St. Josephs Colony, Tramping Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada


Area Coordinator: Tanya Wellman

Location:  West-Central Saskatchewan, from east of Bigger to the Alberta border, from Kerrobert to Unity.  68 Kilometres NS by 127 Kilometres EW at the widest point.

Background:  The third Saskatchewan Catholic German colony with the majority of immigrants from South Russia.  The first group were mostly Germans from Russia who had earlier immigrated to the Dakotas.  The majority came directly from the Black Sea area including the Crimea.  Some Volga Lutherans also homesteaded here.

History:  In 1903-4, work was beginning for a third and larger Catholic German colony in Saskatchewan.  This time, they specifically looked for land that resembled their former Russian steppes.  The Catholic Colonization Society led by F.J. Lange was granted a bloc of 77 townships in west central Saskatchewan.  55 of which were settled by a majority of German homesteaders.  This colony covered an area of 2,772 square miles, the largest in size in Saskatchewan.
In late April, 1905, the first settlers arrived at their new home near Tramping Lake.  A second group including an Oblate priest arrived on May 11.  On May 12, the first Mass was said.  Those Germans from Russia who had settled earlier in the Dakotas were the first to homestead here too, in the years 1905 – 1908 while the bulk of the immigrants from south Russia came in between 1908 – 1910. Some moved from the previously settled Saskatchewan Catholic colonies of St. Joseph’s Colony, Balgonie or St. Peter’s Colony, Humboldt.  Germany and Hungary were other places of emigration. 
Evangelical Lutherans Germans from Nebraska, Wisconsin as well as the Russian Volga arrived thinking that they were coming to a German Lutheran colony but instead found themselves in the midst of the St. Joseph’s Colony German Catholics and British settlers.  These Lutherans homesteaded around the larger centres of Luseland, Unity, and Wilkie in Saskatchewan and Provost in Alberta.

St. Joseph’s Colony, Tramping Lake – books and websites



St. Joseph’s Colony 1905-1930, Father Schultz, W., O.M.I.  Translated by Schneider, Lambert and Tillie. 1930.

 Copy in GRHS Library. 
Available for sale at GRHC, NDSU.

Ripening Harvest, St. Joseph’s Colony, Saskatchewan, 1905-1955, Oblate Fathers, St. Mary’s Province. 1955

Available for Sale at GRHC, NDSU.

St. Joseph’s Colony, Tramping Lake website
by Mitchell, Kelly.

The sword of Saint Paul: a history of the Diocese of Saskatoon, 1933-1983, Robertson, D. F.  1982.

Digital Copy at

The baptisms in Tramping Lake and immediate area of St. Joseph's colony: a transcription, Gutenberg, Beverly, 1998.

Copy available at Saskatoon Public Library.

Tramping Lake Area Baptisms 1906-1911, Marriages 1919-1950, transcribed by Gutenberg, Bev, 2003.

For Members OnlyGRHS Website – Kutschurgan Chapter-Private Data – Canada.

1905-1919 St. Paschal, Leipzig,  Birth, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage and Burial Records, 1846-1957, Saskatchewan  Catholic Church Records

Online microfilms with index. 
Note: in Latin.

1906-1914 St. Joseph, Scott, Baptism Records, 1846-1957, Saskatchewan Catholic Church Records.

Online microfilms with index. 
Note: in Latin

Saskatchewan Germans From Russian


1981-2007 Alberta Chapter, Germans from Russia Heritage Society Fond, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta

Becker Collection, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.   In Library Archive use only

From Katherine to Khrushchev, The Story of Russia’s Germans, Giesinger, Adam, 1974.

Chapter XVIII is titled
“Relatives Overseas”
Available at GRHS Store.

From the Steppes to the Prairies, Msgr. Aberle, George P., 1993.

Chapter XV is titled
“The German Russians in Canada”
Available at GRHS Store.

Germans from Russian in Saskatchewan: An Oral History, American Review of Canadian Studies, Volume 40, Issue 1, 2010, Clark, Jessica & Isern, Thomas D.

Online article

Heritage Review articles

Copies available at GRHS Library and Store.

