Introducing Movie Monday

Image: A selection of film stills from the Archives’ film collections

We are excited to introduce to you our new project, Movie Monday. This project has been made possible with generous funding support from the Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie and will dramatically increase public access to the Archives’ film collection.

The project will result in fifty-two previously-digitized films being made accessible on the Archives’ YouTube channel. These amateur films document the daily lives of individuals and special events from our community, dating back to the mid-twentieth century. Each film will be featured in a weekly educational blog post and shared on our Facebook page, beginning September 7.

Some of the collections that will be featured during the project include the Foster family fonds, the Griff James fonds, and the Jerry Stojan family fonds. The Foster videos provide an excellent look into the family’s everyday life as their children were growing up, as well as highlighting their family vacations. Griff James’ films feature a wide variety of subjects such as the Wapiti ski hill, an air show, and an adorable litter of puppies, while Jerry Stojan’s focus largely on fishing trips and scenic shots of the area.

Most of these films are originally preserved on video cassette, 16mm film, or 8mm film. Utmost care has been taken to protect the content and integrity of these films; in most cases, the only editing that has taken place in the digitization process is the removal of blank film reel, so that you may experience this footage in as original and authentic form as possible.

The South Peace Regional Archives would like to sincerely thank Swan City Rotary Club for their financial support on this project. With their assistance, we hope to educate, inspire, and inform our community regarding local history by making our videos available on a familiar platform.

We hope you will enjoy these glimpses into the South Peace region’s past. Follow along with Movie Monday here on our blog, on our Facebook page, or on our YouTube channel beginning next Monday!

 

Introducing Kaylee Dyck

The Movie Monday project is being completed by the Archives newest contract staff member, Kaylee Dyck. Kaylee brings years of experience working with various non-profit organizations to this multimedia project. In her past positions, she has created educational content ranging from personalized elementary school lessons to blog posts and biographical videos. If Kaylee seems familiar, it’s because she has served as a volunteer for the South Peace Regional Archives for the last four years. During that time, Kaylee has contributed over one thousand volunteer hours to the WWI Soldiers Memorial and other projects. We are delighted to introduce her in her new capacity as Archives Technician. Welcome, Kaylee!

Soldier Spotlight: Private Elmer Eisenman

Image: One the x-rays in Elmer’s military service file showing the shrapnel in his neck (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 2492
Rank: Private
Branch: Lord Strathcona’s Horse

Elmer was born in Hoisington, Kansas on April 7, 1888. He was living in the South Peace at the time of his enlistment in September of 1914. Elmer’s homestead was at SE6-71-7-W6. In April of 1916, Elmer received shrapnel wounds to the base of his neck and right shoulder at Rollencourt, France. Pieces of metal were left deep in his neck (view x-rays on pages 83, 95, and 97 of his service file) because they caused no symptoms at first; later he complained of dull pains in neck and shoulder. He also had impaired vision in right eye after this. A shell explosion wounded Elmer’s left leg in December of 1917 at Cambrai. He was discharged on August 12, 1918, having been deemed medically unfit, due to his leg wound. Elmer was very hard of hearing in his left ear, which had started before the war, but was aggravated during service. He brought his war bride, Winnifred, back to his homestead, where they lived until 1923. At this time, the family moved to Everett, Washington. Elmer and Winnifred had six children. Elmer died in Washington on July 31, 1970.

Sources: Along the Wapiti, p. 88, 411

Soldier Spotlight: Gerard Brochu

Image: A photograph from the Army Training Center, Grande Prairie showing troops standing in formation in front of the row of “H” huts, ca. 1941 (SPRA 2011.44.43, Fond 478, Turner family fonds)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental No.: M 605068
Rank: Private
Force: Army

Gerard Brochu, the son of David Brochu and Alice Ruel, was born on February 13, 1920 in St. Fabien de Panet, Quebec. With his mother and siblings he moved to Girouxville AB in September 1927, because his father had come a year earlier, and had obtained a homestead. At age 19 Gerard enlisted with the Canadian Army. After two months of training in Grande Prairie, and a short period in Calgary, he went to Valcartier QC before being stationed overseas. In England Gerard was first at the military base Cochran Crossroads, then he was transferred to the La Chuadiere regiment. After that he was sent to Normandy, France as part of the Canadian Infantry. Being wounded on D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was sent back to England for recuperation. Thereafter he served in Belgium, Holland, and Germany, and fought until the end of WW II. In 1946 he married Donalda Chabot from Codesa AB, and eventually they had 4 children: Armand, Annette, Helene, and Ronald. Through the VLA, the Brochus had a homestead on western half of 11-78-235. Renting out the land in 1955, the family moved to Girouxville where Gerard was the village foreman until 1974 when he retired. In 1984, he sold his house and moved to Golden Age Manor in Girouxville. Gerard passed away at age 75 on October 24, 1995 in McLennan AB.

Source: Reflexions Vol. II pp. 392-393
AGS Obituary Index

A New Accrual

Photograph: NAR Tressle over Bear Creek GP (SPRA 0256.02.24)

We are excited to announce the recent completion of an accrual to the Schenk family fonds (fonds 256). Although we have been closed to the public due to the ongoing pandemic, we have remained hard at work making records accessible for public use. Processing the accrual to the Schenk family fonds has been one of our many recent projects that we are thrilled to share the results with you!

This accrual has added 12 new photos, 50 cm of textual material, 9 maps, and 1 piece of artwork to the Schenk family collection.  The photographs include the Schenk family, soldiers from WWII, scenes of the NAR railway, and images of early Grande Prairie including one staff favorite: the NAR wooden train bridge over Bear Creek. All 9 maps relate to the forestry industry of Alberta and the South Peace Region, including a detailed set of four maps made for the Alberta Forest Service. Each map covers all of Alberta and has a different overlay pertaining to Forest Service Air Operations including: a fuel cache overlay, a fire bombing overlay, an air patrol overlay, and a base map with no overlay. The most substantial portion of this accrual was the 50cm of new textual material. These records contain Forestry employment records from Dave and Melba Schenk, daily journals, newspaper clippings, handbooks, pamphlets, documentation books and many other unique documents. Some interesting highlights in the textual materials include an Alberta Liquor Board price list from 1955, WWII ration books that belonged to the Schenk family, and a newspaper clipping announcing the arrival of King George VI and the Queen Mother to Canada on a royal tour.

The newly updated finding aid, containing an in-depth description of the material, is now available on our South Peace Regional Archives website: Fonds 256 Schenk family fonds. A selection of the photographs are also available on Alberta on Record for your viewing pleasure. We encourage you to browse these new resources and, once the Archives reopens to the public, schedule a visit to see these documents in person.

fonds-256

Rehoming History

Although the archives is still closed to the public, our staff have been hard at work completing behind-the-scenes work to achieve our institutional goals. With the closure of the reading room and cancellation of public events, we have been able to dedicate more time to processing records for public use.

Vital to processing is determining what material our repository will keep and what will be deaccessioned. Deccessioning is a routine procedure of removing materials from the holdings that occurs while appraising or reappraising archival records. There are many reasons why we might choose to deaccession materials. In some cases, materials may not be useful or relevant to our mandate. They may also be deaccesioned if they cannot be properly stored, preserved, or made accessible. Where possible, these concerns are generally addressed during the donation process, before the materials are accepted. However, there are always items that require further examination before a decision can be made, particularly when accepting large archival donations.

In recent months, we have identified a number of books and pamphlets within our unprocessed holdings that were originally intended for the SPRA reference library. On closer inspection, these books were not local to the South Peace and thus did not meet the mandate of our institution. After consulting with the donors of the books, we determined that the best method of deaccession would be by transfer to another archival institution. Our staff created an inventory and reached out to our fellow institutional members of the Archives Society of Alberta to find a home for the books. The response was overwhelmingly positive! We have now successfully relocated 26 books to new homes at archival institutions across Alberta. These were carefully (and colorfully) packaged by Archives Assistant Kaydence and mailed out last week. The books will now be able to serve their intended purpose in the communities that will benefit from them most.

Soldier Spotlight: Harry & Laura Harper

Image: a photograph from Laura’s military service file

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Harry:
Regimental Number: 898247
Rank: Sergeant
Branch: 49th Battalion

Laura:
Rank: Nursing Sister

Branch: Canadian Army Medical Corps

Harry was born in Brantford, Ontario on December 12, 1887. He was living in Pincher Creek, Alberta at the time of his enlistment in March of 1916. Harry was sent to Sarcee Camp near Pincher Creek for treatment in the army hospital, as he had gotten an infection from one of his vaccinations. Here he met nurse Laura Jean Hanham. Laura was born in Welland, Ontario on August 3, 1889 and came to western Canada before World War I began. She was working at Sarcee Camp at the beginning of the war. Later, both Harry and Laura were sent overseas, Harry to the front lines in France and Laura to the No. 12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott.

Harry and Laura were married in Bramshott, England ca. November 1918, while they were both serving overseas. After the war, the couple came to the South Peace. Harry filed on SW 28-79-13-W6 and SE 29-79-13-W6, and Laura on NE 29-79-13-W6; despite Harry’s best efforts, however, he found he was not a farmer and canceled both homesteads. Instead, the family moved into Spirit River, where Harry worked as a carpenter. Harry died on April 22, 1939 and was buried in the Spirit River cemetery. Laura decided to go back east after his death and died in Toronto in 1978. She was buried alongside Harry in the Spirit River cemetery.

Soldier Spotlight: Robert Card

Image: Grande Prairie Legion Hockey Team which played for the 1950-51 season included, back row, W. Hiekkila, G. Bond, D. Swanston, H. Ayre, D. Crough, R. Card, C. Turner, E. Nelson, R. Wright, J. Listhaege, R. Neufeld, R. Rigler, J. MacMillan, F. Anderson, L. Giroux, J. Moore, K. Schielke. Also on the photograph is J. Lynn (Manager). (SPRA 2010.14.10)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Rank: Flying Officer; Sergeant
Force: Royal Canadian Air Force

Robert “Bob” Card was the son of Mr and Mrs Ira Card, and he was raised and educated in Grande Prairie AB. He was a well known hockey player. In 1942 he enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Graduating from the Macleod Service Flying Training School (SFTS), he first became a bomber pilot over Germany, and later he became an instructor. He married Audrey Janet Goodsir on June 11, 1943 in Lethbridge AB. In December 1944 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal. Bob was president of the Canadian Legion. His brothers Gerald and Bill also served in the RCAF in WW II.

Source: Trails and Rails North Vol. 2 p. 99
Grande Prairie Capitol of the Peace p. 112
Herald Tribune – July 15, 1943 p. 4 c. 4 (marries)
– Oct. 5, 1944 p.1 c.2 (pilot)
– Dec. 14, 1944 p.3 c.5 (DFC medal)

Soldier Spotlight: Driver William James Kellett

Image: Casualty card from William’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 101379
Rank: Driver
Branch: Canadian Engineers

William was born on December 25, 1872 in Settle, Yorkshire, England. He married Hilda Blanche Cheney of Van Kleek Hill, Ontario in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The couple moved their way west, living first in Manitoba, then in Saskatchewan, and finally in 1912 settled on a homestead at 26-72-5-W6, east of Clairmont. By this time they had six children. Hilda was the first teacher of the Kleskun Lake school, which opened in 1913. William enlisted in the Canadian army in October of 1915 and served in England. On July 31, 1917, he was accidentally killed near Sherrington Crossing, Codford, Wiltshire. According to the 14th Field Company War Diary entry for that day, “#101379 Driver Kellett, W.J. found killed by train at Railway Crossing near Codford.”

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie, p. 295

Soldier Spotlight: Nick Nasedkin

Image: Dedication of the Cenotaph in the new village park at Eaglesham, Alberta on September 11, 1978. Left to right: Jack Campbell, Past Zone Commander; Nick Nasedkin, District Commander of District #1; Andy Innis, Vice President of the Alberta/North West Territories Command; Frank Produzny, Zone Commander of Zone #2. Photograph taken by Gary Lachance, Eaglesham, Alberta. (SPRA 328.02.01)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Nick was born in China (probably Manchuria) to Russian parents in 1911. He had some early lessons in English at the YMCA in Harbin. The family immigrated to Canada to take up land from the CPR in 1924 and settled originally in the Ponoka area. Nick apprenticed to a butcher and learned English from the butcher’s wife.

The family moved to Spirit River and Nick followed in 1928, finding work with a butcher. He moved to Peace River in 1930 to manage a meat market. There he met Elda Searle, a teacher, and they were married in August, 1932. This was followed by a move to Beaverlodge where Nick opened a butcher shop. Their son, Jack was born in 1936. In 1939, Elda became sick and passed away. This eventually led to Nick selling the business, taking his son to his sister-in-law in Trail, and then enlisting in the Air Force in Calgary (1940 or 1941).

Nick was posted overseas in England, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany and Denmark. He was commissioned overseas and worked as an interpreter for the Russian Air Force, the RAF and the RCAF. Nick claims to have spoken seven languages including Cree. He was discharged when he returned to Canada in 1946.

Nick returned to Beaverlodge where he again opened a butcher shop. He married Eleanor Jarvis in 1947 and had four more children.

Source: Beaverlodge to the Rockies, p.221

Now Hiring

The South Peace Regional Archives is currently hiring two contract positions to assist with upcoming projects: Archives Technician (Indigenous Records Project) and Archives Technician (Multimedia Project).

Are you interested in Indigenous records, Reconciliation, or historical photographs? The Indigenous Records Project will examine records within 56 fonds, previously identified as containing Indigenous content, in order to provide culturally-appropriate descriptions and contextual information. The project will increase access to approximately 300 Indigenous-related archival photographs and paper artifacts through digitization and promotion on social media.

Are you interested in film, educational outreach, or social media? The Multimedia Project will increase public access to the South Peace Regional Archives’ film collections using our YouTube, blog, and Facebook page. By increasing access to our archival films, this project will help us educate, inform, and inspire our community on local history.

Visit www.SouthPeaceArchives.org/careers for full details of both positions.