Fonds 549 Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society fonds

 

 1974-2011. — 354.5 cm and 1.15 MB of textual records. — 6,767 photographs. — 4 reels of microfilm.


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 Agency History

A group of local people interested in forming a genealogical group met with representatives from the Alberta Genealogical Society (AGS) on November 24, 1977. Another organizational meeting was held on December 1 and an interim executive was appointed and tasked with making a presentation to interested people about the advantages of becoming an AGS Branch. The interim executive consisted of Carol Thomson, President, Jim Mason, Vice-President, Charlotte Jones, Secretary, and Marie Matkin, Treasurer. The requested presentation was made on January 1, 1978 and several AGS memberships were sold. A new executive was elected at the following meeting on February 7, consisting of Carol Thomson, President, Jim Mason, Vice-President, Laura Turnbull, Secretary, Merna Nelson, Treasurer, and Paulette Hrychiw, Membership Secretary. The first official meeting as a branch was held on February 22, 1978 and the group decided to call themselves “Grande Prairie and District Branch”. The executive decided that they would share the constitution of the AGS. General meetings were held monthly thereafter, with additional executive meetings as necessary.

Members of the Grande Prairie Branch are also required to be members of the AGS. The Branch President sits on the AGS board as a Director. The Branch shares the objectives of the AGS, which are generally to promote genealogical studies and research in Alberta, provide instruction, maintain a resource library, publish related resources, and build relationships with other genealogical societies. The Branch focuses on accomplishing these objectives in the local Grande Prairie area. Each year, the Branch is required to forward an annual report including a President’s report and audited treasurer’s report to the Annual General Meeting of the AGS.

Projects of the group have included recording and photographing local cemeteries, clipping and indexing obituaries from local papers, indexing local history books, maintaining a reference library (housed at the Grande Prairie Public Library), advocating for the placement of a plaque at the Grande Prairie Cemetery to list bodies that had been moved from another location, and publication of a quarterly newsletter Heritage Seekers a book of extracts of vital events from early newspapers (“Dates Gone By…”), and a cookbook. The Branch also hosted the 2003 provincial Gen Fair.

Programming includes providing workshops and speakers at monthly meetings, providing research assistance through the Genies at the Library program, offering various courses and workshops, co-hosting an annual weekend of workshops with the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and co-hosting Family History Day with the South Peace Regional Archives. The Branch also sponsors the Margaret Kay Scholarship for genealogical study.

The GPAGS obtains funding from a variety of sources including an annual Alberta Historical Resources Foundation grant distributed among Branches by the AGS, memberships, fundraising activities, and casinos.

Sources: Provincial Archives of Alberta, finding aid for Alberta Genealogical Society fonds , Alberta Genealogical Society website, Grande Prairie and District Branch website, and the records of GPAGS.

Custodial History

The records were donated to the Archives in various accessions by members of the GPAGS. The obituary index cards and scrapbooks were donated by Paulette Hrychiw in January 2009. The microfilm copies of the index cards were donated by the club president, Jean Gray, in 2014. The minutes, financial reports, and Heritage Seekers and Relatively Speaking newsletters were donated by Al Meyer in February 2010. The membership material, financial files and ledgers were donated by Gail Prette in August 2011.

Al Richards brought the CD of cemetery photographs to the Archives around 2011, for safekeeping, but the images were not formally accessioned until 2014. Likewise a CD of cemetery indices was brought to the Archives by an unknown source, but not formally accessioned until 2014 when current Cemetery Committee chair Mary Nutting signed off on them.

Portions of the fonds had previously been kept at the Grande Prairie Public Library when the Genealogical Society’s reference collection resides. Other portions were stored in members’ homes.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of records related to the operation and activities of the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The material dates from 1974 to 2011 and includes records such as minutes, financial statements and ledgers, membership and newsletter exchange lists, surnames researched by members, correspondence, newspaper clippings and announcements, organizational records for a genealogical course and Gen Fair, resources compiled by the group on obituaries, grave markers, and vital statistics in newspaper articles, and the Heritage Seekers newsletter. The fonds also includes some records of the parent organization, most notably copies of the provincial Relatively Speaking newsletter.

The fonds is divided into seven series based on record type and content: Executive Records, Financial Records, Correspondence and Publicity, Programs and Events, Publications and Resources, and Alberta Genealogical Society.

Portions of the fonds had a strongly apparent original order, which has been maintained by the Archivist as much as possible. Other miscellaneous groups of records were integrated into the series structure by the Archivist. Since the records arrived in several accessions from several sources, an overall order was not apparent.

Notes

Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Accession numbers: 2009.020; 2010.09; 2011.56; 2014.03; 2014.10

Table of Contents

Series 549.01Executive Records
Series 549.02Financial Records
Series 549.03Membership
Series 549.04Correspondence and Publicity
Series 549.05Programs and Events
Series 549.06Publications and Resources
Series 549.07Alberta Genealogical Society
Series 549.01Executive Records. — 1977-2008. — 10 cm of textual records.

The series consists of records relating to the executive affairs, especially meetings, of the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The records include a 1997 document outlining the duties of the Branch President, President’s reports from 1995 to 2004, particularly those made to the AGS, and the minutes of regular, executive, and annual general meetings from 1977 to 2008. The meeting minutes also include various attachments including a 1989 agreement with the Grande Prairie Public Library, financial and budget information and reports, some correspondence, minutes of other organizations which refer to the Branch, presentation and program material, volunteer hours, various reports, a grant application, and an AGS Strategic Plan and contacts. The minutes were originally housed in a series of binders, each containing several years. These divisions have been maintained as separate files. The original order of the minutes within the binders has been substantially maintained by the Archivist, with the result that the files are in a mixture of chronological and reverse chronological order and some have regular, executive, and annual general meeting minutes interfiled by date, while others have them each separated. Meeting material in the incorrect year was restored to its chronological location by the Archivist. Where parallel binders existed for the same year (2003 onward), they have been combined by the Archivist. The best copy of the minutes was retained and filed in the correct chronological place. For the meetings of February 6, 2007 and March 18, 2008, no approved minutes were available; rough drafts from a separate notebook were retained and inserted in the chronological order by the Archivist. Information about the President’s duties and reports were originally part of one of parallel sets of binders. The order of President’s reports was regularized to reverse chronological by the Archivist. When scrap paper containing sensitive information relating to another group was used, the originals were discarded and photocopies kept in their place.

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Series 549.02Financial Records. — 1979-2003, 2008. — 3.5 cm of textual records.

The series consists of records relating to the financial affairs of the Grande Prairie Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The records include a 1979 to 2006 general ledger, Treasurer’s monthly reports, annual financial reports, a 1993 Inventory of Property, budgeting documents from 1999 to 2003, correspondence and attached copies of invoices and cheque stubs related to grants, material relating to branch raffles (1997-1999) including rules, sample tickets, licenses, winning ticket stubs, and financial statements, and material relating to AGS raffles (1996-7, 1999-2000) including correspondence, ticket orders and accounting, profits, and terms. The Treasurer’s Reports and Annual Financial reports were primarily in reverse chronological order and in two overlapping files. The two files have been combined and strict reverse chronological order imposed by the Archivist. Treasurer’s reports were also frequently duplicated as attachments to meeting minutes. Duplicates were removed from the minutes and discarded. Reports remaining with the 1998 and 1999 minutes are those that were not originally in the financial records file. Raffle material has been heavily weeded, maintained in original order and separated in files by year.

Series 549.03Membership. — 1977-2008. — 3 cm of textual records.

The series consists of records related to membership in the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. Records include a 1986 new member package, yearly membership and exchange lists, membership reports, correspondence from members and potential members, correspondence and directions from AGS about membership, and an early membership book and financial ledger (1977 to 1980). The series also contains a group of forms (ca. 2004 to 2007) listing the surnames being researched by individual members. The membership records were originally in files, which were in reverse chronological order by year. Several miscellaneous files were also present. The records were very heavily weeded by the Archivist and put in reverse chronological order in a single file. A few documents from the miscellaneous files that fit better elsewhere were moved to other parts of the fonds. The forms on surname research were removed to their own file in the same series. Membership material originally found in other sections of the fonds including minutes and financial records were removed, compared with other available membership documentation and, for the most part, discarded. Retained material was moved to the Membership series by the Archivist.

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Series 549.04Correspondence and Publicity. — 1990-2005. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of correspondence sent and received and publicity material created by the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The correspondence file includes general correspondence, lists of cards sent by the Branch, and a 1999 petition to the Senate. The publicity file includes lists of where posters and announcements were sent, public service announcements, and newspaper clippings by and about the Grande Prairie Branch. The original correspondence file has been augmented by correspondence gathered from other parts of the fonds including sections of minutes binders, financial records, and membership. Correspondence has been integrated by the Archivist in reverse chronological order, reflecting the original order of the correspondence file.

Series 549.05Programs and Events. — [ca. 2002-2003]. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of records related to programs and events developed and run by the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The records include genealogical course notes and handouts and meeting and planning documents for Gen Fair 2003. The series is divided into two sub-series: Genealogy Course and Gen Fair.

SubSeries 549.05.01Genealogy Course. — [ca. 2002]. — 0.1 cm of textual records.

The sub-series consists of records relating to the genealogy course. The records include a blank registration form, handouts, and basic course index and speaking points. The records have been arranged by the Archivist, but were originally in a single file as they are now.

SubSeries 549.05.02Gen Fair. — 2002-2003. — 1 cm of textual records.

The sub-series consists of records relating to the planning of Gen Fair 2003. The records include meeting minutes, correspondence, instructions, an exhibitor form, a schedule, a program, promotional material, a volunteer list, a sample thank you letter, comments and suggestions, the final report, and other planning documents. The records were originally housed in a binder in primarily reverse chronological order with the minutes separated from the other records. As far as possible, original order has been maintained by the Archivist.

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Series 549.06Publications and Resources. — 1978-2011. — 298 cm and 1.15 MB of textual records. — 6,767 photographs. — 4 reels of microfilm. 

The series consists of publications and resources created by the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society to aid in genealogical research in the area. The records include issues of the Heritage Seekers newsletter, obituary files and scrapbooks, a copy of the “Dates Gone By…” booklet and records associated with its sale, and spreadsheets and photographs cataloguing local gravemarkers. The series is divided into four sub-series, based on project: Heritage Seekers, Obituary Files, “Dates Gone By…”, and Gravemarkers of Northern Alberta.

SubSeries 549.06.01“Heritage Seekers”. — 1978-2006. — 11.5 cm. — 6 photographs.

The sub-series consists of a complete set of the Heritage Seekers newsletter, published quarterly by the Grande Prairie and District Branch. The newsletter contains regular features including lists of available library resources, queries, membership lists, schedules of events, biographies, announcements, advertisements, book reviews, order and registration forms, bylaws, contact information, reports, photographs, pedigree chart indexes, lists of websites of interest, genealogical resources, information and advice, and articles contributed by members. A 1978 surname index is also included. Duplicate copies were removed, the most original copies retained, and the issues put into chronological order by the Archivist, with the result that some copies formerly held by the Library were interfiled with originals. Library stickers on the issues were removed and discarded if possible.

 
‘Smoky Mike’ Vasseliff’s Grave, 2004
2 photographs; colour; 4 x 6 in.
‘Smoky Mike’ Vaseliff’s (1886-1932) gravesite and headstone, located in the forest south of Grande Prairie. The photographs were taken by Joan Bowman and used in the March 2004 issue of Heritage Seekers, which contained an article about Mike.
Location: 0549.06.01.01-.02
Community Connections Prairie Mall Display, 2004
4 photographs; colour; 4 x 6 in.
A Grande Prairie and District Branch display at the Prairie Mall. The photographs shows display material set up near the food court.
Location: 0549.06.01.03-.06
SubSeries 549.06.02Obituary Files. — 1978-1998. — 285.5 cm of textual records. — 4 reels of microfilm. The sub-series consists of two series of index cards, 1978 to 1991 and 1992 to 1998, with obituaries and funeral cards mounted on them. They are arranged alphabetically by the deceased’s name. The cards are accompanied by and occasionally refer to a set of five scrapbooks covering the same period and containing additional obituaries, funeral cards, and articles on local deaths. The 1978 to 1991 cards have also been microfilmed. 
SubSeries 549.06.03“Dates Gone By…”. — 1997-2001. — 1 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of records relating to the “Dates Gone By…” booklet published by the Grande Prairie Branch. The records include a copy of the booklet, order forms, correspondence, an accounting of the books sold, and addresses of purchasers. The list of purchasers’ addresses is restricted.
SubSeries 549.06.04Gravemarkers of Northern Alberta. — 2010-2011. — 1.15 MB of textual records.

The sub-series consists of records relating to the Gravemarkers of Northern Alberta cataloguing and photography project. The records include spreadsheets listing surname, given names, birth date, death date, interment date, age at death, plot number, and other remarks for burials in St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Poplar Hill, Bible Fellowship Church, Lake Saskatoon, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Mountainside, Scenic Heights, and Sunset Ranch cemeteries. The records also include photographs of the headstones and signage in the Bear Creek, Bethel Church, Bible Fellowship Church, Emmaus Lutheran Church, Emerson Trail, Grande Prairie, Gundy, Lake Saskatoon, Mountainside, Poplar Hill, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Scenic Heights, Sunset Ranch, and Teepee Creek cemeteries. The spreadsheets have been printed by the Archivist and a hard copy retained in the physical file. Both the photographs and the spreadsheets have been migrated to the digital collections area of the Archives server, but the CDs have also been retained.

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Series 549.07Alberta Genealogical Society. — 1974-2005. — 38 cm of textual records.

The series consists of general information about the Alberta Genealogical Society as a whole, information for branches, and issues of the AGS’s publication, Relatively Speaking, from 1974 to 2004. The series is divided into two sub-series: General Information and Relatively Speaking.

SubSeries 549.07.01General Information. — 1985, 2000-2005. — 0.2 cm of textual records.

The sub-series consists of records containing information about the Alberta Genealogical Society, GPAGS’ parent organization. These records include the 1985 bylaw revisions, a blank membership card, membership brochures, a 2005 organizational chart, and financial information for branches.

SubSeries 549.07.02“Relatively Speaking”. — 1974-2004. — 38 cm of textual records.

The sub-series consists of a nearly complete set of the Relatively Speaking newsletter, published quarterly by the Alberta Genealogical Society. The newsletter contains regular features including lists of available library resources, surnames being researched, membership lists, contact information, bylaws, queries, letters, information and advice, announcements, forms, book reviews, reports, branch updates, and articles, some of which were contributed by members. Both the Grande Prairie Branch and its members were frequent contributors to Relatively Speaking. The issues were put in chronological order by the Archivist. Library stickers on the issues were removed and discarded if possible.

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