of Alberta


  1. Johann Neufeld and Barbara Funk Neufeld Diary, 1905-1932, 2 cm

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    Accession 2010.008

    Johann Neufeld and Barbara Funk Neufeld Diary, 1905-1932, 2 cm

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Johann Neufeld was born on 16 September 1868 in Mariawohl, Molotschna Colony, the son of Johann Gerhard Neufeld and Katharina (Wiens) Neufeld.  He and his first wife, Helen Bekker, were married in 1899 but she died in childbirth just over a year later.  He married Anna Nachtigal in 1904.  Together they had four children, but Anna died, also in childbirth, in 1904.  Johann’s third wife was Barbara Funk of Mariewohl.

    Barbara Funk, daughter of Gerhard H. Funk and Aganetha Foth, was born 16 December 1882 in Mariawohl.  She married Johann Neufeld on 9 February 1913.  Together Johann and Barbara had four more children, in addition to the four children from Johann’s second marriage.  Johann Neufeld died in 1924.  In 1926, widow Barbara Funk Neufeld, together with her four children and her four step children and other close relatives, left Russia for Canada.  There, after some delays en route and short intermediate stops, the family settled in the Peace River district of Alberta.  In retirement Barbara lived in Tofield, Alblerta, where she died 28 January, 1965.

    Scope and Content 

    The fonds consists of a small diary begun by Johann Neufeld in 1905 and continued by his third wife, Barbara, after Johann’s death in 1924.  Johann’s entries are more of a chronicle than a diary. Barbara’s entries describe her experiences of leaving Russia with eight children and waiting for permission to leave England for Canada.  She further recounts the trials and tribuations of her early years in the Peace River district of Alberta.  This may have been the first of several diaries now lost.  It ends in 1932 when the last page of the diary was filled.
    The diary was written in the German Gothic script.  It was transcribed into Latin German Script by Susan Neufeld Dyck, niece of Barbara Funk Neufeld, and then translated into English by Grandson Edgar Rogalski.  A copy of the English translation has been placed in the library of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta.

    Source of Acquision

    Gift of Edgar Rogalski


    Accession 2010.008


  2. Jakob Johann Braun family fonds

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    Accession 2009.015

    Title and Physical Description

    Jakob Johann Braun family fonds. – [ca. 1905-ca. 1907], 2009. – 5 cm of textual records.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Jakob Johann Braun was born in 1890 in Tiegenhagen, Moltschnau Colony, South Russia. Sarah Friesen was born in 1899 in Ogus-Tobe, Crimea, Russia. They married in 1921, and emigrated to Canada in 1925. They had at least one child, Hertha Evangeline “Herta” Braun, 1944-2010, born in St. Boniface, Manitoba. She became a professional church organist in Calgary, Alberta. She married Alfred Dilk in 1964, and they had three daughters, Renate Angelika (Pilon), Marlies Ingrid (Bird), and Monika Aneliese (Fourlas). Herta later married Orlin Anderson.

    Scope & Content

    The fonds includes Herta’s essay on her mother’s family, who were part of a Mennonite community in Crimea and mostly perished during the Stalin era or relocated to Germany. Includes Jakob Johann Braun’s school exercise books in composition, geometry, and art.

    Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Herta Anderson, 2009.


  3. Dyck, Franz “Frank” (1903-1980) G#427394

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    Dyck, Franz “Frank” (1903-1980) G#427394

    Written and presented by Dave Dyck to the MHSA-sponsored “Celebration of the 80th Anniversary of Russian Mennonites coming to Coaldale, Alberta (1926-2006)”

    In 1923 both of my parents emigrated from Ukraine to Canada.  In 1927 they were married in Manitoba, and then moved to a farm known as the Wilson farm at Harris, Saskatchewan.  In April of 1929 my parents left Saskatchewan and moved to Coaldale.  My Dad built a house on the Lepp farm south of the gaol farm in the Lethbridge area, where we then lived for a number of years.

