Fonds PP - Enns-Toews family fonds

Ice fishing Volley ball beside the house Young gilrl on steps of house Our Castle Fred Enns Biplane in winter Showing off the catch of the day The Ferdinand Kaelble family Johann Enns Four young people in Reesor, Ontario The Neil & Ruth Wiebe family Franz Dück, Rosenthal Helene Reimer Elisabeth Dück Maria Töws
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Enns-Toews family fonds


  • 1869, 1919-1988 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2.17 m of textual material
46 photographs : b&w
4 maps and other materials

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The patriarch for this Toews family was Johann Toews (1833-1904) who married Katharina Thielmann (1835-ca.1868). Together they had 4 children: Johann, Jacob, Heinrich, and Helene. After Katharina died Johann married Elisabeth Wieler. They had seven children together plus one son Jacob Warkentin that Elisabeth brought into the marriage from a previous marriage. These children were Wilhelm (1870-1962), Abram (1873-1941), Kornelius (1875-1953), Elise (1880-1970), Margarete (1883-1948), Maria (1885-1905), and Anna (1887-1985). They lived and grew up in Ohrloff, South Russia.

Elise Toews (1880-1970) married Heinrich Enns (1887-1935) in 1902. Together they had five children: Gerhard (1902-1996), Luise (1905-), Anna (1907-1930), Johann (1910-1986), and Henry (1912-1972). The family immigrated to Canada in 1924 and settled in Reesor, Ontario.

While in Ontario Elise carried on extensive correspondence with many friends and family in Canada, Russia, Germany, and Brazil.

Johann (John H.) Enns (1910-1986) was one of the last residents of the community of Reesor, Ontario. He has documented the history of the community. During the Second World War, he was a conscientious objector. He was an avid letter writer and historian. Not only did he correspond with many friends and relatives, he also collected the corresondence of his parents, Heinrich Enns and Elise (Toews) Enns, correspondence of his sister Luise (Enns) Martens and brother-in-law, Gerhard J. Martens (1908-1982). (Gerhard J. Martens had first married Anna Enns (1907-1930), Luise's younger sister.) John H. Enns also corresponded extensively with his 2nd cousin, Barbara (Enns) Bahnman (1918-2008) of Steinbach. Her father was David D. Enns (1886-1973) and her grandfather was David G. Enns (1847-1926), a brother to Gerhard Enns (1844-1911), John H. Enns' grandfather. Gerhard Enns (1844-1911) was married to Elizabeth Reimer (1849-1894).

Anna Toews (1887-1985), the sister of Elise (Toews) Enns, also carried on extensive correspondence with family and friends in Canada, Russia, Germany, and Brazil. She lived in Kitchener, Ontario and was married later in life to widower David Thiessen. For more information on family connections, see Töws Family History 1723-1999 compiled by Katherine (Klassen) Martens. Katherine is the daughter-in-law to Gerhard J. Martens (1908-1982) and Luise (Enns) Martens (1905-2012).

Archival history

Much of the material was collected by John H. Enns of Ontario. After his passing Katharine Martens of Winnipeg acquired the material and donated the material to the Centre. Letters were also written to various friends and family asking for old letters to make the collection more complete. Some annotations on the letters have been made by Luise (Enns) Martens to clarify authorship or the date of the letter. The David Enns material came via Jacob and Barbara (Enns) Bahnmann of Steinbach in 2013.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Katherine Martens (Winnipeg)

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of correspondence of the Enns - Toews family in Canada, Russia, Brazil, and Germany to and from family and friends. Also included are diaries eleven photographs, two Russian estate maps and one audio cassette. This fonds can be divided in to nine series.
-1) John H. Enns papers
-2) Elise Enns papers
-3) Anna Toews papers
-4) Gerhard Enns papers
-5) Gerhard Martens papers
-6) Various Family members papers
-7) Photographs
-8) David Enns papers
-9) Luise (Enns) Martens papers.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Described by Conrad Stoesz November 15, 2000. Additional material described by Helene Warkentin, July 2013. Updated by Alf Redekopp, July 11, 2013, Conrad Stoesz Dec 23, 2013. Edited 22 April 2020 by Alf Redekopp.

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Conditions governing access

None to access

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Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Russian

Script of material

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Inventory file list

Uploaded finding aid

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Notes area


Accession nos. 88-002, 91-084, 92-152, 92-153, 95-156, 96-032, 99-127, 00-154, 02-081, 05-001, 12-078, 13-079.

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Physical storage

  • Box: Volumes
  • Filing cabinet: Maps
  • Shelf: Audio cassette