Search for content in message boards

SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1268892776000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Schill, Burkhard, Lefebvre, Schille, Schil, Schiller
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this site, and also to building my family tree. I am currently looking for information regarding my maternal grandfather's side of my family, who came from Bessarabia (I do not currently know from which specific area/community of Bessarabia they hailed from).

My grandfather was Arnold Schill (b. 1923 in Bessarabia, d. 1990 in Maple Ridge/Haney, British Columbia, Canada).

His parents were Johannes (b. circa 1896) and Maria (maiden surname unknown, b. circa 1899) Schill. They used the names "John" and "Marie" Schill starting at some point after they arrived in Canada.

I do not know Johannes and Maria's exact dates of birth or death, but I know that they both passed away circa 1990 (Maria passed first.). At the time of their deaths, they were living in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia.

The Schill family immigrated to Canada in 1930. They came to Canada on a ship called the Montclare (it was a Canada Pacific ship), which deported from Hamburg, Germany and arrived in Montreal, Quebec (on June 21, 1930).

The passenger list for this crossing lists the ethnicity of the Schill family as being Romanian. While that may technically have been the case (it's my understanding that Bessarabia belonged to Romania/Rumania for a period between WW1 and WW2), my grandmother (Arnold Schill’s wife) has recently informed me that my grandfather was born in Bessarabia and that his parents spoke German (my mother remembers his parents – her grandparents – speaking German to one another).

The Schills had a number of children, some of whom were born in Canada, and others that were born in Europe (likely in Bessarabia, but I cannot say that with complete certainty). My grandfather, Arnold Schill was born in Bessarabia (in 1923).

The other children of Johannes and Maria were:

-Gustav Schill (b. circa 1919) - note, this man went by "Gus"

-Johan Schill (b. circa 1921) - note, this man went by "John"

-Ella Schill (b. circa 1924)

-Erna Schill (b. circa 1927)

-Herbert Schill (b. unknown, but after the family reached Canada) - note, this man went by "Herb"

-Frieda Schill (b. unknown, but after the family reached Canada; spelling might have been Freda, Frida or Freida)
*Note: Frieda and Herbert were twins*

-Hilda Schill (b. unknown, but after the family reached Canada)

(Please note: some of the names above may unintentionally be misspelled.)

I do not know any of these peoples' years/dates of death, save for my grandfather, Arnold (d. 1990 in Maple Ridge/Haney, British Columbia).

The following is a list of the Schill children's spouses (as well as any kids I'm aware of these couples having, plus those peoples’ respective children, if known). I do not have marriage years/dates for any of these couples other than my grandparents.

(Note: I do not know any of the female spouses' maiden names, save for my grandmother.)

-Gustav (Gus) Schill married Clarice (Clair/Clare). Children: Gordon, Joanne and a third child whose name I do not know (this child passed away when he/she was four or five years old).

Gus and Clair run a blueberry and Christmas tree farm (neat combination!) in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia during the mid to mid-late 20th century (definitely during the 70s, but possible earlier and later as well).

-Gordon Schill married Vickie (Victoria). Together they had at least one child (possibly a daughter); name unknown.

-Joanne Schill married twice, but I do not know either man’s name. She had two daughters, one of whom was/is named Lisa (I don’t know the other daughter’s name) with her second husband.

-Johan (John) Schill married June. Children: David, Michael, Larry and a fourth, unknown child.

-David Schill married Jeanne. David ran his own insurance company.

-Larry married (a woman) named Randie (I do not know if that is a nickname or proper name).

-Arnold Schill married Bernice Burkhard (b. 1930 in Dawson City, Yukon - daughter of Charles Frank Burkhard and Marie Lefebvre). Children: Donald Wayne Schill (b. 1955, d. 1977), (my mother) Lynn Marie Schill (b. 1958), Lori Gail Schill (b. 1963).

-Ella Schill married Jim (James) Slea. Together they adopted two children (names unknown).

-Erna Schill married (and later divorced) “first name unknown” Knorn. The couple had a son named Richard.

-Herbert (Herb) Schill married (and later divorced) Anita. Children: Christopher (Chris), Gus (Gustuv?), Brady, Timothy (Tim), and Patricia (Trish).

-Chris married a woman named Linda. (Note, Chris passed away as an adult, but I do not know his date or place of death.)

-Frieda Schill was married twice (I do not have names for either men). She had three children with her first husband: Ralph, Sandra, and (possibly) Garry/Gary.

