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MOVING TO RUSSIA
Ekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk since 1917), was a
province (Russian, oblast) of the Ukraine, Russia, crossed by the Dnieper
River, and was founded in 1786, and named after Catherine [The Great] II.
Ekaterinoslav is bordered on the north by Poltava, on the east by Kharkov,
on the south by Taurida, and on the west by Kherson. The Mennonites settled
first in this province in 1789, establishing the Chortitza settlement with
The Complete 1776 Census of Mennonites in West Prussia ...
In 1772 a large part of the Polish kingdom was partitioned between Russia, Austria and Prussia. The majority of Mennonites living in Poland became subjects of the Prussian king Fredrick the Great ( Friedrich II ), and residents of West Prussia. In 1776 a census of Mennonites in the newly acquired territory was undertaken. This census was known as the Special Consignation aller in West Preussen befindlichen Mennonisten Familien im Jahr 1776. Aus den von den Mennonistischen Vermahnern eingelieferten Nachrichten gefertigt vom Intendanten Schlemmer, and includes Mennonites inhabiting regions of West Prussia, with the exception of the city of Danzig, the Thorn territory, the Neumark area, and the region known as the Danziger Nehrung. The latter region was acquired by Prussia in 1793, and a census can be found at http://www.mennonitegenealogy.com/prussia/1793_Danzig_Census.htm . The 1776 census also contains incomplete data for Mennonites in the region of East Prussia along the Memel river (known as the Gumbinnen district near the city of Tilsit) ... The 1776 census contains information on 2638 families and accounts for 12,182 people.
[Source: http://www.mennonitegenealogy.com/prussia/1776_West_Prussia_Census.htm ]
.... the many cities, towns and villages in the Eastern parts of the kingdom of Prussia where Mennonites used to live: East and West Prussia, South Prussia, and Brandenburg. The time period of 1786-1806 is of special interest. 1786 was the year when King Friedrich II ("Old Fritz", der Alte Fritz) died after a long reign since 1740 which included the annexation of West Prussia in 1772 (first partition of Poland). During his reign the first census of Prussian Mennonites was conducted which lists the names of family heads.
King Friedrich Wilhelm II, nephew of Old Fritz, reigned 1786-1797 and was not as tolerant as his great uncle was toward the non-resistant Mennonites. His administration, the General-Directorium, was ordered to keep track of and record where Mennonites lived and what real estate they owned, bought and sold from and to Mennonites and non-Mennonites. In 1793 he annexed the Danzig and Thorn Territories as well as other parts of Poland which he called South Prussia. King Friedrich Wilhelm III, his son, reigned from 1797-1840 and continued the policies of his father as far as Mennonites were concerned. In 1806 disaster struck Prussia when Napoleon swept over Europe which resulted in the defeat of Prussia. The General-Directorium was dissolved in 1806 which had been established in 1722.
1786, two Mennonites from West Prussia, Jakob Hoeppner and Johann Bartsch
had come to Russia in search of a suitable site for the settlement of a
large group of their Mennonite Brethren. In 1787, Catherine asked these two
men to join them on her triumphal tour of the South, which included the
Crimea which had just recently been annexed to Russia. These two men chose
the first site for their village near Berislav, on the Dnieper River,
however, the Russo-Turkish war broke out leaving this region in the war
zone. New land was then selected on the Chortitza River, opposite
Alexandrovsk (now Zaporozhye) and the Chortitza settlement was founded
...[Source: Welcome to the Krim-GR Research Website,
second large emigration of Mennonites from Danzig-West Prussia began in the
year 1789 and then started again after 1803. This time the way led through
Riga into the Black Sea area to Chortitza and Molotschna. [http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/grhc/history_culture/history/people.html]
|Countries of Origin||Areas of Settlement|
Rhineland, the Palatinate,
Saxony, Wurttemberg, Switzerland
|Volga area (Evang. & Cath.)|
|1766||Hesse||Belowesh (Evang. & Cath.)|
|1780||Prussia, Wurttemberg, Bavaria,||Josephstal,
Jamburg near Dnieper
|1782||Sweden||Alt Schwendorf (Evang.)|
|1789-90||Danzig, West Prussia||Chortiza (Mennonites)|
|a.||Alsace, the Palatinate, Baden||Tranzfeld, Mariental, Josefstal by Odessa|
Alsace, the Palatinate,
Peterstal by Odessa (Evang.)
|c.||Danzig, West Prussia||Halbstadt, Molotschna (Mennonites)|
|d.||Wurttemberg, Baden, Hesse||Prischib, Molotschna (Evang. & Cath.)|
|e.||Wurttemberg, Switzerland||Crimea: Neusatz, Zurichtal (Evang. & Cath.)|
Alsace, the Palatin-
ate, Baden, Hungary
Neudorf, Area of Odessa (Evang.)
