24 December 2019

Merry Christmas to All

14 December 2019

Interesting Maps

I love other people's maps. I like seeing what they're doing and what tools they use. Periodically I share some of the maps that have caught my eye. It's been a while, so here's a list of some interesting maps that I've appreciated and think you might enjoy. All have been added to the Maps page (if you only bookmark one page on this site, it should be the Maps page) at the bottom under the category Other Map Projects.

• • •

Eastern Armenia Churches and Their Records
Camille Andrus has put together a Google MyMap of towns in Armenia in the former Russian Empire with churches and then grouped them by denomination and district (uyezd). Each town includes the name of the place as it was in the Russian Empire, the district, the denomination, a link to the church records at FamilySearch and the coordinates for the place.  Many also have a link to the entry in the online version of the Spiski Naselennykh Mest Rossiiskoi Imperii (gazetteer of Imperial Russia circa 1880). I like that there are active links in the entries that take you to your next steps in your research journey. This map is currently being updated.

 Eastern Armenia Churches and Their Records
Eastern Armenia Churches and Their Records

Maps of the 2019 Volga German Tours
Custom tours of the Volga colonies have been led by Brent Mai and and Mila Koretnikov since 2016. This year, Sergej Koretnikov's maps of the Volga German Tours had a nice surprise: markers for the locations of former buildings and other landmarks in the colonies that were visited on the tour. I had heard he was planning on something like this using a handheld GPS to record the locations, but this is the first time I'd seen the resulting maps. So instead of just one pin for Yagodnaya Polyana, there are six – one for each of the following landmarks: the old cemetery, the German school, the new cemetery, the old German school, the old mill and the site of the church. This is a great way to include historical context to modern maps. Although I wish the coordinates were included in the information for each so that they can be used with other maps, I think what he's doing this is a really great idea. I hope those who do research on individual colonies will consider creating similar maps with markers on sites where known buildings, farmsteads and other landmarks once stood. The real value of GPS is the precision that you can apply and say "this stood exactly here."

There are three tour maps, all made with Google MyMaps. The screenshots below are in satellite mode, but the default maps were in plain map mode. You can switch the view mode by going to the bottom of the legend on the left and clicking the little map.

Volga German Tour A, June 9-10, 2019: Yagodnaya Polyana, Pobochnaya, Kutter, Huck, Norka, Kolb, Frank.

Volga German Tour B, June 18, 2019: Bangert, Stahl-am-Tarlyk, Kukkus, Warenburg, Seelman.

Volga German Tour C, August 3, 2019: Friedendeld, Ährenfeld, Reinwald, Krasnoyar.

Germans from Russia Settlements Worldwide

Justin Ehresman has been working on a map that plots every place that Germans from Russia lived, from their origins in the Germanic states, to the generations who lived in the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, to their migrations worldwide up to the present day. Although still in progress, you can clearly see how far and wide the descendants of Germans from Russia have migrated since the mid-1700s, including some surprises – Africa!

This map is made with the mapping service ZeeMaps.

Germans from Russia Settlements Worldwide

Historic Place Map of Germans from Russia and Eastern Europe Settlement Locations
This map is by Otto Riehl using data provided by Dennis Bender. These two have been working together for a while now on a list of places that has become a part of the Historic Genealogical Gazetteer (GOV), a part of the even larger site of everything-German-genealogy, CompGen (Verein für Computergenealogie). There is a lot going on with this map, and while it's not the easiest to navigate, it's worth spending some time on it. You can browse to locations if you know where your'e going, but ideally, the site's instructions suggest that you search the spreadsheets first, find the colony, then click on the map link to take you directly to it. From the icon on the map, click on other icons to link to more information, view the entry in GOV, or view the place on historic maps (external sites). There is a lot of good colony information in here. Well worth your time.

This map is hosted on the site Historic Place, which uses OpenStreetMap as its mapping service.

Historic Place Map of Germans from Russia and Eastern Europe Settlement Locations


08 December 2019

Survey Closing December 31st

The year is winding down, and so is the Germans from Russia in America Survey. It will close at midnight on December 31, 2019. If you have contributed, my deepest thanks for sharing your family's stories and locations in the U.S. The time you put into answering the survey has enriched the project in ways I'd never imagined. 

If you haven't contributed and would still like to, please go to http://bit.ly/surveyGRinUSA.

To learn more about the project visit https://america.germansfromrussiasettlementlocations.org/


03 December 2019

Giving Tuesday

I'm often asked if there is a way to donate to the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations project. I've been thinking about this lately, and I have a modest proposal.

This project is fun for me. If I was not enjoying myself, I would not be doing it. Anything that comes out of the research that others find useful is just my way of paying it forward year round. #GivingTuesday is a day where people all over the world come together to do good and give back.

So, if you like what the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations project does...and it's helped you with your research or understanding of the role of Germans from Russia in history...and you really want to give, please consider paying it forward by donating to the genealogy society, historical society or university of your choice.  

All of your favorite GR organizations have costs associated with their work that I do not. The cost of running my site is minuscule, and the time I put into the writing and research doesn’t have to be justified to anyone in order to be funded. Not so in the case with the universities, state historical societies or genealogy societies. You could really help out these organizations that rely outside funding. Since I use all of them as sources, you helping them is helping me.

Consider the following possible ways to give and the impact you could make: 
  • Organizations that take items such as personal papers, books, photos, objects, textiles, etc., not only have to hire staff to process the items into the donation, they also have to purchase out of their own funds the archival storage materials for preservation and conservation. Your donation could help offset these costs and keep those treasures protected for generations to come.
  • Having a web presence is important to any organization. Many don't have the technical skills within them to run their own websites and have to outsource the cost of running and maintaining their web presence. Your donation or volunteering your expertise could help offset these costs.
  • For years, some organizations have committed to spending money on purchasing church records from Russian and Ukrainian archives so they can transcribe and translate them and make them available to researchers. Your donation or volunteering your expertise with transcribing and translation could help offset these costs.
  • Genealogy societies thrive on memberships. Join a genealogy society or buy a membership for someone who is just getting started with their family tree. There are many Eastern European and Germans from Russia societies to choose from – some may even be local to you. Most come with newsletters/journals, access to members-only information, including previously researched pedigrees, webinars, maps (yay!), and discounts on books and other research materials. Your membership or donation could help these organizations with the good work that they do and help someone just starting their genealogy journey.
  • Donating your written family history along with your GEDCOM can enrich the genealogy collection of any organization or research group. Consider donating it to several places, not just those that are a part of a genealogy society, but also those that make the information available for free, including university and local public libraries.  
  • Volunteer. One of the most rewarding ways to give back is contributing to ongoing research that others can use. If you make yourself available to an organization, they will find a way to use your own unique talents. 
As I've always said to anyone who has contributed information to this project, every little bit helps.

Thanks for all of your support over the years.