Val on her way to Canada

Val and Bill 1929

Bill and Anita

Marguerite and Anita

Blanche and Anita

Anita and Blanche

Anita and Blanche - Winter

Anita, Vi and Blanche

Anita and Blanche - 1929

Joe, Marguerite, Ben, Nat, Tay and Bill
Vi and Anita in Background

Bill and Val loved the Movies

On Moonlight Bay

Boerjans - Canada

Val would understandably be a little bit scared to meet her new family. She was leaving a very supportive, loving environment and entering the unknown. However, she was welcomed very warmly, and she settled right in. Her new mother-in-law was wonderful - she wasn't bossy; she offered advice when asked but never interfered. Bill's younger sister, Marguerite, was close to Val in age and she was really happy to have another female in the house closer to her in age.

The Boerjan Girls
Val, Marguerite, Anita, Nathalie Boerjan

Valerie and Bill had two more daughters, Blanche, born April 30, 1920, and Viola, born November 23, 1923. Valerie had always wanted to give Bill a son, because the Boerjan name in our branch of the family died if there were no sons born to Nathalie and Ben's male children. Valerie had a miscarriage and she and Bill were very sad at the loss. The doctor asked Val if she wanted to know the sex, and she said "No!". She would have been devastated if it had been a boy. She was never able to get pregnant after that miscarriage.

Back: Ben, Unknown, Bill, Tay, Unknown
Front: Val, Marguerite, Nathalie
Anita, Vi, Blanche

Bill added to the land the family was farming and he became very successful. The motorcar was leading to mechanical farm equipment, and Ben loved his horses. He could not farm without his horses, so when Bill decided to use motorized farm machinery, Ben retired. Ben and Nathalie moved into Elrose, where they had built an Arts and Crafts house.

Bill built a new house on the farm in 1929. It was a beautiful, large house with lots of room for his family. The girls loved it on the farm - they had lots to do. They played ball in the summer, rode the horse, Jesse, and helped their parents with chores. Anita helped her mother in the house but Blanche preferred to help her dad. She was a tomboy and never enjoyed housework. There was always a constant battle between Valerie and Blanche - Valerie felt that Blanche should spent more time helping with the housework which Blanche hated with a passion. Vi, the youngest, was the baby; she was small, with pretty blonde hair and a pretty face, and everybody doted on her. The girls attended school in Elrose, and when they were younger, during the winter months they stayed in town with their grandparents, Ben and Nathalie. When they got older, they rode the school wagon or sleigh into Elrose for school.

Bill was a respected member of the Elrose community. He was on the hospital board for many years and belonged to the Elrose Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. He was also very active in the Catholic church. Val was also active in the community. She belonged to the Legion Auxiliary and the Catholic Women's League.

The girls were popular at school and Anita excelled in academics, skipping two grades. She graduated at the age of 16 and wished to attend Normal School (teacher's college) in Saskatoon. However, she couldn't enter until she was 18. When it was time for Anita to attend school, Valerie obtained a board and room situation for her - she found suitable accommodations where Anita could work part-time to help pay for her board and room. In the winter of 1938-39 Bill moved the family into Saskatoon where he rented a house on 5th Avenue. It was a very luxurious house - it belonged to the ex-mayor of Saskatoon who was spending the winter in Hawaii. Blanche did not move into Saskatoon but went to visit her Aunt Marguerite in Ontario. Vi attended the convent, where she completed high school, then attended Robertson's Business College. In the spring, Bill and Val moved back to the farm and Anita moved in with the Angus family.

Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, and Canada entered on the side of Britain within a week of the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. Blanche and Vi enlisted.

Blanche and friend in uniform

Blanche was an ambulance driver and chauffeur for the officers. While she was in the services, she met her husband, Carl McCallum, who was a cook. They fell in love and were married on January 13, 1943. After the war they settled on the east coast, where Carl's family was located, but they weren't happy there. They moved to Elrose, and Carl joined the family farming operation. Carl was a maritimer so he had lots to learn about farming but he was smart and willing. Blanche worked right alongside him on the farm throughout their marriage. They had two children, Carl William, born in 1943, and Judy, born in 1946. Blanche died in the winter of 1989 of lung cancer - it was one of the coldest winters in Saskatchewan. On the day of her funeral, the temperature was about -40. Carl lived until 2005 even though he only had one lung and one-third of his stomach. He was a scrappy little fellow with a magical personality. Both he and Blanche were very witty and a joy to visit with.

Carl, Blanche and Tayfield plus Judy and Billy
Carl, Blanche and Tay
Judy and Billy

Vi met Donald McDonald during the war and they were married in September 1944. They lived in Swift Current for a time, but eventually moved to British Columbia. They had three daughters, Bonnie, Sandy and Joanne. Vi died on September 19, 1962 from breast cancer.

Val and Bill lived on the farm until 1946, when they moved into Elrose. Blanche and Carl moved into the house on the farm but maintained a residence in Elrose which they used during the winter months so Judy and Billy could attend school.

Bill kept his promise to Julia, Valerie's mother, that he would make sure that Val got home to Minnesota at least once a year. Both Bill and Val enjoyed these visits. They visited family members all around Crookston, played cards, and enjoyed many movies. According to Val's diaries, they attended many movies when they visited Crookston.

To see a full account of the Boerjan Story, please go to The Belgiums.

For more information on Belgium, go to


Boerjan History in the Old Country

Ben Boerjan Grows Up in Belgium and Marries Nathalie

Bill Moves to Minneapolis and Meets Val.

Bill Goes to War and Val Stays with Her Parents in Crookston

Bill Moves His New Family to Canada - up to 1946

The Boerjans Retirement Years