Ährenfeld: Kratzke’s Daughter Colony

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.

By: Bob L. Berschauer E-mail
and Brent Mai E-mail

Last Update 24 May 2000