A21-12 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1776.
B-784 and B-785 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1776.
Rus14-22 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1776.
Family #45 in the 1775 census.
Family #76 in the 1798 census.
According to the German Origins Project, Johann Ludwig David Kaiser was born in Württemberg and lived in Frankenbach before immigrating to Denmark. 
He arrived in the City of Schleswig, Schleswig Royal Duchy, in May 1761.  Information in this same source says he left Denmark in May 1765, but that is probably when he requested permission to leave Denmark and immigrate to Russia. The Kulberg Reports show he arrived in Russia on July 4, 1766.
The German Origins Project also show his name as J. Ludewig David Kayser.  The J most likely stands for Johann and confirms that he is the Johann Kaiser listed in the Transport of the Volga Germans from Oranienbaum to the Colonies on the Volga.  The spelling of the last name as Kayser was probably an error due to the input taker spelling the name phonetically. His surname is listed under multiple spellings in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766 where is name is also given as Johann Ludewig David.
The Kulberg Reports also show that Ludwig, a Lutheran, was a farmer from Hessen, Germany. Frankenbach and Hesse are about 60 miles away from each other. 
His transport document number was 2424.  He departed Luebeck on the Galliot "Die Fortuna," with the skipper Peter Stahl.  They arrived in Oranienbaum on July 4, 1766.  They remained there for approximately one year before traveling to Grimm in July of 1767. 
In The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766, his age is given as 21 in 1761.  That would make his birth year 1740. This source also lists him as single,  but we know from the Volga German Transportation List that he was married with two children in 1767.  He must have married in Denmark shortly after his arrival, which allowed for him to have a child born in 1759. This child would have been 7 years old in 1766, when the Kulberg Reports were originally created. </ref name=Kulberg/> The list also includes the name of his wife, Susanna, and two daughters, Margaretha, 8, and Maria, 2. </ref name=Kulberg/>
The Volga German transport list, however, does not list Margaretha, the oldest daughter who at this time would have been nine years old.  It's possible she died in Oranienbaum, but we cannot be sure from these records. The transport list adds a son, Johann Kaeyser, who was 1.25 years old and died enroute to Grimm.  Daughter Maria also perished before reaching Grimm. 
According to Dr. Brent Mai, many Germans perished on the journey to their new colonies along the Volga. There were also deaths from raiding Mongols and other nomadic tribes who lived in the Volga area and battled the settlers for their land.
By 1770, Ludwig Kaiser had married Eva Maria Reisig and their first child was born in 1771.
1775 Grimm Census 
1798 Grimm Census 
There is an Eleonora Kaiser who appears in the 1798 census with a given age of 18, making her birth year around 1780. There is no indication in the 1798 census that she was from another Volga German colony, so she was born in Grimm to one of the two Kaiser families:
What makes identifying her parents difficult is that she was born after the 1775 census, but married before the 1798 census, meaning that she never appeared in a census with her birth parents. It is virtually impossible to identify her lineage using census records. What we can do, however, is check to see how close she lived to both Kaiser families in each census. One of the things that is consistent throughout all the censuses is that a significant number of young adults married people who lived near them. Although there are exceptions, it is true for a large number of Grimm residents.
I reviewed the census records and noted the household numbers for each family during the 1798 and 1834 censuses.
A comparison of these numbers shows that Eleonora Kaiser Buerkheim lived closer to Ludwig Kaiser and his children during the time between the 1798 and 1834 censuses. This is the only clue we have to discovering who her parents were. Studying the maternal haplogroup of Eleonora's female descendants and/or knowing the haplogroup of her mother could also help narrow down her maternal ancestry.
On July 22, 1763, Catherine the Great issued a Manifesto inviting Germans to come settle in her country. The Empress of Russia’s invitation came at a time when the provinces of Germany were ravaged by the Seven Years War, famine and crippling poverty.
Catherine’s offer was difficult to refuse: generous acreage, free relocation expenses and supplies, no taxes for thirty years, freedom to practice their religion, no conscription in Russia’s Army, local self-government and more. German settlers were promised loans to help them buy livestock and equipment with no interest and a reasonable repayment plan.
The alternative was going to the Americas, but this option was a pay-as-you-go opportunity. For people who were already poor and couldn’t support their own families, buying tickets for passage across the Atlantic was nearly impossible. It seemed an easy decision to choose an old established country like Russia over North or South America.
Because of her German heritage, German citizens believed the Empress would be fair to them. Instead, she used her heritage as a way to manipulate hard-working people to help settle the wild, untamed areas of her adopted country. They failed to realize that Catherine was a ruthless leader who gained her power by deposing her husband, Peter, Tsar of Russia, and claiming the Russian throne for herself. Later she had him murdered.
The Empress knew many Germans were desperate to provide for their families and would jump at the opportunity to improve their lives. Germans already had a reputation as hardworking and industrious, so if anyone could help the Russians tame their desolate frontier, she believed it would be them. Thousands of Germans accepted Catherine’s offer and moved their families to Russia. Many settled in small villages along the Volga River.
Life was far different from what they expected. These new Russian citizens were forced to remain in hostile territory plagued by unpleasant weather patterns, rocky soil, vermin and disease. The earliest settlers battled with nomadic Kazakhs from China and Mongolia, and as a result, many Germans lost their lives. Still they persevered.
In 1874 the government enforced conscription on all men, including the Germans along the Volga. This was a serious breach of promise to the settlers who were strong pacifists. Many Germans in Russia moved their families to America to avoid being forced to join the military, while others stayed behind, hoping their government would re-exempt them.
Many of these Germans immigrated to North and South America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. For those who stayed in Russia, life remained harsh as they were ranked near the bottom of the country’s class system and routinely treated poorly.
By the early 1900s, those still living along the Volga River still considered themselves Germans, not Russians. Socialization with other native Russians was minimal. Intermarriage was considered taboo.
After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, all of Volga Germans were considered enemies of the state. They lost their citizenship and were deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia. The weak, the elderly and those attempting to resist resettlement were shot. Many died before reaching their final destination.
My maternal great grandparents and their young families came to the United States in the early 1900s. They left loved ones behind, some of whom did not survive their exile to Siberia. After the deaths of my grandparents, family members lost touch with their remaining Russian relatives.
In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. This led to an agreement between Russia, then the USSR, and Germany to allow the USSR’s citizens of German ancestry to return to their homeland. In the late 1990s, relatives of my grandmother’s family tried to contact us using an old address. Somehow the letter made its way to me, and my husband and I had it translated.
The letter revealed that descendants of my great grandmother’s sister had finally left Siberia and moved to Berlin, Germany. This led to one of my great grandmother’s sons traveling to Berlin to visit his first cousin and other family members. I obtained a significant amount of information about the families who remained behind, to where they were relocated, and their ancestors and descendants.
Through my grandparents, I heard firsthand stories about the struggles of the German people in Russia, specifically those living in villages along the Volga River.
Note: The historical commentary above was originally used in the preface of book I wrote called Braha (copyright 2014). Although the book is about fictional characters, it was based on the real events that led to the immigration of Germans to Russia, and the eventual disillusionment of these Germans that led to many immigrating from Russia to North and South America.
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