Collection 578 - Jacob Goossen family fonds

Farming operation at the Wintergruen estate Silver Wedding Anniversary of Jacob and Aganetha Goossen Two Goossen brothers and their families Goossen siblings visiting Family photo of the Jacob Johann Goossen family The Goossen Wintergruen Estate Interior of the Schönsee Mennonite Church in the Molotschna Col. Jacob Johann Goossen Aganetha (Kaethler) Goossen Family portrait

Identity area

Reference code

CA MHC 578


Jacob Goossen family fonds


  • 1890-1972 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

35 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

The patriarch of this family is Jacob Johann Goossen (1858-1920), owner of the large and prosperous Wintergruen estate, located about 32 km from the ancestral village of Schoensee, Molotschna Colony. He married Aganetha Kaethler (1861-1946), daughter of Johann Kaethler (1830-1889) from the village of Grossweide, Molotschna in 1884. Jacob and Aganetha had thirteen children, seven of which survived early childhood. Except for a first class holiday trip to Europe and the USA in 1906, to avoid civic unrest in Russia following the Russo-Japanese War, the family continued to live on the estate until October 1918 when they fled for their own safety. On December 10, 1918 the estate was pillaged by Machno bandits. Jacob Goossen died in Halbstadt, Molotschna in 1920.

Maria Goossen (1889-1934), daughter of estate owner Jacob Goossen, left Russia for Canada in 1922 to join and marry her fiancé Abraham A. "A.A." Friesen (1885-1948). Friesen was a member of the Studienkommission (study commission) sent to America by the Mennonites in Russia to investigate emigration possibities. Friesen became the business manager for the Rosthern-based Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization (CMBoC), established to facilitate the immigration. This board was responsible for helping over 20,000 Mennonites emigrate from Russia to Canada in the 1920s.

Aganetha (Kaethler) Goossen, the matriarch of this family immigrated to Canada in 1924 with the remaining children (with the exception of the oldest daughter Aganetha (Friesen) Willms who remained in the Soviet Union. She settled at Rabbit Lake, Saskatewan, where A.A. Friesen became manager of the Meilicke Lumber Company in 1927, after he left the CMBoC in 1926. After Maria (Goossen) Friesen died in 1934, A.A. Friesen married Maria's sister Helena in 1935. He died in 1948 in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan and his second wife Helena (Goossen) Friesen died in 1985 in Winnipeg.

Archival history

Jacob Goossen's wife and children came to Canada after he died in 1920. One son-in-law, Abram A. Friesen, was first married to daughter Maria Goossen (1889-1934) and then to another daughter, Helena Goossen (1895-1985). After Helena (Goossen) Friesen died in 1985 the photographs came into the possesion of Maria's daughter, Aganetha (Friesen) Enns (1923-1989) and her husband John Enns.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

John Enns of Lowe Farm, Manitoba, donated these photographs in 2002.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 35 photographs, mostly taken in Russia, of the extended Goossen family that lived on the Wintergruen estate, founded by Jacob Goossen (1858-1920). The photos are of high quality and show a wealthy Mennonite family in Russia. Included is a rare photograph of the interior of the Schoensee Mennonite Church.

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