Finding a Piece of My Family History at the Pembina Threshermen’s Museum

Near the end of August, Andrew and I stopped in at the Pembina Threshermen’s Museum, which is located between Morden and Winkler, in the West Reserve. We didn’t have huge expectations for our visit — we just wanted to see what was there to be seen.

And, the very first thing I saw was this house:

My attention was drawn to it because it reminded me of the newly restored Waldheim House at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. As I was going inside, I noticed this:

Wait…a BRAUN log house? I’ve listened to my mother enough to know that 1) she is from yantzied, and 2) her mother’s family name was Brown/Braun. And I’ve stared at her Brauns of Osterwick book enough to remember that it’s written by Peter Brown.

Inside the house, I saw this picture:

The painting had this little note tucked in the corner:

“The Osterwick farmyard of Jacob and Maria Braun on the SE 1/4 – S1 – T2 – R5 – WPM. With the termination of strip-farming the buildings were moved unto the homestead in the 1890s.”

Once we got home again, I opened my Brauns of Osterwick book, and behold, the same picture:

Jakob Braun’s father was named Gerhard. I don’t think he immigrated to Canada…so I’m not sure why Gerhard’s name is on the plaque on the outside of the house. If anyone knows the answer to this riddle, please let me know!

On the wall next to this painting, there was a large family photograph. I took a picture, thinking that likely my ancestors are in that photograph. (I’ve later learned that it’s the family of Gerhard Braun, who was Jakob’s brother.)

Just now, here at home, I’ve finally compared this picture to Jakob and Maria (Fast) Braun’s family profile in Grandma’s Window, and it all lines up (they had 9 children: the three youngest were girls, and the oldest was probably already married off and out of the home at the time of the family photo…and the rest were all boys). As far as I can figure, my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Braun, must be the boy on the far right. This photograph must have been taken around 1876…?

Near the door as we were exiting the building, I noticed this paper posted below. They had had a “Save The Braun House” campaign! I felt grateful to these people. (And I’m posting this before Thanksgiving weekend, because of my feelings of gratefulness. I figure it ties together nicely…right?)