Taras Shevchenko's Family Tree

Portrait of Ivan Andriiovych, Taras Shevchenko's grandfather. 1843Shevchenko's great-grandfather was Andrii Bezridnyi, who was a native of Cossack Nyz and for unknown reasons came to live in Kerelivka (other name - Kyrylivka, today - village Shevchenkove) from Zaporozhian Sich. He joined Yefrosyniia Ivanivna Shevchykha, whose father sewed boots. According to the custom of that time, he took his wife's surname.

This is how Shevchenkos' family appeared in Kerelivka. They lived in peace and harmony. They gave birth to three sons: Oleksa, Kindrat and Ivan and brought them up. Ivan was the youngest in the family and the paternal house was left to him. It was the very grandfather Ivan, who, probably, had the greatest influence on the young Taras' soul. Ivan Andriiovych was married three times. The first wife Horpyna Serhiivna bore him seven children: Hryhorii (Taras' father), Omelko, Olena, Sava, Yavdokha, Pavlo and one more Yavdokha. One more daughter - Domakha - was born from the second wife, whose name was Marfa. The third Ivan's wife didn't have children. These were Taras' aunts and uncles on the father's side. On the mother's side the following Taras' ancestors are known - the family of mother's parents Yakym and Paraska Boiko, who lived in the neighbouring village Moryntsi. They gave birth to three children: Kateryna (Taras' mother), Hanna and Pavlo. After his wife's death Yakym Boiko lived as a widower. Boiky were a little wealthier than the village serfs like them, they had more spacious house, big garden and cattle.

Hryhorii Ivanovych and Kateryna Yakymivna got married in 1802. Hryhorii was 21 and Kateryna 19 years old at the time. The married couple lived in the father's house, where also 13 grown-up children lived. There they gave birth to their daughters Kateryna (1804) and Mariia (1808). Poverty and crowdedness in the father's house made the young family to move from Kerelivka to Moryntsi, to Kateryna's fa¬ther. The family moved with Kateryna, who was six years old. In Morynt¬si son Mykyta was born to Hryhorii and Kateryna on 28 May, 1811.

Then the young family already had their own home - the neighbouring house, which Yakym Boiko bought from Hryhorii Kopii's relatives. He was a people's avenger, well-known all over the vicinity, who was arrested by the landowner Enhelhardt's order. Enhelhardt owned Moryntsi, Kere¬livka and other surrounding villages at the time. While being deported to Siberia, Kopii ran away and together with a band of the like «travelled» through Zvenyhorodshchyna, hiding in age-old mighty forests.

According to the memories of Petro Mykytovych Shevchenko and the Moryntsi priest Ivan Bereznytskyi, Kopii repeatedly threatened Yakym Boiko and Hryhorii Shevchenko with violence «for taking my land and my house». Whether it was true is difficult to establish. But an un¬questionable fact is that Hryhorii Kopii's return accelerated Shevchen¬kos moving back to Kerelivka. It happened in 1815.

This means that TarasShevchenko had lived in Moryntsiforabouta year and a half and all his childhood memories were connected with Ker- elivka. Even in his autobiographical paper (1860) Shevchenko wrote that he was born in Kerelivka, Zvenyhorodskyi povit, Kyiv guberniya. However according to the documentary evidence, Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko was born 25 February (Old Style) or 9 March, 1814 in village Moryntsi, which was testified in the book of metrics of the local church. There is the following record on page 8, «Son Taras was born to the inhabitants of village Moryntsi Hryhorii Shevchenko and his wife Kateryna. He was blessed and baptized by the priest Aleksei Bazarinskii». Taras was the fourth child in the family, if counting daughter Mariia, who died early.

Portrait of Hryhorii Shevchenko, Taras Shevchenko's grandfather. 1829-1830So, in 1815 Hryhorii and Kateryna Shevchenko came back to Kere¬livka and settled in the grandfather Ivan's yard. According to the data of the census, there lived: grandfather Ivan and Taras' uncles - Omelko, Sava and Pavlo. It is known that only men were mentioned in censuses then. We get to know about other inhabitants from the relatives' memories. It is written, that apart from the above mentioned men, there lived Ivan's wife - Mariia, Hry- horii's wife - Kateryna, Omelko's wife - Tetiana and two other Ivan's daughters - Yavdokha and Domakha. That is 10 adults and 5 children.

In the grandfather's house three more children were born to Hryhorii and Kateryna: Yaryna in 1816, Mariia in 1819 and Yosyp in 1821. As Shevchenko's relatives recalled, «the poet's grandfather on the father's side - Ivan - was a talented person, big patriot of Ukraine». Direct participant of Koliivshchyna, at old age he told his grandson about heroic struggle of Ukrainian people.

On 20 August, 1823, when Taras was over nine years old, his mother died. As the researchers note, she was only forty. Poor life, serfdom and big family ruined her. The mother was buried in the yard, not far from the house. Snowball tree leaned its clusters over her grave.

Five small children were left on father's hands. The eldest Mykyta was 12 years old, and the youngest Yosyp was 2. The father had to get married for the second time. Oksana Tereshchenko became his wife and a stepmother for a large family. She came to the family with her own three children. Besides in 1824 Hryhorii and Oksana gave birth to a daughter, who was named Mariia too.

As we already noted, Taras had two blood brothers - Mykyta (elder) and Yosyp (younger) and also five sisters - Kateryna, Yaryna, and three Mariias (one of whom died in infancy). As the researchers and relatives testify, the direct descendants of the brothers Mykyta and Yosyp and two sisters Kateryna and Yaryna were left. Taras had a special attitude to his elder sister Kateryna.

Thus it was Kateryna whom Taras Shevchenko owed the best impressions of his difficult childhood. Due to his mother and his sister, Taras felt the warmth of maternal heart.

After mother's death there was no person closer to a nine-year-old boy than Kateryna.

Taras Shevchenko in the memory of generations. - Ternopil: PE "Lider", 2014. - 300 p.