Projects

Credit: MAID CA MHC 107-1.0

Canadian Mennonite Emigration Centenary Committee

2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Mennonites leaving Manitoba and Saskatchewan for Mexico and Paraguay. They left their established homes and farms because of new provincial laws requiring children to attend government schools even though the federal government promised them the freedom to educate their children. The government enforced the new laws with fines, jail time, and confiscation of property.

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada is marking this anniversary by partnering with the Mennonite Heritage Village in the production of a traveling exhibit. A documentary and public events are also being planned.

The official Canadian Mennonite Emigration Centenary Committee for 2022 is: Jeremy Wiebe (co-chair), Andrea Klassen (co-chair), Conrad Stoesz, Aileen Friesen, Dick Braun, and Leonard Doell.

In 1999 the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, with the financial assistance of Mennonite Central Committee Canada, undertook a multi-year project on the “Divergent Voices of Canadian Mennonites.” These have included both academic conferences and published monographs. Check Divergent Voices for further information.

The official Divergent Voices of Canadian Mennonites Committee for 2022 is: Ben Nobbs-Thiessen (chair), Jeremy Wiebe, Brian Froese, Laureen Harder-Gissing, Lucille Marr, Leonard Doell, Ruth Plett, and Bruce Guenther. 

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Genealogy Committee

This committee upkeeps the website MennoniteGenealogy.com, which houses Mennonite Genealogical Resources.

The official Genealogy Committee for 2022 is: Bert Friesen (chair), Glenn Penner, and Richard Thiessen. 

The Canadian Mennonite Encyclopedia Online began in 1996 as a project of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. It was intended to be a dynamic source of information about the Anabaptist-Mennonite groups in Canada. It emerged from a congregational database created by Marlene Epp for the Mennonites in Canada history series. 

Later the Society obtained permission from Herald Press in Scottdale, PA to copy and modify entries on the four-volume Mennonite Encyclopedia published in the 1950s, and a supplemental fifth volume published in 1990. In 2005 two partners — the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission and the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee — joined the project, and expanded it to become a English-language Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO). Later, Mennonite Central Committee, the Mennonite World Conference and the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism also became partners in the project. In 2015 the Encyclopedia contained over 15,000 articles, including all articles from the print encyclopedia.

The official GAMEO Committee for 2022 is: Lauren Harder-Gissing (chair), Bert Friesen, Richard Thiessen, Aileen Friesen, and Alf Redekopp.

Credit: Private collection

The official Russlaender Centenary Committee for 2022 is: Henry Paetkau (chair), Ingrid Riesen
Moehlmann (vice-chair and chair, railroad re-enactment sub-committee), Harold Thiessen, Luke Martin, Aileen Friesen, Darryl Loewen, Jake Buhler, Katie Harder, Cheryl Isaac, Richard Thiessen, and Gary Friesen.

Since 2015 the Archive Committee of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada together with its partnership have been managing an archival description database. Begun as a project to assist in managing photograph collections, the database also includes the description of other archival holdings held by some of the partners.

The official MAID Management Committee for 2022 is: Conrad Stoesz (chair), Alf Redekopp, Laureen Harder-Gissing, Hannah Keeney, and John Thiesen. 

Credit: MAID CA MHC 478-38.0

Another project was to create a registry of Mennonite materials from the former USSR available in North America, primarily in microform. The St. Petersburg Microfilming Project (1996-1996) was one example.

This project was created through a partnership between the following North American Mennonite archival centres: Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia (Abbotsford), Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Fresno), Mennonite Heritage Centre (Winnipeg), and Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Winnipeg). Each of the four partners has a microfilm copy of the materials. Inquiries may be directed to any of the partners.

The Archive Committee of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada originally posted the inventory descriptions as a single document on its website. Now it is available here: archives.mhsc.ca/st-petersburg-microfilming-project.

Credit: MAID CA CMBS NS25-01-66

Other projects include coordination of the major Mennonite historical libraries and archives in Canada, sponsorship of various historical monographs and a variety of academic conferences.

The official Archives Committee for 2022 is: Laureen Harder-Gissing (chair), Conrad Stoesz, Jon Isaak, Dick Braun, Ted Regehr, and Linda Klassen (plus possible Québec rep). 

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada was established in 1966 to sponsor the writing of a history of the Mennonites in Canada. You can also read the Mennonites in Canada bibliography.

The official A People of Diversity Book Project Committee for 2022 is: Ben Nobbs-Thiessen (chair), Jeremy Wiebe, Laureen Harder-Gissing, Brian Froese, Lucille Marr, Conrad Stoesz, and Bruce Guenther. 

Follow this path for an introduction to the Mennonite community in Canada. What do all Mennonites believe? Why are there differences between various Mennonite groups? Where are the largest Mennonite communities in Canada? What’s the difference between “Russian” Mennonites and “Swiss” Mennonites? Does one need to be born into a Mennonite community to become a Mennonite? Are the Amish related to the Mennonites? What about the Hutterites?