Title and Physical Description
Neufeld Family fonds. – 1905-1932. – 2 cm of textual records.
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, Alberta, 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 tribulations 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 Acquisition
Gift of Edgar Rogalski
The diary is located in MHSA Library at BX 8143NEU ROG 2009