Researchers

Meet some of our researchers who visit the Mennonite Historical Archives in person or remotely!

Student researcher Josh Fast
Josh Fast

Josh Fast

Canadian Mennonite University student, Josh Fast, is conducting research for a paper on the relationship of Mennonites and the Indigenous peoples of Pauingassi. The students in Josh’s class were asked to use primary sources in their research. The Mennonite Heritage Archives has provided Josh with access to the Mennonite Pioneer Mission and Native Ministries collections.

The Mennonite Heritage Archives have been very useful in my studies of Mennonite-Pauingassi relations. Their variety of primary sources has helped me gain a deeper understanding of both Mennonite and Indigenous history.

Josh Fast, Canadian Mennonite University student
February 10, 2020
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Westwood Collegiate students looking at the Martin Klaassen diary

Westwood Collegiate

The archives made history more real.

Sophie Burns, grade 11 student
October 23, 2019
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

On October 23, 2019 a group of grade eleven and twelve students joined us at the Mennonite Heritage Archives for a chance to learn about what an archives is. Archivist Conrad Stoesz told stories and showed the students diaries, historical documents, and our large song book. The group also had a chance to engage with MHC Gallery‘s Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War exhibition (showing September 20 to November 9, 2019).

Archives are about preserving individual and cultural stories.

Michayla Carlson, grade 12 student
October 23, 2019
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A spectacular glimpse into the importance of archival work. [The time at the Mennonite Heritage Archives] gave us a great understanding how complicated archival work can be and really made me remember why I enjoy history so much.

Blake Edwards, grade 11 student
October 23, 2019
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The students and staff that were on the field trip had a blast and have gained a new appreciation and understanding of archival work.

Kelly Hiebert, teacher
October 23, 2019
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Harold Thiessen
Harold Thiessen

Harold Thiessen

Harold Thiessen of Toronto, Ontario is researching his Thiessen family and their experiences in Ukraine 1920-1950. Emigration, forced labour, arrests, execution, escape, staring over, and family reunification are themes he is following in the archival records.

The Archives have been instrumental in my search for more information on my family history especially the records of [community leader] J.J. Thiessen who was the brother of my grandfather, and the Russian Mennonite story in general.

Harold Thiessen
October 4, 2019
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ernest Braun
Ernest Braun

Ernest Braun

Ernest Braun is a former English teacher who now researches and writes about the Mennonite experience on the former Mennonite East Reserve (current day Steinbach area). He is a co-author of the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve and editor of Jake Thiessen’s Mennonite Low German Dictionary, revised edition. In 2014 he was awarded the The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation and Promotion for “prolonged, meritorious service in the preservation and promotion of the province’s rich history and heritage.”

When I am here I am at home.

Ernest Braun
September 17, 2019
Niverville, Manitoba, Canada

Graham Schellenberg
Graham Schellenberg

Graham Schellenberg

Graham Schellenberg is currently researching the Mennonite West Reserve communities of Lichtfeld and Altbergthal. He has utilized the Mennonite Heritage Archives’ resources including photographs, audio interviews, documents, and microfilm.

Beyond its archival collection, I like MHA because of the wealth of knowledge its staff and visitors bring to the table. As someone who came to the [Archives] with little knowledge of Mennonite history, the resources and help provided have been truly beneficial.

Graham Schellenberg
September 9, 2019
Manitoba, Canada

Researchers Irv and Sharon Goertzen
Sharon and Irv Goertzen

Sharon and Irv Goertzen

Sharon Goertzen and her partner, Irv, are doing research on Sharon’s Adrian family. They have been searching for references of the Adrian family in the Mennonitische Rundschau. The MHA has bound copies of the Mennonitische Rundschau and a number of volumes on microfilm.

The Archives has a whole collection of records which is really helpful and accessible. It’s a neat place to be able to come and find things that you had no idea were here!

Sharon Goertzen
July 26, 2019
Morden, Manitoba, Canada

MHA full time volunteer Glenn Penner also spent some time with the Goertzens answering questions about genealogy and provided information of the time period being researched.

I don’t know how we would do this research without the Archives! It is very helpful; preserves evidence and documentation that we would not find without the archives.

Irv Goertzen
July 26, 2019
Morden, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Doreen Klassen
Dr. Doreen Klassen

Dr. Doreen Klassen

Memorial University’s Associate Professor of Social Cultural Studies, Dr. Doreen Klassen is visiting the MHA to do some research. Doreen is an ethnomusicologist who has interests in the politics of public art (wall mural production in Winnipeg, Manitoba), Mennonite identity and expressive behaviour, the politics of Mennonite religious music and vernacular Low German song, and much more.

July 25, 2019
Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada


Bernhard Thiessen researching at the Archives in July, 2019
Bernhard Thiessen

Bernhard Thiessen

Bernhard Thiessen of Berlin, Germany and former pastor of the Hamburg-Altona Mennonite Church, has been busy conducting research at the Mennonite Heritage Archives this July. Bernhard is the presenter for the public lecture held at the Archives on July 24 entitled “Being a Faithful ‘Church in Socialism’: Mennonites in the German Democratic Republic and their Canadian Connections.” To learn more about Bernhard’s research visit his website www.mennoniten-ddr.de

It’s amazing to come so far from Berlin, Germany to Winnipeg, Canada to find important documents which were written in my home town. Thanks for keeping them in archives!

Bernhard Thiessen
July 23, 2019
Berlin, Germany

Researcher Burce Wiebe
Bruce Wiebe

Bruce Wiebe

Bruce Wiebe is a researcher interested in Mennonites who lived in the Mennonite West Reserve, finical institutions such as the Waisenamt, and the establishment of Hutterite communities in Manitoba. He is a frequent visitor and contributor to the Mennonite Heritage Archives.

July 12, 2019
Winkler, Manitoba, Canada


Hans Werner, researcher
Dr. Hans Werner

Dr. Hans Werner

Hans Werner is a retired history professor who worked at the University of Winnipeg.

The MH Archives is a critical resource for historians and the research they produce for telling the Mennonite story.

Dr. Hans Werner
July 11, 2019
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada