28 June 2023

Asiatic Russia Map Updates Posted

Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map as of 28 June 2023.

The Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map has been updated. This was a particularly long research cycle from end of January through June with a lot of moving parts. That, along with giving 5 presentations, going to 7 (!) dentist appointments, and 2 trips to the vet — oh, how life tries to thwart research sometimes — I still made it by my own self-imposed deadline. I am pleased to announce that all of the settlements on the map are now in their former imperial provinces. The grouping of settlements into “colony groups” has been sunsetted completely. It simply became untenable as more settlements were found that just did not fit into that way of thinking. It also gathers up and gives a home to all of those “scattered settlements” that had been ignored in the past or grouped in whatever colony group that was closest.  

What’s New?

— Asiatic Russia has been split into three regions: 1) Russian Far East, Siberia, and Steppes Krai; 2) Russian Turkestan; and 3) Caucasus Viceroyalty. Like all the other regions on the map, each of the new regions was split into the provinces/gubernias or regions/oblasts as they were in roughly 1914, toward the end of the Imperial Russian Empire. Within each province/region, each settlement indicates what district/county/uzeyd it was a part of at the time. Period georeferenced maps were used to accomplish this. Yes, I know. I'm still mixing English and Russian names for these administrative jurisdictions. I will straighten them all out eventually. 

— In total, 33 new provinces/oblasts were added. A reminder: these are historical and do not equate to the area of similarly named oblasts today. If no Germans were found in a province, it is not include on the map. A few small provinces or ones created very late are grouped on the map with their previous province but are still listed as their own province. 

— Although the goal of this research cycle was not about adding locations, 372 new settlements were added anyway. As long as I was visiting the neighborhoods, I figured I might as well pick up some windfall. 

— Twenty-eight new sources were added. Most of these were historical maps to which you can find links on the Sources page. 

— The layers on the map have been renamed to include whether they were in European Russia or Asiatic Russia. They have also been reordered to those with denser German populations toward the top, which improves how searches of the map perform. Searches start at the top layer and go down. It is still a bit unruly to search the big map, but this does help. 

— On the same lines of improving search performance and rendering of the map on slower connections, I have removed the place names next to the pins on the big map. All of the other smaller maps regional, province, and enclave maps will continue to have the place names appear next to the pin. I have wrestled back and forth on this one but decided this was the best way to go given the number of pins on the big map and knowing how many more are coming. 

— The former German settlements in modern-day Ukraine that are in occupied territory as a part of the Russo-Ukrainian war have been updated. Thanks to David Batashvili of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation) for his meticulous tracking of the front lines in a format compatible with my own map. 

— I will be reworking the Maps page into an atlas. As it is, the page is very outdated. Moving all the maps into an atlas will be a good final destination for all of this work. Some have seen the prototype in my presentations over the past year. 

— Lastly, I have removed the layer with the Austro-Hungarian villages in the Galizien, Bukovina, and Batschka regions. I knew the day would come, and today is the day. The focus of the map needs to be 100% on the German settlements in the former Russian Empire. But, good news! There has always been a seperate map with those villages on them. You can still (and always) get to them here

That’s it for now. I’ll be taking a research break for a few months. More to come later this year. 

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10 June 2023

Caucasus Viceroyalty

The splitting of Asiatic Russia into its former imperial provinces is complete! 

The last of the work in the Caucasus region was completed on Thursday morning. This area includes the modern-day countries of Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Türkiye. This time, 133 places were added and all were split into 13 provinces. 

The First Imperial Census of 1897 described a total of 56,729 native German speakers at the time living in the Caucasus region, amounting to .61% of the total population. Broken down into provinces, the distribution of native German speakers in the Caucasus region looked like this in 1897: Baku (3,430), Batum (369), Dagestan (261), Elizavetpol (3,191), Erivan (210), Kars (430), Kuban (20,778), Kutaisi (1,065), Stavropol (8,601), Sukhum (406), Terek (9,672) and Tiflis (8,340). The Black Sea Province (not to be mistaken for the much larger Black Sea Region) also had 748 Germans. Prior to 1896, it was a district in the Kuban province. It is grouped with Kuban on the map, but it is still listed as its own province. Same goes for Zakatala okrug, which was a part of Tiflis province until 1903. There were no German settlements in that very small area, but there were 11 Germans reportedly living in the city of Zakatala at the time of the census

There is a wealth of good maps available for this area, both military and road maps. It makes sense given the proximity to both the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Caspian Sea, the ports of which make it desirable for commerce and often conflict. It was nice to work with georeferenced maps with clearly marked boundaries for a change. Here are two examples. 

“Map of the Caucasus Region from the the Imperial Geographical Society.” 1868. Repository: EtoMesto

“American Map of the Caucasus 1910” Repository: EtoMesto This map, while simple and not highly detailed, is accurate and in English. It’s always a relief to find something that doesn’t need translating.

While researching this region, I found several Kavkazskiy Kalendars (Caucasian Calendars) from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. These are akin to the other calendar publications seen in South Russia published in Odessa and Bessarabia that were sort of a farmer’s almanac. I have previously posted some maps found in those calendars, railroad maps in particular. The Kavkazskiy Kalendars were published in Tiflis, are not agrarian focused, but they do have maps. Below are three that show the regions of artisanal trades, the metal production, and the wool industry. They are in both Russian and French. Maps like this are interesting in that they show what industries was going on where our German ancestors lived, what types of occupations they may have had (locksmiths, blacksmiths, gold or silversmiths, tanners, weavers), or even what work drew them to a particular area. 

The repository for the maps below are the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, 1900 edition for 1901

“Map of the Caucasus: Cottage Industries and Artisanal Crafts”

“Map of the Caucasus: Wool Industry”

“Map of the Caucasus: Wrought Metal Production”

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I have to update the sources and do some tidying up of the data before I can post it to the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map. Everything should be up over the next couple of weeks. I am looking forward to sharing the last five months’ worth of research very soon. 

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