Village Coordinator Reports 2003

Villages A-F

| A | B | D | E | F |

Villages G-L

| G | H | J | K | L |

Villages M-R

| M | N | O | P | R |

Villages S-Z

| S | W | Y | Z |

VC Newsletter Editor Carolyn Gorr

Alexandertal (Neu-Schilling), Saratov, Volga

Alexandertal Web Site

Richard A. Kraus K056

This year there were four main developments: 

  1. Several dozen new Alexandertal descendants were contacted and began to learn their history
  2. 160 Alexandertal descendants attended a Kraus Reunion in Reno and Marion Counties, Kansas
  3. The Reunion sent a Reunion Handbook to the AHSGR (filled with information on Alexandertal descendants)
  4. We started a Kraus DNA project -- if it goes well and we learn a lot, other Alexandertal families might emulate it. We still hope for the discovery of Rosenberg parish records.

Anton, Saratov, Volga

Betty Muradian M005 / L

This year was spent on working on the Anton map. A distant Nazarenus relative in Germany had his relatives fill in the names of residents of Anton in 1940, before they were removed from the village. Because they were able to place most of the businesses, schools, government buildings, old and new churches, streets, streams, and bridges, it is possible to paint a fairly clear picture of the life of the residents living there that last year.

From the list of names that was sent to me from 1940, and the names of the original inhabitants of Anton from Dr. Pleve’s book, Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764 to 1767, it was interesting to see how many of the original settlers’ names appeared in the 1940 list. All the lists of inhabitants from Anton, including the 1775 and 1798 censuses show that many Volga Germans, from the very beginning, were moving to different villages to increase their prosperity. If one cannot find his ancestors in the village he was told they were in, other villages should be checked for that name.

These are the names that show the same inhabitants in Anton in 1767 and 1940:

Albrecht Fuchs Lauch-Laut
Arnold Ganshorn-Ganzhorn Metzger
Bar Hahn Nazarenus
Baumgartner Hardt Paul
Decker Keil Retger-Retcher
Dewald-Dewaldt Kletter Rotharmel-Rothermel
Ewig Kramer Stork
Focht-Vogt Kunzman-Kunstmann Wurfel-Werfel

At least seven of these names included father and son and their families or two or three brothers and their families.

If anyone wants to have his or her family name checked, please send a request for information.

Balzer, Saratov, Volga

Balzer Web Site

Wayne Bonner B269

Dr. Darrell Weber W218
Data Manager

The year 2003 has been a year of mixed results. Due to new personal commitments and lack of information, the Balzer Newsletter has been on hold. Hopefully, this is only temporary. A newsletter is planned for later this year to keep it going.

No new information has been received from Russia in nearly two years. This has stopped progress on the 1857 census.

On the plus side, over 100 baptisms and marriages of Balzer and Moor settlers have been found in the church books of Germany. All but one of these has been in the Isenberg region. Dick Bach, a Balzer researcher, is helping to look through church records in the Kurpfalz region. Release of the German Migration to the Russian Volga 1764-1767: Origins and Destinations by Brent Mai and Dona Reeves-Marquardt is really exciting, and has added a few new events to the database. It has also encouraged us to publish our own database of emigrant information; either through the Journal, separately by the Society, or privately through the Balzer / Moor group.

Hoping 2004 will produce more finds that are exciting.

Bangert, Samara, Volga

Paul E. Koehler K287 / L

During this past year, I have been entering more individuals to the database for Bangert, and the database continues to grow. I have had five inquires on the names of Grammel, Huber, Otto, Pinekenstein and Heinz.

Thanks to Joanne Klumb of West Bend, WI for the book on August Spomer.

Records were made from the Budingen marriage report, and from surname charts of: Ruhl, Sinner, Bea, Kohler, Reitz, Loeb, Huber, Felsing, Herzog, Roh, Damm and Heinz.

Bruce Adolph has commissioned the Adolph family chart, and the chart is expected sometime in 2003.

Sorry to say, I was the only person at the Yakima Convention Village Night for Bangert.

Bergdorf, Glückstal, Odessa, Kherson

Map 2, Quadrant B-4, 47 20 N 29 34 E

See also Glückstal Colonies Research Association

Borodino, Bessarabia

Borodino Web Sites:



Judy Remmick-Hubert H048

I have received a lot of new information and placed it as quickly as I can on my websites listed above.

The Genealogy site shows the original colonists of Borodino and their descendants taken from the general records and added to this are names, dates and sometimes photographs and stories about the families from descendants. Some families carry data back into Germany. Some families carry data into all parts of the world where they migrated. More and more descendants living in Germany are discovering my web site and they are sending me their family information. The majority of the data is from descendants who migrated to the USA and Canada. 

There are times when the various families migrated to Pennsylvania or other eastern parts of the USA in the 1700s and had left their families in Germany, and then members of these same families in Germany in the 1800s migrated to Russia. Because of the magic of computers, the families are discovering their common ancestors who lived in Germany.

Since Borodino had diverse religious beliefs due to the various Separatists groups and the devout Lutherans, I have data on the various groups as well as maps.

Maps of all kinds are listed at:

Because so many people seemed confused about the various German states before the time of Napoleon, I have a section which lists the states and have added some data to each. All this and more can be found under my site on German Facts:

Back to information on Borodino. The reason I’ve chosen Borodino Bessarabia to research was due to the fact that my maternal grandparents Ludwig Hein and Christina Schweikert were born there in 1885 and because they were story tellers, I always held their memories within me and wanted to share them with others who were not as fortunate to have known their grandparents. Also, I was the only cousin near them who was interested, plus at that time, in the early 1970s that side of the world was communists and a wall prevented anyone from going in and out with records of a remote village of Borodino. So, I figured that if I didn’t get the information then from the elders all that data would be lost. Besides, I loved hearing the old stories of the Motherland [old Russia]. Fact is, I wish I had done more.

Since I grew up in Lodi, which we called Little Germany, I was surrounded by German-Russians. The elders and found Lodi to be the perfect place for retirement. I sat for hours and hours listening to my grandfather’s old friends talk about the Motherland. Many times, I’d miss parts of the stories because it all had to be translated into English since I knew just a few words of German. I remember the old timers laughing and my grandfather or my parents would say, “I can’t translate it, dear, it’s just not funny in English”.

So, here I am, 61 years old and, now, I’m the old timer telling the stories. But at my fingertips are computer keys and the internet. My web sites are filled with all kinds of stories, history, photographs and maps.

I couldn’t tell you the amount of hours spent or add up the cost, however, to me, it’s been worth it. 

Oh, I should add, since I do get a lot of mail, I may have accidentally misplaced someone’s e-mail whom I had told I’d get back to them, so, if you’re someone who has written and hasn’t heard back from me, please, write me, again. Also, write in the subject line Borodino or GR so I know you are a “friendly” and not someone spreading a virus, which many of us have fallen prey, which means we’ve had “crashes” which has wiped out all our data.

I am also collecting German-Russians data on life in Russia between 1730 and early 1900s. How they built their homes and what kind of dishes they used. One of my distant cousins Alfred Hein sent me his photographs of the Heimatmuseum der Deutschen aus Bessarabien and they can be found at .

Added to all of this are my paternal side of Remmick / Roemmich who were colonists of Worms. The following is the index page, which holds the numerous family names I am researching: .

Last but not least, I’d like to thank everyone who has sent me information. Without you, my website would not be what it is, today.

Brunnental, Samara, Volga

Brunnental Web Site


Sherrie Gettman Stahl S621 / L

See Frank village for combined report.

Dinkel, Saratov, Volga

Leroy Nikolaisen N017

There was not much activity related to my village. I had about 8-10 inquires and I hope I was able to help those seeking information. I do not have a website just a collection of 300-400 names of people that were born and lived in Dinkel, and about 20 or more passenger records of people coming to NY from Dinkel. I also sell a booklet The History of Dinkel and It's People. A few were purchased this year. 

Dönhof, Saratov, Volga

Karen Kaiser K247

Richard & Judy Leffler

Submitted by Karen Kaiser.

Donhof research was somewhat slow this past year. I did not receive as many inquiries as usual, but that may be due to more information and records available online. I am still trying to compile an obituary file for Donhof immigrants.

My husband and I did take on a somewhat unusual project in that we purchased an acreage west of Sterling, CO and moved an old church building to the land to preserve it so that the church would not be demolished. The building was built in 1906 and was the first German speaking church in Sterling. It was established by Volga Germans whom had settled in the Sterling area. My husband’s family attended church there for many years and my husband was baptized and confirmed there. His parents and many family members were married in the church. We hope to restore and preserve the church back to its turn-of-the-century era and keep its German-Russian heritage. Our son will be the first to be married in it next May. It will then be used for community weddings, anniversaries, etc. We plan to put family and German-Russian memorabilia in the church so that it may be enjoyed by the community. It will be available so that anyone researching German-Russian history may visit the church. Though the church is not part of Donhof history, I thought others might be interested in the project.

Submitted by Dick and Judy Leffler.

The year 2003 has had more activity than the past couple of years. We have had between 18 and 24 inquiries this year with one coming from Argentina and one from a young man in Germany whose ancestors were from Dönhof although he has never been there having been born and raised in Kazakhstan after his ancestors were exiled there during WWII by Stalin. We have answered all inquiries as best we could from the information contained in our data base.

We are continuing to build the data base which now contains 5000+ names thanks to copies of surname charts which were obtained following the AHSGR convention in Des Moines in 2002. Currently there are 2 more charts on order,  but who knows when these will arrive. One has been on order for 4 ½ years and the other almost 2 years. We have also entered several hundred names from information obtained at Yakima.

We had a good showing at village night in Yakima with 20 people in 
attendance. It is always good to renew old acquaintances and make new ones at convention.

Dreispitz, Saratov, Volga

Dreispitz Web Site

Submitted by Ardie Herbel.

I am not the actual coordinator, but I answer queries on the village of Dreispitz. Those of us who help out are still reeling from the death of Kathy O’Malley who was the inspiration and founder of The Lower Volga Villages Sheet, which includes the villages of the two parishes of Galka and Stephan. I don’t even know how many years ago that Kathy and I started corresponding, putting info on our computers and finally this project evolved. I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, but felt I had met a very good friend and a shirttail relative.

This past year the queries for Dreispitz have not been as numerous as in the past. I probably have only had about a dozen. I answer the best I can and then direct them to the place or person that I think might help them if I can’t. It’s always such fun to look and see if their names are in my computer records anywhere.

I really have nothing further to add as most of the information is kept at the main site.

Enders, Samara, Volga

Randi Bolyard

This year has been a great one in terms of research. I have gathered all census data for Enders. This includes 1834, 1850 and 1874, plus revisions. I also have census data for Rosenheim for 1834 and 1850. I am making arrangements to get the 1874 census data for Rosenheim, but don't anticipate that this can be done before summer of 2004. I can state that from a personal point of view, the census data is illuminating. I compared the data to the DOTZ (of Enders) chart to the census data. It gave greater clarity to what were questionable findings and showed the relationships in a different light. I am also trying to get archival photos, maps, and any other data from Russia that I can. 

I have received about 10 inquiries this year and was able to assist some with the census data I now have.

I look forward to further data collection in 2004 and, hopefully, a website.

Fischer, Saratov, Volga

Fischer Web Site

Roger A. Toepfer T095


The interchange/exchange of data and general assistance for Fischer / Herzog continues to be handled through the Fischer and Herzog web sites. This has been a suitable method of assisting researchers and our fellow members. (Jerry Braun is Webmeister for the Herzog Web Site.

As Webmeister for the Fischer Home Page, I have included pages for the Village of Katharinenstadt, (Fischer/Katharinenstadt) because my heritage is primarily connected with the colonies of Fischer, Herzog and Katharinenstadt. With this relationship, I have coordinated information of queries regarding Katharinenstadt members, as well as Fischer and Herzog. Also, queries for other villages have come in and we attempt to assist them by posting their queries on the “queries page” of our site. 

Coordination and Support for Fischer and Herzog

This has been a very slow year with very little “New News” to report in these areas. Data requests from family relations in Germany are still pending. I believe that the state of unrest in the world continues to affected interests, and dictate which urgent matters will be attended to first. In other words, our family requests have ended at the bottom of the heap! However, we are still in touch with our contacts, in some cases by second source. It has always been a waiting game, and a test of patience when asking people for help, that more often than not, they are not particularly interested in your enthusiasm of endeavor.

Query Support

In the 2002 report I reported that we had received 6852 visits since January 1, 1999, to the Fischer / Katharinenstadt site. The visitor count now reads 9012. This is a total of 1612 increase in visits from last year. This year there were 26 requests for family research, about 50% less than last year. Following, are some of the Surnames and village are subject in these queries are: 

Pape (no village listed), Geisbrecht / Schneiders (Katharinenstadt); Dorrough / Krziske (no village listed); Wagner (Glarus); Schneider / Schmidt / Bernerdt, Schimpf, Winters (Galka Saratov); Burgardt (no village listed); Herwaldt (Katharinenstadt  / Rothmal / Eberhard); Becher / Andrusiak (Semenov); Tittle/Friebus (Fischer - [South Africa connection]) 

The queries of the persons noted above can be found within the Fischer / Katharinenstadt, web site, either in the Sign In Page - “View Log Book” or the “Query Page.” We provided data of family connections, ancestral data, help on how and where to search for further information. All of the queries were answered, but not necessarily solved! If any of these families are of interest to you, please visit these pages for further brief.  Follow the link to the Fischer web site list above and then click onto either the “Qpage” or the view the “Log Book” icon.

VC Information Exchange Surname Searches
The following Web Sites have a very comprehensive listing of surnames and the person that purchased the searches. These listings are posted on:
Herzog Home Page: Jerry Braun
Marienthal Home Page: Tony Leiker
Obermunjor Home Page: Kevin Rupp
The Fischer/Katharinenstat Home Page: Roger Toepfer

All are invited to log on and review the listings. It could save one a good deal of time and money by learning that a list you are about to order has already been researched. We are here to help and coordinate in the search for our Ancestry, History, and Notable Heritage.

The Website addresses can be found by logging on to the AHSGR Home Page

Frank, Saratov, Volga

Combined report for Brunnental, Frank, and Kolb submitted by Doris Evans.

Brunnental Web Site


Frank Web Site

Frank Mail List

Frank Russia Village Coordinator

Doris Eckhardt Evans E094 / L

Brunnental Village Coordinator

Sherrie Gettman Stahl S621 / L

Honorary Historian & VC for Frank & Brunnental

Gerda Stroh Walker W002 / L

Kolb Russia Village Coordinators

Sarah (Kanzler) Hammarstrom H419

Thelma (Koch) Sprenger S653 / L

Doris Eckhardt Evans E094 / L

Honorary Historian & VC for Kolb

Pauline Dudek D018 / L

In an effort to bring you more complete information the data bases for Frank & Kolb have been combined. Pauline Dudek of Hastings, Nebraska, has generously donated much of the research she and her late husband, Norman, did together as Village Coordinators for Kolb. The combined data bank of Kolb & Frank, now contains over 150,000 names. Thank-you Pauline. Also, check the Frank & Kolb picture index for the pictures that were donated.

Clarence Kissler handles the Frank, Russia web site. Thank-you Clarence.  We would love to have someone volunteer to do an updated web page with all the information that we have for the village of Frank and Kolb.




We are looking for volunteers to handle the Frank & Kolb Newsletter, previously published by Norman & Pauline Dudek, and the Brunnental Newsletter, previously published by Sherrie Stahl. Volunteers, please contact Pauline Dudek or Sherrie Stahl.

Back Issues of the Frank/Brunnental Newsletter, 1992-1998, are available at $2.50 each - $3.50 outside U.S. Contact Sherrie Stahl

Now playing on a screen near you! Have you turned in your pictures to be included in this collection of descendants from the Village of Frank & Kolb?

The book by Igor Pleve, Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, Vol. I (containing Frank), and now Volume II which contains Kolb, has provided much needed information on the original villages of our ancestors in Germany. With many of the surnames coming from the same village(s), we have decided to approach the research by village. This research will be done in conjunction with the village of Walter, from whom we share many of the same families.

Financial support for this effort is needed. If any of the surnames mentioned below are of interest to you, let us know, and your financial support will be gratefully accepted. The Oregon Chapter of AHSGR is currently selling surname Descendants Gen-Books to help with the financial support of this project. Those surnames currently available are Amen, Bastron, Batt/Bath, Bauer, Bernhardt, Borgens, Eckhardt, Fahrenbruch, Gettman, Gruenwald, Guenther, Hartung, Herbst, Hock, Hoff, Hofferber, Hoffman, Kissler, Klein, Knopf, Lebsock, Leonhardt, Schafer, Schillereff, Schoessler, Sell, Stroh, Trupp, Uhrich, Wagner, Willman, Zeiler, and Zitzmann.

To purchase any of these books you can write to
Oregon Chapter of AHSGR
2720 S.W. Montgomery Drive
Portland, OR 97201
telephone 503-228-0007
fax 503-228-1016

The first village researched was Gersfeld. The names coming from Gersfeld are:

  1. Johann Georg Zitzmann - Frank (Mostly this family has been researched, but will be looking for relationships to the other families listed below.)
  2. Johannes Kammerzell - Frank. - finished
  3. Johann Georg Kammerzell - Walter (These two are distantly related) - finished
  4. Johann Martin Guttmann - Frank
  5. Andreas Reiter - Frank - finished
  6. Reinick - Frank
  7. Philipp Hein - Frank - finished
  8. Johannes Romeis - Frank (The Sitzman family adopted the Romeis children after their death in Russia)
  9. Heinrich Mantz - Frank (Named on the early settler list, we have no other records for this surname)
  10. Barbara Ruhr - Frank (Named on the early settler list, we have no other records for this surname)
  11. Limpert - Walter
  12. Nikolaus Hoffman - Walter
  13. Nicolaus Bartolomai - Walter - Finished
  14. Johannes Burkhardt - Walter - Finished
  15. Johannes Streck - Walter

The other villages that we are looking to research are:

  1.  Langenschwartz (surnames of Ils/Els/Iltz, Schoessler, Schafer have been researched.)
  2. Budingen (Hartung, Bastron & Lapp have been researched)
  3. Sprendlingen (surnames of Leonhardt, Wittwander, Blechschmid, Schickendanz, Stroh, Schmidt have already been researched - surnames of Schmidt, Schaefer, and Miller need some attention.

The following is research that has been done in Germany. New additions for this year are shaded.

AMEN: Commissioned by Dorothy Hoff Thomas, 40 N. State Apt 2H, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Christian Amend, born 19 Jan 1727, Wildensee, Erbach, Germany, original Colonist of Walter, Russia: Spellings for the Amen name started as Am End to Am Ende to Am Emdt to Amend. Am End probably referring to where he lived (Mattessen, who lives at the End of the Street). Amen lineage can be traced to Mattessen Am End, born about 1550, Monrot, Bavaria to Wildenstein, Unter Frankin, Bavaria in 1620, to Albach, Unter Frankin, Bavaria, in 1648, to Wildensee, Erbach, Germany in 1727.

BARTOLOMAI: Commissioned by Margo Sherer, 64748 Hwy. 72, Ione, OR 97843, , and research by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Hans Bartholmess was found recorded in Wüstensachsen as having died before 1690. His son Heinrich was recorded as having been from Wüstensachsen also, but was married in Gerfeld in 1690, to Eva Richter.

BASTRON: Commissioned by Virginia West, 202 Turtle Bay Drive, Branford, CT 06405-4904, and researched by Manfred Steinberger, Leisenwald; Wolferbornerstr. 33; 63607 Wachtersbach, Germany.
Johann Ludwig Bastron, born 29 May 1740, Budingen, Isenburg, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Traced back only one generation to Jaocb Lorentz Bastron, a stocking weaver from Offenbach, Germany. Johanetta Elisabeth Lang, wife of Johann Ludwig Bastron, was the daughter of Johann Peter Lang, the chief miller in Laubach, Germany. There are indications that this family may have originally been from France.

BASTRON: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. The Bastron (Pastron) family belonged to the French refugees.(Huguenots). Jacques Laurent (Jacob Lorentz) Pastron, was the son of Jacques Pastron and Elisabeth Humbert of Offenbach, Germany. Jacques Laurent married Johanna Schmitt in Büdingen, Germany.

BETZENDÖRFER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. Johann Wilhelm Betzendörfer was recorded as living in 1674 - 1694 in Harpershausen, died 1736 in Altheim, married (1) Anna Sibylla Karman in 1674 Altheim. Married (2) Amalia Kerner in 1711 Altheim.

BLECHSCHMID: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092. Susanna Maria Blechschmid, daughter of Anthon Blechschmid, born about 1680, died 15 Feb 1736, Sprendlingen, Offenbach, Hessen, Germany. He left a wife and 8 children. The marriage of Anthon Blechschmid and Justina was not in Sprendlingen. It is believed that this couple came from Hanau, Germany. There are no records from Hanau.

BURKHARDT: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Velten Burkhard, a miller in Oberhausen, son of Hans Burkhard, also a miller in Oberhausen, was married in 1612 in Gersfeld to Anna Gutmann. 

ECKHARDT: Commissioned by Dorothy Hoff Thomas, 40 N. State Apt 2H, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johann Jacob Eckhardt, born 15 Aug 1743, Nidda, Hesse, Germany, original Frank Colonist. His lineage can be traced back to Jost Eckhard, citizen, church elder, tanner, christened 23 Aug 1631, Nidda, Hesse, Germany, son of Peter Eckhardt.

FRICK: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johann Heinrich Frick, born 25 Mar 1733, Nidda, Hesse, Germany, original Frank Colonist. His lineage can be traced back to Walther Frick, born abt 1680, Nidda, Hesse, Germany, father of Johannes Frick, a baker, who married Juliana Ruppel in 1724. The Father of Johann Heinrich Frick’s wife, Anna Margaretha Erck, Johann Christoph Erck (a widower) is family No. 77 of the Original Settlers List for Frank. The family of Erck has also been researched back to the late 1600’s to Weigand Erck and Anna Catharina.

GETTMAN: Commissioned by Sherrie Gettman Stahl, PO Box 540, 473 Treasure Cove Lane, Manzanita, OR 97130-0540, and researched by Ella Gieg, Germany. (See Sherrie for information). Also check out Sherrie’s home page.
Johann Heinrich Gotmann, original Frank Colonist, born 20 Apr 1740, Reichelsheim (Unter-Ostern), Germany. Gettman family from Neider-Kinzig, Germany. Researched back to 1600’s.

GRUENWALD: Commissioned by Sherrie Gettman Stahl, PO Box 540, 473 Treasure Cove Lane, Manzanita, OR 97130-0540, and researched by Ella Gieg, Germany. (See Sherrie for information).
Johann Kaspar Gruenwald, original Frank Colonist, born 4 Feb 1723, Gross-Felda,Alsfeld, Hessen/Darmstadt, Germany. Researched back to 1600’s.

HARTUNG: Commissioned by Herb Hartung, 2311 W. 16th Sp. 91, Spokane, WA, 99224 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim.

HEIMBIGNER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim.
The family Hainbüchner was from Neustadt, (county Erbach). The village of Neustadt belongs to the parish of Sandbach.

HEIN: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim.
Philipp Hein, b. 1 May 1725, Rommers, Germany in the Free Noble Province of Ancient Knights, was an original Frank colonist. The original spelling of the name appears to have been Heun, although the early settlers list has it as Gann. The earliest ancestor is Peter Heun the Mayor in Gersfeld, Germany in 1649. The lines of Jäger, Rausch, Fuchs, Müller, Schleicher, Limpert and Leuber, were also researched from the village of Gersfeld, as they fit into the Heun lineage.

HOCH: Commissioned by Edward F. Wagner, 1836 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209 - 503-228-0007. and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim.
Johann Heinrich Hoch, born about 1700, Bergen, Hanau, Germany.. Lineage can be traced back to Hans Hack and Maria born about 1600, from the Village of Bleichenbach.. Most of the children were christened at the parish of Bergen, Hanau, Germany. The name was found recorded as Hack, Heck, Haak, and Hoch.

HOFF: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
The search for the Hoff lineage in “Langen, Darmstadt, Germany” continues, but with no results as of this date.

ILS/ELS/ILTZ: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Hans (Johannes) Üls, 1663 - 1686 from Schlotzau, named as an administrator of a courtyard of the count in Langenschwarz, died in Langenschwarz in 1699.

KISSLER: Commissioned by Clarence Kissler and researched by Manfred Steinberger, Leisenwald; Wolferbornerstr. 33; 63607 Wachtersbach, Germany.
Johann Peter Kihsler, born about 1710, Bannerod, Germany, original Frank Colonist. No records of Kihslers before this in Bannerod.

KLIEN: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
This research is not complete. There were multiple lineages on the surname chart. And although they are all related, only those from Södel and Trais an der Horloff have been completed. Johann Friedrich Klein, died before 1671 in Södel. His son Hanß Georg Klein was from Nieder-Wöllstadt and his son Johann Ernst Klein remained in Södel.

