In Touch with Prairie Living

November 2009

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

As I prepare this text, I am reminded of my first experience with writing this column in November 1996 with 156 columns having been written since then. I appreciate the positive comments and interest from readers.

Thanksgiving regards to you and your family. We can be thankful that our ancestors immigrated to these Dakota prairies from their former German villages in South Russia (today Russia, southern Ukraine and Moldova). When I visited with tour members in May 2009, these villages near Odessa, it is apparent the difficult life the villagers experience each day.

Prairie Public Radio airs German-Russian War Memories on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11 at 3 pm and 7 pm (CST) featuring stories about military service, cultural exchanges and domestic policies from narrators of the Dakota Memories Oral History Project. Narrators share stories regarding World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, as well as the War on Terror. The narrators grew up in the Dakotas and in Saskatchewan. This new radio program is available on a CD. Contact the GRHC for more information.

Many photographs from our Dakota Memories Heritage Tour in September are available for viewing at this webpage: The photos include Martin Luther Lutheran Church Cemetery (Fredonia, ND); St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and John the Baptist Cemetery (Zeeland, ND); St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Cemetery (Hague, ND); The Ludwig and Christina (Schwahn) Welk Homestead, The Schwab House and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church (Strasburg, ND) and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Linton, ND).

The GRHC staff prepares for the most important outreach events of the year, the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase for Fargo and Bismarck. We will have a booth at the Centennial Hall/Fargo Civic Center, November 20-22 (Friday, 6pm-9pm; Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; Sunday, 11 am-5 pm). For December 4-6, we are at the Convention Hall, Bismarck Civic Center (Friday, 6pm-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-5 pm; Sunday, 11 am-5 pm). We invite you to join us for these festive events.

At the Holiday Showcases, we will have many new items with more than 50 cookbooks available for purchase. New cookbooks include Hebron Historical & Art Society Cookbook: A celebration of our Heritage 1885 - 2010; Family Recipes from German Tradition; From Oma’s Kitchen: From Russia to Canada with Love, Courage and Gratitude; Leola, South Dakota: A Taste of 125 Years, 1994 - 2009; Schmeck’s Gut! (Ashley, ND 100th Centennial Cookbook); A Time of Wonder, A Season of Joy and Treasured Family Favorite Recipes.

The GRHC is offering a holiday season special offer -- receive a A Holiday Special: German-Russian Childhood Memories CD free with all purchases totaling $100.00 or more! Visit our website for a complete listing of items available for purchase. To request a catolog, contact the GRHC.
The 16th Journey to the Homeland Tour is May 20-30, 2010. The tour includes May 22-26 in Odessa, Ukraine visiting the former Bessarabian, Black Sea and Crimean German villages. The tour group also travels to Stuttgart, Germany for May 26-30 including a day tour to Alsace, France, and visits to the German-Russian museums in Stuttgart. Detailed Tour information and costs are at this webpage: at “Homeland Tours.”

For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, the 2010 Journey to the Homeland Tour, Dakota Memories Heritage Tour, and donations to the GRHC (such as family histories), contact Michael M. Miller, The Libraries, NDSU Dept. #2080, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 (Telephone: 701-231-8416; Email:; the GRHC website:

November 2009 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.

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