Fonds Volume 4864a files7-8 - Bernhard and Anna (Penner) Krahn Notice of Death Collection

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Bernhard and Anna (Penner) Krahn Notice of Death Collection

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CA MHCA Volume 4864a files7-8

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  • 1884-1942 (Creation)

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4 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Anna Penner was born on January 21, 1856 to Bernhard Penner (1831-1912) and Elizabeth Redekopp (1829-1893) in the village of Nieder Chortitza, Chortitza Colony, South Russia. In July 1875 the Penner family immigrated with other Mennonite families to the Manitoba Mennonite West Reserve and settled in the village of Schoenweise (south east of present day Winkler). Here they became part of the Reinlaender Mennonite Church (known as the Altkolonier or Old Colony Mennonite people). On March 16, 1880 Anna Penner married Bernhard Krahn who was born January 26, 1857 to Peter Krahn (1820-) and Helena Peters (1826-). Bernhard was born in the village of Neuenburg, Chortitza and immigrated with his mother in July 1879 to Manitoba. Bernhard and Anna Krahn made their home in the village of Kronsfeld, near Haskett, about six miles west of Schoenweise. Here the family made their living farming. Sometime in the late 1880s or 1890s the Bernhard Krahn family joined the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church.

In the Mennonite tradition of the day when a person died their body was prepared for burial by the family and a casket was made by a family or community member. The body in the casket remained in the home for a few days until the funeral took place. Here people came to pay their last respects and offer condolences to the family. To notify friends and family a letter stating who had died was written and placed in an envelope, often with a black edging to notify the receiver that this was a notice of a death. With this notice of death was a list of people to whom the letter should be passed. Closest family and friends were on the list and often these people constituted the core group who attended the funeral in the home.

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Most of these letters (circulars) notifying people of a death have Bernhard Krahn's name on them as one of the recipients of the notice. Often Krahn's name was the last on the list which may explain why they came into his possession. A few were written by Bernhard and Anna Krahn. It is also suggested by George Elias that many of these notices were relatives of Anna Krahn (Anna Klassen). After the death of Bernhard Krahn these materials were passed on to granddaughter Anna Reimer (nee Anna Reimer). After her death in 2008 the materials came to her nephew George Elias. In 2009 Elias transcribed each letter and provided linkages to church register pages connected to the person who had died.

Scope and content

The materials in the collection consist of handwritten letters notifying friends and family of a death, a few wedding invitations, pattern for a skirt and a recipe. A list of people in several villages are noted at the end signifying to whom the notice should be passed. The collection is helpful in understanding funeral practices in the Mennonite community, verifying and supplementing vital records already recorded in church and government sources. In addition some information as to the residents of some villages can be gleaned. Most common villages mentioned in the letters include Schoenweise, Reinland, Kronsfeld, Blumenfeld, Haskett, and Gnadenthal.

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No restrictions on access

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Finding aid consists of a file list.

Online version of finding aid available at:,%20Bernhard%20and%20Anna%20collection.htm

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Described by Conrad Stoesz May 8, 2009.

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  • English

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