AHSGR invites you to search German Russian Villages by Region, Province, Colony Group, Village Coordinator, Village, or Keyword.
German Russian Villages History
On December 4, 1762, Catherine the Great issued a Manifesto inviting Western Europeans to settle in Russia. However, it was her second Manifesto of July 22, 1763, which offered transportation to Russia, religious and political autonomy, and land that incited many Western Europeans, mostly Germans, to migrate to Russia.
The first wave of migration occurred in the Volga River region beginning in 1764. By the late 1760s, some isolated settlements were already founded in South Russia. Hutterites first settled in Russia in 1770 and Mennonites began to settle in Russia by 1789. Settlements in the Bessarabian and Black Sea regions were being established in the early nineteenth century.
German Settlements & Resettlements
In the mid-nineteenth century, the areas of Volhynia, Crimea, and the Caucasus were being settled by Germans. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and continuing into the first decade of the 1900s, settlements were being founded by Germans in Siberia. Russia had a population of approximately 1.8 million Germans at the end of the nineteenth century.
An excellent series of maps developed by Sandy Schilling Payne feature Germans from Russia Settlement locations as well as helpful descriptions of data for Ancestral German Colonies map searches.
There were about 3,500 German villages in Russia before 1941 when the Soviet authorities issued a decree resulting in a forced evacuation of the villages and resettlement of villagers to Siberia and the Asiatic Republics (Kazakhstan).
Search German Russian Villages
Some villages and regions have more focused research than others – the result of the interest and activity of people working to learn about “their” village or region. AHSGR volunteers serve as Village Coordinators (VCs) to coordinate research for individual villages. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to find and contact a Village Coordinator for help. Look for more available Villages information or items in our Online Store!
Messer (Volga enclave)
- Other Names & Spellings
- Ust-Solicha, Ust-Solikha, Ust-Zalikha, Ust-Zolicha, Ust-Zolikha
- German Origins
- See the ongoing project "Surnames with Confirmed Pre-Volga Origins" at the Volga Germans website for this colony's Germanic origins, https://www.volgagermans.org/who-are-volga-germans/settlements/original/messer
- Earliest known year of German habitation
- Year founded
- Settlement Type
- Mennonite, Protestant*
- Current Place Name
- Ust’-Zolikha, Saratov Oblast, Russia
- Current Country
- Founded on the Bergseite (mountain side), west of the Volga River. When the Volga Mother colonies were founded between 1764 and 1767, they were part of the Astrakhan Governorate. On 25 December 1769, the Saratov Province was created, after which, the colonies on the Bergseite became a part of that province where they remained until a decade after the fall of the Russian Empire.The Mennonite religion for this colony reported in a crowdsourced survey of descendants of Germans from Russia in 2019. Undocumented elsewhere.
— Google Maps, Google, accessed April 5, 2017, https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ust'-Zolikha,+Saratov+Oblast,+Russia,+email@example.com,45.5411923,1893m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x0:0x0!2zNTDCsDU4JzMyLjIiTiA0NcKwMzMnMDAuNCJF!3b1!8m2!3d50.9756!4d45.5501!3m4!1s0x41147a1985af40c9:0x107698c9d57990ea!8m2!3d50.9747071!4d45.5500621?hl=en
— Global Gazetteer, Falling Rain Genomics, Inc., accessed April 5, 2017, http://www.fallingrain.com/world/RS/67/UstZolikha.html
— "German-Russian Handbook," Ulrich Mertens (2010), Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications, https://hdl.handle.net/10365/32028, p. 524
— Survey: Germans from Russia in America, Germans from Russia Settlement Locations, 2019, accessed February 3, 2020, https://america.germansfromrussiasettlementlocations.org/the-survey
— "Messer," The Volga Germans, accessed 28 October 2022, https://www.volgagermans.org/who-are-volga-germans/settlements/original/messer
— "Saratov," The Imperiia Project, accessed 28 October 2022, https://imperiia.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/document/726.
AHSGR Village CoordinatorMike Meisinger
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Messer, Saratov, Volga Website
Messer, Saratov, Volga
Data Base Manager: Don Beavers
- Coordinates: 50.9754, 45.5501
- Kanton/Canton Balzer