For questions, corrections, additional information, or reports on your successful research please contact Dick Kraus, project coordinator and editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The GO Project can only get better with your help! Thank you very much. rak
The master GO file is maintained offsite by the editor. Periodically this website is fully updated to match the contents of that master file. The last such full update was January 2015, followed most recently by the partial update of 7-16 May 2015.
For best results:
1. First look up the family name or village in which you are interested.
2. Read the legend at the top of each alpha sequence page.
3. Be alert for alternative spellings.
4. Look up every word in bold you find in any entry – those are cross-references that usually will hold additional valuable information. Good hunting!
Today, many people whose German ancestors settled
Our index will grow over time. It indexes four types of names:
The family name of a researcher who has confirmed a German origin location;
The family name of a German family which
Village names of German villages in
German state and locality names, at about
the time settlers left for
Within each category different spellings will be cross-referenced.
The entry of a researcher name will carefully
indicate which localities that researcher has successfully confirmed
origins for which families.
A confirmed locality is one in which the record of birth of a
German settler in
The entry for a family would indicate all that is known about its German origin and on which Russian village First Settlers’ List it appears. First Settlers’ information will be taken from published sources.
The entry for a Russian village will indicate which families are said by its First Settlers’ List to have come from what German origins.
An entry for a German locality will indicate all Ger-Rus families (showing their Russian village) said or confirmed to have come from that locality.
Check out the name(s) in which you are interested by clicking on the appropriate alphabetical section to the right of this page: Each section runs from the letter or letters indicated up to the words which begin with the letter or letters of the next section.
If you have origin confirmation information and would like to share it with us, please do so through the Village Coordinator of the Russian village involved. If there is no Village Coordinator listed on the AHSGR site, please send your information to Dick Kraus at email@example.com. Please do share! What follow will be a few stellar Origins Success Stories:
Story #1: Harold
Wiest corresponded with Dr. Joseph Height who found Russian
documents indicating that his ancestor Franz
Wiest came from Erlenbach
(also see Stumpp, p.486).
Harold used LDS microfische of church records for places in
the Erlenbach area ... many hours of reading old German script to no
avail. He started
telephoning Wiests listed in
Story #2: Dr.
first found her GGGG Grandparents Jacob and Anna Maria
Weitzel on an early Pleve
chart that she purchased from Doug Weitzel. (Later Ruth commissioned
an update of the Weitzel chart to 1905.) Then she found them in Karl
Stumpp's book on page 163 as being from
Calbach. She searched the
Calbach church records
which are combined with the
Buedingen records and found them to be the parents of two babies
baptized in Calbach, Buedingen Kreis,
which then was in
While tracing the Weitzel and Feuerstein families in Boehnstadt, Ruth found the records of other Norka first settlers: Stoerckel was baptized there in March 1744 and his Juenger wife was born and baptized there in October 1744, while Wigand was baptized there in March 1725 with a Stoerckel as godfather. In this process, Ruth proved that the other Weitzell first settler in Norka did not come from Boehnstadt, so Dr. Pleve was correct in saying that the two Weitzel families in Norka were not closely related.
On the source of the Origins
information in the
So far we have no complete emigration file on any settler from the 1765-67 settlement period. But we are fortunate in having (thanks to David F. Schmidt for finding it in and securing copies from Russian archives back in the 1990’s and to Rick Rye for translating the material, and to AHSGR for printing it) a very full file on several families who arrived in Russia from three different countries in and near the Imperial City of Gelnhausen in 1773.
We do not know if the processing in 1765-67 was was exactly the same as that which was done in 1773, but we do know, from their written intentions, that the officials in 1773 intended to do things as closely as possible to the way they had been done in the earlier period. So if it was similar, then the processing in 1765-67 would have been something very like the following.
Central to the immigration materials was a
Passport good for a trip from its home country to
Clearly, these hand-written Passports were extremely important documents. If a Passport was lost, a family’s trip might end abruptly and their freedom might be lost. These passports included much information that today would be enormously helpful to genealogical research. Yet, so far at least, all we have left for the 1765-67 period are the all too brief and too often inaccurate or muddled abstracts contained in the First Settlers Lists and Transportation Lists. What was the transition from Passport to List?
As mentioned above, the Passports were
surrended as one stepped into the first official facility on Russian
soil or in Russian waters.
After that, a Passport could be recovered only if an emigrant
decided not to go on to the
The Passports were then taken into
When a group was formed for transport to
There is reason to believe that the loyalty oath was one of the first matters handled for colonists in 1765-67, so the actual passports would have disappeared from circulation sooner in the process.
Once in or near Saratov, colonists would be divided up by prospective colony, and a Register created for those going to each colony – these Registers would be the source documents, a year or two later, for the First Settlers Lists.
Each time a table was copied by hand there was opportunity for error and for nonsense syllables to creep in, the moreso the less a given clerk might know about German . Most vulnerable would have been the names of the countries and localities. Place names tended to get more and more succinct and scrambled with each newly produced Register created for its specific use. Surely no clerk handling these Registers was well versed in the political geography of the German-speaking lands. Few if any Germans were – keeping up with the names and locations of a few thousand, sometimes very small, countries was impossible for any human being. Sometimes the ruler of one country would act for the ruler of another county (usually a cousin), leaving confusion in his wake. It is nothing short of a miracle that we can learn as much as we do today from the First Settlers Lists. It seems to me that the officials involved were trying very hard to do the right thing, while working with conditions that made accuracy extremely difficult.
The result, left to us was well-described by
Jacob Dietz in chapter two of his book, History of the
“In December 1767, the Saratov Kontora of the Chancery of Oversight of Foreigners produced the first household, name by name census [later usually known as First Settlers’ Lists] of the Volga colonists. This census was to have established the place of exit abroad for every colonist as well as his occupation.
This task appeared to be beyond the
capabilities of the ignorant bureaucrats of the
Kontora and its scribes appointed to take the census.
In only a few colonies the place of exit of the colonist is
listed exactly as ‘from the
Dick Kraus, May 2009
Extended Nov 2009
Check out the name(s) in which you are interested by clicking on the appropriate alphabetical section below: