In 1870 Stepan Onyszczuk was born in Chernykhivci, Zboriv , Ukraine to Ignatius Onyszczuk and Magdalena Szewczuk. Stepanâ€™s future wife, Theclae (Tilley) Szklar was born possibly in the same year to Petri Szklar and Paraska Khisczok. Stepan and Theclae would later move to the village of Szydlowce (Shidlivsti), where they raised seven sons in house #16.
What is known about Stepan and Theclae is that he was the tallest man in the the village of Szydlowce and Theclae was a beautiful woman.
In 1900, Szydlowce was a small village of a few hundred and was situated adjacent the Zbruch River. The Zbruch was a border river separating the Austrian province of Galicia from Russia. Prior to WW1, there was a substantial bridge crossing the Zbruch at Szydlowce. This bridge would later be blown-up during the War. The village was too poor to replace the bridge to its former state. Today, there is a rope bridge straddling the river. On the map Szydlowce is spelled as Sydlivci and located south of Husjatyn.
In the early 1900's, when the seven sons of Stepan Onyszczuk and Tekla (nee Szklar), were growing up, the west side of the river was in Austria and the east side was in Russia. The boys could easily swim from one country to another in a few minutes..
At this time there were two Onyszczuk families living on the Austrian side of the river. The family of Stepan and Tekla lived at house # 16, which was a few doors away from a community well
There was a second Onyszczuk family living in Szydlowce, during the same period. Records show that on May 2, 1911, Tekla Onyszczuk arrived at Ellis Island, New York aboard the SS President Lincoln. She was 18 years old and headed for New Bedford Massachussets. She listed herself as a domestic. She came from Szydlowce and indicated that her father Hawrylo Onyszczuk was her closest living relative in Ukraine. By her age, she would have been born cir. 1893. The question arises, "Was Hawrylo a brother to Stepan or was he a cousin?
There was also Roman Onyszczuk who also came from
Szydlowce. He arrived on April 26, 1923 aboard the SS Regina, headed for Stonewall, Manitoba. He was 31, at the time meaning he was born around 1892. Roman and Tekla were probably siblings.