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Thiessen, Johann (1894–1945) and Anna (1899–1983)

Proper Title

Johann and Anna Thiessen fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

7 cm. of textural records and 24 photographs

Biographical Sketch

Johann Jacob Thiessen was born in Kleefeld, South Russia 27 August 1894, to Jacob and Margaretha Friesen) Thiessen. He married Anna Pauls (b. 3 February 1899 in Alexanderthal, South Russia). The Zeugnis (transcript) dated 1912 indicates Anna was a very good student at the village school.

The family arrived in Canada December 1925, with two sons: Jakob John and John Martin. They settled in Arnaud, Manitoba and had nine children who grew into adulthood: six sons and three daughters. Johann died 4 December 1945. Anna moved to St. Catherines in 1952. In 1960 she and John Paetkau were married, and lived in Virgil, Ontario until 1963 when they moved to St. Catherines. Anna died there 11 May, 1983.

Anna had kept diaries for many years. These form the basis of Memories and Reflections of a Widow, which was translated and transcribed by her son, John M. Thiessen in 1991. Those diaries are part of these papers. Included is a family tree, family photos which are well- identified, a drawing of the Thiessen homestead and surrounding area and a drawing of Arnaud, as it was in 1945.

Custodial History

This collection of material was donated to the archives by John M. Thiessen, son of Johann and Anna Thiessen.

Scope and Content

This collection spans the period from before immigration from South Russia in 1928, to a new life in Canada, ending with a budget book for 1967. Included are Anna Tissen’s passport and various other immigration documents. Journals and ledgers provide textual details of daily life, and mark some of the family’s special occasions. The photos show the passage of time and various church documents indicate what was important to the Thiessens.


  • Volume 1347.
  • German (Gothic and Latin), Russian, English language.
  • Described by Yvonne Snider-Nighswander, December 13, 2011.
  • Accession Nos. 2008- 021.
  • Related material: NP193-01.
  • No restrictions on access.

File List

Volume 1346

1. Immigration records
a. Marriage Certificate and copy. – 1923.
b. Russian Passport – Anna Tissen. – 1925.
c. Medical Certificate/Identification Cards. – 18 December 1925:
Tiessen Anna David, 26 years.
Tiessen John Jakob, 30 years.
Tiessen Jakob John, 1 year.
Reimer Helen Peter, 26 years.
Reimer Sara Peter, 21 years.
d. Certificate of naturalization – Johann Jacob Thiessen. -- 31 July 1931.
e. Zeugnis (Report Card). – 1912.

2. Journals and Ledgers
a. Booklet brought from Russia, which includes “Thiessen Family Register”;     devotional guide with scripture references organized by subject possibly for morning and evening devotions, followed by a numbered listing of subjects; extensive musical notation using the ziffern numerical system, including the lyrics. [between 1904-1925?].
b. Booklet with one musical notation using the ziffern numerical system, including the lyrics.
c. Booklet (fragile) with one musical notation using the ziffern numerical system, including the lyrics.
d. Genealogy booklet with index at the back: Geschwister David Fr Pauls und Sarah Martin Dueckmann Familien Register. – 1970.
e. Household ledger. - [1928]-1932
f. Booklet including song texts, ziffern musical notation, poetry, lists, with missing pages. - 1916, 1917.
g. Budget book with statements of earnings and receipts. - 1965-1971.
h.  Letter [draft] to Mr. Thiessen regarding Thiessen family genealogy. – 1962.

3. Books #1 to #8: appears to be a systematic arrangement of handwritten journals and ledgers. Book #2 has, inside the front cover, five single pages of transliteration, from the Gothic script to the Latin script which are the first five pages of the notebook. - June 27, 1946 to 1963.

4. Various correspondence and poetry. - 1933-1989.

5. Memorabilia, including notes, ziffern musical notation, Victory Bond, 1943 and Certificate of Contribution to the Endowment Fund of The Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, 1955. – 1923-1955.

6. Christmas and New Years wishes, from Anna Pauls to her parents. – 1905-1911.

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