19 October 2017

Moving East: German Colonies in Siberia and Central Asia

I recall someone recently describing Siberia as not a "place" that Germans moved to but rather a "direction" in which they moved.  And that direction was east. The map of the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations has elongated significantly with these additional 183 colonies.

The first draft of the German colonies located in Siberia (white pins) and Central Asia (black pins) has been published on the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map.  The separate colony maps will be released at the end of the location effort for these areas.  We're roughly half way done.

Locations are going slow on this map. Some of the measurements are spot on while others are simply not.  Because many of the villages don't exist any longer, it takes a while to find them based on nearby known villages, historical names and satellite imagery.  Some can't be found.  I'll have a report of those that couldn't be found in the coming weeks.

The colonies found so far were settled between 1882 and 1918, with one outlier in 1927 in far east Russia.  It was more of a resettlement effort by Germans from other colonies in Russia and not by Germans from Germany.  Existing Mother and daughter colonies were getting overpopulated.  The agrarian land reforms put in place by Pyotr Stolypin in 1901 allowed resettlement benefits and for greater access to land, and the Trans-Siberian Railroad made it easier to get there.  Both western Siberia and Russian Turkestan had settlements during this time, although German settlements in Turkestan seem to have stopped around 1903.

Many followers of this project have been waiting for Siberia to find out where their families were deported to in September 1941, but the maps we're working on now does not include those.  That will be another map.

Volga and Black Sea colonists both took part in this resettlement.  In the notes, we indicate which groups settled a village. If there is no indication, that means that it is a village that Karl Stumpp was uncertain about.  He gave an approximate location, which we duplicated, but he had no information about the colonists' origin or religious confession.  Again, at the end of this location effort, I'll have a report on which colonies were settled by which groups.

One final note, the current names of some of the villages this deep into Russia do not appear on Google Maps.  They have been verified and do show up on other maps, but not Google Maps.  You can't even successfully search for the name.  I believe it has to do with the sources that are used for names, so it could change in the future as Google's sources change.  There's a note next to each one that is affected by this unexplained feature.

And this, folks, is why the coordinates are so valuable!  

Make sure you record the coordinates in your research and family trees in addition to the names.


Thank you.  :)


11 October 2017

Toto, I have the feeling we're not in Glückstal anymore.

When I was at the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia's convention in August, someone asked me, "How far east are you going to go?"  My answer was, "As far as the maps will take us."

We play no favorites on this project.  Long ago, Dennis and I both got what we needed for our own personal family research, and since then, it's been all about helping others find their ancestral villages by following one map at a time, one colony at a time.

And the maps, it turns out, are taking us to the Far East.  There is an insert on one that shows clusters of Mennonite colonies established around 1927 in the Amur-Ussrui region in far east Russia bordering northeast China.

From page 671 of the 2010 edition of Ulrich Mertens' German-Russian Handbook: A Reference for Russian Germand and German Russian History and Culture with Place Name Listings of Former German Settlement Areas
"Shumanovka, Amur, Blagoveshchensk. Approximately 70 km south of Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border. Possibly founded in 1927/1928. Mennonite. On 15 December 1930 or possibly 1929, all villagers fled to China and via Charbin to Paraguay, where they founded the colony of Fernheim."
There is also a colony called Shumanovka near Slavgorod area of the former Akmolinsk Oblast, current day Altayskiy Kray, on this same map founded in 1911 by Black Sea Germans, possibly from the North Caucasus or Molotschna areas. Given our ancestors' penchant for naming new colonies after old colonies, it's probable there is a colonist connection between the two Shumanovkas. 

Germanic States --> Black Sea --> Siberia --> Far East Russia --> China --> Paraguay

Didn't I tell you Siberia was going to be an interesting area?

I'll try to get a first draft of the Google map posted this weekend.


03 October 2017

In Progress: Map of German Settlements in Siberia and Central Asia

There are two maps with what we estimate to be about 400 colonies on them.  Dennis has got 96 so far and pointed out that Stumpp marked some of them with an estimated location as the colonies were long gone by the time Stumpp mapped them.  Those are marked differently on the map than the others.  Religions and the origin of the colonists who settled them (Black Sea or Volga) are indicated on the map.  Stay tuned! This is going to be an interesting area.

Karte der deutschen Siedlungen bzw. Siedlungsgebiete im asiatischen Teil der Sowjetunion: Nord-(Siberien) u. Mittelasien 
Map of German settlements and settlements in the Asian part of the Soviet Union: North (Siberia) Central Asia

Karte der deutschen Siedlungen in den Gebieten Omsk, Slawgorod (Kulunda- Steppe), Zelinograd (Atmolinsk)
Map of German settlements in the areas of Omsk, Slavgorod (Kulunda-Steppe), Zelinograd (Atmolinsk)


29 September 2017

Valley of Good Fortune: Glückstal, Odessa, Russia

When Russian Tsar Alexander I issued his manifesto of 20 February 1804, German families wasted no time immigrating to Süd Rußland, South Russia.

Location of Glückstal on Karl Stumpp's
Karte der deutschen Siedlungenim Gebiet Odessa, AHSGR map #2
The first Glückstal colonists – three German families – arrived between 1804 and 1805, just after Russian Tsar Alexander I published his Manifesto opening up the Black Sea for colonization by experienced farmers.  They were settled into the Armenian village of Grigoripol on the Dnister River. In 1805, another 67 families from Württemberg and settled in Grigoripol, too.  In 1806, another nine more families from Warsaw settled there, and in 1807, another 24 German families from Hungary arrived.

The district of Glückstal wasn't officially established until 1808, and the Glückstal colony, a Lutheran colony, wasn't founded until the spring of 1809, when 106 families were resettled from Grigoripol to the Moldavian village of Glinnoi due to conflicts with the Armenians in the village.  And additional 19 families arrived that same year.

View of Glückstal from one of the Neuer Haus- und Landwirtschaftskalender für deutsche Ansiedler im südlichen Russland und Kalender at the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen in Stuttgart. Photo courtesy of Gerhard Walter's photo gallery.

Upon resettlement, the story goes, Councilor von Rosenkampf, the president of the Colonists' Welfare Committee Association exclaimed, "Das ist euer Glück!"  This is your fortune!  They renamed the colony Glückstal – the Valley of Good Fortune.

The colonists in Glückstal were experienced farmers and craftsmen, per the requirements for immigration of Alexander's manifesto.  In 1825, the list of craftsmen included the following: 5 millers, 4 cobblers, 4 tailors, 4 blacksmiths, 1 weaver, 1 baker, 2 oil pressers, 2 coopers, 2 masons, 1 shepherd, 2 cabinet makers, 1 butcher, 1 harness maker, 1 glove maker, 1 locksmith and 1 doctor.

As for crops, the colonists grew very little rye and more summer wheat than winter wheat, along with oats, barley, corn and potatoes.  They also had extensive beekeeping operations.  The Russian government strongly advocated planting trees, and although the soil was rich, it was too dry. There were willows and acacia trees, but attempts to grow oak trees to maturity failed.  In the orchards, there were apples, plums, pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, mulberries, and according to the 1848 report, that year there were about 519 acres of vineyards with 465,400 vines.

According to a memoir by Mathilda (Schöll) Dollinger from The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America, A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy & Folklore, the grapes grown in Glückstal were plentiful and so sweet that no additional sugar was needed to ferment them into wine. And often so much wine was made that they ran out of room to store it once the barrels in the cellar were full. The rest was stored in the well.

Martin Schilling (b. 1767) of Steinsfurt, Baden – my 4th great-grandfather – and his family was one of the families that arrived in Glückstal in1809. They left from Frankfurt in March and arrived in Glückstal in July, losing a young son, Phillip, along the way or at least before the first Revisionliste in 1816.

Below are photos of pages from Evangelisch Zeugnis der Wahrheit, known as the "Lutheran preacher's book" or "Lutheran prayerbook" in my family.  Martin Schilling bought this book with him from Germany when he immigrated to Glückstal in 1809. He was 14 years old the year the book was published, 1781, making it possibly a confirmation gift.  It was passed from father to eldest son to eldest son, and so on. His great-grandson, Johann Schilling (my great-grandfather, b. 1872 in Glückstal), brought it to the United States with him when he immigrated in 1898.  From there it went to Jacob Schilling (my grandfather, b. 1901 on the the Schilling homestead near Wishek, North Dakota), then to Cornelius Schilling (my father, b. 1928 on the Schilling farm, nine miles north, 2 miles west of Bowdle, South Dakota).  

At that point, I intercepted the next handoff for the sake of preservation.  

The front page of Evangelisch Zeugnis der Wahrheit published 1781.  Martin Schilling bought this book with him from Steinsfurt, Baden, Germany when he immigrated to Glückstal in 1809.  Photo courtesy of Sandy Schilling Payne.

The inside page of the book has signatures. The name at the top is Friderich Schilling.  It's not certain which Friderich Schilling this was, but it's possible it was Martin Schilling's father (my 5th great-grandfather, b. 1726 in Daudenzell, Baden).  Wilhelm Schilling (b. 1841 in Glückstal) in the center was Johann's father, Martin's grandson.  And the smaller Wilhelm below the date could've been Wilhelm Sr.'s youngest son, also Wilhelm (b. 1883 in Glückstal), practicing his signature. 

The inside page of the book is written "Glückstal 1893."   Signatures of Friderich Schilling, Wilhelm Schilling and another Wilhelm Schilling (probably the elder Wilhelm's youngest son). Photo courtesy of Sandy Schilling Payne.

This cross stitch bookmark was made by Rosina (Keszler) Schilling (my great-grandmother, b. 1873 in Glückstal or Neu-Glückstal) for her husband, Johann Schilling, sometime after they married in November 1895.  It says "Aus Libe Vergiß Mein nicht" – For Love Forget Me Not, signed with her initials, RS.

It was kept tucked in the Lutheran prayerbook for close to 120 years. 

A cross stitch bookmark made by Rosina (Keszler) Schilling.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Schilling Payne.

Location of Glückstal, known today as Hilinaia, Transnistria, Moldova. 

Learn More: 
Black Sea German ResearchHistory of Glückstal
Germans from Russia Settlement LocationsGlückstal Colonies Google map
Glückstal Colonies Research Association
The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America, A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy & Folklore, Glückstal Colonies Research Association, 2004.
Odessa3 – A German-Russian Genealogical Library


22 September 2017

New Map: Saint Petersburg and Nowgorod Colonies

The German colonies in the Saint Petersburg and Nowgorod areas have been updated. There were a few on the big map already, done based on historical names, but Dennis has now completed measuring the coordinates of these colonies from Karl Stumpp's Karte der deutschen Siedlungen in den Gouv. St. Petersburg (Leningrad) u. Nowgorod.

Like Volga and Belowesch, the Mother colonies in this area are very old. Three were founded in 1765 and another three in 1767. In total, sixty-five locations were found. Six were not: Samsonowka, Schirokoje, Iwanowka, Kleine Kolonie, Salominka, Schäferkolonie. Those not located were in the southern part of St. Petersburg. If anyone has any information about location specifics those those six colonies, please let us know.

The maps are getting more difficult to find at this point in the project. This was not an easy map to get our hands on, so much thanks goes to Rachel Schmidt at the Germans from Russia Heritage Society for locating and sending a copy from the GRHS Library.

One new thing I'm doing with these colonies is adding photos to the colonies on the maps. Right now, you can click on the Google Map link in the sources to see the town or city as it is now. But by adding colony-specific photos (cemeteries, churches, houses, etc.), you will see German Russian specific photos (current and historic) and maps of the colony. In addition to adding to the "one stop shopping" for German villages, this will be helpful in at least a couple of ways: 

  • For further documenting defunct colonies that have no current photos, attaching historical photos or plat maps will hopefully show how alive the colony once was.
  • For those colonies that grew into much larger populations, photos will document the old structures of the colony separate from the rest of the newer areas. 

I love automation, and without it, the maps as you know them would not exist. The data refresh to hundreds or thousands of colonies at a time happens in a matter of minutes. However, there is no way to automate adding photos to custom Google maps. It's one photo at a time to one colony at a time. It's a labor of love, and a long term commitment. There are a few done, and over the next few days, more will be added, and I'll send out an update then. Have a look at Owcino to see where I'm going with this. You'll see a photo at the top, and if you scroll down, you'll see more. Just click on any of the photos to see more of them.

A multitude of thanks goes to Irina Kibina for allowing me to link to the photos she has on her website, Deutsche Kolonien bei Sankt-Petersburg und Nowgorod 1765-1941. If you have family from this area, you should check out her site. There is a lot of information, including family names, revision lists and more photos.

The following maps have been updated:
Saint Petersburg/Nowgorod
GRSL (Germans from Russia Settlement Locations) map

The colonies that were found, including alternate names/spelling, are (for the sake of Google indexing):

22nd Kolonie, Achtundzwanziger, Aleksandrovskaya, Alexander-Kolonie, Alexander-Kolonie, Alexander-Kolonie, Alexander-Kolonie, Alexandrovka, Alexandrovka, Besborodkino, Bichky, Colony at the Porcelain Factory, Cronstadt, Detskoye Selo, Deutch-Shuvalovo, Deutsch Lewaschowa, Deutsch Lewaschowa, Deutsch Lewaschowa, Etiup, Etuep, Etuep, Etüp, Etyup, Farforovoy, Farforowka, Farforowka, Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Friedental, Friedental, Fröhliche Kolonie, Fröhliche Kolonie, Gorelovo, Grashdanka, Grashdanka, Grenz-Kolonie, Grenz-Kolonie, Ishora, Isvar, Iswar, Iswar, Jamburg, Jamburg, Janino, Janino, Kamenka, Kamenka, Kiepen, Kingisepp, Kipen, Kipen, Kirchdorf, Klyuchinsky, Kolonie bei Kovalevo, Kolonie bei Kowalewo, Kolonie bei Kowalewo, Kolonie bei Murino, Kolonie bei Murino, Kolonie bei Rutschij, Kolonie bei Rutschij, Kolonie near Murino, Kolpino, Kolpino, Kolpino, Kolpino, Krasnenka, Kronshtadt, Kronstad, Kronstad, Kronstadt, Kronštádt, Kronstädter-Kolonie, Kronstädter-Kolonie, Ksenofontova, Ksenofontowa, Ksenofontowa, Lagekolonie, Lagekolonie, Laugaz, Levashova, Ligovo, Ligowo, Ligowo, Luck, Luga, Luga, Luisen, Luisino, Luisino, Luts'k, Luzk, Luzk, Lyssino, Marienburg, Marienburg, Marino, Marino, Moskovskoe Pole, Moskovskoye Polye, Moskowskoje Polje, Moskowskoje Polje, Nebe, Nebe, Neu-Alexandrovsky, Neu-Alexandrowski, Neu-Alexandrowski, Neu-Luck, Neu-Pargola, Neu-Pargolowo, Neu-Pargolowo, Neu-Porkhov, Neu-Saratovka, Neu-Saratowka, Neu-Saratowka, Neudorf, Neue Siedlung, Neue Siedlung, Neuhausen, Nikolai-Kolonie, Nikolai-Kolonie, Nikolayevskaya, Nyemetskaya Kolonya, Oranienbaum, Oranienbaum, Oranienbaumer-Kolonie, Oranienbaumer-Kolonie, Oserki, Oserki, Ovchino, Ovcino, Ovtsino, Ovtsyno, Owcino, Owcino, Owzino, Panovo, Panowo, Panowo, Patkanovo, Peterhof, Peterhof, Peterhof-Stadt, Peterhofer-Kolonie, Peterhofer-Kolonie, Pisskarevka, Pisskarewka, Pisskarewka, Porchowo, Porchowo, Porkhovo, Porokhva, Prijutino, Prijutino, Pryutino, Pushkin, Pushkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Rote Ansiedlung, Rote Ansiedlung, Ruchy, Samson, Samson, Samsonovka, Sceglovo, Sceglovo, Schlüsselburger Kolonie, Schöndorf, Schöndorf, Schtscheglowo, Sechziger Kolonie, Shcheglovo, Simson, Slutsk, Smoljnaja Kolonie, Smoljnaja Kolonie, Smolny, Smolynaya Kolonie, Snamenski-Kolonie, Snamenski-Kolonie, Srednaya-Ragata, Srednaya-Ragata, Srednnjaja Rogatka, Srednyaya Rogatka, Strel'na, Strelna, Strelna, Strelna-Kolonie, Strelna-Kolonie, Sulzk, Sulzk, Tarasikha, Tarassicha, Tarassicha, Tarassikha, Tsarskoe Selo, Uritsk, Urizk, Urizk, Utkino Sawod, Utkino Zavod, Utkino Zavod, Veiten, Veiten, Vessiolyy Oselok, Visherka, Volkovo, Vorony Ostrov, Wischerka, Wischerka, Wolkowo, Wolkowo, Woronij Ostrow, Woronij Ostrow, Xenofontovka, Yamburg, Yanina, Yanino, Znamenka, Znamensky-Kolonie, Zweiundzwanziger Kolonie.