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.