Sunday, December 13, 2009

Family Heirloom


I wanted to share this picture of one of my family heirlooms. When my son was a missionary in Russia, he was allowed to visit our ancestral villages. I sent him a map of Pfeifer so he could find the family home. When he found the Burghardt home he asked the Russian woman who now lives there if he could look around the place. She was gracious and then said, "I have something that belongs to you." She went in the house and brought out this cross and gave it to him. She had found it while tilling the garden spot. What a treasure! If you click on the picture it will enlarge so that you can see the details. It is about 4 inches in height with a sunburst at the intersection of the cross. Above that is a scroll. It is obviously not Russian Orthodox because it is missing the foot bar at the bottom. It is wood inlayed in iron.

If you have something you'd like to share, please email it to me so that I can add it to the blog.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Party

I can't tell you how disappointed I was to miss our chapter AHSGR Christmas party. Besides great company and food, I was looking forward to the telling of stories about the Christmases of Germans from Russia. Hopefully, I can hear some of them later. Family commitments, health, and weather kept me from coming, but I still wanted to share my family's story. So, here goes...

When I was younger, my uncles shared this family tradition with me. The Burghardt family in Pfeifer, Russia, was so large that they actually occupied two houses that were next door to each other. They were located across the street from the Catholic Church. At Christmas time, a line was strung from the roof of the church to that of the Burghardt home. Candles were attached to that line to decorate for Christmas. I couldn't actually picture how that would work, so I sort of brushed it off as just a good story. Many years later when I obtained a copy of a map of Pfeifer which showed the village, complete with family names labeled on the homes, I was surprized. There were indeed two houses next door to each other that belonged to a Burghardt family. They were across the street from the Catholic Church. If that part of it was true, then maybe the story about the Christmas candles was also true. Now I treasure that story as part of my family's Christmas tradition.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Geneology and Medical History

First of all, I want to say thanks to my AHSGR friends and the thoughtful and cheerful gift that was sent to me at the hospital. Also thanks for the get-well cards. I am home and doing well. Modern medicine is amazing! My recent experience has certainly helped me to see the importance of knowing your family medical history. With that in mind, I'd like to share some archaic medical terms that you might find while researching your ancestors (Family Tree Magazine):

Rheumatic fever: Fever, swollen joints and inflammation of heart valves

Scarletina: Scarlet fever

Sugar diabetes:
Diabetes mellitus

Pleurisy: Inflammation of the membrane around the lungs, often from pneumonia

Phytogenic fever: Typhoid fever

Wasting away from poor nutrition due to illness

Black lung: Anthracosis

Dry bellyache: Lead poisoning

Sudden brain impairment, as in a stroke

Marsh fever: Malaria

Dipsomania: Alcoholism

Flux: Diarrhea

Here are two more that I've found in my family research:

Dropsy: An abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body, sometimes associated with heart or kidney disease

Pott's Disease: Tuberculosis of the spine

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Amazing Video

Once again Suzanne has shared something wonderful. Check out this site for a documentary on a Mennonite family during Stalin's reign:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chapter Meetings

During the October meeting of AHSGR, plans continued for the 2011 Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. There are still several chair positions that need to be filled, so if you are interested please be sure to attend the next meeting which will be held:

November 14th
3040 Homecrest Street (in the clubhouse)
West Valley City, Utah

The officers will meet at noon and the general meeting will start at 1:00 P. M. Sharon White will be the hostess.

Food assignments are:
Salad: He-R
Entrée: S-Z
Dessert: A-Ha

The December 12th meeting will be at Carol Harless and Shawnette Malan’s house. There will be no Board Meeting. Everyone will meet at 12:00 noon. We will have a Christmas party. Bring a Christmas story pertaining to the Germans from Russia. The food will be a Christmas theme. We will have a gift exchange with a limit of $5.00. Karen Dellos will be in charge of games.

Bring your German recipes to the meetings. We are going to try to sell a chapter cookbook in order to raise some money.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Try This Site

Suzanne has contributed another great site for us to try:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Free Forms and More

I just read an article in the Family Tree Magazine about heirlooms, which for me help tell the story of our families. If you are like me, you don't have many from your German-Russian line. My goal is to leave a little more of that personal story from my generation so that the next one doesn't have to work quite as hard at is as I have. If that is something you are interested in, here is a very condensed version of some of the ideas in the article:

1. Make a list of the heirlooms in your possession. Tell the story that goes along with them, and write it down as well. Categorize them into groups, such as photos, documents, objects, etc.

