01 February 2021

1855 Maps of German Lutherans in Russia

Recently, I ran across a German atlas of Lutherans in Russia, Atlas der Evangelisch - Lutherischen Gemeinen in Russland. It contained five maps that showed the consistories (administrative body of the church) of each area including some of the German colonies—not just the Lutheran colonies, but also colonies of Catholics, Mennonites, and other other denominations of Protestantism practiced among the German colonists in Russia at the time. 

The atlas was published in St. Petersburg by the Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Imperial Academy of Sciences) on 7 March 1855. The author was listed as anonymous, and there was a note that said it was allowed to be printed on the condition that a certain number of copies were sent to the Census Committee. 

Im sharing the maps here along with a few comments about things I noticed on the maps that I found interesting. To see the original, georeferenced scan of each map, click on the image. It will take you to the full atlas at the David Rumsey Map Collection


Karte des europäischen Russland 

The map of European Russia shows color-coded boundaries of Lutheran consistorial districts in1855. These colors carry through on the rest of the maps in the atlas. The districts include St. Petersburg, Moskau (Moscow), Kurland (Courland), Livland (Livonia), Ehstland (Estonia), and Oesl (Saaremaa, an Estonian island in the Baltic Sea). The Baltic area is heavily represented here likely because Germans had been living in the Baltic areas long before Catherine the Greats invitation in 1763. The Baltic states became a part of Russia in the early 1700s. The consistories of St. Petersburg and Moscow covered all of the Germans in Russia that followed the immigration stories that began in around 1763. Note on the upper right, there is a list of cities in Siberia along with the distance in versts (1 verst = .66 miles or 1.06 kilometers) to Moscow, their consistory. Also at the very top left, you see a note about a Russian city in North America, Neu-Archangelsk (Sitka, Alaska, USA today). It, too, was a part of the Moscow consistory at the time.


Karte der evangelisch-lutherischen Gemeinen in dem Gouvernement St. Petersburg 

This map show the parish districts around the city of St. Petersburg along with some of the German colonies. Most of the colonies around St. Petersburg were Lutheran. There were three colonies that had both Catholics and Protestants (Frankfurt, Luzk, and Porchowo) in the Jamburg district (V) , but they are not noted on this map. 

1855 map of the Lutheran parishes around the city of St. Petersburg. 


Die Kolonien in den Gouvernements Saratow and Samara 

This map shows the German colonies in the Saratov and Samara Governorates. Given the penciled in colonies, its likely that this atlas was owned at one time by a Volga German, who added what was missing on the map. One of my favorite librarians was named Helen Barber. I met her when I was a freshman in college and later worked with her when I joined the professional library staff at New Mexico State University. She wouldve had a heart attack over these pencil marks. I recall vividly the first time she helped me. Upon seeing a pencil mark in a book, she gasped and snarled, Barbarians! She snatched the nub of a pencil I would years later learn that she kept behind her ear at all times and erased the mark. In this case, the caretakers at the David Rumsey Map Collection embraced the additions as a part of the maps history. 

The map key color codes the Lutheran, Catholic, and Mennonite colonies, and also shows private land and land for sale to the colonists. 

1855 map of the German colonies in the Saratov and Samara Governorates.


Die Kolonien in Bessarabien un in dem Gouvernement Cherson 

This map shows the colonies in Bessarabia and Kherson Governorate is what was known as South Russia. The color-coded key indicates areas where there were Lutheran, Catholic, Separatist (Hoffnungstal), and Bulgarian colonies. I do not know why Bulgarian colonies were noted specifically on this map. Presumably they were Bulgarian Lutherans in Russia instead of German Lutherans in Russia.

German colonies in Bessarabia and Kherson Governorate


Die Kolonien in den Gouvernements Jekaterinoslaw und Taurien 

This map shows the colonies in the Ekaterinoslav and Tauria Governorates is what was known as South Russia. The color-coded key indicates areas where there were Lutheran, Catholic, Bulgarian (again), and Pietists colonies (Neu-Stuttgard, Neu-HoffnungstalNeu-Hoffnung, and Rosenfeld).

German Colonies in the Ekaterinoslav and Tauria Governorates


Overall, this was an interesting atlas. Useful for more than just showing where Lutherans lived in Russia in 1855 (the last five pages of the atlas provides statistics for each area), it would also make for some nice illustrations in family histories where you might want to show proximities of the colonies on a period map rather than on a modern map.