Steppes to Neu Odessa: Germans from Russia Who Settled in Odessa Township, Dakota Territory, 1872 - 1876

By Cynthia Anne Frank Stupnik

Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, Second Edition, 2002, 118 pages, maps, illustrations, surname index, softcover

Dominic and Margaretha (Kost) Stoller, parents of Heinrich Stoller. Photo courtesy of Della Kiesz.
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to provide this second edition of Steppes to Neu Odessa. This latest edition of this biographical and genealogical sketchbook of Plains' pioneers includes many new family connections.

In the late 1700s and 1800s, the Russian government encouraged hardworking people from Western Europe to settle Russia in a number of locations, including St. Petersburg, along the banks of the Volga, and near the Black Sea. Along with inhabitants from other countries, thousands of German citizens answered the call.

Determined to maintain their own culture and nationality, many of the Germans eventually decided to relocate. The first three groups of German-Russians from the Black Sea area arrived in the United States in 1872. In the spring of 1873, they sent scouts to search for land they could settle as a group.

Depot in Yankton, Dakota Territory, where many German-Russians arrived.
The scouts found rich homestead land about twenty miles northwest of Yankton, Dakota Territory [now SD] that was similar to the farmlands they had left in Russia. They sent encouraging letters back to family and friends in Russia, which resulted in a flood of German-Russians to America. Their numbers were estimated at one hundred thousand by the end of the century.

In many cases the biographical sketches in this volume include the settler's date of settlement, occupation, place of birth, death, and burial, and names of parents, spouse, and children. Sometimes the biography is supplemented with newspaper excerpts. The surnames included are Auch, Bohrer, Dux, Engel, Frank, Friemark, Freier, Hermann, Horst, Jassmann, Kost, Kusler, Mind, Mueller, Mutschlknaus, Reister, Rude, Sayler, Schaefer, Schamber, Schorzman, Schramm, Serrr, Sieler, Stoller, Ulmer, Vaatz, Weber, Weidenbach, Werner, Winter, and Ziegele. The author's sources have come from various German-Russian historical works, newspapers of the Dakota Territory, and German-Russian genealogical websites.

Steppes to Neu Odessa

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