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- Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society
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1.15 MB of textual records
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A group of local people interested in forming a genealogical group met with representatives from the Alberta Genealogical Society (AGS) on November 24, 1977. Another organizational meeting was held on December 1 and an interim executive was appointed and tasked with making a presentation to interested people about the advantages of becoming an AGS Branch. The interim executive consisted of Carol Thomson, President, Jim Mason, Vice-President, Charlotte Jones, Secretary, and Marie Matkin, Treasurer. The requested presentation was made on January 1, 1978 and several AGS memberships were sold. A new executive was elected at the following meeting on February 7, consisting of Carol Thomson, President, Jim Mason, Vice-President, Laura Turnbull, Secretary, Merna Nelson, Treasurer, and Paulette Hrychiw, Membership Secretary. The first official meeting as a branch was held on February 22, 1978 and the group decided to call themselves “Grande Prairie and District Branch”. The executive decided that they would share the constitution of the AGS. General meetings were held monthly thereafter, with additional executive meetings as necessary.
Members of the Grande Prairie Branch are also required to be members of the AGS. The Branch President sits on the AGS board as a Director. The Branch shares the objectives of the AGS, which are generally to promote genealogical studies and research in Alberta, provide instruction, maintain a resource library, publish related resources, and build relationships with other genealogical societies. The Branch focuses on accomplishing these objectives in the local Grande Prairie area. Each year, the Branch is required to forward an annual report including a President’s report and audited treasurer’s report to the Annual General Meeting of the AGS.
Projects of the group have included recording and photographing local cemeteries, clipping and indexing obituaries from local papers, indexing local history books, maintaining a reference library (housed at the Grande Prairie Public Library), advocating for the placement of a plaque at the Grande Prairie Cemetery to list bodies that had been moved from another location, and publication of a quarterly newsletter Heritage Seekers a book of extracts of vital events from early newspapers (“Dates Gone By…”), and a cookbook. The Branch also hosted the 2003 provincial Gen Fair.
Programming includes providing workshops and speakers at monthly meetings, providing research assistance through the Genies at the Library program, offering various courses and workshops, co-hosting an annual weekend of workshops with the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and co-hosting Family History Day with the South Peace Regional Archives. The Branch also sponsors the Margaret Kay Scholarship for genealogical study.
The GPAGS obtains funding from a variety of sources including an annual Alberta Historical Resources Foundation grant distributed among Branches by the AGS, memberships, fundraising activities, and casinos.
The records were donated to the Archives in various accessions by members of the GPAGS. The obituary index cards and scrapbooks were donated by Paulette Hrychiw in January 2009. The minutes, financial reports, and Heritage Seekers and Relatively Speaking newsletters were donated by Al Meyer in February 2010. The membership material, financial files and ledgers were donated by Gail Prette in August 2011.
Al Richards brought the CD of cemetery photographs to the Archives around 2011, for safekeeping, but the images were not formally accessioned until 2014. Likewise a CD of cemetery indices was brought to the Archives by an unknown source, but not formally accessioned until 2014 when current Cemetery Committee chair Mary Nutting signed off on them.
Portions of the fonds had previously been kept at the Grande Prairie Public Library when the Genealogical Society’s reference collection resides. Other portions were stored in members’ homes.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of records related to the operation and activities of the Grande Prairie and District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The material dates from 1974 to 2011 and includes records such as minutes, financial statements and ledgers, membership and newsletter exchange lists, surnames researched by members, correspondence, newspaper clippings and announcements, organizational records for a genealogical course and Gen Fair, resources compiled by the group on obituaries, grave markers, and vital statistics in newspaper articles, and the Heritage Seekers newsletter. The fonds also includes some records of the parent organization, most notably copies of the provincial Relatively Speaking newsletter.
The fonds is divided into seven series based on record type and content: Executive Records, Financial Records, Correspondence and Publicity, Programs and Events, Publications and Resources, and Alberta Genealogical Society.
Portions of the fonds had a strongly apparent original order, which has been maintained by the Archivist as much as possible. Other miscellaneous groups of records were integrated into the series structure by the Archivist. Since the records arrived in several accessions from several sources, an overall order was not apparent.
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