In Touch with Prairie Living

November 2010

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

As I prepare this November column, I am reminded of my first experience with writing this column back in November 1996 with 168 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 the Volga Region of Russia, southern Ukraine and Moldova). When I visited with tour members in May 2010, these villages near Odessa, Ukraine, it is apparent the difficult life the villagers experience each day for survival.

The Germans from Russia community has lost a colleague and a dear friend, Margaret (Aman) Freeman, Redondo Beach, Calif. Margaret was one of the founders of the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association begun in 1987. Arthur E. Flegel writes, “We can feel assured that the seeds she has sown will continue to flourish as her personal legacy for the Germans from Russia.” Bob Dambach, Director of Prairie Public Television, shares: “I first met Bob and Margaret Freeman in 1995 at the Hague, N.D. cemetery. Through the years, I saw their constant quest for knowledge and their willingness to share the history of the Germans from Russia with everyone, everywhere. I can think of no couple more deserving to have a publication fund named after them than Margaret and Bob Freeman.”

The Robert and Margaret (Aman) Freeman Publications Fund of the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association has been established. For further information, please contact me.

The GRHC’s most important outreach events are the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcases sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture ( The Fargo Holiday Showcase is at the Main Arena/Civic Center (19-20-21 November) and Bismarck Holiday Showcase is at the Main Arena (3-4-5 December): Friday, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

At the Holiday Showcases, we will have many new items with more than cookbooks available for purchase. New cookbooks include “Heritage Cookbook: 100 Years of Home Cooking,” “Holy Cross & Friends Cookbook: Timber Lake, SD Centennial 2010,” “McLaughlin Centennial Cookbook 2009,” “Mound City, SD 125th Cookbook” and “Little Flower Rugby, ND Centennial 2010 Cookbook.”

We had a wonderful time at the 85th Sauerkraut Day on October 13 at Wishek, N.D. The GRHC displays at the Wishek Armory were well received. We are grateful to the local folks who donated to the GRHC Archives historical black and white photographs, hymnals and religious books. Prairie Public Radio broadcasted the “Hear It Now” program from Wishek with Merrill Piepkorn as host. A webpage with photographs from the 2010 Sauerkraut Day is at

“Family Tree Magazine” has named the NDSU Libraries’ Institute for Regional Studies website the best North Dakota website for doing genealogical and family history research in the state. Its comment about the Institute states “Search the statewide North Dakota Biography Index, 212,000 naturalization records, the 1885 Dakota Territory census, obituaries from the “Fargo Forum” newspapers and indexes, Cass County Marriages, divorces and probate cases. Face pages will help you start your North Dakota research.” All total, the various Institute databases contain almost three quarters of a million North Dakota names. Further information is at

Limited reservations are available for people to join the 17th Journey to the Homeland Tour. It is scheduled for May 18-28, 2011 with visits to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany.
For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, the Friends of the GRHC, the Dakota Memories Heritage Tour (September 15-18, 2011), the Journey to the Homeland 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 2010 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