In the summer and fall of 2008, some former Barons, Alberta schoolmates and relatives held two fun gatherings in Calgary where they explored their common Estonian heritage. Some had not seen each other since childhood.
Donna Reinson-Koper’s and Wilma Pertel-Costello’s parents came from Crimea as did Anita Linderman-Madill’s mother. Members of Evelyn Erdman's family came directly from Estonia in 1910 and 1921. Lillian (Erdman family) Munz’s great grandparents did the 2000 km trek from Estonia to Crimea in the 1860’s, as did the ancestors of three of the others. One way or another, the ladies on these two photos are either descendants or relatives of Crimea Estonians and all their families farmed in the Barons or Foremost, Alberta area at some point in time. Three of the five were students at Barons Consolidated School. Anita Madill attended school in Foremost, south-east Alberta. Donna Koper’s roots are with the Reinson family in Saskatchewan where she received her schooling; however her father and various aunts and uncles attended Barons Consolidated School.
The five have been pleasantly surprised to discover how much they have in common among themselves, among their friends and among their parents' family friends; something they had never discussed previously. According to Lillian Munz “We had quite the afternoon talking about international work… about the old times in Barons when Anita's family who lived in Foremost, east of Lethbridge, used to visit the Erdmans, etc.”
Evelyn Erdman’s recent translation of Otto Laaman’s account of the Foremost Estonians (in Eestlased Kanadas 1975) was pivotal in getting these ladies together. They also credit the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society for enabling them to reconnect.
Reconnecting in Alberta