Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario

Classification scheme: 

Title: Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario fonds

Dates of Creation: 1951-
Further accruals are expected.

Physical Description: 60 cm of textual records; ca. 70 slides; 3 reel-to-reel audio tapes; 3 film reels

Administrative History: The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario was formed on 2 October, 1951 at Waterloo College (now Wilfrid Laurier University), Waterloo, Ontario. Dr. G.E. Reaman was the first president. Subsequently, four chapters were founded in areas where Pennsylvania Germans had settled and where their descendants still lived. The chapters are: Niagara (the Twenty), founded in 1953, Guelph (1953), York (1954) and Waterloo (1956). The Guelph chapter closed after only a few years. The Society played a key role in the founding of the Ontario Genealogical Society in 1961. For a couple of years, these two societies held their meetings jointly.

Activities of the Society have included annual Pioneer Days and Schwetzfescht celebrations, and historical demonstrations at exhibitions and various community events. Special projects have included involvement with the 1952 "Trek of the Conestoga," the Canadian Centennial in 1967, and the founding of pioneer villages at Black Creek, Doon and Jordan, Ontario.

Scope and Content: The fonds consists of the formal records of the Society such as minutes, correspondence and programs. In addition are informal records such as addresses and clippings, historical manuscripts collected by the Society, and copies of the Society's publications. Audiovisual records include films and slides from the 1952 Trek and an audio recording of a Society meeting.

Custodial History: Most of these records were transferred from the Society at various times. Some are from the personal files of Lorna Bergey acquired by the Archives in 2009. Certain files (indicated in the file list) were transferred from the Eldon D. Weber collection (Hist.Mss.1.187) in 2010.

Notes: Additional photographs related to the Society can be found in the Archives' photographic collection.

The following periodicals from the Society's collection can be found in the CGUC library:

Families / Ontario Genealogical Society
Der Reggeboge (the Rainbow) / Pennsylvania German Society
PGFSO Newsletter / Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario

File List:

1. File list, Feb 2012

Series 1: Formal Records

  1. Charter, 14 Oct 1958
  2. Constitutions
  3. Annual Meeting programs (not complete)
  4. President Lorne Weber file, 1969-1972
  5. Correspondence
    1981-1991 [formerly Hist.Mss.1.187.5/4 Eldon D. Weber]
  6. Secretary's records, 1951-1989, 1995-2000
  7. Minutes, Eldon D. Weber file, 1972-1991 [formerly Hist.Mss.1.187.5/2 Eldon D. Weber]
  8. Annual General Meeting minutes, 2010-2013
  9. Board of Directors minutes, 2010-2013

Series 2: Informal Records

  1. History of the Society
  2. 1952 Trek from Lancaster County to Waterloo (Trail of the Conestoga)
  3. Clippings and photos
  4. Addresses to the Society
    Marion Christena Keffer, "A Brief History of the Early Days of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sherwood," 17 Oct 1959
    Lorna Bergey, "The Mennonite Historical Society," 1968
    Daniel G. Hill, "The Black Community of Upper Canada in the 19th Century," 30 Oct 1976
    Lillian C. Gray, "Barbara Heck," 1955
  5. Brochures of other heritage groups
  6. PGSFO brochures

Series 3: Historical manuscripts

  1. Selections in the Pennsylvania German dialect
  2. Benjamin Eby : his ledger, 1822-1856 [photocopy]
  3. Letter from Dilman Kinsey Erb to his sister, 28 Mar 1935 [recalling their childhood in Woolwich Township, Wilmot Township and Bridgeport] [photocopy]
  4. Pennsylvania German newspaper columns [photocopy]:
    E.H. Good (1860-)
    Ben Sauder (Note: A few were reprinted in Der Nachbar an de Schtroas / Ben Sauder, 1998)
    Nancy Hanks
    Betsey [Elizabeth Priscilla Wegenast] Groh
    Andrew Schumacher
    Lovina (Mrs. Nelson) Weber
  5. Geburts Schein von Elizabth Otterbein (1847- ) / by Isaac Hunsicker (1803-1870),1868
  6. The letters of Joe Klotzkopp, Esq. / by John A. Rittinger and Herbert K. Kalbfleisch [translator]. --Kitchener-Waterloo Record [special section], October 1967
  7. AMC Hist.Mss. 1-18 s.c. Jacob S. Brubacher Collection, Recipes and Love Poems [photocopy]
  8. A review of pioneer life in Ontario at the Black Creek Pioneer Village / Mary I. Burton, Oct 1984

Series 4: Publications Committee

Sub-series 1: Minutes & Correspondence

  1. 1975-1992. [formerly Hist.Mss.1.187.5/3 Eldon D. Weber]

Sub-series 2: Unpublished works

  1. This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden : the instance of the Pennsylvania Dutch / by James M. Nyce. --McMaster University thesis, [1977]
  2. The early Pennsylvania German 'Four Square Garden' in Ontario / by Helen Wismer
    The importance of family farm animals / by Helen Wismer
    Remedies and cures in Canada's 18th century / by Helen Wismer
  3. Historical novel on Weber family / by Saloma Hoover
    Note: The following abstract is from Elizabeth Bloomfield: "An unpublished historical novel telling of the migrations of the Anabaptists from Switzerland to the Palatinate, then to Pennsylvania and lastly to Canada in 1819. Based on the experiences of the Weber family, the author describes travels, new beginnings and hardships through several generations. The Old Order Mennonite way of life is conveyed through folklore, traditions and Pennsylvania German dialect sayings."
  4. Pennsylvania German Folklore Chorus song book : compiled for the use of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Chorus, [19--?]

Sub-series 3: Published works

  1. Samuel Fry the Weaver and Mennonites of the Twenty / by Barbara Coffman. --[Kitchener, Ont.] : Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, 1982. One softcover and one hardcover volume.
  2. More pioneer hamlets of York / compiled by the York Chapter ; local committee, Andrew Snider ... [et al.]. --[Kitchener, Ont.] : Pennsylvania-German Folklore Society of Ontario, 1985 (Kitchener, Ont. : Cober Print. Ltd.)
  3. Some local history of Franconia Township / by Henry D. Hagey. --[Telford, Pa.] : Munro, 1979.
  4. Canadian-German folklore / [Ontario] : Pennsylvania Folklore Society of Ontario. Volume 1 (1961)-Volume 2 (1967), Volume 7 (1979)(2 copies)
  5. Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario / [Ont. : The Society, 1991?]
  6. Folk song book in the street-talk of Berlin, Ontario : a look at: birds, flowers, to market in Berlin, little barnyard friends ; a German dialect of Ontario Canada in English phonetic form with historical background / by Alfred J.K. Schenk. --[Kitchener], Ont. : St. Jacobs Printery, 1991.

Series 5: Audiovisual Records

Note: For more audio and audiovisual recordings, see Hist.Mss.9 and Hist.Mss.20.

  1. 1952 Trek from Lancaster Pa. to Waterloo by Conestoga Wagon / Photo Department, New Holland Machine Company. --1952. --3 film reels (ca. 90 m) : 2 reels Kodachrome Commercial Safety Color Film, 1 reel Cine-Kodak Super-XX High Speed Panchromatic Safety Film
  2. unused
  3. The Trail of the Conestoga 1952, approx. 70 slides
  4. The Waterloo Chapter of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario celebrates 50 years, 1956-2006. --27 Apr 2006. --optical disc (PowerPoint presentation with audio narration), 27 min 25 sec, 2 copies.
  5. Songs & stories in the Pennsylvania German dialect / Pennsylvania German Folklore Chorus of 1991-1992 - Waterloo Chapter. -- 1992. -- 1 audio cassette (29 min. 52 sec.) : ACC 49365 CrO2

Series 6: Chapter Records

Sub-series 1: Waterloo Chapter

Custodial history: These records were kept by Lorna Bergey and received from Ralph Shantz in 2010, except for the banner which was received in 2020.

  1. Secretary's records
    1. Notes
    2. Minutes and Programmes, Apr 1969, 1972-2006, 2013 (incomplete)
    3. Correspondence, 1985-2003
    4. Constitutions
    5. Membership lists, 1962-1963, 1969-2004
    6. Review of PGFSO Waterloo Chapter program, 1996
    7. Notes on A Grand Decision video
    8. Banner, [200-]

Sub-series 2: York Chapter

  1. Keeping our tradition: 60 years of service, 1954-2014. Elmvale, Ontario : York Chapter, Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, 2015
  2. "Conestoga Moving"

    2.1 Painting by Murray Pipher, commissioned by the York Chapter, Oct 2007. - Acrylic, 39 x 29 cm (sight in frame). - a Conestoga wagon pulled by four horses travels along the Rouge River. - Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario in 2015. Rights are retained by the estate of Murray Pipher.

    2.2 Murray Pipher biographical information
  3. Programs, 1965

Sub-series 3: Twenty (Niagara) Chapter

  1. Miscellaneous

Series 7: Realia

  1. Cup and saucer issued by the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario
    Custodial history: Donated to the Archives by Ralph Shantz in 2012.
  2. Plate issued by the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario. - Made in England by Johnson Bros. from photographs of David L. Hunsberger, 1960
    Custodial history: Donated to the Archives by Ralph Shantz in 2016.

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