hoped that he would be able to find a lost piece of his family’s history as well.

Other than knowing that his grandfather emigrated from the Ukraine to Canada and homesteaded in Sheho, Saskatchewan, Kreway knew nothing about his Ukrainian heritage. Kreway said his father never spoke of their family’s Ukrainian ties, or why Kreway’s grandfather left the country.

Some time ago, Kreway found a clue that might lead him to learn more about his family in the Ukraine. When going through the belongings of Kreway’s late uncle, his family found a baptismal certificate for Kreway’s grandfather from 1872.

When Kreway left for his trip to the Ukraine this year, he brought the document with him, hoping it could lead him to learn more about his grandfather and why his family left the Ukraine. With a little research and a lot of luck, or as Kreway likes to think of it, divine intervention, he was able to do just that.

“I’m not over it yet,” said Kreway, who shared his findings in a gathering of family and friends at the Lacombe Memorial Centre last month.

One of the lead doctors on the medical mission trip was able to lead Kreway to the region of Bukovina. From there, Kreway and his companions were also able to find the City of Kitsman, where Kreway’s grandfather was from.

He had already learned more than he had dared to hope, but it wasn’t until the group was visiting a nearby village on an appointment with Medical Mercy Canada that things really started to fall into place for him. At that appointment, one of the nurses recognized Kreway’s name or at least, his original Ukrainian surname.

Kreway is an Anglicization of Crevoho. Like the surnames of many immigrants, Kreway’s surname was changed when his family came to Canada.

When the nurse recognized the name, she was able to put Kreway in touch with his cousin, George Crevoho.

Crevoho, the grandson of Kreway’s great-uncle, is actually a historian. When meeting his cousin, Kreway also discovered the Crevoho had been trying to do the same thing as Kreway from the other side.

While Kreway had been trying to find out why his family had left the Ukraine, Crevoho had been trying to find out why a part of his family had suddenly disappeared from the Ukraine. Between the two of them, each now has the answers they were looking for.

Kreway said that, during the many invasions the Ukraine has undergone throughout history, the people of the country have often been oppressed by some foreign influence. Anyone who opposed that oppression could meet dire consequences.

Kreway’s family left the country to escape that. However, it wasn’t as simple as just leaving.

If Kreway’s Ukrainian relatives had known anything about where his grandfather was escaping to, it would have been them that would have suffered the consequences. There was also the chance that, even if they successfully escaped, that Kreway’s grandparents would be found out after the fact and sent back to the Ukraine.

While the Crevoho family knew Kreway’s grandfather had left the country, they had no idea where he had gone or what had happened afterwards. Kreway said it was safest this way.

“If you were caught, you were literally a dead man.”

Now, thanks to Kreway and Crevoho, both sides know what happened to the other. Kreway said it was a rewarding and emotional experience for both him and Crevoho.

“I feel so honoured and blessed that I was able to take that circle and close it for both sides,” said Kreway. “George was ecstatic, there were a lot of tears shed in the two days that we had together.”



Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read