Apr 172010
 

My Schott ancestors left the town of Osthofen, Germany, about 1809, heading east toward a better life in Russia.

I don’t know why they left this pleasant town in a wine-growing area near the Rhine River, accepting Tsar Alexander’s invitation to German settlers. Great-great-great-grandfather Philipp Jakob Schott was a tailor, so it wouldn’t seem likely a hunger for more farmland would drive him to take such a journey.

A view of Neudorf aka Karmanova

But whatever the reason, he and his family left Germany for Imperial Russia, arriving in the village of Neudorf, Glueckstal parish, sometime between 1816 and 1821.

Neudorf is now the village of Karmanova, located in the Transdniestr region of Moldova. After 13 years of researching my Schott family history, I was finally able to visit this village a couple of weeks ago.

We drove from Chisinau, capital of Moldova, on the road toward Grigoriopol (“City of Grigori,” a common name among the Armenian traders who founded this town). Because the Transdniestr region considers itself a country separate from Moldova (see blog post Flashback to Soviet Russia) we had to cross the “border” to enter Transdniestr.

It was chaotic and a bit laughable as a border. The barrier was a couple of mismatched gates that looked more appropriate to decorate a garden than protect a border. Cars drove up, pulled to the side, blocked each other in. People milled around, going from one building to another to show passports and fill out paperwork. One car cut past all those waiting so a woman in spike heels and a black and white patterned mini-dress (with a foot of rick-rack-type trim that made up most of the skirt) could jump out to use the WC.

As Tania (guide and translator) dealt with our paperwork, Boris pumped up the tire that had gone flat on our car. We got into Trandniestr fairly quickly, although later in the day leaving Transdniestr was more of a problem. The border official insisted that I should have had my passport stamped at our destination, Karmanova. This was actually funny – where in a town as lifeless as Karmanova proved to be could we have gotten my passport stamped?

After entering Transdniestr, we drove toward Neudorf along a lovely valley, winter wheat showing a lush carpet of green and other fields with rich brown soil ready for planting. The only disconcerting notes were the 21st century trash (mostly plastic bags) scattered throughout the green wheat and the farmers working the fields by hand as they might have in the 19th century when my ancestors first arrived there.

The former German Lutheran church is now an Orthodox church behind a locked fence.

Tania had the best summary of Neudorf – a really big town with very few people. The school was huge, the town center building (a community center?) was big, there were large buildings (apartments?) on a ridge overlooking the town, yet very few people seemed to be out and about on this beautiful April day.

The old German Lutheran church is now being used as an Orthodox church, but we couldn’t see inside it. Not only was the building locked up, but it was surrounded by a sturdy metal locked fence as though someone was determined to keep people as far from the church as possible. The woman who came out of the school showed no curiosity about why two strangers (and one of them, me, obviously a foreigner) were peering in the windows. The war memorial in the center of town was a desolate weed-filled spot except for one forlorn man sitting by the side of it. Another memorial commemorated the founding of the village in 1809, though there was no mention the village had been founded by Germans.

The biggest adventure was finding the barn with the gravestones. The German cemetery was long gone and the people we stopped on the street had only a vague knowledge that it used to be “up on that hill somewhere.” I had heard from a fellow genealogist and traveler to Neudorf that some German gravestones had been built into the foundation of a barn. This barn was a bit out of town and we had to ask permission from the men working nearby to duck under the fence to get to it (plus dodge the barking, but chained, dog).

The foundation of this barn contains German gravestones.

I’d had the tiniest hope I might find a familiar name, but didn’t. Despite using our German ancestors’ gravestones as building materials, the Moldovans showed some respect for the dead (or perhaps fear of being haunted) by turning the names and dates so they couldn’t be read. But although the inscriptions that did show were weathered and difficult to read, they were clearly written in German.

When my direct ancestor (Philipp Jakob’s son, Peter Schott, who was born in Neudorf) left the village, his sister Margaretha (Schott) Adam’s family remained there. I took photos of some houses that had still belonged to Adam families in 1944, when the ethnic Germans left the village, as these families may have been distant cousins. One of the current

An example of one of the German gravestones built into the barn.

inhabitants of one of these houses said she remembered a German woman who’d lived in the village until she died a couple years ago.

