13 September 2017

New Map: Belowesch Colonies

It's very exciting to locate very old German colonies in Russia, and these are among the oldest.

There has been a lot of interest recently about the Belowesch colonies among both Volga and Black Sea German researchers.  This group of colonies was founded at the same time the early Volga colonies were founded.  Unlike other areas, they remained quite isolated.  The interest from Volga researchers centers around the colonists who founded these villages travelled from the same locations in Germany and at the same time as colonists headed to the Volga.  The long list of village names from Dale Wahl on Odessa3 even notes Volga villages with the same names as the Mother colonies in Belowesch. And the Black Sea researchers are interested because Belowesch daughter colonies of the same names were established up in Mariupol beginning in the 1830s.

I asked Dennis to have a look, and, as usual, he turned them around in record time.  He loves special requests. Special thanks goes to Maggie Hein and Carolyn Schott for providing enough info to find them quickly, including a small map by Karl Stumpp included in an article about the colonies in the 1955 Heimatbuch der Ostumsiedler. It was good enough to get the job done! I've added a link to our  Sources  page, and there's also a link below.

So we have a new map of the Belowesch Colonies. There are six Mother colonies founded in 1766, although Stumpp had varied years for them.  Most sources agree the Mother colonies were all founded in the same year; perhaps another case of "settled" before "founded" applies here.  Four of the colonies were Lutheran and two were Catholic, and nearly all of the 147 families were from Upper Hesse. Stumpp reported that 25 of these families were craftsmen, including shoemakers, tailors, locksmiths, carpenters, masons, saddlers, cloth weavers, millers and bakers.  The first daughter colony, Kreschtschatik, was established in the same area in 1802, 42.4 miles east (68.2 km) east of of Belowesch. In addition to the daughter colonies in Mariupol, there would eventually also be daughter colonies in the areas of Crimea, North Caucasus and Orenburg (Ural).... and possibly Volga if the long list is correct.

Today, only three of the colonies still exist, and two of them, Groß-Werder and Klein-Werder, have grown together into current day Zelenivka, Chernihivs'ka, Ukraine.  

Just a note when looking at files you may find regarding these colonies. Because Mother and daughters have the same names, make sure you take note of the area mentioned in the documents. The original Mother colonies will be in the Chernigov or Tschernigov area (although when it was founded it was a part of the Kiev Viceroyalty), while the daughter colonies will be in Mariupol or in one of the other areas mentioned above. They are lumped together on some sites, so you'll need to pay attention to the area.

The following maps have been updated with the new colonies: 
All of the maps associated with this site along with their descriptions can be found on the Maps page and a list of sources used on the Sources page.

Learn More:
Belowesch Colonies in Chernigov
The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763 to 1862, p. 91 and 823-851