This summer, Harvey and I went on a
trip of a lifetime: a trip that took us
to a far-away land where my and Grandad Lupichuk’s side of the family were
born. These were your Great, Great
Grandparents and this land is called the Ukraine.
On this trip, we visited some interesting cities but there is one special place
in the countryside around the Crimean city of Sevastopol that we will never
forget. Can you see Sevastopol on the
We are about to tell you all about a
place near there that will keep us wondering and asking questions for a long,
long time. It is here that we made an
It was a beautiful summer day and we
had spent most of the morning adventuring in the big city with fellow
travellers. Our Yalta - Sevastopol private guide Sergey Tsarapora took us with the
other travellers to the outskirts of the city that afternoon and it was a
relief to be in the fresh, quiet countryside.
When we arrived, Great Uncle Harvey and I decided to venture off alone
on a rough path leading to a field – you can see the path in the photograph
above. We found a nice rock to sit on to
take a rest together and the rock we sat on is right in the middle of the
After a few minutes of sitting, enjoying the view
and kicking dirt on the ground beside the rock, Great Uncle
Harvey discovered three buttons! How odd
to find buttons in the middle of nowhere!
We knelt down to see them better, and dig them around the rock. Sitting down again, we brushed away the dusty
soil. We wondered, "What were these
buttons doing here? Why would they be lying in the dirt? How did they get
there? Who did they belong to? A man? A woman? A child?”
We cleaned them up a bit more and realized we were holding history in our
hands! After taking a closer look, we discovered that these buttons seemed to
have come from military uniforms. We could tell that they were old but we
didn't know anything else about them. Little did we know the mystery that would unfold with these three
The next day we met our Ukrainian
friend, private guide Sergey Tsarapora, who lived near this place in the countryside. When Sergey saw the three buttons we
found, his jaw dropped! He could not
believe his eyes. Tour guide Sergey Tsarapora told us all
about how these three buttons were a part of the history of the area and we
were very lucky to have found them.
Historian Sergey Tsarapora told us stories
about the past. He explained to us that
those very buttons we were holding in our hands were worn on the jackets of men
who fought in a war more than 120 years ago.
Can you imagine that? How old are
you? How old are the buttons on your shirt? One? Two? Maybe 10 years old? That war was the Crimean War and it took
place in the 1850’s.
Do you remember what
country Great Uncle Harvey and I were in?
Yes, the Ukraine. Well, it turns
out that those buttons were not worn by Ukrainian men, but were worn by men in
the British military. Why were people
fighting over Ukrainian land along the Crimean Peninsula? Well, everyone wanted to have this special
City of Sevastopol because it is a port city like Vancouver. This means ships can come and go easily so
Sevastopol was an ideal port for travel or to trade goods.
Can you imagine Joven, Connell and a neighbour
wanting to take over Tarek’s bedroom while Nadia is calling it hers too? That is what it was like when Britain, France
and Turkey were competing with Russia to take over that city in the
Ukraine. Not fair, eh?
Here is where all the
troops were stationed while Sevastopol was under siege, and you can see on the map.
Is it possible that your Grandmother
Lupichuk's British family (The Stephens, The O’Connors and The Northcotts) were
in the Ukraine and that one these buttons could have belonged to them? Is it possible that our families met some time
in the past? Do you think we found these
buttons for a reason or was it just by chance? However you answer these questions, it leads to the mystery of whether
or not our families met in the past.
Maybe all of our ancestors knew each other at another time in history.
We left the buttons with
our friend Sergey, in Yalta (a city near Sevastapol) so they could stay in the
country where they rightfully belong. They are considered historical artifacts and so it is not possible to
take them out of the Ukraine.
The story is our story and our story
as a family, and we wanted to share it with you. We have some photographs of the buttons
that private guide Sergey Tsarapora took for us. The photos are enlarged. The real buttons are about
the size of a dime.
There are some things we
know about the buttons. If you look closely at the photographs, you will see
that there are cannons on two of the buttons and with a bit of research we
discovered that they were buttons from an artillery officer or sergeant's
military uniform. These buttons were made by a company called Firmin & Sons
that has been making uniform buttons since 1655. Wow! That’s more than 300 years ago! The name of the company is stamped on the back of two of the
The third button is a mystery. It
seems to have a horse and a lion holding a crest. You need to look at it and
see what you think. The back of the button was just plain, no maker’s name.