Neudorf, probably the first home of the Schotts in Russia. Tania and I both agreed we could see why they’d chosen to come here – it was a beautiful valley with apparently rich soil. But today, it’s a quiet, almost desolate place.

See more photos of Neudorf and Glueckstal villages.
(For more stories about visiting ancestral towns, check out my book, “Yes You! Yes Now! Visiting Your Ancestral Town.”)

  65 Responses to “Karmanova aka Neudorf, Glueckstal”

  1. Enjoyed your pictures and story of your trip to Moldova and Neudorf. It rmined me of the time we went to Peterstal, Ukraine and were unable to cross the border to Moldova to visit Gluckstal. Must try it again. Thanks for sharing. Karen

  2. Thank you for your post. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Heinrich Weber, was a founding father of Neudorf.

  3. I really enjoyed your pictures and story. My grandfather, Freidreich W. Holweger came from Newdorf when he was only 7 yrs old. His father Jacob was married to Catherine Schauer.

  4. I was so excited to read this! I hope I can go there this year, too! Jackie, we must be related then… you should email me: justinehresman@hotmail.com.

    Thanks Caroline!

  5. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story about your trip to Neudorf. Using headstones to build a barn is either inventive or disturbing. My husband’s grandfather, Ludwig Adam, came from Neudorf to Ellis Island with his sister, Caroline, and their mother, Katharina Feickert Adam, in 1911. They went to Roscoe to stay with their cousin, Frederick and Eva Adam. They were joined in Roscoe a couple of weeks later by another cousin, Johann Adam. He married Rosina Werre a year or so later. We haven’t been able to directly tie these cousins together, but we believe they are linked with your family somewhere along the line. We would like to share Adam family info.

    Linda Adams
    E-mail: lindakadams@comcast.net

  6. Karen – it’s definitely easier to get across the border than it was in times past. One thing that I HAVE been warned about though is, as a foreigner, don’t cross the border from Ukraine into Transdniestr, then go on to the rest of Moldova and try to fly/drive out. When you cross into Transdniestr, you wouldn’t get a Moldovan entry stamp, so then when you try to fly out, the passport control people are suspicious about how you got into Moldova. Tania told me they’re used to this now and wouldn’t hassle you, but I don’t know that I’d want to add on that level of potential hassle myself. But if you go in/out of Transdniestr through Ukraine OR (like I did) in/out via Moldova, you’re fine.

    Linda – I just sent you some info by separate email.

    Beau – I’m sending you some additional Weber info by separate email.

    Justin – good luck on your travels there – let me know if I can help at all.

  7. I so enjoyed your pictures and story regarding your trip to Neudorf. Thank you so much. My Grandmother, Katharina Heydt, was born there in 1892. She came to the U.S. in 1910 from Glueckstal with her husband, Johann Opp, and their son, John.

  8. I was in Neurdorf in 1989 and again in 1991. I enjoyed your pictures of Neurdorf. They did not come out very clear on my computer as the background was in black. Can you send this to me with a different background: Thank you Margaret Dufran. Family names, Schlaht, Going, Pfaff.

  9. Hi Margaret – actually if you click on the link at the end of the blog post, it will take you to my Flickr site with all the photos. These are all on a white background, so should work for you. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

    Carolyn

  10. My Father Fred (Fridrich) Siegle was born in Neudorf in 1911 he came to North Dakota with Father and family in 1913. Stutsman county Area. I enjoy reading this website on his birth area.

  11. My grandfather and my mother used to live in Neudorf until 1943. My grandfather, Jakob Kirschenmann, was forced by the Wehrmacht during the 2nd world war to go as a german soldier to fight against the red army and had to leave his family. He could stay in West Germany where he died 1972. My mother was transported 1944 by the red army with her two sisters to Tajikistan where I was born. 1973 we could luckely move to West Germany. Qiute a lot of person of the village Neudorf were transported to Tajikistan. They built houses there similar to Neudorf and you can find a lot of graves with German names. The German language and culture was conserved there until the iron curtain fall and they could go out of the country. The last from Tajikistan came back to Germany before civil war 1991. I am very happy to see this report and pictures to keep history alive.