Letters from Saskatchewan Germans from Russia

GRHS Letter Archive

Memories of the Black Sea German,  Height, Joseph S., 1979

Chapter 13 is titled “From the Kutschurgan to Saskatchewan” Available at GRHS Store.

Odessa Digital Library, A German-Russian Genealogical Library

Paradise on the Steppe, The Odyssey of a Pioneering People. Height, Joseph S., 1973.

Available at GRHS Store.

The Germans from Russia in Saskatchewan and Alberta, German-Canadian Yearbook, vol. 3, 1976, Becker, A.

The Germans in Western Canada, A Vanishing People, CCHA Journal, 1975, Becker, A., M.D., 1975.

Ukrainian people places: the Ukrainians, Germans, Mennonites, Hutterites and Doukhobors and the names they brought to Saskatchewan,  Barry, Bill

 Copy at GRHS Library

Saskatchewan Genealogy


Tracing your Saskatchewan ancestors: a guide to the records and how to use them; Hanowski, Laura M.

 Copy in GRHS Library

Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project (SHIP)

Western Can. Legal Land Description to GPS Coordinates

1846-1957, Saskatchewan  Catholic Church Records

Online microfilms with index.  Note: in Latin.

Saskatchewan Birth and Death Records

1906 and 1911 Canadian Census (FREE)

1924 Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Elevator Maps

Atlas of Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchewan, 1999.

Cyndi’s List of Genealogical Internet Sites

Geographical Names of Saskatchewan, Barry, Bill, 2005.

Saskatchewan place names.

Mary’s Genealogical Treasures - Saskatchewan

Online Historical Map Digitization Project

Photos of Salvador, Unity, Saskatchewan, etc.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

Saskatchewan GenWebsite - Battlefords

Saskatchewan Ghost Towns, Moore, Frank, 1982

Digital copy at

U of S Saskatchewan history website including photos

What's In a Name?: The Story Behind Saskatchewan Place Names, Russell, E.T. Pete, 1980

Saskatchewan place names and history.


“Although we came from different regions in Russia
 and here were living together in one area,
all had the one desire of a church.”

John Feist who came from Crimea, Russia to Reward, Saskatchewan in 1910.

May 12, 1905, First Mass in St. Joseph’s Colony, Tramping Lake was said at SE 36-37-20-W3, near Pascal and Leipzig.  A plaque has been erected on this site.

St. Joseph’s Colony 1905-1930, Father Schultz, W., O.M.I.  Translated by Schneider, Lambert and Tillie, 1930.
Ripening Harvest, St. Joseph’s Colony, Saskatchewan, 1905-1955, Oblate Fathers, St. Mary’s Province, 1955.
The sword of Saint Paul: a history of the Diocese of Saskatoon, 1933-1983, Robertson, D. F., 1982.







Assumption of Mary



St. Donatus

S of Cosine (3 sites)

Assumption of Our Lady



St. Elizabeth

Primate (Closed)

Canadian Martyrs

Luseland (Renamed)


St. Eugene de Mazenod


Holy Family

Ermine (Closed)


St. Francis of Assisi (Ulrich)

Rural Luseland (Closed)

Holy Ghost

Wilkie (renamed)


St. Francis Regis

Kerrobert (renamed)

Holy Rosary Shrine



St. Henry (Old) (Leibel)

N of Salvador (Moved)

Immaculate Conception



St. Henry (New)

Salvador (Closed)

Our Lady of Fatima



St. John the Baptist


Our Lady of Grace



St. John Nepomucene

Salt Lake (Closed)

Our Lady of Lourdes

Coleville (Closed)


St. Joseph

Scott (Closed)

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Carmelheim (Closed)


St. Mary


Our Lady of the Assumption



St. Mary

Provost, Alberta

Rutland Mission

Rutland (Closed)


St. Michael

Tramping Lake

Sacred Heart

Broadacres (Closed)


St. Norbert

Rosenheim, AB (Closed)

Sacred Heart



St. Paschal Baylon


St. Anthony

Grosswerder (Closed)


St. Peter’s

Cosine (Closed)

St. Charles Borromeo

Revenue (Selz) (Closed)


St. Peter’s


Religious Orders:      Oblates of Mary Immaculate, St. Mary’s Province (Priests and Brothers)
Sisters of St. Elizabeth, Humboldt - Macklin Hospital (Nurses)
School Sisters of Notre Dame - Leipzig Convent (teachers)
Ursuline Sisters of Prelate - Denzil and Cosine Convents (teachers)
Lutheran Churches:           Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Luseland, Saskatchewan
Lutheran Church of Unity and Wilkie, Saskatchewan
Trinity Lutheran Church, Wilkie, Saskatchewan
Central Lutheran Church, Provost, Alberta


Cemeteries and Obituaries

Cemeteries of Saskatchewan, Mack, Rosemary – Copy in GRHS Library

  Germans from Russia Obituaries – GRHS website

Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project –

Lakeview Cemetery, Macklin, Saskatchewan -,%20SK%20-%20Lakeview%20Cemetery/Mycemetery--Lakeview-Cemetery.htm,%20SK%20-%20Lakeview%20Cemetery/Mycemetery--Lakeview-Cemetery.htm

Landis Cemetery – Tombstone inscription and burial index, Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, Biggar Branch, 1987.   Copy available at Regina Public Library.

PleasantView Cemetery, Unity, Sask -

Provost Cemetery -

Saint Henry's Catholic Cemetery - Salvador, Saskatchewan, 45 Heritage Review 19-4, 1989, GRHS, Ell, Odelia.  Copy available at GRHS.




Local History Books and Websites



St. Joseph’s Colony, Tramping Lake Local History Books List, Compiled by Wellman, Tanya, 2016. Revised 2017.

For Members OnlyHistory Books

St. Joseph’s Colony, Tramping Lake website
By Mitchell, Kelly.

Saskatchewan local history directory: a locality guide to community and church histories in the Prairie History Room.  Prairie History Room.  Regina Public Library.  1990.

Digital Copy at
Listed by community and school district.

Canadian Local History Book website

Alberta Local History book websites

People:   GRHS Genealogy Database:    Includes photos, headstone photos and other resources.  Also -

Saskatchewan Post Offices:

Saskatchewan One-Room School Project:

Towns, Villages, Hamlets, Communities:

Saskatchewan - Adanac, Broadacres, Cactus Lake, Carmelheim, Cavell/Coblenz, Cosine, Denzil, Ermine,  Evesham, Fusilier, Grosswerder, Handel, Heart’s Hill, Kelfield, Kerrobert, Landis, Leipzig, Luseland, Macklin, Major, Phippen, Primate, Reford, Revenue, Reward, Saint Donatus, Salvador, Thackeray, Scott, Senlac, Tako, Tramping Lake, Unity, and Wilkie.

Alberta – Bodo, Cadogen, Compeer, Hayter, Provost and Rosenheim.

Places of Interest:



Bodo Archaeological Centre

Bodo, Alberta

5000 years old interpretative and archaeological site.

Denzil Museum

Denzil, Saskatchewan

Heart’s Hill

Luseland, Saskatchewan

One of the highest points in Saskatchewan.

Kerrobert Museum

Kerrobert, Saskatchewan

Landis Museum

Landis, Saskatchewan

Macklin Museum

Macklin, Saskatchewan

Provost Museum

Provost, Saskatchewan

St. Joseph’s Colony Plaque

SE 36-37-20-W3

First Mass at St. Joseph’s Colony Tramping Lake

Scott Experimental Farm

Scott, Saskatchewan

Shrine of the Holy Rosary, Holy Rosary Church, Reward

Grid 275,
12 miles South of Reward
52°16'5.00"N 109°21'41.31"W

Shrine.  15 paintings of the Mysteries of the Rosary by Count Berthold von Imhoff.

Threshing Machine Graveyard

Luseland, Saskatchewan
4 miles south on the Airport road, 1 mile east and another ½ mile south

Abe Olfert’s collection includes a variety of makes and models of over 50 threshing machines.

Unity and District
Heritage Museum

Unity, Saskatchewan

Historical buildings including a soddie!

Wilkie Museum

Wilkie, Saskatchewan

World’s Largest Bunnock

Macklin, Saskatchewan

World Bunnock Championship, August long weekend

Compiled by Tanya Wellman, February 2016 for GRHS use only.   Revised May, 2017, June 2020