Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta


Expressions '99

Duchess Mennonite Church
204 3 Street East
Duchess, Alberta
31 July 1999

Something new is happening in Alberta!

The MHSA is pleased to be able to invite you to a great day-long (10:00 - 4:30) event that we are planning for July 31, 1999 at the Duchess Mennonite Church (use North entrance). We're calling it Expressions of Alberta Mennonite History.

The events of the day will be of particular interest to congregational archivists, historians, writers, family historians, and those simply/casually are interested in Mennonite history. We're taking a broad view of how individuals express their heritage, and recognize that it can be through service in a church historian role; in tracing one's family roots; reading Mennonite history; design/crafting quilts, paintings, church history, or woodworking -- in a way that lets others know of the Mennonite heritage that we share (don't let us limit the method by which you creatively express this).

  1. Creative Expressions
    Henry Goerzen (our Chairman and an artist) will be your host. The morning is being set aside specifically for a casual exhibiting of art and other creative work and for short story telling or poetry in the main basement room. The Society is encouraging you to exhibit your work. We also invite observers (and those who just want to visit), but a special invitation goes to those who do creative work and want to share it. The Society encourages you to prepare items for this special event.

    As individuals arrive they are welcome to offer their "material" "expressions" to Henry for placement in the collection for all to view. Browsing throughout the morning is welcomed. You will get your materials back, and to ensure this, Harold Friesen will be cataloguing your items on 3x5 index cards as you arrive. This catalogue will, in the future, be a resource for others who are looking for colleagues in the pursuit of a particular interest area.

    A table will be set up here with some Mennonite history and family history books and sources that are available for sale.

    Participants will be welcome to browse in this area throughout the day, so we'd encourage you to leave your items at least until noon.

  2. Family History Expressions
    Judith Rempel will be your host in a breakoff room dedicated to a discussion of family history and genealogy -- with a focus on the kinds of data sources available to do this work. There will be source materials, examples of some excellent completed family histories, and a laptop computer so we can review the kinds of ways in which a computer can aid in gathering, analyzing, and reporting on the work that family historians do.

    The price of admission to this session is a pedigree chart (also known as an Ahnentafel or Ancestor Chart) -- completed to the best of your ability, complete with your name & preferred means of contact. Sometimes, these informal (not church or government) records are the only ones that allow us to proceed with our family history work. They will be kept on file at the MHSA archives and be available to researchers who query us from time to time. If you give your permission, we'll be glad to share the content of these in a database for other researchers (only names of living kin will be shared while all data will be shared for those who are deceased).

  3. Culinary Expressions
    Mary Burkholder will be the church host and is arranging for the provision of a light lunch - available for about $3-5 per person. This will be in the main basement room again.

  4. Expressions of History though Capturing, Preserving & Sharing Congregational History
    Peter Penner & David Wiebe-Neufeldt will be your leaders in an afternoon session dedicated to those involved with/interested in church archives and those that do correspondent work for Mennonite papers. There could be further guidance for freelance writers or those writing church histories or the like.

    Peter is a retired Professor of History and David has studied History at the university level. They will be sharing their wisdom/advice regarding how the historians associated with our various churches might carry out their work. This is not to redirect anyone from existing work - but intended to help flesh out the role which many find ambiguous.

    They will have on hand an inexpensive booklet with a lot of "how to" and "what to keep" and "how to keep" advice that will be sure to be helpful to congregational historians, librarians and archivists. In fact, this would be helpful for many of us wondering whether we should keep (and how to keep) older family documents that we have in our homes as well.

This event will be a happy, even fun time to express our appreciation for our heritage. Bring your friends. With encouragement, we would like to make this an annual event. Feel free to post information about this meeting broadly, including in your church bulletin.

General Queries/Comments: Contact MHSA