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Jakob (Feil) Pfeil (abt. 1769 - abt. 1834)

Jakob Pfeil formerly Feil
Born about in Dreispitz, Volgograd, Russiamap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about in Grimm, Saratov, Russiamap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Oct 2016
This page has been accessed 154 times.


Volga German
Jakob (Feil) Pfeil is a Volga German.
Jakob (Feil) Pfeil has German Roots.


Family A42-72 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766

Family B1270 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766

Family #30 in the 1798 Grimm census.

Family #46 in the 1834 Grimm census.

Jakob Pfeil was born about 1769 in Dreispitz, Russia, the son of Johann Georg Feil and Christina (Unknown) Feil. His family has been documented as first immigrating to Denmark, and then leaving for Russia a few years later. [1] The family was probably located in a temporary village before settling in Dreispitz, at the southern end of the Volga German colonies. By 1798, he had married Maria Katharina Schreirer from Grimm. He remained in Grimm, living with his in-laws most likely because the Schreirers had no sons to whom they could pass down their land.

1798 Grimm Census [2]

Family # 30
Head of the Household Philipp Scheirer, widower, age 58, invalid
Child #1 Maria Katharina Scheirer Feil, age 26
Husband of Child #1 Jakob Feil, age 29, from Dreispitz
Grandchild #1 Johann Konrad Feil, age 2
Grandchild #1 Katharina Elisabeth Feil, age 3 months
Child #2 Katharina Feil, age 24

1834 Grimm Census [3]

Family # 46
Head of the Household Jakob Pfeil, age 46 in 1816, deceased 1834
Child #1 Johann Konrad Pfeil, age 19 in 1816, deceased 1830
Grandchild #1 Margaretha Barbara Pfeil, age 8
Grandchild #2 Katharina Elisabeth Pfeil, age 4
Child #2 Christoph Pfeil, age 31
Wife of Child #2 Katharina Pfeil, age 26
Grandchild #3 Elisabeth Margaretha Pfeil, age 6
Grandchild #4 Katharina Regina Pfeil, age 4
Grandchild #5 Katharina Margaretha Pfeil, age 1

Research Notes

1798 Grimm Census[2]

The first time Jakob Feil appears in a Grimm census, it is 1798 and he is living with the Philip Scheirer family, married to his daughter Maria Katharina. The 1798 Grimm census specifically says that Jakob Feil was from Verchnaya Dobrinka [Dreispitz].

1767 Dreispitz Census [4]

The only name resembling Feil in the 1767 Dreispitz census is Feidel. If you speak the word quickly, it is understandable how someone could misspell this name. In the 1834 census, the surname is spelled Pfeil. The question is which is the correct spelling. I looked the three surnames up on Google Translate to see if there was a meaning for any of the words.

  • Feil: Venal. Merriam-Webster says: Definition of venal. 1 : capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration : purchasable; especially : open to corrupt influence and especially bribery : mercenary a venal legislator.[5]
  • Feidel: No meaning in English, unless you consider it a Germanic form of the Spanish or Cuban name Fidel. As an adjective, it means merry or jolly.[6]
  • Pfeil: Arrow[7]

Common sense seems to rule out the first two options. The third, Pfeil, sounds more logical, especially if the name originated with bow and arrow hunters.

Kulberg Reports [8]

There are no Feidels in the Kulberg Reports.

There is no person in the Kulberg Reports named Johann Georg Feil who matches the Johann Georg Feidel in the 1767 Dreispitz census.

Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet[4]

According to this source, Jakob Feil/Pfeil's father had to be Johann Georg Feidel, born 1733. It says he was a farmer from Wittenberg, Ebersbach. Ebersbach is in the central band of Germany on the eastern side of the country, 20 miles north of Dresden, about 71 miles west of the Polish border, and 52 miles north of the Czech Republic. [9] This does not seem like the traditional area from which the Germans who immigrated to Russia came.

The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766 [1]

According to this source, Johann Georg Pfeil was born around 1736. With the exception of a three-year age discrepancy, he is a match in every other way to the Johann Georg Pfeil in the 1767 Dreispitz census. Both had a wife named Christina, also born in 1736/1733. Daughter Maria Elisabeth in the Danish records is the same age as daughter Elisabeth in Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, Band 1. The couple had another daughter, Christina Anna Maria, born in January of 1763, who is not listed in the 1767 census. She apparently did not survive the journey to the Volga region.

Another interesting piece of information is that these records show he was from Württemberg, not Wittenberg. That seems like a simple misunderstanding of words. Or perhaps the family was originally from Württemberg, immigrated to Denmark, left Denmark in 1765, went to Wittenberg, and then immigrated to Russia from there. The latter seems more complicated, and the former sounds simpler, thus more reasonable.