-Hilda Schill was married, but I do not know her husband’s name. The couple had a son named Dwayne.

I would love to know more about Johannes & Maria Schill and their children. According to my grandmother, the Schill family lived for a time in Alberta (not sure where exactly, possibly near Drumheller or Medicine Hat) before settling in the Lower Mainland area of British, Columbia.

I am hoping to discover whereabouts in Bessarabia the Schills in my family tree hail from, and perhaps (one day) if possible, to trace their lineage back to Germany (and/or whatever other countries the Schills that I’m related to lived in before settling in Bessarabia).

My grandmother (Arnold's wife) is still alive and it's through her that I've learned the information that I do have (save for the ship's passenger list, which I found online).

However, she doesn't know too much about Arnold's family or their history (I get the feeling that my grandfather really didn't talk about his family or its past much). When asked why Johannes and Maria left Europe (Bessarabia) in 1930, my grandmother replied that Maria has said it was because they "didn't want to see their sons go off to war". Which gives me a shiver up my spine whenever I think about it, as I take it to mean that even by 1930, people like the Schills were forecasting another large scale war in Europe.

If anybody reading this recognizes any of the names in this message or has any information that may be pertinent to Johannes and Maria Schill and their family, please don't hesitate to get in touch (my email is, I would dearly love to hear from you.

Thank you & happy genealogical sleuthing to all!

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1268921202000
Classification: Query
There are 2 on line resources that you should go to. One is the Germans from Russia Heritage Society which serves Germans from the Black Sea and Bessarabian regions. The other is where you should set the first search box to "St. Petersburg Archives" where you will find numerous Schill in Bessarabia. Lots of other stuff on that site to poke around in as well. It would appear that the Schills were in Bessarabia at least back to the 1830s.

Your biggest challenge in moving backwards will be to bridge the gap between 1896 and the readily available records covering the period roughly 1835 to 1885. The Society may be able to help you with that.

Many ship records show the village of origin. I assume yours does not??? Marriage records of some of the children might indicate a place of birth. Naturalization and military records might also help.


Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1268923189000
Classification: Query
Hi Jerry,

Thank you very much for your helpful reply.

I should have mentioned this in my initial post, but I actually just learned that my grandfather was born in Bessarabia this past weekend (for years my grandmother would say "he was born in Romania", but as I've recently begun to delve into my family's genealogy, I asked her if she knew whereabouts in Romania and was meet with the reply "Bessarabia" - though she does not know a more specific location than that).

The ship's log does not specific an exact location, sadly, it just listed the Schill family's nationality as being Romanian. (Too bad, it would have been great if there was a more concrete location name given.)

Over the past four days I've been pouring over many websites that deal with topics pertaining to Bessarabia and Germans from Russia (prior to discovering a connection to Bessarabia, I knew very little about it, so I'm definitely in the process of learning as I go).

I'd discovered the GRHS site, but the second link you provided is entirely new to me. Thank you so much for both of them!

Right now the "big hurdle" is finding any information prior to 1930 (when the family came to Canada). I know that my grandfather (Arnold Schill) was born in 1923 and have "circa" dates for the births of several of his siblings (and his parents), but do not know of a single Schill relative dating further back than his parents.

I'm dearly hoping to find names of my Schill g-g-grandparents (the next generation back after Johannes and Maria) so that I can possibly start to find other ancestors of mine on sites such as the ones you discussed.

You brought up a great place to look for further information: my grandparent's marriage record (and if I could obtain copies of them, marriage records for his siblings). I will ask my grandmother if she has a copy (and if so, what information is provided on it for my grandfather). Likewise I'm going to inquire as to if she has a copy of my grandfather's birth and death certificates.

It's really interesting to know that there are Schills recorded in Bessarabia dating back to the 1830s, hopefully one day I'll be able to conclusively determine if some of those names have a place in my family tree.

Sincere thanks again for your informative reply, Jerry, it is very much appreciated.

