© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated March 17, 2008)

·  Janzen, Jacob P., 1880-1963

Retrieval numbers: Volumes 2322, 2341, 2342, 5115, 5136

Title: Jacob P. Janzen fonds
Dates: 1911-1946
Extent: 28 cm of textual records, and three compact disks.
Repository: Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives

Historical note

Jacob P. Janzen (1880-1963) was born in the Mennonite village of Franzthal, Molotschna colony, Imperial Russia to Peter J. Janzen (1850-1915) and Katharina Bekker (1854-1918). In 1901 he was baptized at the church in Rudnerweide. He began recording daily activities in a diary in 1911, the same year he was working in the Bethania mental hospital.

In 1924 he along with his other siblings and their families (David (1882-1965), Maria (1877-1955) Johann (1891-1979) and sister-in-law Helena Thiessen (1890-1985) who was married to Klaas Janzen (-1915), decided to leave Russia and the only place available was Mexico. They settled in Tampico, Mexico, but only stayed there 2 years when in 1926 they all moved to Canada. Jacob and his brother David rented housing in Stirling, Alberta and worked as laborers for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). In 1927 the whole family came together and bought a farm in the Springridge area of Pincher Creek, Alberta. Slowly more land was acquired for all the family members. Jacob remained unmarried all his life. His brother David founded the Blumenthaler Mennonite church at Pincher Creek, Alberta. This church later became known as the Springridge Mennonite Church.

In 1940 Jacob moved to Yarrow, BC where he died in 1963.

Scope and content note

The material in this fonds consists of the diaries of Jacob P. Janzen which span 35 years and three countries. The diary documents life in Russia, the upheaval during and after the revolution, immigration and pioneer life in Mexico, immigration and settlement in Alberta. It details life on the farm, church life including sermons and funerals, as well as his own frustrations with romance and laments some of his sinful behavior. Also included are music and school notebooks created by his niece Katharina Wall and her father Cornelius C. Wall.  The diary 1916-1925 has been translated by Edward Enns and is included.

Index terms


·  Janzen, Jacob P., 1880-1963

Adjunct descriptive data

Finding aids

File list available


Custodial history

The Janzen material was last in the possession of his nephew David Janzen (1919-2004) and after his death were donated to the archives by his son Henry Janzen.  The diary 1916-1925 was translated by archive volunteer Edward Enns.


German, Russian and some English


Described by Conrad Stoesz August 9, 2004, updated by Conrad Stoesz February 14, 2007 and March 17, 2008.

Restrictions on access


Other notes

Accession No. 2004-052, 2005-072, 2006-042, 2007-013.

Jacob P. Janzen fonds file list

Volume 2322

4.   Rusian Certificate of birth and baptism of David Jacob Bekker [David Bekker] and his wife Maria Pankratz. -- 1916.   It was located inside the Jacob Esau Alexanderkrone Zentralschule document. Signed by Nickel of the Rudnerweide Mennonite Church . -- June 21, 1916 . Note:    It was located inside the Jacob Esau Alexanderkrone Zentralschule document.   Taken from Rudnerweide Mennonite Church register No. 1 p. 10.

David Bekker and Maria Pankratz are the grandparents to Jacob P. Janzen.  Bekker's daughter Tina married Peter Janzen, who are the parents of Jacob P. Janzen.

5.   Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925. – Note: when possible please use the photocopy found in volume 5115 and translation in 5136..

6.  German, English and Russian documents and correspondence regarding immigration, naturalization, financial accounting, songs, loan application from the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization, and other materials. -- 1917–1946.


Volume 2341

1. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1911-1915.

2. Jacob P. Janzen diary and a few other papers. – 1915-1916. – Note: 1916-1925 is in vol. 2322.

3. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1926-1928.

4. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1929-1930.

5. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1930-1932.

6. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1929-1939.

7. Jacob P. Janzen diary. – 1939-1946.

8. Unidentified diary, (1919, 1935-1938), weather diary (1925-1933).  Also included is some financial accounting and some Russian materials. – 1919-1938.

9.English monthly summaries of Jacob P. Janzen’s diaries 1911-1919 / Katherine Wall. – [197-?].


Volume 2342

1. Katharina Wall Halbstadt agricultural school notebook. – 1928.

2. Cornelius Wall, Coaldale, Alberta music and book with Ziffern. – 1932-1933.

3. Hymn texts and other poetry copied by Jacob Janzen while working at Bethania. – 1911. – note: There are some loose notes at the front.

4. Jacob Janzen notebook. – 1906-[193-?].

5. Jacob Janzen obituary and background information.


Volume 5115

1. Photocopy of Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925 p. 1-100.

2. Photocopy of Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925 p. 101-200.

3. Photocopy of Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925 p. 201-300.

4. Photocopy of Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925 p. 301-400.

5. Photocopy of Jacob P. Janzen diary 1916-1925 p. 401-471 end. -- Note: translation in 5136.

        Volume 5136

         1. Translation of Jacob P. diary 1916-1925 by Edward Enns, 1916-1919. -- 2004-2007.

         2. Translation of Jacob P. diary 1916-1925 by Edward Enns, 1920-1922. -- 2004-2007.

         3. Translation of Jacob P. diary 1916-1925 by Edward Enns, 1923-1925. -- 2004-2007.

         4. Three compact disks of the translation in Micorsoft Word format. -- 2004-2007.