KLIPPERT: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Although, we haven’t linked this research to the original Walter colonist, we have found a Paulus Klippert and Susanna Gans in Crainfeld, Germany - the parents of Johannes Wacker (the father of Johann-Paul Wacker of Frank) and Anna Susanna Maria Klippert.

KAMMERZELL: Commissioned by Larry & Florance Kammerzell, 4410 83rd Ave., Greeley, CO 80634, and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Research on Johannes Kammerzell of Frank, Russia, and Adam George Kammerzell of Walter, Russia show that they are related, but distantly. Both lines go back for 6 generations to Heinrich KEMMERZELL who was born in the 1500’s and died in 1605 in Gersfeld, Germany. 

LEONHARDT: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and Dorothy Hoff Thomas, 40 N. State Apt 2H, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johann Andreas Leonhardt, born 13 Mar 1723, Sprendlingen, Isenburg, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Lineage can be traced back to Johann Wilhelm Leonhardt, born about 1605, died 1681 as the oldest courtman from Sprendlingen, Germany.

REITER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Andreas Reiter, (a journeyman dyer in Gersfeld) born 23 Dec 1736, Gersfeld, an original colonist in Frank, Russia, was the son of Johann Michael Reiter (from Hildburghausen) and Catharina Wiebrecht of Gersfeld, Germany. Catharina Wiebrecht’s parents were Johann Adam Wiebrecht and Barbara Fischer. The Fischer Lineage in Gersfeld was also taken back several generations to Lukas Fischer, b. 25 Nov 1622 and Catharina Schubert. 

SCHICKETANTZ: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Daniel Schicketantz, born 22 May 1744, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Lineage traced to Johannes Schicketantz, born about 1650, and Mattern Schicketantz, born 1644, brothers, from Sprendlingen, Germany.

SCHAFER: Commissioned and researched by Jean Roth, 515 N. 79th, Seattle, WA 98103.
Johann Martin Schaefer, born 1745, from Kestrich, Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, married, Budingen, Germany, Anna Margaretha Diehl (Tiehll/Thiel), from the village of Hochst, Wetterau-Hesse, Germany. The Diehl lineage can be traced back several generations to Johann Peter Diehl and Anna Elisabeth Hoeyer of Duedelsheim, Nidda-Hesse, Germay. 

SCHAFER: Commissioned by Shirley Pitt, 5065 Perry St., Denver, CO 80212, and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Johannes Schäffer was born in 1680 in Langenschwarz. Married (1) Martha Elisabetha Seybold from Holtzheim in 1729. married (2) Elisabetha Röder from Schlotzau.

SCHMIDT: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johann Christoph Schmidt, son of Heinrich Schmidt, born 1725, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany, married Susanna Maria Blechschmid, daughter of the deceased Anthon Blechschmid, on 15 Apr 1749, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany.

SCHOESSLER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Marcus Schössler from Sandberg near Gersfeld, also an inhabitant and neighbour in Langenschwarz, was married in 1711 in Langenschwarz to Anna Barbara Beyer.

SIEGWARD: Commissioned by Edward F. Wagner, 1836 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209 - 503-228-0007. and researched by David S. Schmidt, 3428 Sugarberry Ln., Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Michael Siegwardt, born in Metzingen, Germany, immigrated first to Sweden in 1763, and then to Russia in 1766/1767. Lineage is traced back to Christoph Siegwart, born about 1580 in Döffingen, Germany.
SIEGWARD: Commissioned by Edward F. Wagner, 1836 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209 - 503-228-0007. and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 

SITZMAN: Commissioned by Glenn Sitzman and researched by Manfred Steinberger, Leisenwald; Wolferbornerstr. 33; 63607 Wachtersbach, Germany. 
Nicolaus Zitzmann, born 5 Oct 1716, Gersfeld, Hessen, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Some of the children of Nicolaus Zitzmann were born in Dorrnhof and some in Obernhausen, small villages close by Gersfeld. This lineage can be traced to Jorg Zitzmann, born 1535, a spoon carver in Mosbach, (near Gersfeld) Germany.

STROH: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johann Michael Stroh, born 30 Dec 1742, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Johann Michael Stroh was the only son of Johann Phillipp Stroh (deceased) and Katharina Schicketantz (cousin to Daniel Schicketantz). He was a stocking weaver. Lineage traced to Jacob Stroh, born about 1640, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany.

TRUPP: Commissioned Lynn & Mary Trupp, 27662 NW Sauvie Island Rd., Portland, OR 97231. and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Johannes Trupp, born 26.11.1752, was the son of Johann Heinrich Trupp from Langsdorf and Anna Catharina Bemmersheim. Johann Heinrich Trupp died in Wohnbach, Germany. His widow and his only surviving child, Johannes, went to Russia, and were original colonists of Frank, Russia. This family is traced to Johannes Tropp born about 1679, and Anna Elisabeth Pauli of Langsdorf, Germany.

UHRICH: Commissioned by Rod Uhrich, 401 Ivanhoe St., Denver, CO 80220, and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Christoph Uhrich, born 15 Apr 1735, Hofheim, Lampertheim, Worms, Germany, original Dietel colonist. He is the grandson of Ludwig Urich and Anna Maria Bruch, also of Hofheim, Lampertheim, Worms, Germany. Original name appears to have been spelled Urig.

UHRICH: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Johann Bernhard Urig, b. about 1748 from Groß-Umstadt, Germany, an original Frank colonist, is not related to the Christoph Uhrich family. Bernhard’s lineage begins with Heinrich Uhrich of Groß-Umstadt, Germany, who died about 1669. The lineage of both Christoph & Bernhard were on one  Ancestral Chart.

WACKER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Johann Paul Wacker, born 10 Dec 1941, Crainfeld, Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, an original colonist of Frank, Russia, and the great grandson of Johann Jacob Wacker (died 4 Mar 1711, Crainfeld) and Maria Lauffer. Johann Jacob Wacker is the son of Johannes Wacker born about 1620 from Allmenrod, Germany.

WAGNER: Commissioned by Dorothy Hoff Thomas, 40 N. State Apt 2H, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
Johannes Wagner, born 23 Dec 1723, Langgoens, Hessen, Germany, original Frank Colonist. Lineage traced to Baltzer Wagner, born about 1620/1630, from Langgoens, Hessen, Germany.

WAGNER: Commissioned by Edward F. Wagner, 1836 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209 - 503-228-0007. and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 

WALTER: Commissioned by Jim Walter, Odessa, WA and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
The Walther family was found in Neustadt (county Erbach). Neustadt belongs to the parish of Sandbach. The church books start in 1576 and are very large as many communities belong to this parish.

WEIDEMAN: Kissler research indicates that Johannes Weidemann, son of Andreas Weidemann von Llbeshausen, Germany.

WEIDEMAN: Commissioned by Edward F. Wagner, 1836 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209 - 503-228-0007. and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim.
Johannes Weideman, born 18 Sep 1734, Illeshausen, Darmstadt, Germany. Lineage can be traced to Conrad Weydemann, born about 1640 of Audra, Eichsfeld, Germany. 

WILLGING: Commissioned by Doris Evans, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
Although this is Black Sea GR, the family Willging had a remarkable trip to Russia. It starts with Henry Vilquin of Genonne/Sedan, France. - to Jean Vilquin of Otterberg, Germany - to Jean Adam Wilckin to Erlenbach Germany - to Johann Wilhelm Wilking to Kaiserslautern Germany and on to Tscherwenka, Hungary, and finally Daniel and Leopold Wilking to Teplitz, Bessarabia, Russia.

WITTWANGER: Commissioned by Frank Research Fund, 4148 Christensen Rd. E., Almira, WA 99103; and researched by Ruth Froelke, 9717 Altamont Drive, Sandy, UT 84092.
George Franz Wittwanger, born 1743, Sprendlingen, Hessen, Germany, original Frank Colonist, died before 1798, Frank, Russia. Research into Germany was incidental with the Leonhardt research. George Franz Wittwanger, married Dorothea Leonhardt in Budingen, Germany.

ZEILER: Commissioned by Jack Zeiler, 11461 W. 39th Place, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 and researched by Anneliese Micheiwski, Hauptstrabe 57, D-677294 Ilbesheim. 
The search to the Zieler lineage in Germany continues without success. The Zeiler chart show that they came from Nuenberg, Marklieker ? village.

Note the following corrections to the Census material from the book FRANK: A GERMAN COLONY ON THE VOLGA by Dr. Igor R. Pleve

1. page 18: ECKERT, Johann Heinrich age 12 in 1798. There was a clarification of this lineage from Dr. Pleve on 31 May 1998. “As for Johann Heinrich Eckert, the mistake was ours. In the families’ record lists of 1798 the last name of Johann Heinrich was written down not distinctly. And only now, working with church books, we clarified that it was Johann Heinrich EBEL who had lived in Kratzke colony. Once again, we beg your pardon for the inaccuracy in the published materials.—Igor Pleve”
2. page 83: LEBRECHT (GIRSCH) [?], August, age 52 in 1798. The Hirsch Ancestral Chart, commissioned by Richard Hirsch, confirms that this was August Lebrecht HIRSCH and not August Lebrecht. This is also confirmed by the Frick Ancestral Chart (Andreas Frick, married (2) Catharina Hirsch nee Grunewald, b. 1772, d. bef 1934.) The 1798 Frank Census also has August Lebrecht age 52, wife Katarina Grunewald age 26.

I would love to have someone volunteer to do an updated web page with all the information that we have for the village of Frank

Galka, Saratov, Volga

Submitted by Jayne Dye.

  1. The book, Galka – a German Settlement on the Volga has been made available in English – with much thanks to translators - see the Galka web page listed above.
  2. It is a Doctoral Dissertation written by a PHD candidate in Economics, Max Praetorius, at the University of Leipzig in Germany. 1910 [Pub. 1912]

This week I received a request from a Japanese Professor in Waseda University, Tokyo. He states:

My special field is a socio-economic history of Russia, particularly on the problems of village community (Mir) in the modernization of Tsarist Russia, but I started to study a history of Volga Germans. I collected materials in Stuttgart, Moscow, San Francisco (Hoover Institute) and so on. Prof. Dr. Pleve (Saratov) is my friend. I am now writing a history of the village GALKA, mainly on the basis of the study of Max Praetorius (GALKA: eine deutsche Ansiedlung an der Wolga, Leipzig, 1912). I want to collect information on the history of village GALKA.

Yours sincerely,
Takeo SUZUKI, Prof. Dr., born in 1943

I am absolutely amazed that another Study will be done on Galka. I hope anyone who can contribute information will do so. In addition I will put him in touch with cousins who are now in Germany, but from Galka descent, and the one person I know in the US who was born there, is still alive, and looking forward to the 2004 convention. She lives in Modesto.

Prof. Dr. Suzuki has also suggested that he might do a family study on the Wunsch line which all are willing to do.

Newly found: Two 2nd Cousins descended from my Father’s sisters who did not leave Galka with their parents and younger siblings. They were located through the German Red Cross who got their permission to send me their addresses. It was all made possible through the efforts of another Volga German, Lida Stricker, whose grandson did all the legwork and computer work. Hint: He is unemployed if you want to hire him to try to do the same for you.

Several new people have contacted me with information on their Galka Ancestors. My data base is enlarging slowly but surely.

We have the one chart which I ordered on the Galka WUNSCH Surname. If anyone out there has ordered another surname chart on Galka, I would love to know about it.

At the last convention I learned that Erlenbach is a daughter colony of Galka (I had only known about Neu-Galka and Alt-Galka) so I am hoping to gather more information on this village. I have been given quite a bit this year.

It is still my intention/desire/wish to extract ALL the Ger-Rus information from all 400 of the “St. Alban’s Border Crossing Cards” – which includes some landing cards. No progress at all. NARA will sell them to me for $30 each. The Public Library of Cincinnati owns them but will not let them go out for interlibrary loan. The LDS-FHC is just not within my reach – time, distance and cost. I am running out of ideas, though, so if someone has a brainstorm, please share.

After Yakima, John and I stopped by Headquarters hoping to help unload the truck. To our chagrin, we suffered a flat tire, had to change to the toy spare, drive at 45 miles per hour until we found a town where we could buy a real tire and have it put on. We lost over 1 and one-half hours due to this. Therefore we arrived at Headquarters too late, the truck was already unloaded.

We also took some time to visit the Family History Center in Salt Lake City and found their supply of books on our Ger-Rus subject to be very sparse. The volunteer could only find Dr. Karl Stumpp’s book. I donated two copies of Galka in English and asked the acquisitions department if they had a list of publications from AHSGR. They did not. Headquarters gave us one, which I mailed to the LDS Family History Library after some discussion and emails back and forth. Today this answer came:


As a follow-up, I wanted to let you know that our collection development specialist for Russia has ordered sixteen additional books from the AHSGR list. He also indicated that we do have many of the items in our collection already, based on his search of our catalog.

