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Volga German Team

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Surnames/tags: Germany volga_german volga_germans
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Related Pages:

Volga German Project category page
Volga German Project freespace page
Volga German Team freespace page
Herzlich Willkommen!
Welcome to the Volga German Team!



Team Objective

The objective of the Volga German Team, a team of the Germany Project, is to use the collaborative powers of WikiTree to collect, organize, and trace the information of those families into one, easily referenced, location. Our dream is to trace families alive today beyond their Mid-Western present, through their colonial days in Russia, and back to the regions in Germany where they originated. We realize that this will take much work and diligence on the part of the Team Members. But we are willing and able to carry it out!

If you'd like to know more about the Volga Germans, see The History of the Volga Germans.

German: Wolgadeutsche or Russlanddeutsche
Russian: Povolzhskie nemtsy


How to Participate

If you would like to be involved in the Volga German Team, please do the following:

  1. Join the Germany Project
  2. Add volga_german to your list of followed tags. That way you'll see all our discussions in your G2G Feed.
  3. Add a comment below letting us know that you'd like to join the Team
  4. Add your name to the team members list below, along with a note about what you're working on in this team right now (please also include family names you're researching and which colony villages your family is from, if you know).
  5. Reach out to Volga German team leader Russ Gunther.



  • For historically significant Volga German ancestors who settled or were born in the Volga German colony villages of Russia, please contact the Germany Project leaders and they will adopt the profile to be managed by the Germany Project.
  • For all other profiles associated with the Volga German project, those ancestors who settled or were born in the Volga German colony villages of Russia but are not "historically significant" or in need of project protection:
    • Insert the {{Volga German}} template somewhere beneath the ==Biography== heading in the profile. This will display the Volga German sticker in the biography section.
      Volga German
      ... ... ... was a Volga German.
      The resulting sticker is to the right:


Team Goals

  1. Apply Germany Project template {{German Roots}} and Germany Project as profile manager to all profiles that need project management and/or project protection -- or --- add the {{Volga German}} sticker to Volga German profiles.
  2. Add village categories to profiles
  3. Ensure all profiles are well-sourced and have a well-written biography according to WikiTree's Style Guide.


Team Members

This is what our members have been working on:

  • Rich Devlin - working on Jorsch from Schaeffer
  • Sheila Gammel - working on the Gammel/Gamel Family of the village Bangert, and the Schaan/Schan family of many Volga_German villages who emigrated to Canada.
  • Laura Gerwood
  • Koreen Goodman - Family projects/DNA on multiple villages
  • Russ Gunther (Volga German Team Leader) - working on adding all the 106 colony village names and free-space page for each so that all your VG ancestors can have their colony village interactively linked on their profile! (Dechant & Leiker of Obermonjou, Wasinger of Schönchen, Bach of Graf, Koenig & Liepfried of Wittmann, others of Schaffhausen, & Rohleder ...immigration to Ellis County, Kansas)
  • P Kreutzer - working on family lines of Kreutzer, Younger/Junker, Dreher, Wasinger, Werth, Gerber, and many others, hoping to make profiles with sources and good bios. I have Russian census records from 1767 to 1857 in the colonies of Herzog, Graf, Mariental, Rohleder, Obermunjor, and Schoenchen - if someone is in need of help in those colonies I'm willing to do look ups for them.
  • Allison Mackler
  • Julie Mangano - working on census data for the Colony of Grimm
  • Sarah Mason - working on Dietrich family from Balzer to Lancaster County, Nebraska. Also, working on Kelln family from Holstein (untangling a GEDcom upload from 2012).
  • Rob Neff - working on Neff family from Dinkel, also my grandmother's side is German-from-Russia from Crimea
  • Terry Poole - working on maternal grandfather’s family Giesick of Walter. Maternal grandmother’s family is more difficult from Hoffental. Both families immigrated to Greeley CO area.
  • John Reed
  • Pip Sheppard - working on Village of Frank, ancestors of my daughter
  • Carole Taylor working on Toepfer's in Wisconsin "Conquering the Wind"
  • John McGill - working on Sieben One Name Study. I have Sieben ancestors, but they were not Volga German. Created pages for Schuck and Volmer.



