Book I: Evangelical Lutheran Hoffnungs Gemeinde 1904-1944
Compiled by Orion A. Rudolph
German script translated by Dorothea (Bergstedt)
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North
Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota,
2008, 93 pages, softcover
here for an alphabetical list of surnames located
in this book.
Church Book: Evangelical Lutheran Hoffnungs Gemeinde
1904-1944 is a translation of the original church
record books from the Hoffnungs Church. The German
script was translated by Dorothea (Bergstedt) Ziegler
– Dickinson, ND and typed by Orion A. Rudolph
– Ashley, ND.
The Hoffnungs Church is one of seventeen Evangelical
Lutheran Congregations churches in McIntosh County,
North Dakota. These rural congregations are now associated
with Zion Lutheran Church, Ashley.
The Hoffnungs Gemeinde church book contains baptismal
registers, meeting minutes, communion registers, death
registers, offerings, member registers, marriages,
and burials. As a special enhancement for the book,
Rudolph photographed all the tombstones at Hope Cemetery
(the cemetery at the Hoffnungs Church site). Rudolph
also compiled all dates and had the inscriptions translated.
Orion A. Rudolph writes, "It was in the year
2001 when my interest was triggered in this old church
record book. My wife and I were called one evening
by a church centennial committee person and asked
if we could possibly write a paragraph of the Hoffnungs
(Hope) Lutheran Church, its beginning and ending for
the 2003 Zion Lutheran Centennial Book. Also that
my wife’s name is listed in it as being the
last one baptized there before the church closed.
We thought that might be a nice thing to do. Upon
looking through this book, we both knew it was next
to impossible to write anything. It was at least 90%
in the old German script. A problem indeed was at
hand. It took us several months to find someone to
write the paragraph that was requested."
"I kept thinking, how about the future generations,
and say 25 to 50 years or more from today?"
"With this question to be answered, it meant
I better get busy quickly and try my best to get this
German church book translated. But who would help
with that endeavor. After several more months of searching
for someone that I felt was very confident and could
do a good job for me. I knew I could do all the typing
once it was translated, but getting it translated was
the problem. A local lady, Mrs. Leona Neu knew I was
looking for someone that could help me. One day she
handed me a telephone number and said, "You
call this person, I believe she will be able to help
with your endeavor." I made that phone call,
a lady answered, I told her who I was, who gave me
her phone number, where I was calling from and what
I am trying to accomplish etc. Her first remarks were,
"Do you recognize anybody’s name on some
of the pages?" I said, yes. There are a lot
of pages that I thought were minutes of meetings and
a signature on the bottom of some, signed D. Bergstedt.
She chuckled a bit and said, "That was my dad."
We lived in the Ashley area during 1922-1933. He preached
in quite a few other churches around there too. I
attended country grade school east of Ashley. What
he wrote in that book I know I can read that script
and tell you what it is. She said, "I would
be very happy to help you on this kind of project
to translate this old church record book." So
after a lengthy conversation of getting acquainted,
I told her I would start with by copying about 20
pages from the old book and mail them to her. A week
later I received the copied pages and her translations
of each page back from her. 'Very nice hand
writing too.' So this process of sending 20
some pages at a time kept on until the entire book
was all translated and typed."
About the Author
Orion A. Rudolph was born in June 1938 at the family
farmstead eight miles northwest of Fredonia, North
Dakota. He attended country school one mile from the
farmstead in grades one through four. He attended
grades five through eight at Fredonia city grade school,
and also attended Kulm High School, Kulm, North Dakota.
Rudolph served in the United States Navy for four
years, and after being discharged from the navy in
1963, he married his high school sweetheart. They
set up their home in Aberdeen, South Dakota. During
this time, Orion and his wife, Delores, raised two
Rudolph worked for a trucking firm doing office work
until 1969, when he began attending Northern State
University in Aberdeen for four years, graduating
in 1973. Following his graduation, Rudolph and his
wife moved to Ashley, North Dakota where he worked
at an implement parts store for 19 years.
It was in the year of 1985 when tragedy struck the
Rudolph family. Their oldest daughter was killed at
19 years of age in a tourist helicopter crash at Keystone,
SD during a return air flight around Mount Rushmore.
Rudolph also compiled two family histories: Rudolf
Rudolph, Descendants of Johann Georg Rudolf and
Hoffmann-Hoffman, Descendants of Johann Georg
Hoffmann. These family histories are both catalogued
in the GRHC archives.
When asked why he got involved with this large project,
Rudolph said, "Spiritual drive...the more I
got involved, and with Dorothea's encouragement, the
more spiritual drive I had for this project."
He wants the books to be accessible in the English
language so future English speaking generations can
read these books.
About the Translator
Dorothea Ziegler nee Bergstedt grew up in the German-Russian
community of Ashley, North Dakota. Her father, the
Rev. Diedrich Bergstedt came directly from Germany,
while her mother was an American-born German who could
speak both German and English. She said, "My
dad taught me very good phonics. We spoke German at
home all the time. I was through the eighth grade and
we hardly talked anything in English." Ziegler’s
dad, a Lutheran Pastor, had parishes in the area east
of Ashley, and also Dunn Center and Dodge, North Dakota.
Her dad was the pastor in this east of Ashley area
during the time period 1922-1933. The little churches
in this area are all dissolved.
She attended country grade school just a mile south
of the country parsonage where the parents lived.
After she finished the eighth grade she went to Fargo,
North Dakota to attend high school there. She attended
two years of Bible school in Fargo. Then two years
of nurses training school. She practiced nursing for
23 years at Fargo and Dickinson, North Dakota and
Waterloo, Iowa. In addition to the nursing profession,
she was also a professional wife, mother, and homemaker.
She also transcribes German language into English
which she enjoys doing.
Click here to
see an article about Dorothea Ziegler in the Dickinson
Evangelical Lutheran Hoffnungs Gemeinde 1904-1944
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