2. Share any photos you have by making duplicates. Send labeled prints to other family members, then there are other pictures if something happens to the originals.

3. Organize the documents in an archival container. Dig into your memory and write down as many stories and anecdotes as you can.

4. Organize your research so that is easy to find what you need when you need it.

There are free forms availble at that will help you with this project.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Newspaper Archives

As you already know, many German-Russian immigrants settled in Colorado. If you are one of the many who have ancestors who settled there, this site is the one for you. It covers 147 Colorado newspapers from 1859- 1923. I can't tell you how surprized I was once I did some searching. I found one article about my uncles that made me cry, one that made me proud, and one that made me laugh. It is amazing what reporters got away with in the early 1900's. Check out this site:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Try This Site

I promised at the last meeting that I'd try out some new sites and let you know what I thought about them. Here is one that I liked and had some success on:

I actually found my grandfather's grave on this site. If you are lucky like I was, it will even have a picture of the headstone. If it doesn't have a headstone picture, you can make a request for it and a photographer will be sent out to take one and add to the page. The section and plot number is also given. I have never visited my grandfather's grave, but now I will. It is awesome!

September Meeting

This is just a reminder about the next Intermountain Chapter AHSGR meeting:

September 12, 2009
Retirement Community Clubhouse
3040 Homecrest Street
West Valley City, Utah

The board will meet at noon, with the general meeting at 1:00 P.M. Bring an idea for the 2011 Convention theme. We are looking for new members, so if you haven't joined our chapter, please come and join us!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

August Meeting

The most recent meeting of the Intermountain Chapter of AHSGR was held Saturday, August 15, 2009. During the meeting members reviewed the by-laws for the chapter and shared publications and other resources which have been useful in their research. Much discussion was held concerning the opportunity to host the 2011 National AHSGR Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many volunteers will be needed, and it is hoped that membership will grow in the coming months.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Holy Cross Church, Pfeifer, Kansas

Just to give you some background on the last posting, I wanted to share this picture. It doesn't show the church in great detail, but you can certainly gain a feel for its beauty. The story behind it is really quite amazing. I loved it because it showed the faith of the Germans from Russia. In 1875 the first group of Germans left their home in Pfeifer, Russia, and eventually arrived in Kansas the following year. Before a church was built, the people erected a huge cross where they gathered on Sunday to worship. In 1879 their first church was built and was simpler in architecture than this one. The current church was completed in 1891. The people had contibuted to its construction with donations of wheat that was sold as well as labor by parishoners who were stone-masons and carpenters.

Just a note- the Holy Cross Church was was named one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation in 2008. Donations for the restoration of the church are appreciated:
Holy Cross Charities
1606 Sarratov
Pfeifer, KS 67660
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Letters from Russia

In the recently published newsletter of AHSGR a letter found in the Ellis County News, Hays, Kansas, was printed. The letter from Pfeifer, Russia, to Joe Stramel in Pfeifer, Kansas, described the conditions in Russia in 1921. On a visit to Pfeifer, Kansas, I picked up a small publication on the history of their beautiful Holy Cross Church. I found the bottom picture in that publication. I'm not sure if it is the same Joe Stramel, but found the picture interesting. I took the top picture of the small post office which gives you a more complete idea of the setting. The post office was closed at the end of 2008.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Great Websites

It is just amazing what the online resources are for us. In April, I made a list of links for some generic sites that might be helpful in your search. Be sure and refer back to them. I'm adding some more resources from Suzanne, some are more specific to the German-Russian search. Try them out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Just google family history expo to get all of the details, but here are the basics:
Family History Expo
Sandy, Utah
August 28- 29, 2009
It looks to me like there are several sessions on German research. Registration is $68 and is non-refundable. Check it out!

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Information

CORRECTION: The next meeting for our chapter will be held August 15, 2009, at the the home of Carol Harless and Shawnette Malan. Officers will meet at noon and the general meeting will start at 1:00 P.M. The address is 10001 Hook Dr., South Jordan.
Bring a book of geneological interest to share with the group. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Latest Updates

I'm sending out an apology for not updating sooner, but I'm having a fantastic summer and have been out of state for a couple of weeks. Thanks to the members and others who have contributed to the new information which I am now posting. Some of you have already received this as emails, but it will probably be helpful to have it all in one spot for reference. We continue to recruit new members, so hopefully someone will come across this blog and become interested in our chapter. Also, I'm sending out get well wishes to our chapter president, Carol Harless, who is recovering from an injury.

Below is a site for a video from the individual presentations made during the German-Russian conference at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, June 27, 2009. It is historic footage from a Volga German village made for Mr. Biel of Chicago, Illinois, during his visit to the area where he grew up. I found it fascinating.

Check related videos at that site for Prof. Timothy Kloberdanz on what is correct- German-Russian or Russian-German. I also found very interesting related videos dealing with why Russia's ethnic Germans choose to stay in Russia and the problems that ethnic Germans from Russia are having when they return to Germany. It gives you an insight into how they are now living. For some reason I was unable to get these to link directly from the blog.

From Ted Gerk, via the Ger-Volga mail list:

I've digitized an old book I obtained from Russia:
Kamyshinskaia operatsiia desiatoi Krasnoi Armii. Iiul' 1919 goda. S3 skhemami na otdel'nykh.
Kliuev, L 1928

It deals with the civil war and fighting between the Red and White Forces near Kamyshin and the Volga German colonies in that area. Also there is a battle map of various campaigns in Russia. They are featured at my Josefstal blog located at:

Feel free to use the material as you see fit.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Information from Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge

Ger-Volga is a mailing list to help you communicate with others who have similar interests: in our case it would be researching our Volga German ancestors. Nearly every day someone will post something that is useful, interesting, and usually helpful. This list is always filled with interesting and sometimes painful things that our ancestors were forced to endure. Luckily, for most of us, our particular ancestors made it to America before some of this suffering took place; but they all left other family members behind, at least for a while. Don't we want to know what happened to our aunts, uncles, cousins, etc? To subscribe to the list, send an email to Do not put anything in the subject line. In the message box of the email, type subscribe, that is all. You will be sent a confirmation, and instructions how to send emails to the list. Cheers!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Wonderful Picture

This wonderful picture of her Great-grand Aunt was contributed by Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge.

Marie Katharine (Heinitz) Keil
born 1822
Mueller, Russia
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Monday, June 1, 2009

May 30th Meeting

On Saturday the Intermountain Chapter of AHSGR held their May meeting. Goals and objectives of the chapter were discussed as well as the need to increase membership. Members briefly shared a story about their ancestors. As a culminating activity, a potluck lunch with several authentic German dishes was enjoyed by all. Spread the word about our new AHSGR chapter and bring someone new to the next meeting. Please check the updates on member resources and the village list.

Posted by Annette at 6:49 PM
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Monday, May 25, 2009

More Pictures

Just a reminder that if you have pictures you'd like to share, I can post them. These pictures of my great-grandparents are quite spotted, but are still a treasure to me. They are Johann Ludwig Klamm and Anna Maria Constanz, from Warenburg, Russia. If you click on the pictures they will enlarge.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Next Chapter Meeting

For any of you who might have missed getting the email about our next chapter meeting on May 30th, here is the link to the map where our next meeting will be held:

West ValleyCity, UTLink:<,+Utah&ie=UTF8&split=0&gl=us&ei=Q6YISuLtI4-ctgOlzKHqCA&ll=40.701529,-111.943731&spn=0.011599,0.019312&z=16>

The clubhouse is located at 3040 Homecrest Street, situated inside the AmericanHeritage Retirement Community ( a mobile park). The easiest way to access it, is to enter on Homecrest from 3100 South. The clubhouse is on the West side of the street. If you have any questions, contact Suzanne H. Dodge by email.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Information from Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge

From Shirley J. Reimer's The German Research Companion, p. 156:
Microfilmed Card file: Germans from Russia

1750-1943,(Card File of Russian Germans, 1750-1943) are described in the Family
HistoryLibrary Catalog as follows:

'Index cards of ethnic Germans in Russia, arranged alphabetically by surname. 'While not all the cards contain the same amount of information, many of them supply the given name, present address, birth place and date, place and date of death, earlier and present citizenship, place of origin, year of emigration, and the names of ancestors who first emigrated from Germany; places of residence in Russia; year of migration from Russia, earlier occupation and later activities; religion,whether pedigrees exist; name, places and dates of birth, marriage, and death, occupation for spouse; names birthplaces and dates for children; and documentary sources."

Aab-Anton 1335722
Antoni-Bastian, Alexander 1335723
Bastian, Alexander-Bekker
(Becker) 1335724
Blajeff-Bleeck, Alfred 1335725
Bleeck, Alfred-Braun, Ida 1335726
Braun, Ida - Busse, Arthur 1335727
Busse, Arthur - Dietrich 1457135
Dietsch-Eckhard 1457136
Eckhard-Esch 1528980
Esch-Fischer, Joseph 1528981
Fischer, Joseph - Fritz, Eliz.1528982
Fritz, Eliz. - Geissler 1528983

The list goes on through the alphabet with the last entry being Zimmerman,C. - Zyres.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adding Pictures

This is my grandmother, Catharina Elisabeth Klamm Burghardt, known as Mary or Katie. She was born in Warenburg, Russia, on November 1, 1885. She died October 21,1918, from the Spanish Flu during the pandemic, just before her 33rd birthday. At the time she had nine children.

I just wanted you to see that I can add pictures to this blog if you have things you want to share.
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Member Resources

Sharon White

Beratz, Gottleib, The German Colonies on the Lower Volga, their Origin and Development

Giesinger, Adam, From Catherine to Khrushchev, The Story of Russia's Germans

Kloberdanz, Timothy J. and Rosalinda, Thunder on the Steppe, Volga German Folklife

Koch, Fred C., The Volga Germans

Walters, George J., Wir Wollen Deutsche Bleiben, We Want to Remain German, The Story of the Volga Germans

Kuche Kochen by AHSGR

Favorite Recipes by AHSGR Southern Nevada Chapter

German Music:
Stille Nacht, CD and Song Book by Salem Congregational Church

Gott Is Die Liebe, CD and Song Book by Salem Congregational Church

The German Singers, Disc 1 and 2

1798 Census of the German Colonies Along the Volga, by Brent Alan Mai

Warenburg census: 1834, 1850, 1857

Laub census: 1834, 1850, 1857

Dinkel census: 1834, 1850

Straub census: 1850, 1857

Pleve, Igor,Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767 (first settlers list): Volume 1, Volume 4

Annette Reynolds

Sinner, Peter, Germans in the Land of the Volga

Adams, Willi Paul Adams, The GERMAN-AMERICANS An Ethnic Experience

Wandler, Diane J., Handbook For Researching Family Roots (With emphasis on German-Russian Heritage.)

Long, James, the German-Russians, a Bibliography

Gilbert, Martin, Atlas of Russian History (This has some great maps that refer to things which affected the German colonies in Russia.)

Pfeifer census: 1767, 1834, 1857

Shirley Ansley

Weidenweber, Sigrid, The Volga Germans

Kirchner, Walter, A History of Russia

Koch, Fred C., The Volga Germans

Walters, George J., Wir Wollen Deutsche Bleiben

Anuta, Michael J., Ships of our Ancestors

Weidenweber, Sigrid, Catherine

Pozner, Vladimir, Parting with Illusions

AHSGR, Kuche Kochen

Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge

AHSGR Publications:
2005 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
2006 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
2007 Spring

Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia:
1983 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1984 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1986 Spring
1991 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1992 Spring, Fall, Winter
1993 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1994 Spring, Summer, Winter
1995 Fall
1996 Summer, Fall
1997 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1998 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
1999 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
2000 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
2001 Spring, Summer, Winter
2002 Spring, Summer/Fall, Winter
2003 Spring, Summer

1979, Part 1 & 2
1980, Part 1 & 2
1981, Part 1 & 2
1982, Part 1 & 2
1983, Part 1 & 2
1984, Part 1 & 2
1985, Part 1 & 2
1986, Part 1 & 2
1987, Part 1 & 2
1988, Part 1 & 2
1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, part 2
1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005