  12. Carolyn, wow, after a couple of years of not doing much research I put “Neudorf” into a search engine and came across your site. Very good info. Thank you!
    I have several research items you might be interested in – “Plan von Neudorf/Odessa” from somewhere around 1848-1858 showing all of the town plat and house assignments (including many “Adam” families) and the 1848 description/history of the village by my ancestor Johann-Georg (Georg) Schauer (Mayor) from the book “Die deutschen Kolonien in Cherson (Kherson)” (in English or German 🙂 .) Georg Schauer was a desendant of Johann Wolfgang Schauer. I have many ancestors buried in that cemetary on the hillside.

  13. Hello from Salem OR.,

    My grandparents. Jacob and Eva Glaser came to the US in 1907 and settled in Wishick North Dakota.
    My mother’s parents also came to N.D earlier. Her family name was Sauter. My parents were born in 1902 and 3 and have both passed away.

    I did visit Kamanova, Neudorf several years ago. the countr side is beautiful, much like here in The Willamatte valley of Oregon.

    Question: Is there some way that I could get their geniologies? Danke , Gottes Segen, Bill Glaser

  14. Hi Bill,

    There are a couple places you can look for info on your family history. The Glasers obviously came from Neudorf/Karmanova – so you can look in the St. Pete indexes http://www.odessa3.org/collections.html (I see birth info for a bunch of Jakbo Glasers here – not sure which is yours) or with the Glückstal Colonies Research Assoc info http://www.glueckstal.net/index.htm – they have tons of data though not all of it is online.

    It looks like the Sauter family came from Bessarbia? The St. Pete indexes can also help you there. Another place to look is the Bessarabia Regional Interest group page at http://www.grhs.org/rig/bess/

    If I had more specifics on that family, I might be able to point you in a more specific direction.

  15. Thank you Carolyn for your quick response.

    I’ll check these leads……

    Bill Glaser

  16. Hi Carolyn, I just stumbled onto your web site today by accident doing some of my own German Russian genealogy as I have done for about 30 yrs. My paternal great grandfather’s family (Mannhalter) also came from the village of Neudorf in the early 1800s and some of the other villages in Gluckstal also (Bergdorf, Hoffnungstal, Odessa and parts of Bessarabia and Ukraine/Moldova regions). I have files and documents showing them and my maternal family (names – Veil, Sauer, Hesse and Kautz) listed in most of these villages at some time or other since their immigration into Russia in the late 1700s from Riederich, Germany/Prussia. I enjoyed reading your story and report of your trip to Neudorf and pictures. In May 1989 before the dissolution of the USSR and communist regime I took a trip to the USSR and toured major cities there (Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Leningrad – now St. Petersburg) in Russia and asked our tour guide if I could get into visit those villages but was not allowed to at the time. The old colonies and villages were not open to tourists then except by special permission, translator guide, etc. so missed seeing them. So, I read and research all I can about those old colonies where our families came from. My research and other resource materials claim my Mannhalter family name was German Jewish and there are reports that say they were once Jewish although my paternal grandfather’s family was Lutheran Evangelical faith when they immigrated to the U.S. in 1889 and settled in the Dakotas. I am still working on that research. Have you ever heard of any German Russian families from the Black Sea areas as being of Jewish faith or background?

  17. Hi Joyce,
    The most predominant religions among the German-Russian settlers were Lutheran, Catholic, Mennonite, wiht some Baptists and Separatists here and there. But – never say never! I was looking at the indexed version of the St. Pete records recently and saw a note on a birth “Father is Hebrew.” I know there were Jewish villages in Bessarabia (Jewish klezmer music is said to have been born in Bessarabia), so who’s to say that some of the Germans didn’t meet and marry someone Jewish from a neighboring village? It wouldn’t have been common, but certainly possible to happen!

  18. Another family of mine, the Hoffers of Neiderseebach Weissenbourg, Alsace probably migrated from Oberseebach / Palatinate to Russia, settled in Neudorf / Odessa.

