Happy Easter!

We’re sorry to announce that we are closed for Easter Monday. Here’s a little Easter joy to alleviate the inconvenience.

Cards and postcards are wonderful bits of personal correspondence that can shed bits of light on personal history. These two Easter postcards from the Grimm-Vader Family fonds are an example. The first has no correspondence, suggesting good intentions but perhaps a bit of forgetfulness or procrastination on the part of a young man (Ora Grimm). The second was sent to Mr. Ora Grim while he was visiting family in Venus, Nebraska.

“Raven, Nebraska, April 21, 1916

Dear Nephew,

As we got a letter from Ralph telling us you was here from Canada, would be glad to have you Boys both come up or I make up a visit. We are all well. It has been cold and windy now for some time. Drop us a line. With Best Wishes from Aunt Celia & family, Raven, Nebraska, Brown, Co.”

This short piece of correspondence helps us build a picture of an extended family with a foothold in two countries. Luckily, we have more than this to go on for the Grimm-Vader family. Processing for this fonds is nearing completion and will soon be ready for researchers. It includes almost a thousand photographs, postcards, and two extensive family histories.

We are very grateful to Nora and Ray Grimm for sharing their family history with the Archives. It will be a wonderful treasure for years to come.

Making History Accessible, One VCR At a Time

Image: some of the technology we use to help preserve and make media records accessible at the South Peace Regional Archives.

The South Peace Regional Archives collects a wide variety of documentary materials as part of our mandate to acquire, preserve, and make accessible historical records related to families and organizations in the South Peace Region. A collection of relevant older media technology is an important component of the “make accessible” part of our mandate.

Older (working) media technology makes it possible for us to digitize reel-to-reel film, cassettes, beta tapes, and VHS. For those items not yet digitized, the old VCRs, cassette, players, and beta machines allow researchers to view and listen to stories they would not have the opportunity enjoy.

We have a good collection of film projectors and even a couple of beta machines that help us make film, video, and audio recordings accessible to researchers. Oddly enough, we have no working VCRs or cassette players. If you have one of these precious media gems gathering dust in your abode, we would love to hear from you. The SPRA has a growing collection of VCR materials that document several families and organizations in the South Peace Region. You and your old machine can help make those records accessible.

You can contact us at info@southpeacearchives.org or call us at 780-830-5105.

Wooden Valentines

While Beth Sheehan collected history and photographs from the Peace River Country, she also collected physical objects, including samples of wood.  In her collection here at the archives, we have a story and photographs of wood samples collected by Beth in the local area and in her travels. In 1954, her husband Everett gave her a wooden Valentine he made while camping on the desert in Arizona. She thought it so lovely that together they made more. Everett made boards approximately 1/4 inch thick with a band saw. Beth traced heart shapes on the boards, then cut them out with a coping saw. She filed and sanded them meticulously, making them into three-dimensional hearts. Oiling brought out the natural beauty and grain of the wood. On the back of each heart was noted the name of the wood, where it was from, the year, and in some cases, who gave it to her. She didn’t make duplicates. She also took pictures of polished wood and some wooden jewelry. Arthritis in 1985 made it too difficult to hold and work on the small pieces, and no more were made, though many pieces had been prepared.

Beth’s Wooden Valentines

SPRA Abroad

Above photograph from Where the Red Willow Grew, page 235

The archives recently received a query from a researcher in Germany.  Jürgen kindly gave us permission to share some of his family’s story on our blog today.

“My paternal family lived for several generations until the Second World War in a small village west of the town of Lutsk in Volhynia, now Ukraine. They were descendants of German colonists who had left their homeland in the 18th century to seek a better life in the East. Almost all of them were farmers.

At that time, life there was really not easy and people had to work very hard to make ends meet. In the late 1920s, the population in the villages had grown so much that there was not enough land left to feed all of them. Therefore, many families decided to leave Volhynia. They emigrated to distant countries like Brazil, Argentina, the US and Canada.

A few of my relatives sought their fortune overseas. One of my father’s oldest cousins, Alvina Reichert (Mundt), emigrated together with her husband Arnold and their children to Canada in 1929. In the first years, they maintained contact with their relatives left behind in Volhynia, but after the end of the Second World War they certainly lost touch.

I have already been researching my family history for several years and one day, I wondered how the life of Alvina and Arnold had gone further after they had arrived in Canada. Unfortunately, I did not know exactly where they had settled in Canada. So I started looking for any clues of them on the internet. Finally, I discovered this wonderful website of the South Peace Regional Archives. There I found the names of my relatives listed in the database “Compiled Community Book Names Index”. Then I contacted the archive by email and I asked for assistance. I was surprised to receive an answer to my request the same day. The staff were extremely friendly and they helped me a lot in my search for information about my relatives. Really amazing!

I am very happy to have found this website and I recommend it to anyone who wants to do research in this region.

Many thanks and kind regards from Germany!

Jürgen M.”

(French) Project Volunteer Located!

We thank everyone for their interest in this project. We have now located a volunteer to complete this. However, if you are interested in completing similar projects, please do not hesitate to let us know! The Archives collections include many records in French that we would be delighted to have translated and transcribed.

The Archives is currently seeking a volunteer with knowledge of the French language to transcribe and translate a short speech by Pierre Lozeron, to be included in the next issue of Telling Our Stories.

Pierre Lozeron was born in 1887, in Auverern, Canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland. Pierre arrived in the South Peace in 1912, having walked over the Edson Trail to settle in this area. Like many immigrants in the early 20th century, Pierre rarely saw his family, but corresponded with them regularly. In 1959, Pierre traveled back to Switzerland to visit his family. During this visit, he presented a speech on his pioneering life in Canada. We are interested in showcasing this speech in our special travel themed issue of our magazine. It is four typed pages long, and written in French. According to Pierre: “Je suis agriculteur. Je ne suis pas orateur.” (I am a farmer. I am not a public speaker).

If you, or someone you know, would be willing to transcribe and then translate this speech, please contact info@southpeacearchives.org

 

Last Chance for Cemetery Tours!

 

 

South Peace Regional Archives is hosting a cemetery tour next week and we’re inviting you to join in!

The tour takes place on Wednesday, August 8 at 7:00 PM. Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich history of Grande Prairie and area through the stories of its people.

Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register. (limit of 25 participants per tour)

 

 

Cemetery Tours: Sign Up Today!

South Peace Regional Archives is hosting two cemetery tours this summer and we’re inviting you to join in!

 

On Wednesday, July 11 and Wednesday, August 8 at 7:00 PM we will be hosting our annual cemetery walking tours.  Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich and interesting history of Grande Prairie and area through the lives and stories of its people.  The July tour will explore the history of notable persons from Grande Prairie. The August tour will explore the history of Indigenous peoples from the area.

Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register (limit of 25 participants per tour)

Canada Day Closure: July 2

CLOSED JULY 2

 

Please note the Archives will be closed on July 2nd for the Canada Day weekend.

Join us on Sunday, July 1st at the Grande Prairie Museum for free tours and activities. 

Photograph: Singing “O Canada” (SPRA 152.02.02.06) Women’s Institute constituency members singing “O Canada” in the basement of St. Paul’s United Church in Grande Prairie during the visit of H.R.H. Princess Alice in 1943. Included in the photo are Mrs. D. W. Patterson and Mrs. J. Smart of Grande Prairie and Mrs. L. Williams of Rio Grande