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Holdner Family Reunion

Holdener Crest About 180 people gathered at Young, Saskatchewan July 2,3, and 4th for a reunion of the descendants of Fridolin (Fritz) Holdner. Fritz was born February 1, 1856 in Schwyz, Switzerland. He emigrated to the United States in the 1880's and in 1887 he married Anna Hassa of Austria. They farmed at Huntersville, Minnesota where they raised a family of six boys: William, Fred, Charles, John, Frank, and Joseph, and three girls: Tressie, Ida and Annie. The three oldest sons came to Canada in 1911 soon followed by their parents and eventually the rest of the boys. They all settled in 'the Hills' southwest of Young. The girls all remained in the United States. The families have since spread across Canada and the western States.

The weekend began with everyone gathering at the Young Community Hall on Friday evening for registration. Name tags were printed by Patti Sawchuk, Dundurn. There was a cold plate lunch and a social evening. Harold Holdner, Young, welcomed everyone. Old friends were reacquainted - new friends were made. Leila Mainville, Lloydminster, and Sharry Melia, Calgary had drawn up a huge chart on the wall with families under the nine original members. Everyone was asked to fill in their history. Barbara Glaneman, Palos Verdes Peninsula, California brought her computer ready to take down the data and develop the family's history.

Saturday we were at the golf course, in the rain. The dedicated golfed and played horseshoes. The rest visited and had coffee on the large deck and yard. Nancy Holdner, Young, organized games for the little ones. Ron Matshes, Saskatoon, was official photographer. Getting that many people together at one time was no small feat but the results were worthwhile. Many hands pitched in to help with the noon barbecue which was served buffet style in the club house. Capable volunteers manned the barbecues out under the trees. Many opted to eat out there as well. The leaves acted as an umbrella against the light drizzle.

Early afternoon when the rain came down in earnest, people dispersed to their trailers, motels and relatives' homes. We met again at the hall at 5:30 pm for happy hour. Supper was ably catered by our local Coffee Cup Cafe. It arrived along with a sudden hail storm. After cleaning up the ice that also blew in the door with the food, we all settled down to do what we do best - eat. We kept Randy and his staff hopping to keep up but they did a good job.

A short program followed. Bill McMillan, Oshawa, Ontario entertained, especially the little people, with his singing and guitar playing. He started with Puff, the Magic Dragon and went on to his own compositions. Evelyn Wailing, Young, gave a short family history including that of the three sisters in the States. Irene Holdner, Young, called on the sons and daughters of the nine original family members to introduce their families. The sole remaining member of that first generation, Freida (Mrs. John) Holdner was present. Lorraine Matshes, Saskatoon, introduces members of another branch of the family from Illinois. They traced their ancestry back to Wendel Holdener who lived from 1790 - 1850. He was also Fridolin's grandfather so we were all cousins. A brother, three sisters and some members of their families had joined us. Taped music and a bar finished off the evening.

Sunday morning brought people back for brunch at the Community Hall and a chance to say good-bye. They all had a better understanding of their family history and had made new friends in the process. A tired reunion committee considered it all worthwhile.

People came from Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., also California, Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, South Dakota and Utah.

The Holdners at the Reunion

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