    The Coaldale Mennonite Church was established in 1928.  Frank, having been ordained as a minister in Saskatchewan, was accepted into the lay ministry in 1931 alongside Jacob Gerbrandt who had been serving the church since 1929.

    Few people owned cars so Frank would walk the seven miles to the church in Coaldale.  In the beginning Sunday church services were held in the school on eighteenth street which is now part of the United Church.

    More ministers were added during the years.  I, as a youngster, thought the services were long.  Occasionally when I managed to escape my mother’s arms, I would immediately run onto the ministers’ platform to my Dad, who would calmly pick me up and go to the front pew and sit down.

    A typical Sunday morning service had two speakers.  I believe the first speaker did the introduction.  The second speaker would do the sermon and closing.  This one Sunday the first speaker got up and started the introduction.  The introduction lasted from 11 a.m. to five minutes before twelve.  Frank then got up, went to the pulpit, and asked the congregation to rise for the closing prayer.  After the closing, the first speaker somewhat aghast asked Frank “what is wrong?”  Frank calmly pointed to the clock hanging on the wall.

    © 2007 Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta
    Last Updated 19 May 2007

    General Queries/Comments: Contact MHSA

  4. Wall, Cliff, Family History, 2007, 15 cm.

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    Accession 2009.043

    Title and Description

    Wall, Cliff, Family History, 2007, 15 cm.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Cliff Wall was born on 1 December 1926 near Macrorie, Saskatchwan, the son of Henry P. Wall and Anna Unruh.  The family took up a homestad in the Nipawin district of Saskatchewan in the 1930s.  In 1947 they moved on to Vancouver Island where Cliff met and married Dorothy Michelson the following year.   They moved on again in 1960, to San Jose California where Cliff established an automotove financing and leasing business.  In retirement Cliff Wall spent 12 years researching the family history.

    Scope and Content

    The fond consists of 26 entries documenting the genealogy, family histories and stories of Cliff Wall's maternal and 
    paternal ancestors and relatives. 
    Source of Acquisition
    Donated by Cliff Wall
    Accession 2009.043
    Finding Aid:
    1. Overview
    2 Index
    3. Appreciation and Introduction
    4. Our Family History
    5. Tobias A. Unruh (1819-1875)
    6. Our History - Anabaptist Origins
    7. Ships Pictures
    8. The Neufeld Family Legend
    9. The Unruh Family from 1750
    10. Tobias B. Unruh & Katharina Spering
    11. Peter Tobias Unruh & Eva Dirksen
    12. The Daniel Unruh Family
    13. The Harder Family
    14. Henry Wall (1843-1916) & Family
    15. The Toews Connection
    16. The house of Dirk
    17. The Voth Family
    18. The Jacob Voth Family
    19 The Funk Family Connection
    20. The Wedel Connection
    21. The Hiebert Family
    22. Peter Wall and Mary Buller
    23. The Henry Peter Wall Family
    24. The Cliff Wall Story
    25. The clifford & Dorothy Wall Family
    26 Addendum
  5. Janzen, Peter, Genealogy, 1789-1962, 10 cm

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    Accession 2009.024


    Peter Janzen Genealogy, 1789-1982, 10 cm.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Peter Janzen was born in 1762.  The exact date and place are not given.  He was married three times.   Only the surnames of his three wives are given: first marriage to “nee Ratzlaff,” second marriage “nee Nachtigal,” third marriage “nee Marie Kasper” who married Gerhard Becker after Peter Janzen’s death in 1862 at the age of 100.

    Scope and Content

    This genealogy, compiled by Kathryn Klassen of Buhler, Kansas. provides information about the descendants of the 12 children of Peter Janzen and his three wives.   The genealogy does not indicate the sources of the information provided by the compiler.  Included are several addenda, some of which provide information as late as 1968 even though the title of manuscript gives the dates of 1789 to 1962.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Peter Goertzen, Edmonton.


    Accession 2009.024

    No access restrictions.

