Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Endowment
Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Endowment
of $1.1 million dollars was established in May, 2000.
The endowment honors the ethnic heritage, family traditions
and values represented by her parents, Simon and Dorothea
here to learn more about Marie Rudel Portner
Valentine & Alice (Walter) Brossart
A $5,000 gift was given by Alice (Walter) Brossart and family in memory of husband and father, Valentine F. Brossart who passed away January 3, 2008. Valentine was a member of the 2005 Journey to the Homeland Tour to Ukraine and Germany, sponsored by the NDSU Libraries. He was interviewed with the Dakota Memories Oral History Project in 2007.
Valentine Brossart’s mother, Elizabeth (Voeller), was born in 1892 in Selz, Russia and emigrated with her family when she was 17 years old to the Rugby, ND area where she spent the rest of her life. Valentine’s father, Frank Brossart, was born in a 12x20 sod house in 1893 near Hague, ND. His parents also from Selz, South Russia (near present day Odessa, Ukraine) homesteaded two years earlier.
Alice (Walter) Brossart’s father, Frank Walter, emigrated with his family when he was four-years old from Kandel, South Russia (near present day Odessa, Ukraine) and her mother Catherine (Abel) Brossart was born in 1900 near St. Michael in Emmons County, North Dakota. Both of Alice’s parents spent all their lives in the Karlsruhe, ND area.
The Brossart's have nine children, six boys and three girls. Four children have graduated from North Dakota State University: Ronald (Class of 1973), Richard (Class of 1975), David (Class of 1980) and Carol (Class of 1983).
Click here to visit Valentine’s DMOHP narrator profile.
Click here to view photographs from the 2005 Journey to the Homeland Tour.
Brossart, Harold. The Brossart Family History: 1800-1989. [Available at GRHC, NDSU Library, Fargo, North Dakota; call number: CS71.B8747 1990]
Walter and Alice Riedlinger Essig Collection
Alice was born on March 30, 1911, in rural McClusky, North Dakota,
to Chris and Ida (Wahl) Riedlinger. She lived in McClusky as a child
with her family and later moved to Washburn. She passed away February
Alice married Walter K. Essig in McClusky on June 24, 1931. In
1933, they moved to the Essig family homestead in the Lincoln Valley
area. Walter and Alice moved to Bismarck in 1974. They were married
over 61 years and had four children.
Alice was one of the original founders of the Germans from Russia
Heritage Society, and worked many years in its headquarters office.
Alice was able to help many people with their family research and
translation of German documents.
The Essig books donated to the GRHC are unique and contain her
marginal notations with facts verified firsthand.
Click here to learn more about Alice Riedlinger Essig
here to view additional photos relating to the
Walter and Alice (Riedlinger) Essig Collection
Fercho Germans from Russia Research Stipend
Calvin Fercho Germans from Russia Research Stipend
is a fund designed to collect and preserve the history
and heritage of the Germans from Russia. This can
be used to collect oral histories, process archival
material, photographs, or textiles (or all of the
above). The stipend provides NDSU students opportunities
in historic preservation and documentation of the
Germans from Russia.
here to visit Calvin Fercho's Dakota Memories page
here to read about Calvin Fercho's honorary doctorate
LaVern "Vern" Freeh
LaVern "Vern" Freeh, a native of Harvey, ND
and 1951 NDSU graduate, presented a donation of $6,500
for publication of the book, Couldn't
Be Better: The Russian Farm Community Project,
published by GRHC in 2000. Proceeds from this book is
donated equally by Dr. Freeh to GRHC and the Russian
Farm Community Project.
September, 2005, Dr. LaVern Freeh, authored the book, Child
of the Prairie, Man of the World. Dr. Freeh
provided all of the funding to publish the book. He
has designated that the income from the book will
be donated to the following: 1) The Freeh Family Football
Scholarship, Athletic Department, NDSU;
and 2) The Dakota Memories Oral History Interview Project,
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU
Click here to learn more about Dr. LaVern "Vern" Freeh
Dr. LaVern “Vern” Freeh Memorial Fund
Margaret (Aman) and Robert Freeman Publication Fund of the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association
GCRA has established a publication fund in honor of Margaret (Aman) and Robert Freeman in recognition of their significant role in the founding of GCRA in 1987 and their many years of support for all of its efforts. The Fund will exist as a special account at the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University Libraries in Fargo, and will be utilized only to provide financial support for future publications of GCRA.
Margaret (Aman) & Robert Freeman Publication Fund of the Glückstal Colonies Research Association
Margaret (Aman) and Robert Freeman Publication Fund Donations
Dr. Adam Giesinger Collection
Dr. Adam Giesinger's interest in family history began in 1917 when he had already mastered the German language at the age of eight. Throughout his life, he began to develop more of an intersest and began researching the Germans from Russia. Adam would go on to write a book, From Catherine to Khrushchev: The Story of Russia's Germans. Dr. Giesinger's continued research of the German Russians enabled him to amass a large collection of very unique books and documents. In October 2010, the children of Dr. Giesinger donated his book collection and archival materials to the GRHC.
Please click here to view more information about Dr. Adam Giesinger
Finding aid to the Dr. Adam Giesinger Collection
Since the late 1990s, Alex Herzog has been working as a volunteer translator for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. He has contributed thousands of hours on translation projects, English to German and German to English, that include the GRHC book and cookbook publications, periodical and newspaper articles, and e-mail messages.
Please click here to view more information about Alex Herzog's contributions
Thomas J. Hoffman Collection
Thomas J. Hoffman was a native of Mandan, Morton County, North Dakota. His thirty-five year dedication to researching German-Russian Catholic family genealogies led to the creation of a large collection of information about marriages, births, and deaths related to the heritage of Catholic German families. Upon his death, his wife Lenni donated this historically significant collection to the GRHC in 2004.
Please click here to view more information about the Thomas J. Hoffman Collection
Gerhard Keller zu Kellerrode Fund
Clara Schilling Keller, a longtime employee at the NDSU
Varsity Mart, has established the Udo Gerhard Keller
zu Kellerrode Fund, with a major financial gift to
the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. The Fund
was established in July, 2001.
Victor Knell Collection was donated to the Germans
from Russia Hertitage Collection in April 2002. Victor
is a historian who has influenced identication and
preservation of dialect-usage and folk traditions.
Victor serves as village historian for Brienne and
Teplitz, in Bessarabia; serves as editor for the well-informed
Red River Chapter newsletter; and serves on editorial-publications
projects at the Germans from Russia Heritage Society,
Bismarck. The collection has photographs, musical
artifacts, textiles, and ephemerals which reflect
ethnic pioneer life in Mercer County, North Dakota.
Knell has complied five family histories for Knoll/Knell, Breitling, Oster, and Adolf heritage. The Knoll/Knell
family (from ancestral village of Necketailfingen, Wuerttemburg,
Germany) were among the religious pietists of "emigration
harmonium" ” to South Russia. They traveled by “ulmer
barges” down the Danube River toward the Black Sea.
The Oster family were reformed religionists at Lambsborn,
Palatinate, Germany. They were tailors who immigrated
in 1798 to Tscherwenka village (in Austria-Hungarian
Empire, today Yugoslavia) as linen weavers, later moving
near Odessa, South Russia. The Adolf family were printers
in Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany. From Odenberg, Russia,
they immigrated in 1817 to (the former German village
of) Brienne, Bessarabia, where the Adolf family erected
and operated a wind-powered flour mill.
information relating to the Victor Knell Collection,
can be located at these website pages:
are doubled (http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/articles/newspapers/news/duppler.html);
Knell Collection Photographs
Kusler and Schaefer families originated from Palatinate,
Germany, as founding families of former Black Sea
German village of Worms, Beresan District, South Russia
in 1807 (today north of Odessa, Ukraine). These same
families immigrated in the “second group to America”
in 1871 to pause in Sandusky, Ohio, while sending
out land-survey scouts to Sutton, Nebraska, and Yankton,
Dakota. The Kusler-Schaefer families were pioneer
settlers in 1972 at Odessa Reformed (near Lesterville,
Dakota Territory) and later moved to Scotland, South
Dakota. Some Kusler sons were pioneer homesteaders
in northern McIntosh County (near Fredonia and Kulm,
North Dakota) in 1884.
Johann Kusler, Jr., of Scotland, South Dakota, was married
in January 1894 to Magdalena Grosz of Parkston, South
Dakota, before homesteading in McIntosh County. The
Grosz family were founders of rural Gnadenfeld Congregational
Church [oldest German “classis” church in North Dakota],
south of Kulm, North Dakota. Johann Grosz, Sr., with
George Gaeckle and George Billigmeier, originating from
former German villages of Kulm and Leipzig, Bessarabia
(today west of Odessa, Ukraine), were the three co-founders
of town site in 1892 to be named Kulm, North Dakota. Both
Grosz and Dietrich families originated from Wuerttemburg,
Germany, through former German village of Neuberg, (Leibental
am Baraboi District, South Russia), to settle in former
German villages of Kulm and Beresina, Bessarabia, (today
west of Odessa, Ukraine). Two significant textiles for
worship-garb were inherited through Justina Dietrich
(Mrs. Daniel Grosz) of Scotland, South Dakota. Justina’s
family originates from former German village of Beresina,
Bessarabia, along with her maternal Bader family in
neighboring Paris village.
Kusler assembled a collection of “spraehle”/scripture
memory cards near Kulm, North Dakota, before her marriage
in 1921 as Mrs. John Mayer. Impressive color-lithgraphy
of floral motifs with Bible verses decorate Clara’s
items include photographs, postcards, spraele, and
textiles. They were donated by Clara’s sister, Adeline
Kusler McCloy, to the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection in 2002.
further information about the Kusler-Grosz Family
Collection, go to these website pages:
Mack Germans from Russia History Doctoral Fellowship
Wald, Grand Forks, ND writes: "My gift for the assistantship is to preserve the heritage and culture
about the positive aspects of the Germans from Russia.
I want to provide a living legacy for the scholarly
study of my heritage which I am very proud of. My parents,
John G. Mack born in 1888 and Katherina Deringer
born in 1890, lived in the Catholic Black Sea German
villages of Elsass and Neu Schloessel, Kutschurgan District,
South Russia (today near Odessa, Ukraine). My father
was 14 and my mother was 24 when she came to America.
2004-2005 this assistantship included a total stipend
of $16,000 for twelve months and a complete tuition
waiver. The assistantship was for one year.
the inception of the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection, Michael M. Miller has made many donations
including financial, historical artifacts, photographs,
books and above all endless hours.
more than thirty years of dedication and service to
the GRHC, Michael continues to be a leader in the
preservation of his heritage and the growth of this
Philipps of Merced, CA, born in Landau, Beresan District,
Ukraine, donated his book collection and personal
papers. GRHC has published four books authored by
John Philipps, funded in part with his financial donations.
is author of the following books:
Poppke, the son of German Russian immigrants, was born on March 19, 1921, in Goodrich, ND. He dedicated his life to researching his family and the Germans from Russia. Herb passed away on August 15, 2012.
In 2002 and 2005, Herb donated his personal library and archives to GRHC.
This includes books, correspondence, research, maps, photographs, publications, organization materials, electronic media, and other various items related to the Germans from Russia. Herb had an extensive personal library
collection and was well-known for his map research
of the German villages in the former Soviet Union.
Finding aid to the Herb Poppke Collection
Gwen Bernice Black Pritzkau Collection
Gwen married Julius Pritzkau in 1948. Gwen and Julius were married
58 years and had eight children. She passed away May 2006.
Gwen generated a compelling interest in the ethnic heritage of
her husband Julius from historic Moldova. With a career as a Salt
Lake City librarian, she was co-founder of the Glueckstal Colony
Research Association (GRCA). Her faithful and tireless efforts as
a genealogical research specialist, was respected internationally
when involved in new resources at the Family Research Center (Salt
Lake City), Germany (Stuttgart), Russia (St. Petersburg), and Ukraine,
Click here to learn more about Gwen Bernice Black Pritzkau
anonymous donor presented a gift of $12,500 in December,
2000 and $7,500 in December, 2001 requesting that
funds be used for a videotape documentary on the music
traditions of the Germans from Russia.