Family A 22-32 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766.
Family B-1059 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766.
Family Rus 14-30 in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766.
Family #41 in the 1775 Grimm census.
Family listed in Appendix #9 of the 1798 Grimm census.
Family #Gm176 in 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga, Volumes 1 & 2.
Johann Heinrich Meisner was born 17 Mar 1744 in Reichelsheim Odenwald, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt. He was the youngest of four brothers born to Johann Gottlob Meisner and Elisabeth Catharina (Laud) Meisner.
Birth Record 
Despite the fact that Germans had a reputation for being good, hard workers, there were many people struggling to survive. In addition to war and famine, the economic conditions were adversely affected by high taxes and burdensome tithing expected by the local Church.
In 1759, when the King of Denmark invited these struggling Germans to immigrate to his country to help turn Denmark's southern marsh lands into fertile soil, Heinrich and his family decided to go. He arrived as one of the four people in his father's traveling group on 25 May 1761.  The family eventually settled in the colony of Julianenebene on 24 July 1761. 
About two years later, still in Denmark, Gottlob's sons Johann Georg and Johann Heinrich both married on the same day, 31 May 1763, in the colony of Hohn. 
Information about Johann Heinrich's wife's family can also be found in The Immigration of German Colonists to Denmark and Their Subsequent Emigration to Russia in the Years 1759-1766. Margaretha Barbara Risch was the daughter of Johann Michael Risch. Her father's birth record follows, showing the Risch family was also from Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt.  The families originally moved to Denmark together on 18 May 1761, and they most likely knew each other before they immigrated to Denmark. 
Turning the marsh lands into farmable land proved to be a failure. On 22 July 1763, Empress and Czarina Catherine II, more commonly known as Catherine the Great, issued a manifesto to her fellow Germans, inviting them to immigrate to Russia under very favorable conditions.  Her invitation extended to those Germans who had immigrated to Denmark between 1760 and 1765.
A year and a half later, Johann Heinrich and Johann Georg decided to accept the offer and moved their families to Russia. They departed Denmark on 10 January 1765.  They were among the immigrants from Denmark who arrived in Russia before the main wave of German immigrants in 1766-1767. They were taken first to a temporary home in one of the older, established colonies along the Volga River, such as Dobrinka. Once the larger group of colonists arrived in the spring and summer of 1767, they were resettled in Grimm. Since the Meisners don't appear in the 1767 Grimm census, they obviously moved to Grimm at a later date, but before 1775. 
The family appears in the 1775 Grimm census under the name Meniner, which appears to be misspelled and missing the letter s. Danish records and later Volga colony census records spell the name Meisner, the most consistent spelling of the surname, which was the spelling used in this profile as his last name at birth.
1775 Grimm Census 
By 1798, Heinrich Meisner was one of the few men who had paid his debts to the Russian treasury department and was free to live anywhere in Russia, including outside of the Volga colonies. He and his family chose to remain in Grimm. Note that in the 1798 census, his surname was spelled Meisinger and in the 1834 census, the surname is spelled Meisner. As noted above, it's unclear which version of the spelling was correct.
Also note that he was married to a different person, Margaretha Barbara (Hartman) Meisner. This means that first wife Margaretha Barbara (Risch) Meisner passed away prior to 1798. I looked for clues for his first wife's death date in his children's birth years. There is a large gap between eldest child Jakob Alexander Meisner, born in 1767, and Kaspar Meisner, born in 1779. After the birth of Kaspar, the births occur at somewhat regular intervals, 1 to 3 years apart. His first wife probably died between 1767, when Alexander Meisner was born, and 1779. In fact, she may not even be the wife referred to in the 1775 census, since both women had the same first two names and birth year.
The 1798 census reveals an additional, probable daughter named Margaretha Barbara Meisner Legler. She was born in 1775, after the census was taken, and was likely born to Heinrich's second wife, rather than his first wife. Margaretha Barbara was born and married between the 1775 and 1798 censuses, giving her the distinction of not being named in a census with her biological parents and siblings.
She has an equal possibility of being the daughter of Heinrich's brother, Johann Georg, but Heinrich has the established track record for having more children, at least seven, while Johann Georg only had only one documented child by 1798. Both men may have had additional daughters born between 1775 and 1782 who married by 1798 and were not living with their birth families.
Only Johann Heinrich, however, had two wives named Margaretha Barbara. Germans had a well-established practice of naming their children after parents, grandparents, and other relatives. It seems more likely that Johann Heinrich was the father of Margaretha Barbara Meisner Legler.
1798 Grimm Census 
Johann Heinrich Meisner is not named in the 1834 census and had most likely passed away prior to that year.  The fact that he is not named at all in the 1834 census suggests that he actually died before 1816, and his death was noted in the 1816 male-only census.
Johann Gottlob Meisner, son of Michael Meisner & Anna Katharina Haag, was from Reichelsheim, southeast of Darmstadt. He married there on 16 September 1732 to Elisabeth Catharina Lauth, daughter of Adam Lauth & Magdalena Körber. She was born 20 July 1712 in Klein-Gumpen. They have 4 sons born in Reichelsheim: Alexander (b. 8 December 1732), Johann Wendel (b. about 1735), Johann Georg (born 23 March 1741), and Johann Heinrich (born 17 March 1744). The Meisner family immigrated to Denmark (Schleswig-Holstein) where they settled in the colony of Julianenebene on 24 July 1761.
While in Denmark, son Johann Georg married Elisabeth Schäfer on 31 May 1763 in the colony of Hohn. Son Johann Heinrich married on the same day to Margaretha Barbara Risch.
On 10 January 1765, the Meisner brothers left Denmark and immigrated to Russia where they settled in the colony of Grimm. Heinrich is recorded in Grimm on the 1798 Census at Household No. Gm176.
Note by: Koreen Goodman 11 Dec 2018
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