Kindest regards,

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1307500636000
Classification: Query
From the Maple Ridge Cemetary Records

Schill, John, b. 1896, d. 1990
Schill, Maria, b. 1899, d. 1989

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1328856030000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Schiil, Douglas
Hi my name is Larissa and i thought I may as well give some info which i know about our family.
My Grandfather Herbert Schill came from Romania with his sisblings which I do not know all the names of and his partents. They arrived in Canada by ship and they had managed to travel accross Canada with very little support. Herbert met my Grandmother Anita Schill Is Surrey Bc and they had got married and moved to Columbia, South America for work. My Father Kris Schill and his two brothers Brady and Gus were born in Columbia. They all had moved back to Canada but moved to Maple Ride Bc where my uncle Tim and my Auty Trish were born. My Grandfather is not alive anymore he had commited suiced. My Grandmother still lives in Maple Ridge as a widdow. My Father married my mother Linda. Me and my sister Kristina were born in maple ridge. We had then moved to Vernon Bc. My father passed away in the year 2000 My mom remarried and moved to Germany with me.
well that is all the information I can think of right now but if I get some more information I am hoping we can try to stay in touch. my e-mail is it would be nice to know if I have other family memebers out there!!

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1337030779000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Schill
Hi Larissa,

I came across this message while searching for Gus and Brady Schill.

Your grandfather Herbert was my mother's twin brother. (Freda).

His other siblings were Erna, Gust, Ella, Arnold, Hilda, and I think that was all.

I am 1 year older than your father was and we shared a house together with Brady in Edmonton in 1976. They had the upstairs and I had the downstairs. We had a big fight and I never saw him again, and then I heard he had a terrible accident involving a train, and then I heard years later that he had died.

Your uncle Brady I think lives close to me but I have not seen him since the 70s as well.

As far as I know, out of your father's siblings only my mom, Freda, and her younger sister Hilda are still alive. My mom lives in Princeton, B.C. alone since her 2nd husband died in 2007, and as far as I know Hilda still lives in Ft. St. John, B.C. where her husband Al has a gravel truck business that is now run by their son Brent.

My brother Gary also committed suicide in the year 1999, and my sister Sandra is married and lives in Utah. USA.

I have been married for almost 19 years and have a 12 year old daughter Jasmin.

I hope this letter reaches you in good health. If you have any questions I will try to answer them.

take care,

Ralph Schweitzer

Salmon Arm, B.C.

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1337031182000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Schill

I am Ralph Schweitzer. My mother was your grandfather's sister. You are correct that there was a Gary as well. He committed suicide in 1999.

Hilda's husband is Al, and as far as I know their gravel business in Ft. St. John is now run by their son Brent. and possibly Dwayne as well.

Gust and Clarice's other child passed away by drowning in the Pitt River behind their farm if I remember correctly.

The last I saw Gordon he was living in Likely, B.C. working in the Forestry.

It is possible that June is still alive but has severe dimensia. My mother Freda and Hilda are still alive.

Erna's first husband's name was Bill. I am sure that Erna was older than Ella, so you could have the birth dates mixed up. We called Erna's son "Dickie". I guess that was short for Richard.

John's other child was/is Gail.

My mother's first husband was Leonard, and he committed suicide after a 2nd heart bypass failed about 2002, and her 2nd husband Ronald passed away from cancer in 2007. My mother lives alone in Princeton, B.C. and is doing well.

You had an uncle Donald who was my age. He committed suicide at age 19. I was closer to him than any other cousin on that side of the family. I was with your uncle Gus in the search party that found his body.

So, .. whose daughter are you? Lori's?

If you have any questions I will try to answer.

Take care,

Ralph Schweitzer
Salmon Arm, B.C.

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1337038590000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Schill
Hi Ralph,

Thank you very much for replying to this thread, and for the information you provided in response to both me and Larissa (as the same info applies to both of us). It's really nice of you to share what you did here.

I'm sorry to hear about the hardships your family has encountered regarding your father and step-father's tragic passings. As well as that you were a part of the search party who went looking for Uncle Donald's body in '77. He was just 22 at the time and it's heartbreaking to think that someone so young would cut their life short like that. I'm happy that you got a chance to know him though, and truly wish I could have, too.

You are correct about Gus and Clarice's young child drowning on their property. (Should anyone here need more information on that event, I can ask my grandma, Bernice Schill, about it, as I know she remembers it.)

I sincerely appreciate your messages, Ralph, thank you again for your help and for getting in touch.

Your Schill cousin,
Jessica (

Re: SCHILL, Johannes and Maria - arrived in Canada from Bessarabia in 1930

Posted: 1338420833000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Schill
Hello Larissa, i'm allso interested in Fam. Name Schill.
I found on Internet a view stores about the Schills.
They are coming from Bessarabia,at that time a German area or something like that.
I did not yet found my Fam. background!

So I hope we found more in the future!

Greetings Ben Schill
per page

Find a board about a specific topic