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Hermann Thiessen fonds
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CA MHCA Microfilm reel numbers 976-1004
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29 reels of microfilm
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Name of creator
Hermann Thiessen (1919-) was born in Stutthof-Stöbuderkampe, West Prussia to Hermann Thiessen (1888-1918) and Katharina Bench (1889-1945). He married Liesbeth Maekelborger (1919-) in 1942. They had three children between 1944 and 1952. In April 1945 the family fled from their homeland via the Baltic to Denmark. Thiessen worked in various agricultural marketing occupations. Sometime after the war ended the family moved to Bugdorf, Germany. It was in Germany that he pursued his interest in archives, family history and genealogy. He compiled five family histories which include: Martin Thiehsen und seine Nachkommen 1737-1977 (1977), Bartholomaus Tiessen: 350 Jahre Familientradition (1986), Familiengeschichte der Familie Bench (1989), Peter Heydebrecht und seine Nachkommen (1990), Die Familie Mekelburger (1992).
Hermann Schirmacher of Leopoldshöhne, Germany purchased the collection from Herman Thiessen. Schirmacher donated his entire genealogy collection to the Mennonite Library and Archives, North Newton Kansas in 2002 which it was microfilmed. The cost of shipping the material from Germany to the U.S.A. and the cost of microfilming, duplicating and distributing the microfilms to Mennonite archives early in 2003 was covered by Dr. Tim Janzen of Portland, Oregon.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of Thiessen's correspondence and various materials he collected while compiling his books. In addition to the correspondence and notes, there are three card files: Male Thiessens (and variant spellings), female Thiessens, and an alphabetical card index which apparently includes all Mennonites he found who were born before 1820 or baptized before 1840. The first file folder contains some introductory and explanatory notes by Hermann Thiessen. Some of the people he corresponded with and received information from were Katharina Thiessen, Fritz van Bergen, and Anna Andres.
Immediate source of acquisition
The materials were divided into sequentially numbered groupings by Thiessen. It is unclear what the significance of the numbering is. It may represent the order in which Thiessen received or acquired the materials. Some numbers are missing (75,229,593,617,736,737,807,813,823). It is unknown whether Thiessen skipped these numbers, or if some papers are missing or misnumbered. A sheet from 540 is in with 454 for some reason.
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No restrictions on access.
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Rudimentary file list available.
Online version of finding aid available at: http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/programs/archives/holdings/papers/Thiessen,%20Hermann%20fonds.htm
Partially processed by John D. Thiessen in October 2001 before microfilming. Described by Conrad Stoesz February 28, 2003.
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