Keeping the family stories alive

I believe in maintaining family ties. One small way in which I do this is sending a personalized email or text to immediate and extended family members on their birthdays. It’s not a long message, but it lets them know I’m thinking about them and that I care. Family gatherings are another terrific way to keep in touch. Over the holidays, I went to see both my sons, their wives, and my adorable grandchildren! It’s always a joy to retell favourite family stories and to create new memories together.

I also believe in maintaining ties to my family’s past. In my father’s branch of the Voth family, I’m one of the history keepers. My aunt Herta Voth pioneered mission work in Colombia and Panama through the Mennonite Brethren Mission Board. When she passed away, I went through her letters, journals, and photos and donated many of them to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies archives in Winnipeg. Through TourMagination, I am committed to provide a platform for Anabaptist and Mennonite “history keepers” to retell their family stories during heritage tours. Stewards of our collective family history include John Sharp, Leonard Friesen, and Ayold Fanoy.

This year, we are pleased to partner with Rodney J Hofer on a Hutterite tour. Rod spent time exploring the sojourn of Hutterites in Romania and wrote a short, but thorough, book about his discoveries. Those with Hutterite ancestry, or an interest in Anabaptist history, will enjoy this tour.

On our blog you can also read about a history keeper named Sue Shirk who belongs to the Schürch Family Association of North America, which helps descendants of Hans Schürch of Switzerland connect with their roots through reunions and other activities. Sue is the logistics coordinator for a Schürch family custom tour that was organized with help from TourMagination.

If you want to learn more about your family history or the broader Anabaptist story, consider travelling on one of our 2019 or 2020 heritage tours or ask us for help planning a custom tour tailored to your family.

–Audrey Voth Petkau, President, TourMagination

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