NDSU Libraries Announces The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection available with Index Search

October 15, 2005

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, is pleased to announce the completion of detailed indexing for The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection. The website pages including photo images, the index searching and instructions, are located at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/thc/intro.html.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) became beneficiary of this historically significant donation upon the request of the late Thomas Joseph Hoffman, a native of Mandan, Morton County, North Dakota.

Jay Gage, GRHC exhibits and textiles curator, who was closely involved in reviewing the Hoffman materials, writes: "Thomas Hoffman's genealogical vision reflects an extensive undertaking of seeking and integrating various archival sources, thus providing a rare overview of family relationships, often with generational lineage charts".

Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, who was closely involved with the processing, comments: "In the fall of 2004, I had the opportunity to assist the staff of Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libraries with the major task of organizing, sorting, identifying related names and places in the contents of 55 large boxes containing the donated items from the family of Thomas J. Hoffman. As Hoffman's primary research and publishing interests related to the Beresan Colonies, a large amount of this material would be of interest to those with Beresan family roots. The collection focuses on the Catholic Beresan villages and families, the Hoffman material contains family information from other Catholic colonies because of intermarriages before immigration to Russia (Ukraine) or after they left Russia for other places."

"Hoffman also collected much information from the Germans from Russia organizations, journals, books, newsletters, submitted family group sheets and published family histories. My own impression would be that each individual researcher would need to search and review The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection website pages for subject titles, places and related names to decide what might be of interest or not to their research. And as with all family research material from others, it should carefully be reviewed before accepting it as completely accurate. Since Thomas Hoffman's death in December, 2003, there have been major efforts and amounts of actual records retrieved from Ukraine that were not available to us before."


Mr. Hoffman's thirty-five year passion for German-Russian genealogies of Catholic families (which peaked in the years 2000-2002), focused on the Morton County locales of Solen and St. Anthony, including the prominent Leingang families of Mandan, the county seat. His exhaustive historical records from Germany, Eastern Europe, and North American archives also reveal little-known secondary migration patterns in Kamenka (Volga) to Beresan District; Siberia (Tashkent) and South America. Saskatchewan and Alberta migrations are strongly documented, as well as the Central and Northern Plains of the United States and Western Canada.

Summary of Contents:

The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection emphasizes the marriages, births, and deaths in the genealogies and related heritage of Catholic German families, who have origins in Alsace, Rhineland-Pfalz, Baden, Franconia, and Wuerttemburg regions, who have immigrated to Black Sea colonies in the Russian Empire [Beresan, Kutschurgan, Liebental, Bessarabia, some Crimea, Prishib-Molotschna, some Mariupol, and some Trans-Caucasus]. Also included are some (Balzer/ Kamenka) of Volga, Dobrudscha (Romania), Bukovina (Hungary), Banat (Hungary), Silesia (north of Lemberg), Galacia, who have diasporas worldwide, with emphasis to Saskatchewan, Western Canada, and the United States.

For additional information about The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection, please contact Jessica Clark, Project Coordinator at 701-231-8419; Email: jessica.clark@ndsu.edu.

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