Our Landsleute in the United States

Kampen, Hans and Johann Kampen. "Our Landsleute in the United States." Volk auf dem Weg, November 1999.

Translation from German to English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Quite clearly, not everything in the United States of America is better than it is here, but some things certainly are. There, for example, research into genealogical and geographical family roots is conducted with a dedication of financial, institutional, and personal effort that we can only dream about.

Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo (NDSU), is such a person who assists in coordinating research publishing and archival projects for the culture, folkways and heritage of Germans from Russia. He spends some of his time traveling between the USA, Germany, and the former Soviet Union on behalf of matters concerning Germans from Russia. The following are some of his work and that of his colleagues to familiarize you with some of their results.

In a media release dated September 25, 1999, the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at NDSU Libraries, Fargo, announced the publication of a pair of books that were the direct result of collaboration with Glueckstal Colonies Research Association (GCRA): "Glueckstal-Kolonien, Geburten und Eheschliessungen 1833 - 1900" ("The Glueckstal Colonies: Births and Marriages, 1833 - 1900") and "Glueckstal, Todesfaelle 1833 - 1900" ("The Glueckstal Colonies: Deaths 1833 - 1900"), compiled by Harold M. Ehrman.

For information regarding purchase of these publications you may contact: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Glueckstal Publications, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 USA.

Those with access to the Internet may also contact Mr. Miller -- not only concerning the books -- via his e-mail address: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu.

In 1993 and 1994, the Genealogical Society of Utah purchased documents from the St. Petersburg Consistory and made them publicly available for research. These documents consist of a host of papers with data from the 19th Century on births, marriages, and deaths in the Black Sea villages of the Germans from Russia. A great deal of painstaking, detailed work went into the preparation of this information for publication in the two books. The volume on births and marriages alone contains 22,000 (!) individual entries.

Toward the end of the 19th Century, thousands of ethnic Germans emigrated from the Glueckstal region to the northern plains of the USA and the prairies of Canada's western provinces. The traces they left behind are still evident in those regions. Ten years ago, it led to the establishment of the GCRA, whose work focuses primarily on the former colonies near Odessa. The mother colonies of the Glueckstal region (Glueckstal, Bergdorf, Kassel, and Neudorf) were founded during the years 1809 and 1810. They gave rise to the so-called daughter colonies, such as Hoffnungstal, Klein-Glueckstal, Klein-Neudorf, Neu-Kassel, Klein-Bergdorf, Krontal, and Marienburg.

Those interested in becoming GCRA members (annual dues: $25 US) should contact: GCRA, 611 Esplanade, Redondo Beach, California 90277 USA (E-mail: GCRA31@aol.com). GCRA issues two extensive newsletters per year, publishes, and offers workshops. Further information is available via the GCRA website: http://www.ehrman.net/gcra/gcra.html.

The documentary video film "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," produced by Prairie Public Broadcasting, Inc., and the NDSU Libraries, Fargo, has stirred nationwide interest in North America. The film has been awarded the prestigious "Silver Telly Award" for best documentary of the year and has been broadcast by numerous Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television stations.

A summary brochure for the one-hour documentary states, in part: "The history of the Germans from Russia is that of pioneers on several continents. It is a story that relates the search for land and peace, a search that formed them into a special and durable ethnic group. The film addresses the life of the Germans from Russia in Ukraine and Russia as well as life as experienced on the central and northern plains of America. The documentary film investigates the history and culture of this unique ethnic group. It tells the story of the Germans from Russia in terms of their past, present, and future.

An example of the pervasively positive reactions to the documentary film is a statement from Sister Mary Louise Jundt of the Convent of St. Francis in Hankinson, ND: "The film gives beautiful witness to the faith, the spirit, and the determination of my people. Personally, I was able to connect so many of the pictures, accompanying narration and text with my childhood in Rugby, ND, a community of Germans from Russia."

Orders may be sent to: Documentary Videotape, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 USA.

Appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog his translation work.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller