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)