20 April 2017

Sorting Through Volga: New and Refreshed Maps

Did I mention this is a work in progress?

There has been a lot of re-checking of maps and editing data going on behind the scenes lately that will continue for months to come. Dennis has gone through the village data against the paper maps, and I've been following behind validating, editing and making notes before updating the online maps. And in doing so, I discovered we had some information that was incorrectly categorized.  

The Volga map had more villages that were actually in the official Volga region as defined by the governorate, so those have been pulled out into two new maps: the Samara Colonies and the Ural Colonies.  

Samara was indeed the Volga region, so it remains there on the full GRSL map and the Volga Region map, but those who settled the colonies came much later and from different places than the original Volga colonists. They deserve their own colony group.  The Ural colonies are east and northeast of the Volga colonies and west of the Ural Mountains.  They include the Neu-Samara Mennonites, the Orenburg Mennonite and Protestants colonies, the Ufa colonies (Catholic, Mennonite, Protestant), the Aktyubinsk colonies founded on privately bought land by Black Sea and Volga colonists and the Arkadak Mennonite settlement. 

The following online maps are now available: 

Volga Colonies (data refresh)
Samara Colonies (new)
Volga Region (new)
Ural Colonies (new)
GRSL (Germans from Russia Settlement Locations) map (data refresh)

For the Volga region (Volga and Samara), the following paper maps were used for village locations: 

  • Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Wolgagebiet (Map of the German settlements in the Volga Region). Karl Stumpp, AHSGR, Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1954. WorldCat link.
  • Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Raum Alt-Samara, Ufa-Dawlekanowo, Orenburg, Neu-Samara und Aktjubinsk (Map of German settlements in the area of Alt-Samara, Ufa-Dawlekanowo, Orenburg, New Samara and Aktjubinsk). Karl Stumpp and AHSGR, 1964. WorldCat link.
  • Carte des colonies Allemandes etables sur le Volga dans le territoire de Saratov (Map of the German colonies on the Volga in the territory of Saratov). Pierre François Tardieu, 1788.
And for the Ural colonies, the Map of German settlements in the area of Alt-Samara, Ufa-Dawlekanowo, Orenburg, New Samara and Aktjubinsk was also used.

The paper maps used to find the villages are available for purchase from the American Heritage Society of Germans from Russia.  Copyright prevents sharing them in full here.  If you want a copy of a map for your family archive, note the map used in the Sources for your village. There are also many other maps of the Volga out on the internet.  Finally, the OCLC WorldCat link is provided so you can find the nearest library with a copy of the two Stumpp maps, if you'd just like to look at them.


18 April 2017

Layout of German Dorfs in Russia Part II

While editing the latest batch of colony data, I ran across a couple of really nice examples of how farmsteads must've looked back when our ancestors lived in Russia...because they still look like it today.

For a refresher of how German colonies were laid out, see a previous post from November last year on the Layout of German Dorfs in Russia.  Take a look at the drawings for the farmyards and then take a look at of the photos below.

These are Mennonite colonies the Orenburg oblast (map coming soon).

Kuterija, Orenberg, Russia

Jugowka, Orenberg, Russia

Klinok, Orenburg, Russia


05 April 2017

Number of Villages by Current Country - No Map

This evening while contemplating a new map laying out the villages by their current countries, I jotted down the count per country so far. 

Current CountryNumber of Villages
Azerbaijan 9
Bulgaria 5
Georgia 20
Kazakhstan 2
Moldova 76
Poland 120
Romania 39
Russia 523
Ukraine 2,346

That last number – Ukraine, 2,346 – exceeds the 2000 limit of pins that can be put into a group on a Google map.  So....I guess I won't be creating a new map, but I thought I'd share the numbers anyway. 


04 April 2017

Map Refresh: Crimea, Galizien, Kherson, Kronau, Schwedengebiet, Taurien, Volga, Zagradovka

With spring arriving (northern hemisphere), there has been a lot of reviewing of maps and data clean up and standardization going on the past couple months.

For those who were aware of this project a year ago, you might recall a document with a list of changes that kept track of the progress of village locates. That has been started up again to keep track of all the moving parts and for those who are interested in the details of what additions and updates occur with the data used to create the maps. You can access the change history file off the Maps page.

This week there are several colony group map refreshes:

The Black Sea Area map has been updated with the changes for Crimea, Kherson, Kronau, Schwedengebiet, Taurien and Zagradovka. And the full Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map has been updated with all the changes. 

Current total village count: 3140


12 March 2017

Map Refresh: Galizien and Volga Regions

The maps for the Galizien and Volga areas have been refreshed with the latest data.

The Galizien colonies now have links to the Rudolf Unterschütz Map of the German Settlements in Galicia, which the Galizien German Descendants society has obtained permission to use and allowed us to link to from their website.

The Volga map has 46 additional colonies, bringing the total in that area now to 376. The naming standard for current names of defunct villages is rolling out in Volga along with additional sources and links to Google maps of current locations, which often include photos of the village and sometimes other information researchers may find useful, especially in larger towns.

The full Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map has been updated as well.  And as always, you can find all the maps on the menu on the right and on the Maps and Data page.

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10 March 2017

Finding Yarmi

Location of Bischofsfeld, Kutshurgan, Odessa (AKA Yarmi)
Cynthia Goetz Stone began her long search for her maternal German-Russian great-grandma Amelia's birthplace in 1999. 

Amelia Heier Hartman's death card very clearly stated she was born in Yarmi, Russia.  

The problem was no one had ever heard of Yarmi.  

The village was not mentioned in any of the research materials available at the time. For years she searched until she came across a reference to a village that sounded like it, Yereme, and learned the full Russian name of Yereme, the village her great-grandmother knew as Yarmi, was Jeremejewka.  

Later she learned the German name of the village was Bischofsfeld.

Bischofsfeld was was a Catholic daughter colony in the Kutschurgan district founded in 1887. Today Yarmi is called Yeremiivka (Єреміївка), located in the Odes'ka Oblast in Ukraine.

You can read Cynthia's touching story about her search for her great-grandma's beloved Yarmi in the latest edition (March 2017) of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society's journal Heritage Review.

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03 March 2017

Benkendorf, Akkerman, Bessarabia

Plat map of Benkendorf
Source: 1963 Heimutbuch Benkendorf
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection
Benkendorf was founded in 1863.

Today Benkendorf is a part of Velykomar'yanivka (Великомар'янівка) in the Odessa oblast, Ukraine.  Its population in 2001 was 774. 

Location of Benkendorf



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Mischeny, Cahul, Bessarabia

Mischeny was founded in 1912 on land bought from a Bulgarian community.  The population in 1939 was 83.  Today it's known as Meşeni and is situated in Moldova. 

Plat map of Mischeny
Source: Deutsches Auslands-Institute (DAI) microfilm T81, 8374, Allen Konrad
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

Location of Mischeny



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23 February 2017

Parapara, Ismail, Bessarabia

Parapara was founded in 1916 by settlers from Basyrjamka, Hoffnungsfeld, Gnadental, Neu Arzis and Neu Elft. It was a part of the Arzis Protestant parish.

In 1939, the population was 160.  Today the village is defunct. 

Plat map of Parapara
Source: 1986 Heimatkalender der Bessarabiendeutschen
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

Location of Parapara



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Neu-Alexandrowka, Akkerman, Bessarabia

Neu-Alexandrowka, a Protestant daughter colony in Bessarabia, was founded in 1913.

Today, Neu-Alexndrowka is defunct.

Plat map of Neu-Alexandrowka
Source: 1986 Heimatkalender der Bessarabiendeutschen
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

Location of Neu-Alexandrowka



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Ebenfeld, Cahul, Bessarabia

Ebenfeld was founded in 1914 by settlers from Neu Sarata.  The 1923 census recorded 25 households with 99 inhabitants.  The population grew to 157 over the next 10 years, and by 1939, there were 255 in habitants.  On 23 August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed.  The German villagers, numbering 180, were repatriated to Germany, forced to leave their homes, workshops and land. After their exodus, the name of the village was changed to Cîmpul Drept.  It is now in Moldova, and the 2004 census recorded a population of 410, none of whom declared German ethnicity.

Plat map of Ebenfeld
Source: National Archives and Records Administration & Dale Wahl Collection
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection
Location of Ebenfeld



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21 February 2017

Neu-Oneschti, Chisinau, Bessarabia

Neu-Oneschti was founded 1890 near Alt-Oneschti (founded 1885) and Strymbeni (founded 1881). All three were Protestant colonies settled on leased land.  Although the population in 1904 was 170 and 324 in 1939, Neu-Oneschti is now defunct.

Plat map of Neu-Oneschti
Source: Jarbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien 1992
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection
Location of Neu-Oneschti


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Alt-Oneschti, Chisinau, Bessarabia

Alt-Oneschti was founded in 1885 on leased land near neighboring Strymbeni (founded 1881) and defunct colony Neu-Oneschti (founded 1890).  The leased land was probably a part of the Russian village of Oneşti.  This village actually dated back to 1528. It's name changed to Purceleni sometime around 1632 and then back to Oneşti after the German population was repatriated back to Germany in 1939.  

In 1904, the population was 170, and in 1939, the population was 351.  Today the village continues to be called Oneşti, is in Moldova, and, in 2004, had a population of 1,196.