German Geneological Digest:
1985 (4), 1986 (4), 1987 (2nd Quarter)


Special thanks to the nominating committee of Suzanne Dodge, Joe Gertge, and Teri Hansen, who did some extra work getting things together for the election of officers. The results are as follows:

President- Carol Harless
President Elect- Bill Dellos
Geneology Chairman- Gwenn Oryall
Recording Secretary- Sharon White

Treasurer- Shirley Ansley
Historian- Annette Reynolds
VP for Publications- Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge

Useful Research Websites

I have a list of websites that may be useful to you in your research. These do not focus on Germans from Russia, but are just overall great resources. Most of us have other lines that we are working on, and these may be helpful. Use or ignore, but here they are:
The World Gen Web
The Genealogy Page
The Genealogy Home Page
National Genealogical Society
National Archives and Records Administration
Kingwood College Library
Kindred Konnections
Genealogy Online
Genealogy Exchange & Surname Registry
Genealogy Book Shop
Genealogy 101
Gen Searcher
Federation of European Family History Societiy
Family Tree Maker
Family Search
Ellis Island
Cyndi\'s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Ancient Faces

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Villages and Surnames

I will continue to add to this list of villages and surnames as the information comes to me. For some of you, I just listed villages because I wasn't sure which village fit with which family name. I will add those when I recieve them. This will allow us to easily see if there are others in the chapter that are researching the same names and villages. If we are aware of what others are searching, we can also keep our eyes open if we find something that might be useful to them.


Balzer: Heisht, Kehm
Dinkel: Nicolausen
Hussenbach: Schneidmuller
Laub: Flach, Reitz, Schuman
Straub: Schneider
Warenburg: Baum, Becker, Constanz, Fertig, Gobel, Hammel, Kaiser, Kisling, Muller, Nickel, Rau, Ries, Seibert, Schiffman, Valentin, Weiershausen, Werner, Zimmerman, Zeichman

Annette Reynolds

Pfeifer: Burghardt, Kissner
Warenburg: Braun, Constanz, Gobel, Klamm, Lehman, Miller/Muller, Neiman/Neumann, Reis/Ries, Schafer, Schmidt, Seibert

Pat and Shirley Ansley

Hussenbach: Scheideman, Starkel (Staiker), Brill

Bill and Karen Dellos


Carol Harless

Alt Posttal:

Darrell and Dee Hert

Neu Msser:

Suzanne Heinitz-Dodge

Surnames/ German Origins/ Russian Village

Baron/ Salzburg/ Kamenka

Deckert/ Zell /Mueller

Hartman/ Seligenstadt/ Kamenka, Driespitz

Heinitz/ Sacksen/ Holstein, Eckheim

Kaul,Kahl/ Buedingen/ Kamenka

Keil/ Bobenhausen, Zwei/ Mueller, Eckheim

Milberger, Muehlberger/ Kurpfalz, Meisenheim/ Grimm, Eckheim

Schaefer/ Oberramstadt/ Kamenka

Schwerdt/ Ober Ramstadt/ Kamenka

Stadler/ Aschaffenburg/ Kamenka

Vogler/ ?/ Holstein

Francis Eickbush

Jagodnaja Polana

Joe Gertge



Teri Hansen




Larry Ingraham





Shawnette Malan



Alt Posttal


Gwen Oryall




Lee Ann Schlager


Neu Donhof


Ron Schroeder

Amanda Schroeder



Darrell Weber


Dee and Darrell Hert

Russian Villages

Alexanderdorf: Hert, Herdt, Stark, and Gable

Dietel: Foos

Hussenbach: Roth

Kolb: Benzel, Koch, and Achziger

Kautz: Benzel, Koch

Neu Messer: Schmidt

Beidel: Ostermiller

Ruderweide: Olfert

Walter: Wiederspahn, Schoessler, Alles, Diehl, Bartholowmeu

German Villages

Salmunster: Schmidt, Auhl, and Wiederspahn

Baursmuhle: Wiederspahn

Engheim: Benzel

Swaben: Alles, Sommer