If I had to point to a single couple in my family tree who contributed the most to the population of the family it would have to be Nicolai and Garafira Cojocari. Garafira gave birth to eighteen children (one every year or so), fifteen of which survived to adulthood. Twelve of those adult children then married and, between them, raised thirty-nine children of their own. And so it goes.
When Nick and Garafira arrived in Canada after 1906 from Romania they came to Saskatchewan and began making their life. As their family grew I can only imagine the work they undertook to feed and house them all the while building a viable farm and other businesses. The pressure to provide must have been immense.
Garafira had her first baby when she was twenty-four which is a little 'late' for her generation as many women were often married when they were eighteen or earlier and having their first baby within the year. Her final baby was born before she turned forty-four. Family lore tells that when it became clear to her that she would not be able to have any more children, she cried tears of sadness.
At about the time the last child by Nick and Garafira was born in 1929 the economic collapse that defined the Great Depression had begun and for the next ten years it became very hard to earn a living. The price of wheat plummeted and a drought on the prairies made farming nearly impossible. By the middle-late thirties people were being forced to make some difficult decisions and the Cojocari were no different. They moved east to Ontario and Michigan.
The Detroit and Windsor area offered jobs and they found work in factories. By the end of the thirties about half of their children were adults with children of their own and a small number of them, dissatisfied with life in the east, ended up trickling back to Saskatchewan along with their parents. The majority stayed and made a future for themselves in the east.
Nicolai was living in the Kayville, Saskatchewan area when he passed away in 1959, survived by fourteen children, twenty-six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by four sons.
Garafira, Nick's wife of fifty years, was still living in the Kayville, Saskatchewan area when she passed away in 1967, survived by fourteen children, twenty-six grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by four of her sons and her husband.