  6. Wilhelm Hiebert family fonds

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    ArchivesAccession 2008.016

    Wilhelm Hiebert family fonds.  – [ca. 1988-ca. 1991]. – 2 cm of textual records

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Wilhelm Hiebert (1847-1908) and his wife, born Katerina Esau (1849-1940) were Mennonites who migrated from Russia to Chortitz, Manitoba (now called Randolph, Manitoba) in July 1875. Wilhelm’s ancestry has been traced back to Peter Hiebert (b. 1818). Katerina’s ancestry has been traced back to Benjamin Defehr or Fehr (b. 1818). A committee consisting of their grandchildren produced a 125-page compilation of the family genealogy ca. 1988, and a family reunion was held in 1988.

    Custodial History

    The fonds was given to Judith Rempel by Vern Hiebert.

    Scope & Content

    The fonds consists of the family genealogy, song sheet used at the 1988 family reunion, additional genealogical notes and hymns, one item of correspondence, and a poem by Wilhelm Hiebert.

    Source of Acquisition

    Gift by Judith Rempel, 2008.


    Accession 2008.016
    Last updated by Jim Bowman, 23 November 2017

  7. Hans Janzen family fonds

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    Accession 2008.028 

    Title and Physical Description

    Hans Janzen fond, undated, 1 oversized page

    Biographical History

    Hans Janzen was born 28 March 1752.  He married twice.  His first wife was Maria Bergman; his second Agatha Fast.  There is no  further information about the wives in this document.  The family migrated from the Danzig district to Russia in 1804 and settled in Petershagen, Taurien.  He was the ancestor of a very large family.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds consists of two copies of an oversized genealogical page drawn in the shape of a circle with Hans Janzen at the centre.  He was the father of six children which produced offspring.  They are listed in an inner concentric circle around Hans Janzen.   They are 1. Kornelius Janzen who married Aganetha Kroeker, 2. Johann Janzen who married Maria Willms, 3. Jakob Janzen who married Justina Martens, 4. Maria Janzen who married Jakob Enns, 5. Anna Janzen who married Jakob Neumann, 6. Katharina Janzen who married Jakob Thiessen.  Later descendants are shown in semi-concentric circles, enlarged with each succeeding generation.  This unique document gives the names of, quite literally, hundreds of descendants of Hans Janzen,  It does not, however, provide any addition information about Hans Janzen or the dates, places of briths, marriages other than names of spouses, or the deaths of the descendants.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Agnes Schroeder of Tofield, Alberta.


    Accession 2008.028 placed with oversized manuscripts and documents.




  8. Ratzlaff, David collection, 1945-1997, 50 cm. of textual materials

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    Title and Description

    Ratzlaff, David, collection, 1945-1997. 50 cm. of textual materials.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    David Ratzlaff, son of David and Wilhelmina (Schmidt) Ratzlaff, was born 28 February 1917 in Deutsch-Wymyschle, Central Poland.  He received his early education in Deutsch-Wymyschle where he became a member of the Mennonite  Brethren Church.   He was conscripted for military service in the German army during World War II.  On 8 July 1944, while on military leave, he married Maria Ratzlaff.  Shortly after his marriage he was taken to a Soviet Prisoner of War camp and held until 1948.  He emigrated to Canada in 1949, where he was reunited with the wife and son who had  been born in 1945 while he was a Prisoner of War.  The family settled in Calgary where he established a construction company.
    David Ratzlaff was an active member and lay preacher in the Mennontie Brethren Church who also became keenly interested in the history of both the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches, families and communities of Wymyschle and the nearby community of Deutsch Kazun.
    Since most of the information and documentation collected by David Ratzlaff relates to, or is copied from church records, a brief history of the Mennonite churches at Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kazun may be helpful.
    Mennonites from West Prussia emigrated and settled in several scattered rural commuunities of central Poland as early as 1762.  The largest of these villages were Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kazun.  A chapel and school were built in Deutsch Wymyschle between 1764 and 1770.  In 1883 some members of the Mennonite church transferred their membership to a Mennonite Brethren Church founded through the influence of Mennonite Brethren from Russia.  After that the small remaining Mennonite congregation at Deutsch Wymyschle was served by the leader of Deutsch-Kazun.
    There were small but steady streams of migration from Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kasun to Volynia, Russia and North and South America.  As a result, despite natural growth and the conversion of some local people, membership in both Mennonite churches remained quite small.
    The Mennonite churches of central Poland were closed during or immedately after World War II and almost all the remaining members left or were expelled afte the war.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of  photocopies of a three-part history by Robert Foth of the history of the Mennonites at Deutsch-Wymyschle based on three main church books: 1. Abstracts of significant events recorded by church leaders, and membership registers, in a book subsequently lost in a fire; 2. A book containing emigration and complete family registers; and 3. A register of births.  David Ratzlaff transcribed and supplemented Foth’s work.  In addition, he copied detailed genealogical information from seveal different church books, and prepared more detailed genealogical information about the Ratzlaff and related families.  He also helped to organize and was a prominent participant in several reunions in Canada of former residents of Deutsch-Wymyschle.  Copies of the hymns and anthems sung at Wymyschler reunions are included in the collection but the dates and contents, as indicated on the covers, are incorrect.  The information and notes have been left in the order in which they were received but file numbers were added by the archivist.

