There are several kinds of ways that one can place information about rich data resources (essentially what archivists call "finding aids") online.
- Indexes are the quickest approach. For genealogists, indexes that include surnames are critical. When they have additional details such as birth or death date, geographic location of birth and death, names of spouse, children or parents - all make them increasingly useful. cemetery indexes are a good example.
With the index that includes an individual of interest, it's just a matter of tracking down the document that is being indexed - to get the richness that can be so helpful.
See MHSA's Name Index to B. H. Unruh's book, Die niederländisch-niederdeutschen Hintergründe der mennonitischen Ostwanderungen im 16., 18. und 19. Jahrhundert.
- Transcriptions are much more work and tend to eliminate the need for genealogists to track down the original document. Transcriptions are distinguished from indexes in that they capture much more - if not all - of the content of a document.
See MHSA's transcription of Peter Riediger's 1872 immigration to Canada journal entries.
- Extractions, in fact, are much more common. These are more than indexes and less than transcriptions. They are the transciption of limited content from an original document - the genealogical-relevant contents from the are accounts
An example of this can be found on MHSA's website for Children Vaccinated Against Smallpox, Chortitza Colony in South Russia, 1809.
- Digitized Books - In recent years, there are more and more genealogically-rich projects of a fourth approach - the digitized book. Not only are the scanned and placed online, sometimes they are fully searchable.
The most important for my own research has been Peter D. Zacharias' 1976 local history for Reinland, Manitoba. Reinland: An Experience in Community. But, there are many many such books online. Increasingly there are ones with content relevant to Mennonite family history.
- Others just recently found online are:
Gerbrandt, Henry J. (1970). Adventure in Faith: the Background in Europe and the Development in Canada of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba. Altona, MB: DW Friesen & Sons.
Derksen, Seymor A. (1980). My Father's House. Langham, SK: Author.
Epp-Tiessen, Esther. (n.d.). Altona: The Story of a Prairie Town. Altona, MB: DW Friesen & Sons.
Friesen, Rhinehart, Friesen. (1988). A Mennonite Odyssey. Winnipeg: Hyperion Press, 1988.
Zacharias, Peter D. (1976). Reinland: An Experience in Community. Winkler, MB: Reinland Centennial Committee.
For links to all of these kinds of projects for your research, see the Mennonite Genealogical Data Index for links to projects being placed online from all over. MHSA's own work in this area can be found as linksfrom our MHSA Projects page.