When the German colonies were established along the Volga River in the 1760s, each colony was alloted a certain amount of land. This land allotment changed little over time. During the early years, the land was periodically redistributed according to the number of men of the colony who were of a certain age. Consequently the amount of land allotted to each person decreased substantially as the colony’s population grew.
By the 1850s, this land shortage was becoming critical. Additional land
was allotted east of the Volga and east-southeast of the original
settlements for expansion.
[Lat 50º44’ Long 47º03’] The colony of Ährenfeld was established in 11855. A majority of the families who came to Ährenfeld were from Kratzke, hence the colony of Ährenfeld was often called Kratzke’s “daughter colony”. As with most colonies, Ährenfeld had an “official” name by which it was known to the Russian officials. Ährenfeld was given the name of Kratzke. It is easy to understand the confusion that can arise as a result of this double use of the colony name of Kratzke.
A listing of the original settlers of Ährenfeld has not yet been located. According to Dr. Igor Plehve of Saratov University, however, the following surnames can be found in the records for the colony of Ährenfeld:
Bender Ebel Gradwohl Jung Laas Michaelis Benner Fabrizius Grauberger Klein Mai Müller Birich Frickel Hein Koch Maier/Meier Neubauer Blähm Gaurin Hermoni Knaub Menzer Petri Bohl Gideon Hildermann Kanus Merk Rein Boxberger Giesike Jerger Krug Michel Reiter Riel Schreder Stieben Ring Schumann Trippel Schäfer Schwien Weibert Scheller Simon Wolf Schmidt Specht Schneider Stenzel
1 Beratz, Gottlieb. The German Colonies on the Lower Volga: Their Origin and Early Development. Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1991.
Last Update 24 May 2000