    Source of Acquisition

    Gerda Trawfir, daughter of David Ratzlaff.

    Related Material

    Ben Ratzlaff, The Andrew B. Ratzlaff Biography & Family Record, 1824-1972 (Abbostsford)

    David Ratzlaff, Wymyschle.  Wir Predigen Christum den Gekreutzigten.  Eine Abhandlung ueber die MB-Gemeinde Wymyschle und das Wymyschler-Treffen am 16 July 1977 in Three Hills Alberta

    Erich Ratzlaff, Im Wiechselbogen  Mennonitensidlungen in Zentralpolen (Winnipeg:Christian Press, 1971.

    Erich Ratzlaff, Keine Bleibende Stadt.  Darbietungen und Vortraege auf dem Zweiten Wymyschler-Treffen in Three Hills, Alberta.

    Erich Ratzlaff, Auf Tabors Hoehen, Wymyschler-Treffen 1977 in Winnipeg.

    Finding Aid

    History of the Mennonites at Deutsch-Wymyschle
    1. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle. Polen, Erster Teil, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
    2. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen, Zweiter Teil, Mennoniten Bruedergemeinde, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
    3. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen, Dritter Teil.  Der Absteig und Untergang der Mennoniten- und Mennoniten-Bruedergemeinde zu Deutsch Wymyschle, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
    4. Anhang zur Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Duetsch-Wymyschle, Polen.  Verschiedene Verzzeichnisse, bueltig fuer beide Gemeinden zu Dt.  Wymyschle, written or compiled by Roberf Foth.
    5. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen. written by Robert Foth, transcribed by David Ratzlaff with additional information from other sources.

    Copies of pages from the register of births.
    6. Ratzlaff families from the Przechowka church book records.
    7. Janet Taylor lineage.
    8. Janet Taylor. Information about Heirich W. Ratzlaff.
    9. Janet Taylor on Johann Ratzlaff family.
    10 Janet Taylor about Peter Ratzlaff.
    11. Janet Taylor information about David Ratzlaff
    12. Janet Taylor information about Andreas Ratzlaff.
    13. Plenert, John
    14. Plenert, Cornelius
    15. Schmidt family from the Przechowka church book records.
    16. Family records A  B
    17. Family records C  D  E
    18. Family records F
    19. Family records  G
    20. Family records  H
    21. Family records I  J  K
    22, Family records  L  M
    23. Family records  N
    24. Family records  O  P
    25. Family records  R
    26. Family records  Ratzlaff
    27. Family records    S
    28. Family records    T
    29. Family records  U
    30. Family records  W
    31. Family records  Z

