John (Ivan) Potiahaylo

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My great-grandfather (my father's mother's father).

We're currently unsure of the spelling of the last name Potiahaylo (or, in Cyrillic, потягайло). It was changed arbitrarily to Pothalo, Potahailo, Potyahaylo, or Puthalo (we're not sure), by the immigration authorities and that family name was used on the children's birth certificates.


Born July 17, 1893 in the village of Sarafinchi (alternate spellings: Serafince, Serafin'tse, Serafińce, Serafintsy, Serafin). This is a village near the city of Horodenka (also seen as Gorodenka, Ukrainian: Городенка) in what is now the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast of Ukraine.

This region was historically a part of the Galicia.

1911 Census of Canada

Image from 1911 Census

On the 1911 Census of Canada he is listed as resident at 1928 Home Avenue in Fort William, Ontario under the name John Potahailo. Further:

  • he was single
  • he was born in February 1891 and was 20 years old in 1911
  • country of origin was Galecia
  • arrived in Canada in 1908
  • language and nationality was Ruthenian
  • religion was Catholic
  • working as a laborer in a foundry
  • employed 40 weeks in 1910
  • working 60 hours a week
  • total earnings in 1910 were $800 (I think, the first number is indistinct)


John married my great-grandmother, Mary Humeniuk around 1914.


Died in June 12, 1940 of cancer.