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

Hot off the Press!

Archives staff are busy today printing the June issue of Telling Our Stories! This issue celebrates National Indigenous History Month and will be mailed to Archives’ members next week. Stay tuned!

Closure

Please note that the South Peace Regional Archives will be closed on Friday 11 May for a meeting.  Thank you for your understanding!

UPDATE: Archives Reopens to Public

MAY 7 UPDATE:

Effective Monday May 7th, the Archives has reopened to the public. We thank the community for their patience and continued support. 

 

UPDATE:

Safety remains the Archives’ first priority; we will therefore not be returning to the building until it is deemed safe by City of Grande Prairie. Archives staff have established an emergency work-site at our offsite office location. The bulk of the unprocessed materials in the Archives’ care was recently relocated this location; these materials remain safely offsite. At this time, there has been no damage reported as a result of the flash flood, either to the Archives building or to the collections in our care. Staff will continue to monitor and assess the situation. 
We thank the public for their support and patience during this time. 
On Saturday night, the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre was activated and Muskoseepi Park was evacuated due to a flash flood that resulted in raising water levels in the reservoir. Although the water level has now stabilized, the Bear Creek Corridor is expected to remain closed until the water recedes and the City of Grande Prairie is able to thoroughly assess all potential damage.

The South Peace Regional Archives has activated its Emergency Response Plan to ensure the safety of our personnel and collections. The Archives will remain closed to the public until further notice.

 

For up to date news from the City of Grande Prairie, visit: www.cityofgp.com

Lost & Found

The South Peace Regional Archives Society recently formed The Indigenous Peoples History Committee to take action in response to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action for Archives. Our initial response was to conduct a search for any records related to Indian Residential Schools within our holdings.

Residential school students outside the Mission Church at Sturgeon Lake. SPRA 0032.08.07.098

Besides a few photographs, we found very little material to document this part of our collective past. We also noted that we have very few collections representing Indigenous people, families, or communities. However, something interesting did turn up: records related to Indigenous people are scattered throughout many of the collections in our care.

This find expanded the scope of our search.

As a first step, we are completing a broad survey of the records in our care. The purpose of the survey is to identify collections that may hold documents related to Indigenous communities and people, including residential schools.  This initial survey is nearly complete. With the help of research volunteers, we are embarking on an in-depth search of these collections to find as many of these scattered records as possible.

Future plans include creating school kits, an online searchable database, displays, and a final report of our findings to submit to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Stay tuned as we unearth find these” lost” records from our past.

Top Image: Plan of Flying Shot Lake Settlement in Township 71, Range 6, West of the Sixth Meridian in the Province of Alberta, produced by the Department of the Interior and compiled from official surveys by J.B. St. Cyr, DLS, on August 20, 1907. The plan shows lots, location of houses and stables, including the buildings of Harry & Maude Clifford on the west side of the lake. Flying Shot Lake was home to a large population of Métis families. SPRA 0437.01.01 J. B. Oliver Funeral Home collection.