This source shows that Johann Georg's wife was named Christina, also born in 1733, and the couple had two children at the time of the 1767 census.

  • Elisabeth, born 1759,
  • Maria Sophia, only 10 weeks in 1767

The gap between the births of the two sisters suggests there may have been one or two more children born to the couple, children who didn't survive the trip to the Volga. Danish records tell us of one child, Christina Anna Maria, and there may have been one or two more.

The family departed from the processing site in Altona on 17 May 1762 and arrived in Flensburg five days later.[1] The family were considered reserve colonists. As on 07 June 1763 they lived at Number 3 Raben Hof in Colony F18 Christianshoehe, in the region of Flensburg.[1] On 24 April 1765, they left Denmark.[1]

Danish records do not show the family as immigrating to Russia.[1] This may be due to the different spellings of their surname. The name is spelled two ways in Russian records, and a third way in Danish records. It made it difficult to track the family's movements on paper.

German Birth, Marriage and Death Records

After reviewing German vital records online, there were only four possible birth record matches for father Johann Georg Feil in this profile. One died as an infant in 1738, another died in 1750, and the third died in Germany. This leaves only one possible record match. His name was Johann Georg Feil was born in 1733, a match with the age he gave to census takers in Dreispitz in 1767.

Deutschland Geburten und Taufen [10]

Name Johann Georg Feil
Event Date 1733
Gender Male
Birth Date 30 Oct 1733
Birth Year 1733
Christening Date 01 Nov 1733
Christening Place Hochdorf (OA. Vaihingen), Württemberg, Germany
Father's Name Johann Georg Feil
Mother's Name Justina Margretha Schweigerin

He was not married to Christina Greiss. That Johann Georg Feil went on to have children with Christina who were born in Germany at the same time the Johann Georg Feil of this profile was documented to be living in Russia.

1798 Dreispitz Census [11]

In 1798, Johann Georg Feil, was 65 years old, matching the age in the German birth records and in the 1767 Dreispitz census.[11] I don't have a copy of the 1775 Dreispitz census, but I suspect it would show the birth of son Jakob Feil in 1769, two years after the 1767 census was taken. It would also show the birth of Johann Georg Feil Jr. in 1771.

At some point prior to that 1798, his wife Christina passed away and Johann Georg remarried a woman named Maria Dorothea Heinz, 20 years his junior. The couple had eight children living with them, plus son Johann Georg Feil Jr. who lived in a separate household with his wife and children. The only gap in the children's ages was between Johann Georg, age 27, and Sophia, age 21. Furthermore, there is no mention that his second wife is not the mother of all the children listed in his 1798 family. This leads one to believe that first wife Christina passed away between 1771 and 1776. That would have given Johann Georg Feil time to marry Maria Dorothea and for their first child to be born in 1777.

Jakob Feil is not mentioned in the 1798 Dreispitz census, but the 1798 Grimm census clearly says that was the colony from where he originated. Johann Georg Feidel's name was corrected to Feil [probably still the incorrect spelling], and his was the only family with that name in that colony. Clearly he and his first wife were the parents of Jakob Pfeil.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Eichhorn, Alexander, Dr., and Dr. Jacob and Mary Eichhorn. The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766,, Druck and Bindung: Druckerei and Verlap Steinmeier GmbH & Co. KG, 86738, Deiningen, Germany; Published 2012; pages 291 and 549.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The 1775 and 1798 Census of the German Colony on the Volga, Lesnoy Karamysh, also known as Grimm; Published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Published date: 1995;
  3. 1834 Census of Grimm in the District of Saratov, Russia, dated 2 February 1835; Translated by Brent Mai, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon; Published by Dynasty Publishing, Beaverton, OR, USA; Published 2011; page 15, family #46, Jakob Pfeil family.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, Band 1, Heerstellung: Mecke Druck and Verlag, 37115 Duderstandt; Published 1999; page 372, family #4, Johann Georg Feidel, age 34, Lutheran, farmer frum Wittenberg, Ebersbach; wife Christina, age 34; daughter Elisabeth, age 8; daughter Maria Sophia, age 10 weeks.
  7. Credit goes to my 9th grade German teacher and Google Translate for confirming the definition. See:
  8. Pleve, Igor. List of Colonists to Russia in 1766, "Reports by Ivan Kulberg," Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation, Sartov State Technical University; Published in Saratov, Russia 2010.
  9. Google Maps, see:
  10. "Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," database, FamilySearch ( : 28 November 2014), Johann Georg Feil, 01 Nov 1733; citing ; FHL microfilm 1,184,584.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mai, Brent Alan; 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga, Volume 1; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska; Published 1999 and 2005; page 394, family #Dr38 and Dr39, Johann Georg Feil, age 65, working in Holstein.

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