Joe Everett – (in acquisitions LDS FHC.)

Submitted by Merrill & Dorothy Kerbs Younkin.

This report on the Galka Village approximately 60 miles south of Saratov on the Volga River reflects little activity during this past year. Information about the status today is that the village it is entirely occupied by Russians families. It was said that the only German in Galka is the wife of the town mayor. Not much is known of the German families that were there before World War II and what may have happened to them during the Stalin years.

These past few years have not been as productive as I would have liked because of the lengthy medical problems. Now I take one day at a time but I am getting back to spending more time with my AHSGR activities. I hope to make up some of the lost time as Village Coordinator for the Galka village in the future.

There have been a number of inquires regarding the village of Galka this past year. They include the names of Schimpf, Riffle, Kerbs, Herbel, and Shick. Most were looking for any information related to their names. Some wanted any reference I might have related to other villages of Holstein and Dreispitz.

Most interesting is the GOTTFRIED RIFFEL NEWSLETTER that is published by Judy Riffel from Baton Rouge, LA. This publication is a detail record of the Riffel family who settled in Marion, Kansas at the turn of this century.

The highlight of the year from my vantagepoint is the effort of Jayne Wunsch Dye in the translation of the Galka Dissertation that was originally published in Germany around 1912. This was a worthwhile project and I personally commend her for her effort.

I was saddened from the death of Kathy O'Malley earlier this year. She did more than anyone else in providing information of villages surrounding the village of Galka in her newsletter of The Lower Volga Villages Sheet. Our exchange of information regarding these villages was very helpful in my efforts as village coordinator. She never hesitated to provide information whenever I ask for help. We will miss her.

I have nothing further to add only to say I will try to do better in 2004. I am planning to be at the convention in Modesto next year, God willing.

Gnadenfeld, (Neu-Moor/Moor), Samara, Volga

Gnadenfeld Web Site

Irma A. Waggoner W098

Gnadenfeld is a small “daughter colony” on the weisenseite of the Volga, formed from the “mother colonies” of Moor, Balzar, Hussenbach, Norka, Donhoff and others.

Due to the small population of Gnadenfeld, I do not receive many requests for information.

I continue to collect surnames from Gnadenfeld and Moor, including ship records, declarations of intent, naturalization records, census records and obituaries.

Since I live in Lincoln, NE, I am available to look up information at AHSGR for researchers.

Grimm, Saratov, Volga

Grimm Web Site

Grimm Mail List

Ken Leffler L259

The year 2003 was an average year for the village of Grimm. I received approximately 15 inquiries for information and added some names to the database as a result of my efforts on the SOAR project.

We have recently found an individual source in Russia who is able to get us copies of quite a few records out of the archives in Engels and Saratov. There are various types of records and they will require translation after we receive them. We currently have a fund of $900 donated by three individuals, which we are using to order some evangelical church records. I hope this is a major source of data for the village.

We had a wonderful evening in Yakima on village night but had very little exchange of data as the surname charts have not yet arrived. We still hope Igor will meet his commitment to deliver them by year's end. It was great to see the Tenants again and Esther Krause who has missed the past two conventions due to health problems.

I am currently entering the data from the fifteen names from Grimm in the book German Migration to the Russian Volga (1764-1767) Origins and Destinations by Brent Alan Mai and Dona Reeves Marquardt. This book is well worth the money.

I ordered the book, Los Abuelos Alemanes del-Volga by Alberto Sarramone, and I am trying to find data on Grimmers who went to South America. This is tough as I am not fluent in Spanish.

I continue to get excited whenever I get new data as each bit gets us closer to tying our ancestors back into Germany.

Güldendorf, Grossliebental, Odessa, Kherson

Curt Renz R002

Güldendorf Materials available for research in my possession: 1830-1849 Güldendorf Family Book

1833-1848/1850 Güldendorf birth/death register
1851-1889 Güldendorf birth register
1851-1891 Güldendorf death register
1899 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1901 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1902 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1903 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register (on order)
1904 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1905 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1906 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register (on order)
1907 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1908 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1910 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register (on order)
1911 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register (on order)
1912 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register
1916 Güldendorf birth/marriage/death register

Güldendorf family groupings including a number of those who moved to other villages as well as data from numerous EWZ records.

Several photos of the village from the early 1940's

 A hand-drawn map of the village from the early 1940's (currently being digitized)

Several photos of the few remaining cemetery headstones taken in 2000. Numerous obituaries for those born in Güldendorf and died in America (ca 630)

Numerous letters sent from Güldendorf and published in German-American newspapers between 1903 - 1938 (all but 69 translated)

A history of the village written in 1848

The 1858 village Revision List (census)

Extractions from 1859-1885 births/deaths of families who moved to daughter villages Annental, Eigenfeld, Gnadenfeld, Lichtenfeld & Wilhelmstal

I am not able to track if/when requests come via AHSGR or another source.

Herzog, Saratov, Volga

Roger A. Toepfer T095

Jerry Braun B489 / L

See Fischer village for combined report.

Holstein, Saratov, Volga

Holstein Web Site

Donald and Lorna Young

We have had very little activity this year with the exception of four inquiries.

We were unable to attend the convention in Yakima.

Something that might be of interest is, my wife’s great grandfather Christoph Knaus came to the USA in 1909 with his son and daughter-in-law. When he died, no grave marker was placed on his grave, just a tree planted. This past year, the tree died, so the family all got together and had an “iron cross” made for the grave. It sure is nice. The cemetery is in Windsor, CO.

Huck, Saratov, Volga

Huck Web Site

Dennis Zitterkopf Z005

Village night at the Yakima convention was a roaring success with 14 Huck descendants from seven states (including Hawaii!) crowded around two tables. Talking with old friends and meeting new ones, sharing and examining information, and rediscovering distant cousins kept the crowd occupied.

2003 has been another good year for the Huck village. The web site received slightly over 1100 visits since the 2002 report, and now includes 49 researchers. The 17 surname charts known to exist for the village are listed with instructions about how to obtain a copy (many are privately owned and not available through AHSGR). I’ve responded to 59 inquiries during the period of January through August 2003. Several of these were from Argentina and Germany.

There has been no change in status for the absence of village records from 1858 to 1888. This is particularly frustrating and a disappointment because many of the inquiries I’ve received are asking for information during this dark period (especially for those from Argentina).

Two new translation projects have been initiated and are continuing. Translations of the Huck related letters listed in the AHSGR booklet Letters from Hell are being posted on the Huck site as they become available. Copies of the German text from Die Welt Post have been distributed to the researchers who volunteered to help with the project. The letters add a personal touch for Huck descendants to the stories of starvation and hardship that our ancestors endured during the 1920 and 1930 period. The second project is translation of the Huck related portions of Los Abuelos Alemanes del Volga, written by Alberto Sarramone. These sections list the names of the persons from Huck who were among the original settlers for various villages in Argentina. We will not be posting the translation on the web site due to copyright restrictions but plan to share the information with interested persons. (This project may be cancelled as a result of the recent posting by Teri Helzer for the same material.

I am (slowly) accumulating family surname data for Huck with a goal of preparing a village database. 

Hussenbach, Gashon, Samara, Volga

Hussenbach Web Site

Paul Lais L235 / L

Submitted by Paul Lais and Louise Potter

This has been a very busy year due partly to the Convention held in Yakima in June and partly due to much sickness in the family.

Approximately 15 people attended Village Night where there was much sharing of information. I had all the Hussenbach charts purchased and which have been received by various Hussenbach descendants. I also had a card file of obituaries and family group cards. Many of the obituaries were obtained from the booklet Kirchenbote Obituaries, an Index for the years 1956 to 1963 published by the Central Washington Chapter AHSGR, and the supplement, which was published a year ago. The above information was taken from the Kirchenbote publication, a German language church messenger. Pictures from Ships of our Ancestors with information taken from the surname charts were displayed. A book of the Hussenbach Review newsletters, which was published by Paul Lais, June 1994 to March 1999, was also displayed.

Perhaps the highlight of village Night was a special treat provided by RoseMary Guenthner of sugar beet syrup and bread. After looking at RoseMary and Howard Guenthner’s video of the making of sugar beet syrup, we can really appreciate all the work it took to make this delicious treat. Thanks RoseMary!

Two surname charts have been received this year, which were shared by Irene Rube (Fries) and DB Schwartzkopf (Ebert). There are approximately 15,000 names of Hussenbachers and their descendants in the database. To date we have received 18 surname charts and include: Ebert, Frank, Fries, Fuchs (2), Hilderman, Jordan, Kreuzer, Kroh, Leis / Lais, Muck, Propp, Riel (2), Rommel, Rosenoff, Rothenberger, Schatzel, Stenzel and Suppes.

Two of our people have shared recent trips and pictures. Roger Schreiner visited Hussenbach and Shirley Hurrell and a group from the Portland Chapter visited Budingen, etc., in Germany.

I have been in correspondence with about 20 researchers this year. Some of the names being researched include Leis, Fuchs, Lipsack, Weitzel, Fries, Stenzel, Schwartz, Reichert, Siefert, Schwindt, Peppler, Rexius, Propp, Herman, Waschenfelder, Gidich and Tittle.

Paul Lais, VC for Hussenbach Gaschon, has recently moved to Wyoming and has a new email address as reflected above.  He is looking forward to hearing from all his correspondents.

Hussenbach, Linevo Ozero, Saratov, Volga

Hussenbach Web Site

Louise Potter P051 / L

See Hussenbach, Gashon, Samara, Volga above for combined report.

Johannesdorf, Karlsruhe, North Caucasus

Bonnie J. Anderson

Greetings from Kansas City!

I am very happy to report that the Caucasus is no longer a “black hole” of GR history. Work continues in searching for and collecting all existing materials concerning the villages of KATHARINENFELD, (now Bolnisi), S. Caucasus, JOHANNESDORF and KARLSRUHE (N. Caucasus), and the remaining 150+ Caucasus villages/chutors as outlined below:


Research assistance requests, mostly look-ups, continue at the rate of about one per week for me or my co-coordinator, Arthur Flegel. Unfortunately, at this point, we do not have enough specific information to answer most “look-up” requests adequately. One request in 2003, however, via a reference librarian in Salt Lake City, concerned recent returnees from Kazakhstan, originally from Johannesdorf, N. Caucasus, and a huge personal surprise for me. Via e-mail, Helene Kowal of Hanover and I have established that we are closely related (Schilling: Hussenbach/Volga > Cauc.), and that I am the first relative with whom they had been in contact in over 60 years!

A recent book by a Russian historian concerning the North Caucasus German settlements; a second will be translated beginning in December. Various other books and articles in Russian and German await translation.

During the past six months, significant steps have been taken regarding location of church and other records:

In June of this year, we received confirmation that Lutheran church records exist for the South Caucasus German villages located in Georgia from 1817 to approx. 1920, as well as various other types of records, such as deportation lists, church/governmental correspondence and village reports. We are working through a private individual in Georgia to begin obtaining this information.

Regarding church and other records for the German villages in Azerbaijan (So. Caucasus), I have a new contact in Baku now who is willing to assess what records exist in the archive there, their condition and availability. We are also working to establish contacts in other areas of the North Caucasus, focusing during 2003 and 2004 on Krasnodar krai and Stavropol krai. While all this is still quite tentative, hopes run high.

Note: Records are not only in printed Cyrillic and various versions of Cyrillic and German script, but also in Georgian. We probably will have to deal with additional languages as well—Azeri and Turkish, for example.

We are also in the early stages of planning a group trip to the Caucasus through a GR travel agent that will focus on the German settlements. Groups of Germans have also made this journey for a number of years.

It was decided earlier this year that the formation and administration of a traditionally organized group involving formal membership accounting, a paper-based newsletter, mailings, etc. is not feasible for the Caucasus project coordinators, Arthur Flegel and Bonnie Anderson. Instead, our concentration for the next few years will remain focused on collecting existing materials, the ordering and translation of publications as they appear (usually in Russian and German), writing and publication, and expansion and strengthening of contacts for archival records acquisition throughout the Caucasus. A digital-based network for GR Caucasus research is being discussed, perhaps using established avenues of communication such as the GR electronic mail lists administered through NDSU in combination with other options via AHSGR and GRHS.

Costs thus far related to the Caucasus project have been covered by a few individuals who are committed to seeing materials accumulated and to pursuing archival records sources so that information can be made available to all GRs. However, additional donations or other assistance to underwrite related costs will soon be needed.


  1. Coordinate the growing group of known Karlsruhe descendants (mostly U.S. and Canada), and work on the family list. (Also, much confusion about the seven or more GR settlements called Karlsruhe is still evident in many queries.)
  2. For Johannesdorf and Karlsruhe, publication of the translations of two recent books from MIPP/Moscow about the North Caucasus. settlements. Two other books, through individual researchers, are also scheduled for completion (i.e., translation from Georgian>German>English and publication) during the next few months.
  3. Translation, translation, translation!! Submit a growing stack of accumulated articles, books, a dissertation, etc. for professional translation as funds permit, and/or find volunteers to translate. In fact, we no longer face a lack of information; we now face growing pains alongside the need for a third co-coordinator.
  4. Continue pursuing contacts for archives concerning the N. Caucasus.
    settlements, and continue assessing sources of information or partnering, especially in academia and outside the U.S.
  5. Highlight and advance the Caucasus project through articles/photos, etc. in the AHSGR/GRHS journals.
  6. Revise Stumpp’s Caucasus settlements map, time and volunteers permitting.
  7. Further coordination efforts within the small group of AHSGR/GRHS Caucasus VCs.
    Any questions or comments about this report or the Caucasus Germans are welcomed and encouraged.

Josefstal / Schwabe Khutor, Saratov, Volga

Josefstal Web Site

Edward R. Gerk G054

This past summer I was able to visit Russia again. I was able to visit the archives in Volgograd, and I found the staff there very professional and very helpful.

I was able to look at any document I wanted, up to 10 files per day. I found that a complete inventory for the Josefstal village archive had actually been done in about 1946. I assume that the ones for the other Volga villages that have their archive here are the same.

The files for Josefstal are lean and incomplete...they consist of various files leading up to the revolution and then the Soviet period up until 1941. Most of these files consisted of various collective farm stats and some personal notes. The pre-1917 files deal with the construction of the first Church, some land disputes, bread loans. What is fascinating are the decisions of the village government, signed by most of the men in the village.

Of interest was the fact that the village had to report all birth, death and marriages to the Volost government. Therefore, this could be another source for info rather than the Church books. The Josefstal records had just a few years of this, but it included all such events for every family.

At the same time I looked at some of the original Church books for Koehler, from 1839 to 1861.

I continue to get some inquiries from my web site dealing with Josefstal.

Copies of the documents I received will go to AHSGR. I was also able to get a copy of the 1858 census for Marienfeld, which I intend to translate and sell for about $25. All proceeds will go towards getting other village census material, if possible.

Jost, Samara, Volga

Jost Web Site

Taryn M. Holmes

There have been four queries for the village of Jost over the past year.

The website is available, but the links are not yet active. I am currently transcribing names for the 1798 census. Dodie, the village coordinator of neighboring Laub has promised to volunteer her photographs and details of her recent visits to the village. All of this information will be posted to the website.

Research continues for the village. There had been a contact in Germany who previously named many families known to her to live in the village. I am attempting to correspond with her to find out if she has any further information.

Kamenka, Saratov, Volga

Kamenka Web Site

Rosemary Larson L033 / L

This report is being submitted for Kamenka and Pfeifer since many of the inquiries pertain to both.

This year has brought requests from Canada; Mexico, Ecuador, many from Argentina; as well as the United States.

Many inquiries are for information on immigrants other than Kamenka or Pfeifer. I try to find the requested information or direct them to a website or VC.

I maintain websites for Kamenka and Pfeifer.

Karlsruhe, Burlatzki, Caucasus

Map 13, Quadrant H-3

Bonnie J. Anderson

See Johannesdorf village for combined report.

Katharinenfeld, Luxemburg, South Caucasus

Bonnie J. Anderson

See Johannesdorf village for combined report.

Kautz, Saratov, Volga

Kautz Web Site

D. Michael Frank F244

This past year I completed the conversion of Elaine Frank Davison's ten volumes of Unsere Leute von Kautz to compact disk. Information from these volumes is now easy to distribute to those who are researching the families of Kautz. Comments have been positive. Requests for the CD or information about it have been averaging about one every week and a half. With the request for the CD, I now also generate and supply Kautz descendant and ancestral charts relevant to the requestor from the Kautz database. Several complimentary copies of the CD have gone to Germany and Russia for those close relatives who have access to computers and who have been keen to progress of our Kautz genealogy.

There have been requests for surname charts for which I have been able to supply. Charts for specific surnames have been in low supply so I've had to make copies. Complete separate genealogical files for each of the 19 Kautz Charts are being made so a GEDCOM file of a particular surname will be able to be sent to each Kautz chart requestor.

As requests come in for the CD or charts, I continue to update the Kautz database from new information offered by the requestor.

My cousin, Dorothy Robinson Brandner, has graciously volunteered to index a massive amount of Kautz-related information from Elaine, which would otherwise have taken a back seat to other pressing projects. Her efforts have yielded new valuable information and photographs, which will be incorporated with other new information into the 11th and 12th volumes of Unsere Leute von Kautz, which are now being compiled. Dorothy is working to preserve those original papers which will deteriorate over time if left untreated. In the process of researching preservation techniques, she is learning a lot about chemistry and her efforts are starting to bear fruit.

I have begun my own research of some of the 22 Kautz founding families back to Germany, like the Frank line, which has been documented back to Schriesheim, walking distance to Heidelberg. There are enough clues and time to continue this work with good chances of some immediate successes with some of the families.

Köhler, Saratov, Volga

Joe Gareis G265

I fielded about one request per month for information on Koehler. I heard from Argentina, Canada, Germany, the U.S. and France. Most asked for family history data. I have often been able to surprise people with older information than they expect, from the 1798 Census and the list of settlers in 1767. However, I have been hampered by the lack of information for the 19th century. 

Barb and Nick Bretz have been compiling village genealogies using newly available Census data and other sources, and are beginning to bridge the 19th century gap. They are currently busy incorporating family histories they received this year. Barb and Nick Bretz are looking to expand on this work and have agreed to share the VC responsibilities for Koehler in the coming year.

It was a good year for surname charts related to Koehler, not that I had much to do with that. Family histories were completed for the surnames Bauer, Bretz, Klug, and Reichenborn this fall. At the beginning of the year, AHSGR records showed only one chart for the surname Klein. Still on order are charts for the Reikart and Gareis. Please let me know if I am missing any. 

I translated a historical piece describing a bloody revolt against the Bolsheviks that took place July 1918 in Koehler, and simultaneously in the villages of Leichtling, Hildmann, and Semenowka. This was from a book titled Verschollene Heimat an der Wolga, written in German by Edmund Imherr, who was born and raised in Koehler. The uprising was a defining event for those who remained in the village during the 20th century. I am currently working on translating other chapters from this unique source of information on Koehler and plan on expanding the search for historical sources.

Kolb, Saratov, Volga

Sarah (Kanzler) Hammarstrom H419

Thelma (Koch) Sprenger S653 / L

Pauline Dudek D018 / L
Honorary VC

Submitted by Thelma Sprenger.  See Frank village for combined report.

This year has not been as productive as I would have liked for Kolb research. My husband had many trips to the doctor and a few hospital stays that took up my time.

I have several inquires that have gone unanswered but are on file and I hope to get to them one day soon.

What has been completed in the last year is the translation of the Zion UCC church records in Ritzville and the records for Immanuel church that was located on the Adams/Lincoln county line between Ritzville and Odessa, WA. The Immanuel records will be given to the Odessa museum and the Zion records will be kept at the Zion church in Ritzville.

Sorry I do not have the knowledge to have a website for Kolb. The new information for family names is shared with Doris Evans who enters it into her Frank database. Frank and Kolb were located just a short1. distance from each other and many families are related.

Kukkus, Samara, Volga

Betty Muradian M005 / L

Eleanor Sissell S329 / L
Data Entry

Submitted by Betty Muradian

This year was spent studying Pleve’s book, Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, on the original settlers of Kukkus and how many of them appeared in the Kukkus 1798 census, and the Kukkus map of 1921. Although there were many different names who first settled in Kukkus, these are the ones that still remained in 1921: Baum, 3 Becker families, Dittenbier, Engelmann, Gerlach, Getz (Gtz), Heinrich, Hergenrder, Herzog, Isheim, Ilberg (Ohlberg), Krum, Kuhn, Kukkus, Maser, Rosental, Schafer, Schaub, and Weigand.

This is a sample of what can be found in the Pleve book: Hergenrder, Johann 25, Reform rel., Bttcher (barrel maker), out of Isenburg-Raubach. Frau: Pilippina, 18.

Many original settlers left Kukkus to go to other villages and live, and many new names appeared in the 1798 census and especially, on the 1921 map of Kukkus

Several family reunions, large and small, took in Germany the last year or so. Bob Heinrich sent an exciting report of their family reunion in Braunfels-Werdorf area. These travel reports are saved and have much information in them for future travelers

Dennis and Alberta Ohlberg traveled to Germany to visit his sister, brother and cousin, who had been here in the Fresno area a few years ago

The book, Kukkus, a German Village on the Volga is still being printed and sold at the Central California AHSGR Museum and Library in Fresno

Anyone having questions on their Kukkus ancestors can write or e-mail for information

Every year new books and information on the villages are available.

Submitted by Eleanor Sissell

The data base for Kukkus includes 9756 individuals. There have been many queries for information this past year. Those who ask for information I ask to
send more information for the database about their family. Most of the people are members of AHSGR. Those who were not, I suggested they visit the AHSGR web site and encourage them to become members. One person needed to know where a village was located in Poland. I was able to find the location and sent a list of film numbers of church records for that village.

I have added at least two hundred names this year. Some of the names I extracted from the two books sold by the Central Washington Chapter at the Yakima convention. These books were extractions of German newspaper obituaries. It included birth as well as death information. I put the sources of information in the individual's note files so others may know where I got the information. If there is not a note on an individual, there usually is for the head of the family I was working on.

I hope this next year to make sure each individual in the database has a note about the source for the information I received. I would also like to make a hard copy of the database to be kept at Lincoln.

It has been a pleasure to work with the people who are descendants of former residents of the village of Kukkus, "A Village on the Volga".

Laub, Samara, Volga

Donita ('Dodie') Reich Rotherham 

This was my first year as Laub Village Coordinator. I believe I took on far more than I should have but all in all it has been an interesting year.

I responded to several requests from Laub ancestors and provided information from Stump and Pleve’s books.

I also published my first newsletter, The Laub Links, and sent it to those listed in the clues book. To date only 5 people have requested future news letters be mailed to them. I’m not sure if it was the newsletter or just a lack of interest!

In August I took a group of 10 people to Russia whose ancestors came from Laub. We spent 10 days in Russia and approximately 6 days in Saratov area where we visited Laub, Kukkus and Warenberg.

In Laub we met a German man, Mr. Schafer, who had been deported to Laub from St. Petersburg after Stalin shot his father. He and his mother had not been deported to Siberia as his mother had a skill the communists needed in the village.

This gentleman knew much about Laub and showed us the former Lutheran Church and Ministers house. The church was spared destruction by removing the steeple and using it for grain storage. The minister’s house is now the local grocery store. We were able to see the minister’s house and actually purchase a few trinkets for souvenirs.

 Mr. Schafer was able to show us the former German Cemetery. At first I couldn’t believe it as last year we were told the cemetery was across the street from the village. However, he took us to an area north of the main village right on the bank of the Volga. There he pointed out the cemetery area and led us cautiously to the bank. The bank is very unstable and we had to be careful not to stand on areas breaking away from the main bank. As we looked over the bank we could see coffins and bones protruding the bank. He told us the river is constantly washing away the cliff and exposing the remains.

The next day we went to Laub again and found a way down to the river. There on the bank were many human bones, hair, clothing, etc. We could look up and see many coffins protruding the bank. In one coffin we could see the skull of the individual and some coffins we could see bones and clothing sticking out. There were many coffin parts floating in the river. It was very moving and of course very sad to think that this is the final insult to our dear ancestors.

The cemetery is located on the northern edge of Laub and at this point we also found a path to Jost. Unfortunately, we did not have time to walk the path as the day was getting late and we still had the trip back to Saratov ahead of us.

I also visited Doenhoff and Norka on the west side of the Volga. I was able to get many more pictures this year and will share with the VC’s from the aforementioned villages.

We had a real treat this year as a lady in Kukkus invited all of us to a lunch at her house. Of course, all of this was prearranged with our travel agency but the experience was really great. If we return again we are going to try to do this in the village of Laub.
In Saratov we stayed in a nice hotel on German Street in the heart of Saratov. We visited the crystal factory and did a walking tour of the many German built homes and buildings of the city. The German influences are everywhere.

We were supposed to spend 2 days at the research center in Engels but once again, we were given only a couple hours in the center. The center has so much information but of course, the books are old and should not be handled frequently. We all would like to help the center move forward and allow us to do research but it is hard to change mindsets. I am working with one of the volunteers to see how we can set up a donation system to help restore records and make them available to the Volga German ancestors who wish to do research.

I am also trying to determine where Laub families were deported in 1941. I have made contact with a gentleman from Laub, now living in Germany. I have shared Laub information with him as he is trying to get his children out of Russia. He was a young man when his family was deported but perhaps he will have some information to share.

I am also continuing to receive the Landsmanschaft magazine from Germany. The organization holds meetings every even year in Stuttgart. Many Germans from Russia attend and they hold village nights to assist families seeking information on loved ones. I hope to attend the 2004 meeting.

The next issue of The Laub Links will be published this winter.

Lauwe / Laube, Samara, Volga

Helen Bernice Madden M363 / L

In my activities as VC for Lauwe, year 2003 has been one of busy and fruitful times, some of them frustrating. Local chapter and California District Council (which includes 2004 the Convention) obligations as well as the Yakima convention and travel to visit relatives have had priority. Consequently, apologies are in order to those folks who subscribe to my newsletter. Hopefully, one will be forthcoming before the end of the year. Village night in Yakima was a productive one for me. I usually don’t get much activity, but luckily, I was able to meet a couple GRASMICK families there.

Several requests for information have come to my attention, the majority by way of the internet. It appears that some are from folks that are not members of AHSGR. I know this is not always easy to ascertain, but my time spent in answering their queries (most lacking any information that is pertinent to researching the family) is worth knowing about their membership. I have learned this the hard way. A request from a surname connected to my family took a lot of time, and my enthusiasm in finding a new relative got in the way. I found out later that they were not AHSGR members. The expense I have entailed in acquiring data on my family is considerable and through my association with AHSGR, I have gained much in my research.

One of the activities on which I have focused is research on the MARKUS surname. This came about when I learned of a young exchange student from Germany came to a little southeastern Colorado town of (pop. approx. 500) for her senior year in high school. The young lady’s name is Inessa MARKUS. It was learned by the sponsoring family that she was German-Russian. This inspired an inquiry since it happens that several MARKUS families live in nearby towns.

Inessa, overwhelmed by the coincidence, wrote her mother, Ida, for family information that she was not aware of. We hit the “jack-pot”. What Ida did not know about the family, she was able to get from a 95 yr old aunt, who also lives in Germany. She is, Anna Margaretha GÖRINGER [b 23 March 1908 in Lauwe] and can be found on the GÖRINGER surname chart that I have. After graduating, Inessa has returned to Germany. This, in turn, has prompted me to travel to Germany [Sept 15] to make contact. I plan to write of my experience in my next newsletter

Louis, Samara, Volga

Louis Web Site

Thelma Mills M357

  1. I received 114 inquiries, and answered each and everyone. Most were resolved, but I have the unresolved inquiries in a “working on” file. I will keep trying as I feel it is important to those searchers. Quite a few of these resulted from a book of Argentina which I purchased, and let it be known that there were many Russian-German surnames listed!
  2. We have purchased more Mariental and Louis reference material - mostly from Kevin Rupp and Tony Leiker.
  3. During my travels this summer, I managed to get copies of quite a few immigration papers, Naturalization, Declarations of Intention, Certificates of Arrival, Oath of Allegiance, etc. Most of these were on the Kinderknecht’s, as I have been trying to locate my father’s citizenship papers - to no avail. Nevertheless, I always try to gather others while I am doing this search.

    These papers are fabulous - they are HISTORICAL documents. Some of them renounce their allegiance to the following:

    George V, King of Great Britain and Ireland, the sovereign of Canada
    Nicholas II, Emperor of all of Russia
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    Alexander, Czar of the Russian Empire
    Alexander III, Czar of Russia
    Present and future government of Russia
    Russia or any independent within the boundary of the former Russian Empire
    William II, Emperor of Germany
  4. I was able to purchase a Genealogy Chart on the family of Conrad Hermann - this from Dr. Michael D. Giessel
  5. My newest web page is of LOUIS, RUSSIA - URL listed below
  6. I did attend the GRHS convention in Rapid City, SD this September - my daughter lives close by, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Learned many things, and loved the speaker from the Ukraine. She was excellent. This was my first GRHS convention, as I most always attend the AHSGR conventions, and do plan to attend the next one in Modesto, CA
  7. Received two interesting e-mails, which I want to include here:

    Hi Thelma -

    Denise forwarded your message to me about what I may have seen in Mariental, Russia this summer. First of all, I have another e-mail address for you at “southwind”. Is this an old one?

    Between the digital pictures I took and the ones sent to me by a couple of cousins who were on the trip, I think I have over 50 pictures of Mariental. It was very hard to get the “whole” picture of the town, but I’ve attached three of them. What you should get is a picture of the town sign, a view of the village taken from our bus, and what I think is the main drag. Let me know if you have any problems downloading them. If you want to send me your address, I’ll make a CD of all the pictures I have.

    The day we visited Mariental was the second day we traveled out from Saratov in search of the villages. We stopped at Liebenthal first, then Urbach. We actually went to Mariental twice! It was so blasted hot while we were there and air conditioning is not that common in Russia. However, in Mariental we found a beer/food/dance hall that had air conditioning and we really didn’t want to leave! I know we at first overwhelmed the woman who ran the place and her daughter came over to help. The food she had was a combination of a sort of pizza, sandwiches, and many things stuffed in pastries—from fruit to potatoes. We also drank quite a bit of beer and enjoyed the coolness. When we left, we headed west of Mariental in search of Graf and our bus driver wasn’t able to get down the road. Our Russian tour guide waved down a car that came by, and next thing I know, three people from our tour group were driving off with the owner in the car down the “road” to Graf, and his wife was on the bus with us. So, we went back to the hall in Mariental. Needless to say, they were very surprised to see us again and quickly started putting more beer in their cooler. Thelma, I can hardly express how kind these people were. A few more of her friends came in and they put on music. Someone else brought in several buckets of apricots and put them on the tables. Then they insisted we dance. Maybe a couple of our group would get up and dance at first, but one Russian woman would dance over to a man in our group with her hands coaxing him out on the dance floor. I think she managed to get almost every male in our group out there eventually—even the young ones. I have a lot of this on film. It was very much a highlight of our trip.

    Fr. Julian Haas was one of the coordinators of our trip and many people in the tour group were in the Haas family. In Mariental, they did talk to a woman who was a possible relative. From what I understood, she and her mother had come back to Mariental from Siberia. This was the first time we found a Volga German in any of the villages. In the other villages, many would say they remembered the Volga Germans, but there were no longer any living there.

    In the villages we visited previous to Mariental (Zug, Obermonjou, Wittman, Urbach, Liebenthal) we had stopped at the cemeteries in search of family graves. There would be maybe a single grave with the tombstone in German, but most of the graves did not predate WW II. Therefore, our bus did not stop at the Mariental cemetery. In talking to Tony Leiker (he took a group to Russia last month), he said the Mariental cemetery was a highlight of their trip, so I’m very disappointed we didn’t stop. Here are excerpts from conversations I’ve had with Tony since he came back:

    The Mariental cemetery and Rohleder were my highlights of my tour of the colonies. The Volga German part of the cemetery appears to be completely in place except for all the tombstones in German and one large stone in the ground. There are quite a few in tombstones in Russian with German names. We took photos so you will get to see them. I will also have them interpreted as it is difficult to read them in the Russian alphabet.

    Did you notice all the mounds behind the tombstones in Mariental where obviously people were buried but the stones were missing?

    Did I tell you that we found a human lower jaw with a tooth at the Mariental cemetery? I picked it up but the gals got grossed out so I dropped it again but sure wish I had not done that. I could have had DNA testing done to see if it was a Volga German.

    I haven’t received any pictures from Tony yet, but am sure that he could tell you much more about the cemetery.


    This email below is in reference to my web page and the story of Lilia.

    Subject: thank you!

    I have written you before, I am the son of Eugene Kinderknecht from Delta, Colorado and have met you there at my parents' home. I just wanted to thank you for all of your efforts in putting this together for us. To be able to read and understand some of what our ancestors have gone through. I think we take many things for granted.

    My father has taken it to heart, to build something up to pass it on to future generations of Kinderknechts (his drive for this desire came from the letters of Lilia). A goal in which I will be joining him in really soon, as I plan to move to Delta and help him with his business.

    Again THANK YOU!!!!!!!


  8. We were gone all summer, and are finally back home, having traveled over 6,000 miles in order to attend all of the family functions that were scheduled this summer. Never have I seen so many celebrations in one summer!!! Glad to be home, So far behind with all of my projects.

Marienfeld, Saratov, Volga

Fellow Researchers:

The February 1858 census (10th revision) of the Volga German village of Marienfeld is available for purchase.

Marienfeld was a "daughter colony", so the census specifies, in most cases, the village origin of the families listed.

The price is $25.

All proceeds go to covering the cost of getting the census, and for copies of further data from Russia.

Edward Gerk

Mariental, Samara, Volga

Mariental Web Site

Thelma Mills M357

See Louis village for combined report.

Messer, Saratov, Volga

Robert L. Weigand W342

Greetings to all other village coordinators from MESSER (UST-ZOLIKHA). I have been the VC for Messer since the Seattle Convention in 1992. This has been a slow year. The data base has 1,735 names and 637 marriages. I have updated the village history from new data received this year. This village was established on July 7, 1766 with 397 residents and in 1926 the town population consisted of 3,575 residents. The farm land allocated to this village wasn’t good for farming, so this village was known for its industry. At one time there were more than 600 sarpinna (a type of cloth similar to gingham) weavers.

I have a mailing list of forty-eight names for Messer of which eight do not belong to AHSGR but have submitted data for the data base. At the 2003 convention in Yakima, we had four people in attendance at the village night program from Messer and two from Moor. I have updated a comparison of the Messer 1775 and 1798 census records in alphabetical order.

This year, I have had 2 inquiries about Messer, all were by e-mail. This was down from 4 last year. The families that were being researched were:

 Lehr, and Scheibel. I have answered all inquiries but to the people who are not members of AHSGR. I send a surname list of my data base and the Messer village history and I tell them about AHSGR and if they join I will send them the details of my data base. I never hear from most of them again.

Moor, Saratov, Volga

Moor Web Site

Irma Waggoner

Wayne Bonner B269
Data entry

See Balzer village for combined report


See Shcherbakovka

Neu-OberMonjou, Samara, Volga, Russia

Kevin Rupp R311 / L

I was able to get all of the 1862 census information from the colony of Neu-OberMonjou and compile it into book form this year. I also have set up a web site for this colony on my Volgagerman site. Not too many inquiries yet.

Neu-Straub, Saratov, Volga

Neu-Straub Web Site

Lillian Larwig L188

I have resigned myself that Neu-Straub is not a village that has much information. Russian researchers have told me that they have no information on this village, but I did receive a list of the 1857 census of the Keils and Heintzs that were in Neu-Straub in 1857.  I am researching these names. During this past year, I have located a relative of the Heintz family. In fact, he located me after seeing the web site and my name as VC. Several others have contacted me but we cannot find any connection. I continue to search on any lead I get concerning N-S village. If anyone has any information to share with me, concerning Neu-Straub, please do so.

Nieder-Monjou, Samara, Volga

Nieder-Monjou Web Site

Michael Grau

Steven Grau

Mike and I began as the new AHSGR Nieder-Monjou Village Coordinators in October, 2002, taking over from Carolyn Gorr. We spent several months gathering information and photographs for a new Nieder-Monjou web site. Mike put together the new Nieder-Monjou web site at the link listed above. Mike maintains the web site and I try to answer queries.

I continue to add information from all available sources about Nieder-Monjou colonists and their descendants to my data base including the individuals in the Rieb / Rüb surname chart from AHSGR headquarters.

Throughout the past year, we have received seven queries for information concerning the following Nieder-Monjou surnames: ANSCHUETZ / ANSCHUTZ, BETZ, BISTERFELT / BESTERFIELD, FLUG, HILGENBERG, and MUELLER / MILLER.

I also had several email and/or snail mail conversations concerning Nieder-Monjou surnames BINEDELL / BIENEDELL, RAUSCHENBACH, and RIEB / RUEB with individuals in South Africa. A number of families from Nieder-Monjou departed Hamburg, Germany for Cape Town, South Africa on 3 January 1878 aboard the ship Saturnus.

Oberdorf, Saratov, Volga

Oberdorf Web Site

Teri Helzer H491

The year 2003 has been a slow year compared to previous years. I have not had as many inquiries, but we have added a few new researchers to our group.

I have continued to add content to the Oberdorf web site, such as additional ship list names, and data from various sources such as submissions by Oberdorf researchers or information found on the Internet.

I have published all village email correspondence to the private Oberdorf web site to enable all Oberdorf researchers access to the correspondence. Email inquires were far less this year than past years.

New content to the web site includes family photographs submitted by Edward Foss and Walter Lorenz. Additionally, Walter Lorenz has submitted letters from Oberdorf written in the 1970s by Friedrich Daubert and Friedrich Lorenz. Walter also had the letters translated.

I added an Oberdorf Obituary Page to the web site containing obituaries obtained from Oberdorf researchers, the Lower Volga researchers, and other on-line sources.

The entire Oberdorf group wishes to thank Ted Gerk, Josefstal Village Coordinator for paying for the translation and the donation of a letter from Heinrich Faul of Eaton, Colorado. The purpose of Mr. Faul's letter was to encourage his "Oberdorfer compatriots" in Colorado, Nebraska, Michigan, and Wisconsin to pledge money in support of those left behind in Oberdorf who were economically and morally depressed.

Ted Gerk visited Russia in 2003, and he has provided the following trip report for Oberdorf:

I was in Oberdorf this past July. We went to Volgograd for a few days, looked into the archives, then traveled to Kupzovo to deliver Bibles and bubble gum.
The village is very sad....very, very poor. People we talked with said the crime rate was also very bad, due to alcohol. One woman told us she was taking care of her 2 grandsons, as her son was murdered there last year...all they found was his scull in the local forest.
Very sad. 
Even though I had been there before, it was my first real walk about in the village. 
I even met a lady with the last name Dieser (my grandmother’s maiden name) who was born in Josefstal. She is leaving for Germany in about 2 months.
Additional information in response to a question submitted to Ted Gerk about his trip: 
The Bubble gum was for any kids we came across...knowing the poverty we could see it was a treat for them. 
I was in the village for about 3 hours. People work, I guess, on the local farms or doing odd jobs. The majority of the people are Russian or Ukraine background. There was a large school, run down, and I saw no church...I believe that was destroyed many years ago.
I also had some family that lived in Kotovo...which is now a busy town....I picked up a book about Kotovo at the museum in Kotovo. Oil was found near there so things are looking up for the town and region.
I really saw no difference in Oberdorf since I was last there in 1992 and 1994. It really is very poor. 

In August, I contacted a Russian researcher for 1857 Revision List lookups for 19 Oberdorf surnames. We are eagerly awaiting this work. The surname lookups requested are:

Becker Faust Foss / Voss Heberlein Heinz / Heinze 
Herrmann Kerbel Kling Kuxhaus Lorenz
Martin Meyer Miller Schick Schmunk / Schmunck
Schreiber Sturtz Weber Weisheim

Unfortunately, another year has passed and the Rosenberg Parish Records have not been found. Without these records, many families cannot connect their family to the 1857 Census due to the missing generation.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Village Coordinator is receiving correspondence such as the following. It makes it all worthwhile!

I received your website this morning from a friend of mine who is heavily into genealogy. She was doing some research for her sister when she came across the name "Kandlin", my maiden name on your website. I can't believe it. When I looked at your site, I found many familiar names from stories my father told me through the years. We lost him last March at the age of 85. He lived with my husband and me to the end. He was born Viktor Kandlin in Oberdorf in 1917. His mother was Katherine Heinze. I am assuming that this is her pictured in the Heinze family album on your site. The first picture of George Jacob Heinze's family shows her as marrying an unknown Kandlin. I am going to go home later today and see if I have any pictures of her anywhere. She died of tuberculosis when Daddy was young, so I'm not sure I have anything. But I'm assuming this must be her.

Anyway, Daddy was conscripted into the Russian Army as a young man and was away on maneuvers at the time Stalin's troops moved through and deported many of the men to Siberian work camps. When Daddy returned to the village, his family had been wiped out. He had four (or five) brothers whom he never heard from again. He fled to Germany and long story made short, later married my mother and we came to the US (to Oklahoma) in 1957. I recognize many of the names on your website from Okeene, some of them are my relatives. I just can't believe this! My only regret is that I didn't find this site sooner. He passed without ever knowing what happened to his family. We asked many questions over the years, but eventually gave up. By the time the age of the internet dawned, Daddy was in the last years of his life and rarely talked anymore about the past. My sister and I would love to find out if any of Daddy's brothers survived. Please advise how I can go about this. Also, do you have any email addresses for any of the Heinze family who submitted these pictures? Perhaps they have some information. Thank you, thank you!!!

The Oberdorf web site continues to be a tool to enable connection with other Oberdorf researchers!

I submitted a CD to AHSGR for the Oberdorf village file that contains all Oberdorf-related data in my possession, including all village correspondence from 1998 to June 2003.

Ober-Monjou, Samara, Volga

Obermonjou Web Site

Kevin Rupp

Ober-Monjou Mailing List

This year has been a year of gathering more information from Russia. We now have the 1850 census from the colony of Ober-Monjou as well of the 1767 first settlers list. I also have some marriage records from Ober-Monjou from the year 1893. 

I have gotten a few requests on the information that I have obtained from the archives. There were inquiries from Germany, Argentina, United States and Canada. 

I still would like to get some photos and stories from people who have lived there, but nothing yet. I have redone my web site, which I hope will benefit those who are also looking for information from the Volga area and Ellis County. I have or will connect those VC’s to the site.

Orlovskoye, Samara, Volga

Carol Nesewich N087

Located on the Wiesenseite of the Volga, Orlovskoe was founded with 312 individuals in 1767 and ultimately grew to a population of 6,517 by the year 1912. Only 3,243 people remained in the village and in several surrounding areas by 1926. The colony was named for the Orlov family, who were among the staunchest supporters of Catherine II.

Approximately 1,750 individuals are listed in the village database, which contains the names of people either who were born in Orlovskoe or who at some time lived there. These names were taken mainly from the following sources: the surname charts on Bonacker and on Erfurth, the 1798 Census of Orlovskoe, a publication by the Northern Illinois chapter of AHSGR titled Unsere Leute, Settlers in Northern Illinois, and the findings of about a half dozen researchers. The most commonly found surnames are Altenhoff, Bonacker, Erfurth, Gerlinger, Goetz, Krueger, Lehmann, Vogel, and Wiegel.

Again, as was the case last year, there was only one inquiry for information. There seem to be few descendants from Orlovskoe. Andre Seifert lives in Germany, and he is looking for the family of his paternal grandmother, Maria WOLF Seifert. Maria is 88 years old. She is in excellent health, and she has been living in Trier, Germany since 1992. She has often talked to Andre about her birthplace of Orlovskoe. We have not yet been able to find a connection for her.

Paulskoye, Samara, Volga

Paulskoye Web Site

Timothy C. Weeder W372

I am happy to report an increase in the number of inquirers over last year.

I heard from John Schneider whose father, Otto SCHNEIDER, escaped Paulskoye, Russia in 1941 and came to the US in 1951 settling in the Chicago area. This is certainly a unique family history. Otto's uncle and aunt were Henry and Dorothy (BACHMAN) SCHNEIDER who lived in Maywood and worked for the railroad.

I worked with both Steven Grau, VC for Nieder-Monjou and Karen Mathews on the SCHOLL and KLOZBACH surnames in Kansas and Nebraska respectively.

Mary Zell, who is researching her husband’s family surnames WIEDERHOLD and BLANK who lived in Bellwood, Illinois, contacted me.

I located information about one Paulskoye-born individual on the Krasnoyarsk Memorial Society website , dedicated to exiled camp prisoners in Siberia: Martha LINK, daughter of Alexander, b. 1926.

I located passenger ship information with many Paulskoye (and neighboring villages) inhabitants on it. Halifax Ship Arrivals 1900-1914 is available on the Odessa Digital Library (Pixel) website. Ship: SS Canada departed Liverpool 24 February 1912 and arrived at Halifax on 4 March 1912. On Eugene Jenkins' Port of Baltimore German from Russia Extraction of Ships located at I found a Johnannes WIDERHOLD arriving Baltimore on 23 July 1913 on the SS Friedrich der Gross and headed for Chicago to Philipp WIDERHOLD.

Rick Geiser continues to wait patiently for his SCHNEIDER and SCHERER family charts. Likewise, I continue to wait for an answer to my question (twice asked now) as to exactly what new documents were uncovered three years ago that pertain to Paulskoye.

Ruth Freehling has translated the online autobiography and pictures of HEINRICH DORN as discussed in last year's report at the request of George and Shirley Dorn. I retained a copy for my Paulskoye files. Many thanks to Mrs. Freehling and the Dorns!

Finally, I sent for and received a 1942 aerial photograph of the village of Paulskoye (Pavlovka). While the quality and scale of the photo isn't anything to get too overly excited over, it is still of value and provides an actual visual of the general layout of the village, fields, waterways, roads, and also neighboring villages (Fischer, Beauregard, and Katherinenstadt). PS. A good magnifying glass is essential!

Pfeifer, Saratov, Volga

Pfeifer Web Site

Rosemary Larson L033 / L

See Kamenka for combined report.

Rosenberg / Umet, Saratov, Volga

Rosenberg Web Site

Dr. Richard McGregor M236

This had been another quiet year for Rosenberg correspondents; however, there have been some very interesting and extensive updates from a few individuals.

Bettye Grant sent a large GEDCOM file with 60 pages of family information relating to the Armbrusters, descending from Johann Jost Armbruster of the Darmstadt area, who immigrated in the mid 1760s to Russia. Jack Morkel has contributed the baptismal certificate of Maria Morkel and a Rosenberg school photograph from c1900. These two pictures are now on the Rosenberg webpage.

Roxanne Kuxhaus Hildebrand sent information on the Kuxhaus family, which included new information not previously collected. There have also been enquiry e-mails relating to the Hildermann, Schiebelhut and Sigfried families.

Finally, when the Ellis Island records came online I trawled though them looking for former Rosenberg residents and found nearly four pages of them with details on entrance date and ship in which the journey was made. This grid is also now available on the webpage.

Thanks to Teri Helzer’s help the Rosenberg webpage now has a large collection of downloadable photos, several pages of historical information, maps, lists of surnames, all nine newsletters, and a section of links. AHGSR has a copy of the Rosenberg word file, which now runs to 210 pages. This is not available online since it contains information on living descendants, but inquiries will always be answered.

Rosenheim, Samara, Volga

Randi Bolyard

See Enders village for combined report.

Rothammel, Saratov, Volga

Nicholas & Barbara Bretz B296

Joseph Gertge

Rothammel Mail List ~ email Kathy Frank Jones to join

Submitted by Nicholas & Barbara Bretz.

We are fortunate to have received additional surname charts for the following Rothammel surnames: Gertje, Hartmann, Kloberdanz, Lauer, and Matza. The Artzer and Kaiser charts from Seewald were also received. We are still waiting for Appelhans, Distel, Frank, and Weingardt charts. Please let us know if other charts from either village have been ordered. Copies of existing charts can be purchased. Please contact us for information.

We are continuing to enter the information from the charts into the village database and are beginning to merge the information from the census data. It is our hope to complete families since the surname charts don’t contain descendants of the female children. The data base contains persons from other villages in the region so don’t hesitate to contact us if your ancestor lived near Rothammel or Seewald.

Joe Gertge, our data base coordinator, is doing a fine job entering family information that village members send him. If you are a descendant of those having lived in Rothammel, please send Joe your family data so he can update our files.

Kathy Jones continues to monitor the ROTHAMMELLIST, a private mail list. At last count there were over 100 members so it is a good place to find and share information. To join the free list, please contact Kathy.

We received an inquiry from Argentina from a Lechmann. We asked them to send their family information to be included in the village files.

Schönfeld, Samara, Volga

Schoenfeld Web Site

Laurin Wilhelm W022 / L

I have received some 25 inquires regarding Schoenfeld this year. Mostly they were to share information and to seek family connections. I was not successful in connecting any relatives this year.

Schoenfeld had a “daughter colony” around Otis, Kansas. A few miles to the northeast of Otis was the Schoenfeld Gemeinde, or community. The cemetery is well kept up and being used today. It is worth a visit. The Church, which was located c. 1.5 miles to the south, was closed and moved away in the mid 1950s. In the mid-1990s, the church books were translated and sent to the Historical Museum in Topeka, KS.