    They can be found on my web site:
    http://www.remmick.org/Hoffer.Home.Site/index.html

    Like my other web sites, you will find hundreds of photos, stories and history among all my pages.

    Names linked to this family are:
    Senk
    Schneider
    Rott
    Dockter
    Remick =Roemmich
    Bader
    Derenberger
    Fix / Vix
    Gillg
    Gaertner
    Gilly
    Heintz
    Hoehn
    Hutt
    Landenberger
    Metzger
    Naas
    Naass
    Niess
    Sauter
    Thurhammer
    Wanner
    Wetzler
    Wolf
    Wolf
    WOLFF

    Yep, all are part of this family.

    remmick

  19. Carolyn, thank you for sharing your trip and pictures! Like others, I found your page when I googled “Neudorf”–my great grandfather, Johann Hoffer, was born in Neudorf in 1884 to Johann & Karolina (Schauer) Hoffer. Your blog entry brought the village to life.

  20. Thanks MM! Visiting Neudorf was really a special experience for me…I’m glad I could share a little bit of that for you!

  21. I enjoyed your pictures of Neudorf. My wife’s family (Wiederrich) now Wiederick were definitely from Neudorf. I have traced them back to Alsace, France in the 1600’s. Left Neudorf in 1874 for South Dakota via Ellis Island. Eventually ended up in Alberta, Canada.

  22. Enjoyed the photos and story of your trip very much. I am just getting back into researching my family history after a break of many years. Started up again in November and have been mainly concentrating on my Grandmother on my Fathers side of the family as there is quite a bit of documentation from various sources on them (Eisenbraun) originally from Geradstetten Wuertemburg then many moved to the Crimea from 1804 on and later to the US. Have gotten a lot of the known history entered and will soon start doing research on that. Had to take a break so was looking into my Grandfather on my Fathers side (again) and found where my GreatGrandmother (Johanna Zuern – Jun 1851) was possibly born in Glueckstal and did already know that my Great Grand Father (Jacob Litzo – 28 Dec 1852) was born in Bergdorf.. Using dates and information off of census I have determined they were married in 1872-1873. and had several children before coming to the US in 1889. Any suggestions as to how I can find more information on any Zuern families from Glueckstal or Litzo families either. The information I ran across on Johanna shows her father as Johann Gerog Zuern 1811(Adolzfurt, Bretzfeld, Wuerttemberg)-1883(Bergdorf) and mother as Barbara Ehresmann (no history). Thanks for any help you or anyone who sees this can give me. My e-mail is plitzo@aol.com. Once again loved seeing and hearing about your trip. Maybe one day I can do the same.
    Also saw in your list of names Hutt – one of the Eisenbraun daughters – Beata or Berta (1776) married Gottlieb Hutt (1776-77) both of Weiler, Württemberg married C1796 – have not totally documented how I am related there but am also working on that. Would this be any relation to you from way back when? History is a big jigsaw puzzle and have loved both since I was extremely young.

  23. I recently returned from Vienna, Austria where I visited with students from Moldova and Ukraine. My question to them was to help me locate Neudorf and Worms under their modern names. As a result of their efforts, the Modovian student referred me to this website.

    My grandmother, Magdalena (Bentz) Gall was born in Neudorf. Her mother was a Kirschenmann and died in Neudorf. Her sister married Magdalena Bentz’s father and they immigrated to South Dakota and ended up settling near Fairfax, Gregory County, South Dakota. My computer is down right now so I am unable to provide better names but should have that back in operation soon. I would welcome any communications of Neudorf or Worms (Magdalena’s future husband, Bahtlazar James Gall was born in Worms) at .

  24. Another place to look for and post Neudorf family queries is the Neudorf forum on the Black Sea German Research site: http://blackseagr.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=79

    Joe – have we talked before? A friend of mine is a Bentz from Neudorf. She grew up in the Ritzville, WA area.

  25. Потомки ежегодно собираются в родительский день в Карманово .

  26. Карманово строится . Поселок на 90% газофицирован . Прекрасная природа .

  27. Карманово помнит своих предков .

  28. Степан – Благодарю Вас за письмо! Вы живете в Карманова? Это замечательно знать, что основателями города не были забыты! Мне очень понравилось посещение там.

  29. So neat to read through all the comments on here, such great information! I am also from the line of Neudorf, family moved to North Dakota in 1905/1906. From what I have traced back, I would be part of the Walz, Morlock, Dockter, and Landenberger families. The http://www.odessa3.org/search.html site really is filled with a TON of great information! Thank you to all of you that have pointed people there.

  30. Curt – I’m so glad this information helped you!

  31. A RELATIVE WAS KILLED IN ACTION DURING WWII AT TETEREWLOWO/KARMANOWA/UdSSR.THE UNIT HE WAS IN WAS 8./GREN.RGT.118 RGT.-DIV.118(MOT.) JOHANN DARABOS,BORN 10.11.1923 IN NIKITCH,AUSTRIA.DIED 21.3.1943 IN TETEREWLOWO/KARMANOWA/UdSSR. CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE THIS PLACE IS LOCATED AT? ALSO CAN YOU GIVE ME ANY INFORMATION ABOUT HIS MILITARY UNIT(GERMAN-WEHRMACHT). HIS BODY WAS RETURNED TO BE INTERRED IN NIKITCH ON 10.05.1943. THANK YOU

  32. Thomas – hmm, that one puzzles me. I haven’t heard of that town that you reference. But I did post your inquiry on the Black Sea German Facebook page. Maybe one of our readers there will have some ideas. See https://www.facebook.com/BlackSeaGermanResearch

  33. carolyn,information that i received was from DEUTSCHE DIENSTSTELLE (WASt),postfach 51 06 57,13400 berlin. or DEUTSCHE DIENSTSTELLE (WASt) DIENSTGEBAUDE EICHBORNDAMM 179 13403 BERLIN. THE INFORMATION WAS IN CONCERN OF HIS DEATH. OTHER REFERENCE POINTS ARE NORDOSTAUSGANG ALEXSYJANOWKA 9 KM SUDOSTWARTS KARMANOVA,24 KM NORDW. GSHATSK GRAB NR. 48.CAN THESE OTHER REFERENCES BE OF HELP TO YOU? ALL THE INFORMATION I RECEIVED IS WRITTEN IN GERMAN.WHERE CAN I GET THIS TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH? HELP!!!!

  34. Hi Thomas, I’m not really familiar with German military records, so can’t be very helpful there. Some of the information you posted here are directions (nordost is northeast, sudostwarts would be southeast direction). For more translation, try Google translate (translate.google.com) – it’s not exact, but it generally gives you a pretty good idea of what’s being said. Or you could try posting the German text on our Black Sea German Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/BlackSeaGermanResearch to see if someone can help you.

  35. Mon père helmut harwardt est ne à neudorf en1919le23mai puis lors de la 2ème guerre mondiale enrôlé dans l armée rouge puis prisonnier des allemands et s’est retrouve en France ou il a fait sa vie

  36. My father was born in Neudorf. His father was Friedrich Schladt, his mother Caroline Schladt (Kamerer). My father was born in 1934

  37. I’m interested in all people with the name Schladt or Schlaht. There is a small village in Rainland-Pfalz the Schladt means. I would like to know where our name comes from.

  38. Arthur – when I search the Black Sea German database for Friedrich Schlaht, I get 70 hits. Are any of these your grandfather: http://www.blackseagr.org/blksea-db/search.php?mybool=AND&nr=50&tree=-x–all–x-&mylastname=Schlaht&lnqualify=contains&myfirstname=Friedrich&fnqualify=contains

    I’ve also forwarded your message to Justin Ehresmann. He’s gathering a bunch of data on Neudorf families. He might also know more about the Schlaht/Schladt family.

  39. Hi Arthur,
    I interviewed a Schlaht last year who was born in Neudorf and now lives here in Germany! Contact me, I’m sure I have some information for you. 🙂 justinehresman@hotmail.com

  40. Hi,
    I’m just starting to research my family. Both sides of my grandparents were born in Neudorf Gluckstahl and all immigrated to SD settling around Hosmer and Bowdle. The family names are Hieb, Buechler, Opp. Am I related to any of you who may be researching those names?