Plat map of Alt-Oneschti
Source: Jarbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien 1992
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

Location of Alt-Oneschti



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Strymbeni, Chisinau, Bessarabia

Plat map of Strymbeni
Source: Jarbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien 1992
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection
Strymbeni was a Protestant daughter colony founded on leased land in 1881. It is located just northeast of neighboring colonies Alt-Oneschti (founded 1885) and defunct colony Neu-Oneschti (founded 1890).

Today, Strymbeni is still called Strîmbeni and is situated in Moldova.

Location of Strymbeni



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19 February 2017

Defunct Villages: Bessarabia

Nearly a third of the German villages that have been mapped across Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia are defunct. And they are haunting beautiful.

A defunct village is one that no longer exists for any of a variety of reasons.
  • It may have been abandoned by its original German settlers due to poor farming or living conditions. 
  • It may have been resettled intentionally by the Russian government. 
  • It may have been attacked by nearby tribes causing settlers leave.
  • It may have been evacuated prior to advancing armies.
  • It may have been destroyed during or after military invasions.
Nothing remains but empty fields, scarred earth, the bones of structures that once stood...and the stories we still tell of our German ancestors who lived there.

Below is a short video with images of the 44 defunct villages in Bessarabia. 

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15 February 2017

Galizien Map Update

Today we have updates for the Galizien colonies, our German cousins in the old Austrian Empire next door to the Russian Empire. Several more links to village plat maps have been added along with a few corrections and clarification of some of the sources.

As always, you can get to all of our maps either from the menu on the right hand side of this page or from our Maps and Data page.

Galizien Colonies
Germans from Russia Settlements Map (all villages) 


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12 February 2017

Bessarabia Map Complete

Dennis has been spending some time going over Bessarabia again to make sure every village is accounted for from Karl Stumpp's Map of German Settlements in Bessarabia is on our map.  There have been a number of adjustments, a few additions, and he's also added a link to the current village in Google maps in the sources for each. You can click on this link and see information about the town as it exists today, sometimes including items such as population, area, time, temperature and photos. We'll be adding this to other areas over time.

Aside from adding plat maps, we believe that Bessarabia is now complete. If we're missing any villages that you can help guide us on finding, please let us know.

We have three map updates today, and the list of villages in PDF format has also been updated.  As always, you can get to all of our maps either from the menu on the right hand side of this page or from our Maps and Data page.

Bessarabian Colonies
Black Sea Colonies 
Germans from Russia Settlements Map (all villages) 


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11 February 2017

Happy Birthday to Our Map!

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!  Feliz Cumpleaños!  

One year ago on 11 February 2016, our little map of Germans from Russia Settlement Locations was created for an article in the Germans from Russia Heritage Society's Heritage Review .

It had 103 villages on it.

Cute isn't it? All full of possibilities and white space.

Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map, geboren 11 Februar 2016

They grow up so fast.  3,089 villages and counting.

Germans from Russia Settlement locations map today.

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04 February 2017

Dennewitz, Akkerman, Bessarabia

Dennewitz was a daughter colony in Bessarabia founded in 1834 by 15 families from other colonies in Bessarabia including Alt Posttal, Wittenberg and Kulm.  Some also came from Grunbach in Wüttemberg, from Baden and from Poland.  

The colony was founded on land that was owned by the Mother colony Teplitz.  The colony was originally named Hamburg after the tenant who owned the land.  However, the Government later named it Dennewitz in memory of the victory over Napoleon in Dennewitz, Prussia.  

Today, Dennewitz is called Pryamobalka (Прямобалка) in the Odessa Oblast, Ukraine.

Plat map of Dennewitz.
Source: Heimatkalender der Bessarabiendeutschen 1984
Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection
Location of Dennewitz



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            03 February 2017

            Tschiligider, Akkerman, Bessarabia

            Tschiligider, also known as Chiligider and Gighir Amara, was a Protestant daughter colony founded in 1884. It is now a part of Novoselivka, Odessa Oblast, Ukarine

            The original settlers came from Bessarabian Mother colonies Beresina, Friedenstal, Tarutino, Sarata, Lichtental and Klöstitz.  
            Plat map of Tschiligider in Bessarabia
            Source:  1987 Heimatkalender der Bessarabiendeutchen
            Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

            Location of  Tschiligider



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            02 February 2017

            Gnadenfeld, Akkerman, Bessarabia

            Gnadenfeld was a Protestant daughter colony in Bessarabia. It is now known as Svitlodolyns'ke, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine.  It was established in either 1873 or 1881 and was a part of the parish of Klöstitz parish in 1904 and Eigenfeld parish in 1939. 

            Plat map of Gnadenfeld
            Source: Cronik der Gemeinde, Gnadenfeld (Bessarabien)
            Map courtesy of the Black Sea German Research plat map collection

            Location of Gnadenfeld



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