    Copies or information derived from family “Stammbaum der Deutsch Wymyshler Mennoniten, Band II and `Przechowka Mennonite Church Book.
    32. Stammbaum A   B
    33. Stammbaum B
    34. Stammbaum B
    35. Stammbaum B
    36. Stammbaum B C D
    37. Stammbaum E  F
    38. Stammbaum F
    39. Stammbaum  F
    40. Stammbaum F
    41. Stammbaum F
    42. Stammbaum F G H
    43. Stammbaum H
    44. Stammbaum H  K
    45. Stammbaum  K
    46. Stammbaum K
    47. Stammbaum K
    48. Stammbaum K
    49. Stammbaum K
    50. Stammbaum  K M
    51. Stammbaum M
    52. Stammbaum N  O  P
    53. Stammbaum P
    54. Stammbaum R
    55. Stammbaum R
    56. Stammbaum Ratzlaff
    57. Stammbaum Peter Ratzlaff
    58. Stammbaum Ratzlaff families
    59. Stammbaum Ratzlaff family
    60. Stammbaum Franz Ratzlaff
    61. Stammbaum R
    62. Sammbaum R  S
    63. Stammbaum Sch
    64. Stammbaum Sch
    65. Stammbaum Schw
    66. Stammbaum Sch
    67. Stammbaum Sch
    68. Stammbaum Sch
    69. Stammbaum S  T  U  V  W
    70. Stammbaum W
    71. Stammbaum W
    72. Stammbaum W|
    73 – 77. Stammbaum “Schon verwendet” (already used or included)
    78. Stammbaum “Gebraucht” Used
    79. Wymyschler reunions
    80. Ausgeschiedenes Material.  Unsere Mennonitische Wehrlosigkeit.

  9. Peter Wiebe autobiography, c. 1962, 5 cm.

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    Accession 2008.015

    Title and Description

    Peter Wiebe autobiography, c. 1962, 5 cm.

    Administrative/Biographical history

    Peter Wiebe (named Isaac at birth but renamed Peter later) was the son of Jacob Wiebe and Mararetha Braun.  He was born on 12 January 1883 in Neuendorf, southern Russia.  The family moved several times, eventually settling in the Sagradovka Mennonite colony.  After completing his village school training Peter Wiebe received some private instruction in more advanced evening classes.  He was conscripted in 1906 for alternative service in the forestry service (Forsteidienst).  After his release, in 1908, he married Anna Bergen, took further classes and became a bookkeeper and later also a business administrator.  During World War I he served in the medical service (Sanitaetsdienst) and after the war, briefly, as a teacher.  An attempt to emigrate to Canada in 1929 failed, and he became a bookkeeper and administrator in a collective farm.  He narrowly escaped evacuation eastward by retreating Russian forces in 1941.  After the German defeat at Stalingrad he and his family, with many others, were evacuated westward by the retreating German forces.  The family hoped to emigrate to Canada.  When that was not possible they emigrated, under arrangements made by the Mennonite Central Committee, to Paraguay where they spent almost 10 economically very difficult years.  Then, in 1956, first a daugher and her family, and then Peter and Anna, were able to emigrate to Canada, settling in Winnipeg.

    Scope and Content 

    Photocopy of a 190-page manuscript simply titled “Erinnerungen.”  The manuscript is not dated, but 1962 is the last date specifically mentioned.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Anna Willms

  10. Argentina. Director General de Inmigracion

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    Accession no. 2005.037 (oversize, CDs)

    Title and Physical Description

    Argentina Director General de Inmigracion fonds. – 1930. – 29 cm of textual records (12 sheets). – 5 compact disks (93 digital images).

    Administrative/Biographical History

    The Director General de Inmigration of Argentina (D. Jorge Tomkinson in 1930) administered government policy with regard to immigrants.

    Custodial History

    The original documents were purchased via eBay from an anonymous manuscript dealer and then donated to Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta by an anonymous donor in 2005.

    Scope & Content

    The fonds consists of passenger lists of passenger lists of Mennonite immigrants from Russia to Argentina, who arrived aboard the steamships General Belgrano and Apipé in 1930, with a covering letter from the Compañia Argentina de Navigacion. The original passenger list of the Apipé is missing, but the digital images of the entire fonds are available.


    The material is in Spanish.


    Last updated October 2017 – Jim Bowman