  41. Hello. Here’s what I know. My great, great ,great ,great grandfather came to Neudorf from Württemberg, Germany in early 1800s. My great(x3) grandfather Phileep Schneider was born in 1840 in Neudorf and married Rebecca Meier. My great(x2) grandfather George Phileep Schneider was born in 1863, also in Neudorf and married Elisabeth Schmidt in 1883. In 1891 they came to America and settles in Harvey, ND. My great grandfather was born here in 1899. Just after the turn of the century the Schneiders relocated to settle in Irvine, Alberta, Canada. My grand father Kenneth 1922, my father Gary and myself were born in nearby Medicine Hat . I’m just wondering if there are any other relatives out there from way back. It seems many Germans follow a similar path.

    Thanks all.

  42. My great, great grandfather and grandmother Jakob Anton Frey and Barbara (Dewald) Frey left Neudorf with their 8 eight children to start a new life in White Butte South Dakota in 1907. I have been learning about Neudorf and their German Lutheran heritage and as I study the family tree some related-by-marriage (and then by blood) are comming up: Herrmann, Stuegelmair, Alexander, Heib, Rosleor, Kirschenmann, Jopp or Job. Thank you for sharing your travels to Nuedorf as I will probably never see it for myself and it warms my heart to know where my grandfather and grandmother came from. -Kim Frey

  43. @Aaron – You also might want to post a query on our Black Sea German Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlackSeaGermanResearch about your family names, or in our discussion forums http://blackseagr.org/forums/index.php. Lots of Germans from Ukraine/Moldova researchers look at these.

    @Kim – It was a wonderful experience to walk in the steps of my ancestors…so glad you enjoyed the post!

  44. Carolyn, thank you for this site. My grandfather on fathers side also came to US from Neudorf. Around 1900 and settled in Hettinger ND. His name was Jacob Karl Schauer. His parents were Karl Jacob Schauer and Carolina Helm. He was also mayor of Neudorf around 1903. My d-i-l is doing family tree on ancestry.com and will prob make it accessible somehow when she is done. Mark Schauer,I am sure we are related. You may contact me at thunderschauer@yahoo.com if you want(or Facebook)

  45. Hi Caroline – when your daughter-in-law is ready to make her tree accessible, we’d love to have a copy for the Black Sea German database http://www.blackseagr.org. Having your family tree there is a great way to connect with distant cousins!

  46. My great grandfather, Martin Schnaible & Christine Burr-Schnaible immigrated to ND from Neudorf. I would like to have a picture of Neudorf to put into my genealogy album. One of the Schnaible girls married a Schott in SD.

  47. @Mavis – I have a number of photos of Neudorf on this site – feel free to use any of these for your genealogy album. https://www.flickr.com/photos/89327052@N00/sets/72157623878229352/

  48. Thank you for sharing this post thru the GFR site at NDSU.
    According to what I have found and been told my grandparents were both born in Neudorf. After using Ancestry. com names in the family include Kammerer, Perman, Adam, Schott, etc. The book written by Joseph S. Height, “Homesteaders on the Steppe” has also been most informative.
    I have appreciate the many comments and thank each and everyone for sharing.

  49. @Marie – what is your Schott/Adam connection? We might be related! 🙂

  50. My mother was born in 1904 in Neudorf, S. Russia and came with her parents to Ashley, ND in 1911. I remember the beauty of the landscape, etc. My wife and I visited the village in 1997 and enjoyed walking the ground, seeing the church, etc. Regarding the Lehr Tabernacle, My father helped in building it. He was in the Zeeland, ND area. I also remembering it when the ground floor was in straw. I visited the Lehr Tabernacle 3 or 4 years and walked it and obtained a 75 year manual clearing it with Eberle Family. I’m Glad it is still being used as its original purpose. Roger Haas, 8618 SE 36th Ave, Portland, OR 97222, 503-312-6970 cell or 509-659-8248

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