|b.||Alsace, Baden, Poland||Baden, Elsass, Kandel, Selz, Mannheim, Strassburg (Cath.)|
Baden, the Palatinate,
|Beresan and Odessa areas (Evang. & Cath.)|
|1812-27||Wurttemberg, Baden, Hesse||Prischib, Molotschna (Evang.)|
|Wurttemberg, Prussia, Poland, Bavaria||Bessarabia, Colonies near Odessa|
|1817-18||Wurttemberg||South Causcasus (Evang.)|
|1822-31||Wurttemberg||Swabian colonies near Berdjansk (Evang.)|
|1823-42||Danzig, West Prussia, Rhine-Hesse, Baden||Grunhau area (Planer colonies) (Evang. & Cath.)|
|Danzig, West Prussia||Samara (Mennonites)|
|1859-1862||Last emigration from Germany|
[Later] A new land grant was set aside for these families in the Taurida, south and east of the Molotschna River. This was to become the largest and most prosperous of the Mennonite settlements in Russia and was called the Molotschna colonies. The first group who migrated to this region consisted of 150 families who arrived in 1803 and wintered with the Chortitza Mennonites. In 1804, they arrived on their new land and formed 9 villages on the eastern bank of the Molotschna River. By 1806, another nine villages had been formed by an additional 161 families. By 1811 the total number of families had reached about 400 and the number of villages had grown to 19. Between 1818 and 1823 another 400 families arrived and founded 20 more villages. In 1833, another 40 families from Brandenburg arrived and formed the village of Gnadenfeld. From 1836 to 1840, another 68 families arrived from Volhynia and founded the village of Waldheim. By 1840, there were 44 villages in this area and immigrants were no longer accepted for settlement in the Molotschna ... [Source: Welcome to the Krim-GR Research Website, http://www.icehouse.net/debbie/html/general.html ]
Russian Names of the two mentioned Molotschna Colony Villages (established 1804)
|German Name||Russian Name|
|Village||Russian Name||Year Founded||Government District||Mother Colony|
* Mennonite Brethren Historical Society of the West Coast in
Mennonite Villages in Molotschna, Ukraine: Alexanderkrone, Alexandertal, Alexanderwohl, Altona, Blumenort, Blumstein, Elisabethtal, Fabrikerwiese, Felsental, Fischau, Franztal, Friedensdorf, Friedensruh, Fuerstenau, Fuerstenwerder, Gnadenfeld, Gnadenheim, Gnadental, Grossweide, Halbstadt, Hamberg, Hierschau, Kleefeld, Klippenfeld, Konteniusfeld, Ladekopp, Landskrone, Lichtenau, Lichtfelde, Liebenau, Lindenau, Margenau, Mariawohl, Marienhal, Muntau, Muensterberg, Neu-Halbstadt, Neukirch, Niklaidorf, Ohrloff, Pastwa, Paulsheim, Petershagen, Pordenau, Prangenau, Rosenort, Rueckenau, Rudnerweide, Schardau, Schoenau, Schoensee, Sparrau, Steinbach, Steinfeld, Tiege, Tiegenhagen, Tiegerweide, Waldheim, Wernersdorf, Yushanlee. [ http://www.mmhs.org/int/settle/m.htm#Molotsch ]
The Mennonite settlers traveled over one thousand miles from
their homes in West Prussia to the area about 120 werst (80 miles) north of
the Black Sea port of Berjansk, where the Molotschna colony was located. The
original Molotschna settlers made their journey in small groups of covered
wagons. A total of 162 families arrived at the Chortitza Mennonite
settlement in 1803 and another 162 families came in 1804.
In contrast to the earlier Chortitza settlers the Molotschna
pioneers made the entire journey from West Prussia to their new homes in
Southern Russia by land. This journey of some 1000 miles took weeks to
complete. The Molotschna pioneers, traveling over primitive roads in 1803,
with wagon loads of possessions and herding their livestock, took an average
of 5 to 7 weeks to complete their journey and sometimes up to 12 weeks ...
They stayed in the Chortitza settlement for a year in order
to complete arrangements to move to the Molotschna colony 60 miles away. The
settlers who arrived in 1803 stayed until the following spring before moving
to Molotschna. The Molotschna settlement consisted of about 320,000 acres on
the east bank of the Molotschna River, about 70 miles southeast of the
Chortitza Colony. It was a rolling prairie covered with very high grass but
absolutely no trees or shrubs ...
List of emigrating Mennonite families having the approval of
the Royal Prussian State to emigrate from the 25th June /7th July to the 2nd
/14th July 1804 whose passports have been seen by the Imperial Russian
General Consulate in Danzig ...[List Follows] ...
In contrast to the earlier Chortitza settlers the Molotschna pioneers made the entire journey from West Prussia to their new homes in Southern Russia by land. This journey of some 1000 miles took weeks to complete. The Molotschna pioneers, traveling over primitive roads in 1803, with wagon loads of possessions and herding their livestock, took an average of 5 to 7 weeks to complete their journey and sometimes up to 12 weeks ...
They stayed in the Chortitza settlement for a year in order to complete arrangements to move to the Molotschna colony 60 miles away. The settlers who arrived in 1803 stayed until the following spring before moving to Molotschna. The Molotschna settlement consisted of about 320,000 acres on the east bank of the Molotschna River, about 70 miles southeast of the Chortitza Colony. It was a rolling prairie covered with very high grass but absolutely no trees or shrubs ...
List of emigrating Mennonite families having the approval of the Royal Prussian State to emigrate from the 25th June /7th July to the 2nd /14th July 1804 whose passports have been seen by the Imperial Russian General Consulate in Danzig ...[List Follows]