Graf-Buck Family Heritage: Family Photographs and
Memories of Streeter,
Book review by Edna Boardman, Bismarck, North Dakota
Graf-Buck Family Heritage: Family Photographs and Memories of Streeter,
North Dakota. North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, North Dakota, 2005.
The Graf-Buck Family from Streeter, North Dakota, Germans from
who had married each other a number of times, owned a cache of
photographs and documents to support an unusually polished family
history. They enlisted the assistance of Jay Gage, Textiles and
Exhibits Curator, a member of the staff of the Germans from Russia
Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University Libraries,
bring together their story in this book.
Introductory essays by members of the family tell a bit about
memories of visiting in the homes of Streeter relatives and how
they became interested in their family history.
The genealogy sections for the two families are detailed with
thumbnail sketches of the persons listed whenever the information
available. There are dozens of black and white photographs--individual
persons, families, homesteads, groups--some taken in Russia. Places
persons in the photographs are thoroughly identified, again with
that put the pictures into context. The source of each photograph
given, when available, and most have archival numbers. This reviewer
wished the pictures had been larger, but appreciates the need for
book not to be longer than it is.
The document features will catch the eye of anyone interested in
Germans from Russia. There are two sets of recipes, many of which
usable by the experienced cook with modern ingredients and methods.
They are accompanied by photocopied insets of the recipes as they
set down in the handwriting of one Graf or Buck woman or another.
Anyone for pork cake, cheese jelly salad, sour cream cookies, stroodle,
kaese knoepla, or halupsi? The family kept interesting old personal
papers such as recital performance lists, graduation folders, and
closing day programs, letters from relatives in Germany, official
correspondence and documents related to land ownership, government
programs, and church. There are several striking, full-color
reproductions of elaborate, German-language baptismal and confirmation
certificates from the 1910s and 1920s.
Included in the book is a very sad but historically significant
collection of letters that came to Adolf and Minnie Graf from Adolf
Emma Mittleider, relatives who live in the village of Blumenfeld
Russia, descendants of those who stayed when the forebears of those
now live in America emigrated. Written over a two-year period,
1929-1930, they give a chilling account of what it was like to live
rural Russia at the time when Stalin’s dekulakization program
planned starvation of the peasants was starting to take effect.
This family history skips the stories of pioneering life on the
Dakota prairie, but this material is well covered in the writing
others. In that it gives details often not available to other compilers
of genealogies, it is well worth a look by family history buffs.