Oriole A. Vane Veldhuis is the great-granddaughter of Percy Criddle and Elise Harrer Vane. She grew up on a farm in southwest Manitoba and received an education at Stockton school, Brandon College and Central Normal School in Winnipeg. Veldhuis balanced teaching at schools in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Ontario, with studying at MacDonal Institute in Guelph, ON and at the Centre for Christian Studies in Toronoto for Diaconal ministry. Alongside her husband Art, Veldhuis served in United Church congregations in God's Lake Narrows, Holland and Winnipeg, MB, as well as Elmira, ON. Oriole and Art had four children together, whom they raised while she was working part-time and studying to recieve her Bachelor in Education, Post Baccalaureate in Education and Master of Divinity.
Once retired from her teaching and ministry duties, Veldhuis shifted her focus to maintaining a promise to her father that she would try to uncover the mystery of his grandmother. Veldhuis self-published her discoveries regarding the secret life of Elise Vane and Percy Criddle in her book, For Elise: Unveiling the Forgotten Woman on the Criddle Homestead.
Veldhuis was awarded the Margaret McWilliams Award by the Manitoba Historical Society for best local history book in 2012. In 2016, her book was a finalist for the Whistler Independent Bood Award in the non-fiction category. Three editions of the book have been published (2012, 2013 and 2014), as well as ebook and audio book versions.
Records were collected and created by Oriole Vane Veldhuis during the research, writing and promotion of her book, For Elise: Unveiling the Forgotten Woman on the Criddle Homestead. They were donated to the McKee Archives in two accessions between 2014-2015.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of the research materials that Veldhuis compiled between 2001-2012, in the writing of her book, as well as materials created and collected during the promotion of the book. The records deal with the relationships between different members of the Criddle/Vane family after they had immigrated to Canada and were living at their southwestern Manitoba homestead. The correspondence between Edwy Vane and his fiancee, Emily Steers, provides insight into the relationships between Percy and his illegitimate children. The records containing Elise Vane's homestead material shows Percy's loyalty to his agreement with Elise to provide for their children in his fight to ensure the government's approval of her homestead.
Collection consist of records - diaries, letters, homestead applications and files, and receipts, as well as addressed envelopes and postmarks - related to the Criddle and Vane families. Some of these documents are copies from materials held in the Archives of Manitoba, while others are copies of family records transcribed by Verna Vane Pannycook in 1976, and later given to Veldhuis. Other records were obtained from a private source and prepared by Oriole Vane Veldhuis.
The collection also includes two booklets containing Veldhuis's original and continued research. The first booklet outlines Veldhuis's motivation for beginning research on her great-grandmother's past, information on Elise that she received from relatives in Europe, and an account of Elise and Percy's years together before immigrating to Canada. The second booklet contains documentation of Veldhuis's travels in 2004 to Germany in search of further information on her German ancestors, as well as a general account of Heidelberg's history, and family trees for both the Veldhuis and Harrer families.
The collection also contains an article promoting For Elise in an issue of the Winnipeg Free Press (August 9, 2014), as well as two book reviews by Lois M. Wilson and Greg Pohl, an article regarding the Criddle Homestead by Neil Holiday, an interpretive trail brochure from the Criddle/Vane Homestead Heritage Committee, and a copy of For Elise (2nd edition).
Finally, the collection includes a DVD containing digital copies of Percy Criddle's diary from 1882-1918. The DVD contains 38 Word documents (one document for the London diary years [1876-1882] and one document per diary year for 1882-1918). It aolso contains the same diary entries broken down into three PDF documents: 1882-1890, 1891-1903 and 1904-1918. The original London diaries were transcribed by typewriter by Alma Criddle and converted into computer file by Myrna Paquette.
History/Bio information was taken from the records. The copies of Percy Criddle's diaries in the collection contain minor changes from Percy's original hand-written diaries housed in the Archives of Manitoba. The copies of Elise Vane's Homeseated files were obtained from the Archives of Manitoba and copied in the 1970s before they were converted to microfiche. Description by Caroline Stitt (October 2016)