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Americans and Canadians trace their ancestors to Alsace, France

Chiantello, Raphael. Dernieres Nouvelles d 'Alsace, Strasbourg, France, 6 June 2014

Translated French to English by Raphael Chiantello, Seltz, Alsace, France


Since 20 years, groups of descendants of emigrants from Alsace to Russia come to visit Seltz.

They are American or Canadian and interested in the history of their families. From 1803 to 1817, more than 4,000 Alsatians have left the banks of the Rhine to the shores of the Black Sea, in what was called the New Russia, now the provinces of southern Ukraine.

Accompanied by emigrants frome Palatinate and Baden, they left looking for land and better opportunities. They founded villages called Selz, Kandel, Mannheim, Strassburg, Baden and Elsass : a region Pamina (Euroregion Palatinate-MIttlerer Oberrhein-North Alsace) before the hour.

At the end of the nineteenth century many of these Rhenish Russian tried their luck in North America. In North Dakota, they named a village like the Rhenish city Selz.

Each year since 1994, Michael Miller, born in Strasbur, g North Dakota, organizes trips in the footsteps of the first emigrants. The groups visited the former German villages of southern Ukraine near Odessa and places of origin in Palatinate, Baden and North Alsace.

For this 20th anniversary, they didn't travel to the Odessa region because of the troubles in Ukraine, but came to the Rhine banks. They were greeted by Annette Koehler and guided by Raphael Chiantello in the house Krumacker to discover the bimilenary history and archaeological remains of Seltz.

Denis Loux, Mayor of Seltz, welcomed them and spoke with them in Alsatian and in English with some group members who still speak South Franconian, the dialect of their ancestors, common to people on both sides of the Rhine and Lauter.

The journey of 2015 is confirmed and if a visit to Ukraine is not sure yet, Michael Miller knows that he and his group are welcome to Seltz, in the town of their ancestors ... and their cousins.

Our appreciation is extended to Raphael Chiantello for transation of this article

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
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