Schöntal, Samara, Volga

Schoental Web Site

Laurin Wilhelm W022 / L

I have received a dozen or more inquiries regarding descendents of Schoental folks. The most interesting and extensively pursued was from Waldemar Weigandt of Hamburg, Germany.

Waldemar was born in Kazakstan, and he is about 55 years old. He is an electrician or electrical engineer in Hamburg. His parents lived in Schoental before 1941, before they were deported to Kazakstan.

After pursuing many leads and with the help of others, we located Waldemar’s cousin in Minnesota. He lives there with his wife during the summer and in Arizona during the winter. Like the typical Volga German, he worked hard, saved his money and made some good business decisions. He has prospered in America. His two sons are professional men.

Lyle Rupp and Waldemar have exchanged many pictures and family stories. They are positive of the family connection. They are very happy to have found each other, and they will continue to communicate with each other.

Most other letters have been a sharing of information about the village, its location, people etc.

Schuck, Saratov, Volga

Lola Stattelman

5-2-03 - Note from Kay Lagreid trying to locate cousins in USA - Sieben, Feser and Schachtel lines. There was a Stattelman who married a Schechtel, but I could find no connection to her Schachtel line.

7-2-03 - Note from Joseph Falkenstein requesting more information of the village of Schuck, other than the village census from 1798. I informed him that the census was the only info that I had.

8-15-03 - Note from Ted Gerk asking if anyone had visited the village of Schuck in the past few years, and if there are any photos that might still exist. I informed him that Joe Falkenstein had visited the village in 1999, and has learned that Schuck was mostly destroyed in 1965.

6-9-03 - Note from Jorge Gottig from Argentina trying to locate relatives in Schuck. I sent him information about Heinrich Hettig and Johannes and Katherine Gotte.

Schwab, Saratov, Volga

Schwab Web Site

Rolene (Eichman) Kiesling B334

I do not much to report. I have continued with the collecting of data, as it became available, in whatever format, on the village. Schwab is one of the smaller villages. This year, I tried to keep a numerical count of the queries; I have had 11 since March 2003. We have not received any new family data from Russia that would substantially help with the database.

I am still editing the newsletter (May and November) for the Lower Volga Villages. Available information that is relevant and printable due to copyright restrictions gets harder and harder each year. I intend to honor Kathy O’Malley in the next issue. She was such a valued contact and friend and was a great help.

I also monitor the “Eichman” surname list through RootsWeb, which has surprised me; most of the Eichman(n) queries are NOT Volga Deutsch but German, in origin.

Next year the convention is in Modesto and I expect to be there for some, if not the entire convention.

Schwed, Samara, Volga

Schwed Web Site

Carolyn & John Gorr G156 / L

It's been a quiet year for Schwed with just 16 queries for 2003. However, only two of those were related to our village while the majority were related to Chicago GR questions. The most interesting query came from an Aussiedler in Germany. Alex Walth sent photos for identification. I suggested that he post his photos on his website and I sent his URL to the Volga List where several folks helped to provide insight.

 One of his photos was taken in the 1950s judging by the clothing the subjects were wearing. He did not know who the people were. It turned out to be the parents and siblings of two or our Northern IL Chapter members. The Internet helps us find amazing links.

Our most ambitious mission took place in Salt Lake City this September. We were there for a week of research at the LDS Family History Library. Our priority this year was to search the 1930 US Federal Census. We went through all the Schwed surnames and printed out all those that were born in Russia. Research was easy as LDS has the census computerized. After you select the name you want you can view the actual page on the computer screen and for five cents you can print the page.

We still await both the HOPPE and WIEGEL family charts.

Seewald, Saratov, Volga

Nicholas & Barbara Bretz B296

See Rothammel village for combined report.

Stahl am Tarlyk, Samara, Volga

Paul E Koehler K287 / L

This year I have spent considerable time adding data to the village computer data bank. It now has just over 17,000 individuals.

Thanks to Diana Bell for the help in getting the data bank to where it is today. She was able to extract most information from the records of now deceased village coordinator, Joanne Kleim.

Diana Bell continues with the publication of the newsletter der Stahler. It is available during the months of May and November.

I have had three inquires for information during the year, with help going to all three.

There were five of us at the village night for Stahl am Tarlyk at the Yakima Convention.

Strassendorf, Samara, Volga

Strassendorf Web Site

Laurin Wilhelm W022 / L

Strassendorf had no activity this year.

Susannental, Samara, Volga

Susannental Web Site

Susannental Mail List

Kerry S. Thompson

The year 2003 has been busy and productive. The data base for Susannental continues to grow and now has reached over 3,000 names. Information on specific surnames is available upon request. Our search for ship record information continues. The list now contains 54 families and it will continue to grow as we search the Ellis Island site and the Baltimore sound-ex films. We have been actively searching out obituaries and our list now contains 110 individuals.

Many of these were obtained at the AHSGR convention this summer. The list of subscribers for our newsletter continues to grow. We now have a few members in Germany. The Bi-yearly newsletter contains family histories, ship record information, obituary information, census information, research information, queries, recipes, etc. Back issues are available upon request. We are currently tracking immigrant members’ travels through the U.S. via 1910-1930 census information. We continue to gather information on the R/G of Big Horn County, Wyoming. We also have information on the Villages of Kind and Meinhard - families, ship record information and obituaries.

Warenburg, Samara, Volga

Warenburg Web Site

Sharon White

Ronald E. Brott B310

Submitted by Sharon White

I visited Warenburg and my three other ancestral villages (Laub, Straub, and Dinkel) in August 2003. I went with ten others whose ancestors also came from Laub, one with ancestors from Kukkus, and one who had no ties to the villages but wanted to practice her Russian. The person who coordinated the trip was Dodie Rotherham, the new Laub village coordinator. It was a trip I had been wanting to make my whole life.

The plane ride to Moscow took 15 hours. We visited Moscow first, spending four days there. We saw many of the famous sites. We tried to see as much as we could and were very tired at the end of every day. We traveled by train from Moscow to Saratov. It was 15 hours one way. We stayed at an old hotel, “The Volga,” in Saratov. It was on “Old German Street.” The drive to the villages took about an hour and a half each way. The paved roads were pot holed and traffic was a single lane each way. I was in the villages for three days.

There were no paved roads in the villages. We were told that when it rained, the dirt roads were hard to travel on. There were some cars in the villages but I saw lots of horses with wagons.

Most of the houses were very old wooden ones. Some had the “typical German windows.” Some houses were painted, but others were very weathered. Most of the houses had fences around the house and yard containing the outbuildings and outhouses. There was no running water in the houses. I was in several of the homes and they had electricity. They also had small refrigerators and small televisions. The television reception was very poor.

There were a lot of cows wandering around grazing in the villages. The cows were not fenced in anywhere. They were even on the paved road from Saratov. I was surprised that cars didn’t hit any cows. The Russian drivers were driving very fast and crazy. There were also chickens and ducks near some of the homes.

In every village, the people I met were very friendly and helpful. In the Laub General Store, I got a hug and a blessing from an old Russian lady who told me, “you always come back to your roots.” This was after our translator told the villagers why we were there. In Laub, an older German man showed us where the cemetery used to be located. He also told us how the old Laub Church’s top was taken off and was now used for grain storage.

In Warenburg, I gave packs of gum to the village children I met. One boy, who was in the fourth grade, told me he went to school in the Miller School. I asked him how many students attended the school, and he said “very many”.  I also gave gum to three boys who were riding their bikes. Their mothers came out to see what we were doing. When the translator told them, the mothers told us about the “old lady who knew the most about the village.” The mothers had the boys show us where she lived. We followed them as they rode their bikes to her house. The older lady was a widow. She was very helpful and nice. She did know a lot about the village. She showed me where the cemetery was and where my Kisling family house was located. She also told me about some of the buildings. I met her late in the afternoon and would have learned more if I had found her sooner.

There were not many Germans still in the villages. The older German man in Laub was married to a Russian lady. The old German widow in Warenburg was married to a Russian man. The lady in Kukkus, who fixed lunch for us, was a Russian widow whose husband was German. She fixed a German meal for us.

The Warenburg cemetery was outside the village. There were only two German graves with tombstones. The grave of Johan Conrad Muller (1814-1859) was the grave of “a rich and important German.” There was another similar tombstone near his. Both tombstones had been knocked down or had fallen. The tombstones lay on the ground. Johan Conrad Muller’s tombstone had the side that had his name, birth, death dates and other information about him showing. The other tombstone had the backside with German writing showing. In the Dinkel cemetery, I saw a similar tombstone. It was the only German one. Luckily, it was upright and I could see both sides of it. It belonged to Jacob Wilhelm Muller (1799-1883). The old German part of the Warenburg cemetery was just mounds of the graves. It was a big area about the size of football field.

The Warenburg church was still standing. The roof was mostly collapsed—the wood was lying on the ground inside the church. The walls were still standing. Even though the church was crumbling, it was still majestic to see. I felt like singing a church song in German. My translator must have thought I was a little crazy to do this but I felt that it had been a long time since a German hymn had been sung there. A cow was lying inside the church in the shade of the church walls. There was a lot of debris on the ground. I had to be very careful as I walked inside the church.

Our translator and guide were both 22 and had recently graduated from college. They both had lived in Saratov all of their lives. They didn’t know that the villages, only 50 to 60 miles away from them, existed. The villages probably haven’t changed much since my grandmother and her family left in 1907. Some of the pictures I took in Warenburg can be seen at This is the Warenburg Website created by Steve Schreiber. Click on the photographs icon. I am hoping to put together a booklet about Warenburg and hoping to develop my own genealogy homepage about Warenburg.

Wittman (Soloturn), Samara, Volga

Kevin Rupp R311 / L

I just started the job as VC for Wittmann about a year ago, and things have been sort of slow. I have been getting some information from contacts from Russia. The biggest luck I have had was to get the 1890 village records from Wittmann. At this time that is all that has come in. I have started working on the web site for Wittmann and hope to get it completed soon.

Yagodnaya Polyana, Saratov, Volga

Yagodnaya Polyana Web Site

Kris Ball B465 / L

Elizabeth A. Meyer M368

Patrice (Morasch) Miller M410
Database coordinator

A team of three women serves the descendants of Yagodnaya Polyana:  Kris Ball, Elizabeth Meyer, and Patrice Miller. The year 2003 was a busy year for YP, as many queries were received and responded to.

The Summer 2003 issue of Usu Leut (Our People) was printed and distributed by US Mail, and is being increasingly delivered by email. One of the highlights of this issue was Elizabeth's interview with Viktor and Maria Scheuermann, and their heartbreaking story of their lives from Kazakhstan, back to Viktor's village of Yagodnaya Polyana, and ultimately to Germany. Their lives were filled with dreams of returning to YP, tragedy, prejudice, disappointment, and finally leaving YP to live more contented lives in the country of Viktor's ancestors. The question often arises as to why the deported German Russians did not return to their home colonies. This story is one example of the extent of the endless harassment of those who did manage to return. Because they were German, it was never easy, and the option offered to Maria, requiring her to divorce her husband, demonstrates the extent of this prejudice against German Russians.

Our village was well represented at the convention:
• Larry Bafus, was elected to the AHSGR Foundation.
• Judge James Lust, gave the welcome talk. He is a Judge and a farmer in Washington.
• Patrice Miller spoke on "Finding Germans from Russia on Passenger Ship Lists Using the Internet."
• Ruth DeLuca sang in the Sunday morning convention church choir.
• And the really big news was that Richard Scheuerman was the keynote speaker at the banquet on Saturday night. Richard gave a very animated, and dynamic speech on early Volga German pioneers in the Northwest, and hopes to be at the 2004 Convention.

Alexander Pfafenrot was a guest speaker at the Fresno Heritage Fest. Alexander Pfafenrot was born in the Volga in 1931. His family was from YP. He has worked on re-establishing the Lutheran church in Russia and has driven semis into Russia to deliver humanitarian aid and Bibles to the GRs.

Pastor Alexander Scheiermann of the Greater Saratov Lutheran Parish (a descendant of YP) toured the northwest this summer. Pastor Scheiermann ( spoke of the challenges he faces in his efforts to bring God's Word to the residents of the greater Saratov region.

Kris, Patrice, and Elizabeth continue to work with Bill Scheirman's widow to respond to queries, to work on Bill's files and to continue the great service he provided for many years. All three are planning to attend the 2004 AHSGR Convention in Modesto next summer.

Zug (Gattung), Samara, Volga

Kevin Rupp R311 / L

I have nothing much to report on Zug. I was able to get some census information from Russia, but only the 1798, 1816, 1834 and 1862 records are available. I will also be setting up a web page for this colony very soon.