Our family published the hardcover book Our Wiensz Heritage in 1980. It contains genealogies dating back to 1774, many photos, various stories, and background historical information.
It was editted and compiled by my sister, Esther J. Wiens, my mom, Tina Wiens, and my brother, Victor D. Wiens. Esther also did all the typing and retyping. I (David C. Wiens) prepared the photographs. Friesen Printers printed the books.
Copies of the book on the Internet
I seem to remember discovering a scanned copy of our book on the Internet a few years ago. This was done without our permission. However, I can't find this copy now.
Hardcover books still available
We still have a number of the hardcover books available. If you would like to obtain your own copy, contact me, and we will let you know how much it will cost with shipping.
Despite our best efforts, some mistakes crept into the book. As we discovered them, we added them to an errata sheet. If you have a copy of this book, you might not have received this sheet, or it got lost, or we discovered more mistakes after we printed that version. We will soon be posting an updated errata list on this web site.
Mom's name as author
One of the authors, my mom, is listed as "Mrs. Kornelius (Tina) Wiens". Unfortunately some web sites mentioning the book shortened this name to just "Kornelius Wiens", who was my dad. This is wrong. In hindsight mom should have given her name simply as "Tina Wiens".
In 2019 I discovered why mom listed her name that way. In doing research for my 50 year high school reunion, I read archived issues of The Chilliwack Progress, which was (and still is) the local newspaper in Chilliwack BC. In the 1970's and earlier, that newspaper NEVER mentioned a married woman's first name, but ALWAYS referred to her by her husband's name with a "Mrs." title. Only if she was still single, or widowed, or in her obituary, did the newspaper use a woman's own first name instead of her husband's name. This was what society did at the time, so mom just wrote her name for the book like she was used to.
The recommended listing is:
WIENS, Esther J., et al.
Our Wiensz Heritage: Our Mennonite Heritage and Our Place Among the Descendants of Heinrich Wiensz (1774-1819).
By ... and Tina Wiens and Victor D. Wiens.
Vancouver BC: David C. Wiens 1980. 80 p., tables, photos, maps.
How the book project got started
In the early 1970's we heard that dad's cousin, Peter Wiens in Yarrow BC, had an old family Bible that contained information on several previous generations of our ancestors .....
Wiensz vs. Wiens
Some people have asked why the two spellings, "Wiens" and "Wiensz"? I discussed this with my sister, Esther, who is our family historian -- no definitive answer. Apparently even in Prussia a few hundred years ago both spellings were used. Maybe "Wiens" was the original German spelling, and later some added the 'z' due to the influence of the Polish language of their neighbours? Just my guess.
In one case, a Peter Wiens had a 'z' in Russia but dropped it when he came to Canada, as did his two oldest sons (who were just little children when they came over). But the two younger sons, who were born in Canada, did have the 'z'. Maybe the 'z' got dropped because the Canadian immigration official incorrectly wrote their names on the official papers without it, but when children were born in Canada the parents registered their names with the 'z' because that is the way their family name had originally been spelled? Who knows?
Where did the name "Wiens" or "Wiensz" originate? My brother, Vic, found information that said the first use of the name may have originated in the Danzig area when some Jews from the Jewish quarter in Vienna moved to that area. They were first known as "von Wien" and latter changed to "Wiens". When Mennonites who came from similar sounding towns in Holland and Belgium moved to the Danzig area they appear to have adopted this existing surname.
The name "GRANDMA" stands for "The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry". It is maintained by the California Mennonite Historical Society's Genealogy Project Committee.
This is a database containing genealogical information for over 1.4 million individuals, most of whom are descended from Mennonites that lived in Poland and Russia. My sister, Esther, has entered and submitted all the information in Our Wiensz Heritage to this database, as well as more recent data (births, deaths, marriages) that isn't in our book.