In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia
is an important part of the northern plains culture.
GRHC in cooperation with the Glückstal Colonies Research Association
(GCRA) has published, "Glückstal Colonies, Births, and Marriages:
1833 - 1900" and "Glückstal Colonies Deaths: 1833 - 1900" both compiled
by Harold M. Ehrman, Pacific Palisades, CA, and Eureka, SD, native.
These important publications cover the Black Sea German villages
of the Glückstal District (South Russia) today located in southern
Ukraine and Moldova. The mother villages are Bergdorf, Glückstal,
Kassel, and Neudorf. In 1999, the publications were published by
GRHC with German language editions for many German-Russians of Glückstal
heritage who have immigrated in recent years to Germany from the
former Soviet Union.
These publications consist of thousands of birth, marriage and
death records, which were prepared by many volunteers, reviewing
the microfilm rolls with old German script.
James Gessele, Minneapolis, native of Bismarck, writes in reviewing
the publication: "These works appear to have been a mammoth undertaking.
Harold Ehrman, his contributors and cohorts within the Glückstal
Colonies Research Association are to be congratulated on a wonderfully
crafted work. This collection is one any Glückstaler can be proud
of and one that could well set the standard for future extractions
of records that deal with Unsere Leut." Marvin C. Hoffer, Lewistown,
MT, a native of Java, SD, writes, "Thank you for making these rare
documents available to thousands of Unsere Leut. It literally paves
the way to genealogical success for thousands of us of German-Russian
heritage who have been, and are lost in the genealogical wilderness
with little knowing which direction to take."
Many Glückstal families from these villages settled in the central
Dakotas. Many families later resettled in western United States.
Names include Aman, Becker, Bertsch, Boschee, Dockter, Goebel, Guthmueller,
Isaak, Klein, Krein, Kussmaul, Lang, Oster, Rau, Reich, Rudolph,
Unruh, Weisser, Vossler, Zimmerman, Zoller, and many others.
Contact GRHC to secure the Glückstal publications. Join the Glückstal
Colonies Research Association (GCRA) for $20 annual membership.
Write to GCRA, 611 Esplanade, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 (e-mail: GCRA31@aol.com).
The GCRA website is www.glueckstal.net.
We have added a new section to the GRHC website for "Outreach
Programs & Family Reunions" (http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/outreach/index.html).
Pages relating to planning for a family reunion, suggested reading,
website links, and other items are included. My thanks to Mary Lynn
Axtman, Fargo, ND, a native of Rugby, ND, for assistance with these
pages. Mary Lynn has completed important family histories of the
Axtmans, Buechlers (Bicklers), Bohls, Reiters, Kistners, and Bertschs
settling in Pierce County, ND.
The award-winning documentary videotape, "The Germans from Russia:
Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," continues to be
well received throughout North America. To secure the videotape,
contact Prairie Public Broadcasting at 1-800-359-6900. This "Collector's Edition" of the videotape includes 20-minute bonus
video footage, "Ukraine Places & Faces" of beautiful filming from
the former German villages near Odessa not shown in the one-hour
documentary. See many interesting pages about the documentary at
the Prairie Public Broadcasting website: http://www.prairiepublic.org.
My personal thanks to the North Star Chapter of the American Historical
Society of Germans from Russia in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Minnesota
History Center, as gracious hosts for the gala showing of the documentary
on Sunday, August 22. There was a tremendous response from the Twin
Cities community of Germans from Russia.
Our outreach programs include an information booth with Prairie
Public Broadcasting at the Octoberfest on October 1-3, at the Fargodome.
On October 13, I plan to attend the annual Sauerkraut Day at Wishek,
ND, with GRHC information tables. Prairie Public TV staff will be
at the Wishek event filming for the Germans from Russia foodways
documentary to premiere on PPTV in March, 2000.
For further information about donations to the collection including
family histories, outreach programs, Glückstal publications, videotape
documentary, Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine, Alsace,
France, and Stuttgart, Germany (including the large Germans from
Russia gathering called the Bundestreffen), for June 6-19, 2000
tour; GRHC's latest publications, "Tender Hands: Ruth's Story of
Healing" and "Homeland Book of the Bessarabian Germans," and German-Russian
heritage, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599,
Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu;
GRHC website: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc).