New book published on Germans from Russia
NDSU Libraries News, Winter, 1999, page 6
Descendants of Germans who lived in Bessarabia, in South Russia,
have a new resource to help trace their ancestry. The Germans from
Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, has published an English
translation of "Homeland Book of the Bessarabian Germans" by the
late Albert Kern, a German pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Kern researched parish and village archives and interviewed residents
of Bessarabian villages after World War II.
The 365-page volume, which chronicles 126 years of German families
in Bessarabia, contains photographs and histories of the former
Bessarabian German villages of interest to families in the Dakotas
and Canada. It includes photographs, extensive indexes, lists of
Bessarabians who died in World War I and World War II, and information
on agricultural practices, infrastructure, village life and customs.
Thousands of Bessarabian Germans immigrated to North America during
the 1880s and early 1900s. Many homesteaded in central North Dakota
and South Dakota and the western Canadian prairie provinces. They
named towns here after their villages in Bessarabia, such as Kulm,
Beresina and Leipzig. today many of the bessarabian villages well
known to Dakota-area families are located in Ukraine near Odessa.
"This book is extremely valuable," said Michael Miller, Germans
from Russia bibliographer. "It goes into great detail documenting
acreage, village life, number of people, livestock in the village,
the epidemics and when sons went to war. It will be an eye opener
for many people, because so many are interested in writing family
history. Now they can go to this book, which will help them find
from where their people came."
Ted Becker, a paint contractor in Williston and Germans from Russia
researcher, obtained a copy of the book in German several years
ago and hired a translator to convert the text to English. He later
approached Miller, who also was interested in publishing an English
edition, about publishing the translation. The two men and Dale
Wahl, another member of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society,
raised approximately $11,000 for the project through private donations.
"We've found, over the years, that the interest in Canada, the
United States and Australia, in the history of the German Russian
people, including those in Bessarabia, is very strong," said Becker.
"The interest centers not only on Genealogical data but history
of the villages and the area as well. The book provides a tremendous
amount of knowledge and information for a very large group, and
I think the value of it lies in its importance to so many people.
"A special hard cover edition was bound in November for benefactors
who donated $250 or more. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
began filling orders in December. To obtain a copy, send $55 for
soft cover and $80 for hard cover, plus $6 postage and handling
in the United States and $7 in Canada, to Bessarabian Book, NDSU
Libraries, P.O. Box 5599, Fargo ND 58105-5599. Checks, in U.S. funds
should be made payable to North Dakota University Libraries.
Additional information can be obtained at the Germans from Russia
Heritage Collection Web site at http://www.ndsu.edu/library/grhc/order/general/kern.html,
or by contacting Miller at 701-231-8416 or by e-mail at: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu.
|Threshing machine with locomotive in Paris,
Bessarabia, circa 1915
||Bessarabian farm wedding in Sarata,