Volga German Colony Villages

Helpful Links


  • Litzenberger, Olga: History of German settlement on the Volga: Part 3 Catholics. This work is the third volume reference book, giving a historical characteristic of the Volga German settlements. 45 Catholic colonies. Data registers of births for each of the German colonies and other archival sources, numerous illustrations. link (in Russian)
  • Obholz, Albert: Die Kolonie Mariental an der Wolga. This book summarizes the way of life in the colony Mariental from 1766 until 1941 based on memories of survivors and their descendants. It contains photographies as well as name registers and is available in German and Russian. link
  • Toepfer, Amy Brungardt. Conquering the Wind. A saga of the Volga Germans who settled in Western Kansas in the mid 1870s. This book was banned for a while because it was considered uncomplimentary to the Volga Germans.
  • Koch, Fred C. The Volga Germans (In Russia and the Americas, from 1763 to the Present). Kindle link.
  • Weidenweb, Sigrid. The Volga Germans. (The Volga Flows Forever Book 2) Kindle Edition. Kindle link.

Facebook Groups

Germans from Russia Groups
Volga German Descendants Groups:
Volga German Colony Village Groups:

Articles about Volga Germans

YouTube Videos about Volga Germans

Notable Volga Germans

  • Romanus "Monty" Basgall (1922-2005) Major league baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and previously the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Petrowitsch "Peter" Bissing (1871-1961) Violinist
  • Virgil C. Dechant (1930-2020) 12th Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, vice president of the Vatican Bank, a Gentiluomo di Sua Santità (a Gentleman of His Holiness, the Pope), a Councillor on the State Council for Vatican City, a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX, a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and a Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Henry John Deutschendorf Jr (professional name John Denver) (1943-1997) American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, actor, and humanitarian
  • Remigius Oswalt "Remi" Gassmann (1908-1982) American avant garde composer, pianist, educator, critic, and pioneer of electronic sound and music
  • Lioba C. "Bo Peep" Karlin (1910-1969) American actress and movie star, wife of Gaston J. Glass
  • Anna Maria (Roth) "Annie" Rose (1917-2002) wife of billionaire Tom Rose
  • Willard Raymond Schmidt (1928-2007) Major league baseball player, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and previously St. Louis Cardinals
  • Lieutenant General Edward Lewis "Ed" Tixier (1929-1999) Commander of the 5th Air Force, command pilot & West Point Military Academy
  • Lawrence Welk (1903-1992) American musician, band leader, and television show host (actually Odessa German heritage)


Volga German Memorials & Monuments

American Volga Relief Society (1921-1938)

  • American Volga Relief Society (1921-1938) material relates to the starvation of the Volga German colonists in Russia, and the efforts of the AVRS to supply food and other aid to the region (the bulk of the materials are dated 1921-1925, the most intensive years of the Russian famine). (AHSGR Anerican Historical Society of Germans from Russia)

This is an active Germany Project page with up-to-date information.
Reviewed: Thiessen-117 5 Aug 2021
Last updated by Traci Thiessen 5 Aug 2021

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Comments: 17

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This person made a virtual cemetery for all the findagrave Volga German immigrants. He also has virtual cemeteries for immigrants based on the colony that they came from.


He also uploaded his data to:


posted by John McGill
edited by John McGill
Thank you John. Note: these are Catholic villages for his project. You will not find Lutheran/Protestant in his listing.
Brent Mai is a valued researcher and tour guide, I went on his first GR Tour in 2016, money and time well spent.

When we're able to tour again, a trip to think about if you have Volga Germans in your family line. Sharryn Clark

posted by Sharryn Peck
edited by Sharryn Peck
Here are some additional links for the research section:

UNF, Volga German Institute https://volga.domains.unf.edu/surnames

1850 and 1857 Revised Census Records: http://forum.wolgadeutsche.net/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10868

posted by Pam Kreutzer
Thanks P. I added these under "Helpful Links".
posted by Traci Thiessen
Has anyone seen or heard of this source? Mai, Brent Alan. 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga: Economy, Population, and Agriculture (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1999): Km048.
posted by Traci Thiessen
It is still for sale in the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia store: https://www.ahsgr.org/store/viewproduct.aspx?id=5339700

Here is the World Catalog link to look for a library with the book, hopefully close to you. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1798-census-of-the-german-colonies-along-the-volga-economy-population-and-agriculture/oclc/866484076

I assume it is considered to be a reliable source?
posted by Traci Thiessen
Dr. Mai is one of the best researchers for Volga German colonies. His work would be considered a reliable source. I have both volumes of this book if anyone needs something looked up.
posted by Pam Kreutzer
edited by Pam Kreutzer
Yes, he is one of the most prolific and best Volga German researchers. He created the census records for all the Volga German villages. The 1798 census for all the villages are included in that one book which is divided into two volumes. Other census records for 1775, 1798, 1834, and 1857 are available to purchase individually. The 1775 and 1798 census records can be purchased through the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR). The 1834 and 1857 census records can be purchased directly through Dr. Mai. I have a copy of the books you are referring to in your question. If you need me to look something up for me, just let me know.
posted by Julie (Miller) Mangano
You can look up names on that census, in a way, through this site by looking up the surname. https://volga.domains.unf.edu/ For example, if I look up Dietrich, I can find this among the options: https://volga.domains.unf.edu/surnames/dietrich-dietel , which gives me some really good information concerning which Dietrichs were in Dietel or from Dietel and moved to Balzer in that 1798 census. I hope this helps.
posted by Sarah Mason
I'll just add that generally, the only records available for Volga Germans are through the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and most of those records were acquired by researchers like Brent Mai visiting the Russian archives and then translating records like the 1798 Russian census of the colonies. Most descendants don't have the books, but they are available at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. Another Volga German researcher/translator is Igor Pleve, he wrote Einwanderung in das Wolgaebiet, which is 4 volumes that translate what we call the first settler's list that include the names of the German settlers and what they received from the Russian government (usually rubles, equipment, horses and cows). Usually we (descendants) work with the Village Coordinators, who can provide an ahnentafel chart for the descendants with sources and most of those sources are not available for our viewing (like birth, baptism and death records) and are kept private because it's so difficult for the researchers to work with the Russian government, so you will also see a source like "Walter Database" or "Frank-Kolb Database," which is what the Village Coordinators recommend we use for anything that we can't see ourselves. In addition, Village Coordinators publish origin information at volgagermans.org. Largely, that is the extent of sources, you can find information about these here: https://www.volgagermans.org/resources/genealogy. If you look at the details of the revision lists and church records, you see Brent Mai's name listed along with other researchers. BTW, that source, at the end, lists KM048, that tells you what village and family group the source is for: https://volga.domains.unf.edu/surnames/sch%C3%A4fer-kamenka-2
posted by Allison Mackler
edited by Allison Mackler
The person I got the lead on the book was Daniel 林丹尼 Lindbergh Lang (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lang-5895). I PMed be with this link for ordering a copy of the book:


posted by Pip Sheppard
Yes, I have. If you go to the AHSGR website you will see this source with a list of names, villages, and family. I have a physical copy on it.
posted by Kelly (Popp) Kley
As I received no response to my comments below, the current Volga German sticker reads "____ was a Volga German". The template info page reads: This sticker can be placed on the profiles of people who were born in or lived in the Volga German Colonies.
Volga German
... ... ... was a Volga German.

I also added coding for a "Descendant of a Volga German" sticker.
Volga German
Descendant of a Volga German

Both of these stickers can be seen HERE.

Let me know if you have any questions, changes, comments, etc. Thx, Traci

posted by Traci Thiessen
edited by Traci Thiessen
Hi VG Team,

When the Volga German project became a team under the Germany Project, the project box was changed into a sticker that reads "... is a Volga German". There are no categories attached to this sticker. Would VG Team members be interested in changing this sticker to read differently or expand it to add any regional categories? My only suggestion is to change "is" to "was", but I'm happy to work with the VG team to make any requested changes.

Let me know if you have any interest in having this sticker changed.

Thanks, Traci

posted by Traci Thiessen
I've also requested thet the Templates project change the wording on the Template info page (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Template:Volga_German) to: "This sticker can be placed on the profiles of people who were born in or lived in the Volga German Colonies." (changing it from "If you would like to designate that a person has Volga German ancestry, you can place this sticker on profiles.")
posted by Traci Thiessen