The Ollenbergers of Canada

View a descendant outline tree to three generations.

Henry Ollenberger was born in 1863 in Russia and died in 1956. He was one of five siblings. Henry and his wife Sophie (Knorr) brought their family to Canada in 1917. Sophie died in 1939.

It is now known that the family came to Canada from the Grosswerder village in Grunau. This village is also adjacent to other Ollenb*rger villages. The family spoke fluent German and used German as their first language, even after settling in Canada. A family member managed to trace the dialect to a region in western Poland, near the German border, and determined it to be a variation of High German.

Family lore has it that Henry's father originated from Stuttgart and then emigrated to the Ukraine. He fathered Henry, as well as his brothers and sister -- Philip, John, Adam and Francis. Henry fathered Helena, John, George, Philip, Elizabeth, Wilhelm (aka William or Bill), Anton and Adam. Helena did not emigrate to Canada with the rest of the family as she was already married. It is known that she died of starvation during the 1917-18 revolution. It is not known if Helena and Philip Knorr had any children. Nor is it known if Philip Knorr was a relative of his mother-in-law although they shared the same surname. Philip Ollenberger visited Canada in the early part of 1900.

Wilhelm Ollenberger was only eight years old when his father Henry moved them to Canada. They originally settled near Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, close to the Alberta border. When Wilhelm came of age he married (it is thought) Katrina Schenck/Scheck, and they became parents of 14 children, eight are whom still live.

This family can be found mostly in the four western provinces of Canada; one family member lives in Montreal.

New information about this family was recently added to the body of knowledge. Darrell, a descendent of these patriarchs, and inspired by our efforts, has decided to work towards their own O-reunion, to be held in 2007, the centennial of the family’s arrival in Canada. Go Canada!

Read an excerpt from a family journal.

E-mail the individuals below for more specific information about this family.

Ollenberger, Darrell

Ollenberger, Steve  
Ollenberger, Tony

Sangster, Lynda Ollenburger

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Ollenbergers of Canada to Three Generations

Descendants of the Ollenbergers of Canada


... 2 Henry OLLENBERGER b: 1863 d: 1956

....... +Sophie KNORR d: December 08, 1939

........ 3 Wilhelm OLLENBERGER b: November 20, 1895 d: July 13, 1975

............ +Katerina SCHENK b: December 27, 1900 d: March 18, 1970

........ 3 Helena OLLENBERGER d: Abt. 1918 Russia

............ +Philip KNORR

........ 3 John OLLENBERGER

........ 3 George OLLENBERGER

........ 3 Philip OLLENBERGER

........ 3 Elizabeth OLLENBERGER

........ 3 Anton OLLENBERGER

........ 3 Adam OLLENBERGER


... 2 Philip OLLENBERGER b: 1862 Grosswerder, Katarinaslovski, Russia d: 1932 Canada

....... +Anna Mary HEPTING

........ 3 Philip OLLENBERGER, Jr

............ +Elizabeth SPERLING

........ 3 Conrad OLLENBERGER

............ +Sophia WAGNER

........ 3 John OLLENBERGER

............ +Emma RITTER

........ 3 Valentine OLLENBERGER

............ +Katherine SCHECK

........ 3 [1] George OLLENBERGER

............ +Clara SAUVERWALD

........ *2nd Wife of [1] George OLLENBERGER:

............ +Elizabeth SCHECK

........ 3 Kasper OLLENBERGER d: 1930

............ +Magdelena FROHLICH m: January 26, 1927 d: 1990

........ 3 Helen OLLENBERGER

............ +Joseph ROESLI

........ 3 Katherine OLLENBERGER

............ +Joseph KLOTZ


... 2 Francis OLLENBERGER

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The Ollenbergers of Canada

The vignette below comes from the book "Prairie Legacy: Grosswerder and Surrounding Districts". It is a compilation of pioneer family history of the Grosswerder district in Saskatchewan. From it has been prepared an encapsulation of the known early Canada Ollenbergers.

Also existing is a passage describing the details of their decision to leave their European home, the voyage and their arrival in Canada. Text following is as it reads in the book, grammar and all. --

Submitted by Darrell Ollenberger


By Jack Ollenberger

Henry Ollenberger, my dad, and my mother, Sophie Knorr, were both born in southern Russia of German parents.

Our grandparents migrated from Germany to Russia from, or as I gather, Stuttgard, Germany, not far from the Swiss border in Europe. It was during the reign of Nicholai the Second and Katerina the Great. She was a German Princess and before she conceded to marry Nicholai Zarr of Russia, he had to promise her 100 years rights of German settlers. The Germans dominated in that part which is the Ukraine or White Russia.

Our dad, Henry, was drafted for army service and did his stint for Nicholas on the Crimean Peninsula. In and around this area is where the Germans settled. This was near the town of Mariepol which became an important navel base during WWII. Our folks lived 40 verst or 60 miles from this seaport town. They farmed in the village named Grosswerder. German meaning "Will get bigger". this village was about 100 miles from Mariepol, 300 miles from Kiev. As the family grew there became a shortage of land for the sons, also rumors of war was pending. There came a call for immigrants to distant North America, Canada. ...< some omitted >...

John 18, and George 16, and the rest of the family at George's persistence "Come dad, we're going to Canada", drove them to decide the venture.

After selling all the land and belongings they left Grosswerder, Russia and embarked in Hull, England through a Jewish shipping agency, destination - Canada. They traveled across the Atlantic to Quebec, steerage or third class. Their berth abroad the ship were bunks built in tiers upper and lower, with toilet facilities, also cooking and washing area. ...< some omitted >...

…despite sickness and rough seas they endured the crossing, with John and George each carrying 3000 in Ruples in a money belt and Mother carried a pouch of gold around her chest and side which she kept on her person till arrival in Canada. She said it rubbed her skin that it became sore...< some omitted >... Upon arrival in Montreal they boarded an immigration train and came as far as North Battleford, Saskatchewan. On May 27, 1907 Mr. Lang, the land agent and wagon train boss led them across the open prairie and Battle River to the area where farm lands were open for homesteads. They traveled in old western style, by horse and oxen team drawn wagons and covered prairie schooners for shelter and protection for groceries and family. They landed at their homestead June 3, 1907.

...< some omitted >... .My dad, Henry helped to decide to call the new district where the community is today after their Ukrainian village of Grosswerder.

< end of relevant text >

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