30 November 2021

Giving Tuesday 2021

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 or project you're fond of, they will find a way to use your own unique talents. 
  • Write and submit articles to genealogy and historical societies for publication in their journals and newsletters. Editors are are always looking for articles, and while social media posts may reach a large audience, having your article published creates a permanent record of your story within their archive for future generations of researchers to discover. You may think, “what’s left to say that hasn’t been said already?” Remember this: History doesn’t end. It didn’t end when our ancestors arrived in Russia, and it didn’t end when their descendants arrived in the Americas. The stories of Germans from Russia live on in you and in the stories that you will tell.   
As I've always said to anyone who has contributed information to this project, every little bit helps. Thank you for every little bit you’ve contributed over the years. 


29 November 2021

Roshdestwenskoje, North Caucasus

Roshdestwenskoje (РОЖДЕСТВЕНСКОЕ) on a 1877 map of the Caucasus.
Source: Retromap

Roshdestwenskoje (Rozhdestvenskoye, Roshdestvenka, Roshdestwenka) in the North Caucasus was a Catholic daughter colony founded on the Kuban River in 1864, although Germans from the Volga colony of Köhler may have arrived as early as 1858. 

A Catholic parish was established in Roshdestwenskoje in 1884. The clergy serving the parish included Konrad Keller (1884-1886), Allois Schönfeld (1898-1903) and Johannes Beilmann (1905-1909).

Karl Stumpp notes this colony was founded in the Soviet period (* = in der Sowjetzeit gegründet). Ulrich Mertens in his German-Russian Handbook states it reappeared (alluding that it disappeared at some point) in the Soviet period with a founding date of 1925. Roshdestwenskoje appears on maps from 1877 through 1990 in the same location with the same name. There is, however, another Rozhdestvenskoye that appears today to the northwest of the one that appears on old maps, but it only appears on the English-language Google Map, not on the Russian version and not on Yandex Maps. Logic dictates the colony location on the older maps, supported by early church records (many thanks to Tim Rohr for providing one), is the location of the former German colony. 

1926 map of the Caucasus. Source: Retromap

1942 German map of the Caucasus. Source: Retromap

1985 Detailed World Map v.1. Source: Retromap

1990s Map of the USSR. Source: Retromap

EWZ indexes indicate that the German colonists living in Roshdestwenskoje had ties to the Volga colonies of Dobrinka, Herzog, Köhler and Semenovka with surnames of Berger, Bessedin, Bonn, Diehl, Haach, Kantner, Lasarenko, Laumann, Merslow, Ringelmann, Rupp, Scholomow and Werbach. The Köhler connection surnames include Schmidtlein, Hartwich and Lambrecht.

Today, Roshdestwenskoje is a suburb of Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol Krai, Russia.

View of the Kuban River and the cast iron bridge circa 1900-1917.
Source: Retro View of Mankind's Habitat

Sources and Further Reading:

  • Die Kirchen und das religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen. Katholik Teil. (The Churches and Religious Life of the Russian Germans. Catholic part.), Joseph Schnurr (1980), p. 300.
  • Einwanderungszentralstelle (EWZ) Film Series: 50, The National Archives and Records Administration, Black Sea German Researchmybirthplace=Roshdestwenskoje
  • German-Russian Handbook, Ulrich Mertens (2010), Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications, https://hdl.handle.net/10365/32028, p. 636.
  • Karte der deutschen Siedlungen im Nord und Südkaukasus (Map of the German settlements in the North and South Caucasus). Karl Stumpp, AHSGR, Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland (1960). #F3
  • Maps of Roshdestwenskoje (44.6300, 41.9183) on Retromap: 18771926194219851990s
  • Retro View of Mankind's Habitat, vintage photos of Nevinnomyskaya.
  • Rozhdestvenskoe (Stavropol Territory),Wikipedia (in Russian).

01 November 2021

Final Map Update for 2021

The final map update for 2021 has been posted and includes updates and/or additions to 1,578 locations. 

As work moves forward to add historical geographical context around where Germans lived in Russia, the most noticeable change this time is that Russian Poland (Congress Poland, Kingdom of Poland, Vistula Krai, Mittelpolen, etc.) has been broken out into its respective Russian provinces (governorates) as they were at the end of the Russian Empire. The same procedure was followed as was used for re-aligning the provinces of South Russia but this time using the borders on geo-referenced maps from 1820 and 1879, after Russian Poland had been fully incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1832. The borders for the Orenburg Province in the east Volga Tartary were also appropriately re-aligned and districts updated. More settlements were added to western Russia as well in the province of Podolia in the southwestern krai.  Most of these came from records and not maps. It is important to follow the humans and record where they lived, even if cartographers and ethnographers didn’t put them on their maps because there were not enough of them. They were still there. Cities with large urban German populations recorded in the 1897 census were added with their parishes in their respective provinces. These are more or less stakes in the ground for future research as more locations will be added around them in time. 
Kingdom of Poland 1820 (Source: David Rumsey Map Collection)

Kingdom of Poland 1879 after it had been incorporated into the Russian Empire fully.
This is from a larger map entitled "South-West Russia. Showing the Extent of the Kingdom of Poland previous to its partition in 1772." (Source: David Rumsey Map Collection)

In the process of isolating groups of settlements that need updates to data regarding
their province or district. It's tedious work made much easier by technology.

Russian Poland before and after.

Next up will be fixing the provinces in the Caucasus and Asiatic Russia. I anticipate the next map update will be ready mid-to-late January. Research will continue while I also take some time to do a little year-end reflection, writing, yard work, and a few backroad trips now that the heat has finally broken for the season here in the southwest. It has been a long summer.

Map as of 31 October 2021.