Do you realize there are those with different kinds of German heritage? There are those straight from the “Mother Country” to America. And there are those whose ancestors came around 1900 to America by way of Russia. The story is a fascinating one.
My understanding is that Czarina Catherine the Great, in about 1800ish, wanted farmers for her land to produce income for her. Being of German ancestry, she invited German folks to come settle on free land without fear of conscription or taxation. And they could keep their churches. Win-win. And come they did.
By 1900ish, the climate had changed and revolution was in the air. These German folks were being just as affected as were the other Germans by the fires of change. So they determined to leave….. to emigrate to America.
Two organizations document these good ancestors:
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, housed in the North Dakota State University’s archives. This collection spotlights the “Volga Germans,” those who settled along the Volga River.
The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia has its headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska (www.ahsgr.org). This group mostly concerns with the so-called Black Sea Germans, those settling near the Black Sea.
There were other groups of German peoples who migrated from Germany proper to Russia during this time period. These are the two most prominent. Both of these groups have kept excellent records, sometimes going back to the village in Germany from where they first emigrated to Russia.