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Did any of your ancestors flee Imperial Russia?

The Russian Revolution occurred about 100 years ago, a recent event in world history. And what a fascinating and scary time to be alive. In contrast, the Soviet Union of the 1950s was so depressing.

by Anonymousreply 4402/05/2013

[quote]In contrast, the Soviet Union of the 1950s was so depressing.

And you know this how...?

by Anonymousreply 102/05/2013

Yes, but we were a bit of an anomaly. We were Volga Deutsch, Germans who were promised land, freedom from military service, and other perks by Catherine the Great to settle the area around the Volga River back in the 1700's.

We kept our German Language, our religion, and most of our culture. The Czars came to resent us, and my Grandmother used to tell the stories she heard as a child about the Cossacks coming to burn the village. We packed up and left to America about the time the revoked the exemption from military service, 1875-80. The whole village left. Most settled in the Midwest, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas, although there are pockets in Canada.

The ones that didn't leave came to a bad end. Hitler used them as an excuse when he invaded Russia (Liberate the Volga Deutsch!), and Stalin rounded up almost all of them and sent them to Siberia where huge numbers died in the camps. The villages in the area my family came from all wound up working in asbestos and uranium mines.

by Anonymousreply 202/05/2013

R1, it was Communism. People could get basic necessities of life, life was not exactly easy but there was no mass starvation. Hedrick Smith wrote a book, "The Russians" that covers more than the time period, if you have time you might find it informative.

by Anonymousreply 302/05/2013

My name is Anastasia Romanov,Grand Duchess of Russia. I escaped. No one believed me.

by Anonymousreply 402/05/2013

My neighbors growing up were white Russians, as they used to call them.

by Anonymousreply 502/05/2013

And I am Analtovia Angus von Beaverhousen, but close friends call me Anal.

My family fought wolves, trekked Swiss Alps, made rafts from dead comrades and sailed Arctic to Atlantic Ocean to New Jersey. We turned around and went back. Flew United in 1998. Much better.

by Anonymousreply 602/05/2013

My ethnic German great-grandparents (father's side) emigrated from Belarus, finally ending up in North Dakota... I know that after they had left, the property of my great-grandfather's family was seized, and their farmlands. They sent letters pleading for financial help to my great-grandfather's family, but ending up starving to death. My mother's parents on both sides came from a small town in Ukraine and must have emigrated at the turn of the century, also ending up in North Dakota.

My mom's alcoholic (Russian Ukrainian)dad was always certain that there was oil under his North Dakota farmland, but it was basically undrillable. Which all changed in the past 10 years as the technology to extract it matured... although he passed away before he could see this come to pass. Both my mom and my dad grew up poor on their respective farms, literally riding horses to their small one room schoolhouse as kids, and now collect sizable oil checks from multiple wells on each of their family farms.

by Anonymousreply 702/05/2013

I was told my Grandparents were part of the Volga river campsite; dedicated to building better relations between Germany and Russia. My grandmother was Russian and my grandfather was German - not pureblood or anything. Apparently there was some stigma attached to mixing with each other, which is why they opted to go. What they found was a bunch of barely farmable land. Homes were often constructed by digging a hole and then flipping your wagon over for the roof, not to mention the frigid climate. After missing titanic's voyage to America, my family settled first in Canada and then moved on to Wisconsin. Our last name means lynchpin; as in, the single metal pin that holds a spoked wheel together. We were apparently blacksmiths, according to my last name but neither my grandmother or grandfather knew of any family connection with actual metal working. ...what a specific question OP, thanks!

by Anonymousreply 802/05/2013

One but why and who he was remains a mystery.

by Anonymousreply 902/05/2013

"Did any of your ancestors flee Imperial Russia?"


by Anonymousreply 1002/05/2013

My mother is Finnish. Both her mother's family and her father's family came from the same region of Finland and for much the same reason. Prior to the turn of the century, the Red Army had a nasty habit of showing up at Finnish farmsteads in the middle of the night and conscripting Finninsh men. My ancestors decided to get out while the getting was good. Also, American railroad companies had huge swaths of land they'd acquired as rights-of-way and were advertising all over the Nordic countries that for a package-deal price, you could get ship passage, a train ticket and a few acres of farmland. Since Nordic countries practice dryland farming, the available land in America lended itself to such care.

by Anonymousreply 1102/05/2013

We still keep in regular contact with our distant relatives in Russia. Of course there were periods when the letters sent were very generic; "we all hope for peace and good health." My grandmother left for New York, and a shoe factory, as a child with her older sister, before the Communist takeover. Like her compatriots she talked of hiding in the cellar from the Cossaks.

My great grandfather brought the family to England where my grandfather was born. In his early 20's he came to America via Canada. Smart that his family left Russia a little earlier than most. Both grandparents were always economically focused because of their struggles, made far worse by living through the Depression.

by Anonymousreply 1202/05/2013

My family would be similar to R2 except we were Black Sea Germans. My paternal grandparents did not come to America until 1910, and before that my grandfather was conscripted to serve in the Russian army. My uncle, my dad's brother, was actually born in Russia.

When families immigrated to America, their relatives left behind traditionally viewed them as having died. It was the way they dealt with it.

All my grandparents came from Odessa, in the Ukraine, and ended up in North Dakota.

I'm lucky enough to have a husbear whose family farm has oil, and they still own the mineral rights. His family is Scandinavian and with a completely different history.

Oil checks are nice.

by Anonymousreply 1302/05/2013

A more famous example of someone of German extraction whose family came from the Ukraine is Lawrence Welk. Supposedly he didn't learn to speak English, despite having been born in the US, on a regular basis until he was in his 20s and began touring the midwest with his band. According to the Census Bureau many of those who claim Russian ancestry are actually Jews who got the hell out of there. Hence the families of many American Jews today can trace their origins to Russia, Ukraine and what was then Russian controlled Poland. Joan Rivers and I'm fairly certain Barbara Walters are just two examples--Joan Rivers sort of reluctantly admitted as much in an interview on TV once.

by Anonymousreply 1402/05/2013

R6, are you descended from the St. Petersburg von Beaverhousen or the Vladivodstok von Beaverhousen?

Never mind, it doesn't matter, you're both white trash.


by Anonymousreply 1502/05/2013

r6, you wouldn't be Karen Walker would you?

by Anonymousreply 1602/05/2013

Mine did, on my father's side.

Russian Jews, who got the hell out... and probably not a moment too soon, considering.

by Anonymousreply 1702/05/2013

R14, You are correct in that the smart ones left as soon as they could.

by Anonymousreply 1802/05/2013

R13 must be a hottie to be deriving love and wealth from North Dakota.

by Anonymousreply 1902/05/2013

R13 - you might be interested in a book that I just started reading, by Charles King, called Odessa; Genius and Death in a City of Dreams. Much of it centers on the time when your grandparents lived there. I decided to get it after listening to a fascinating interview with the author over the holidays.

by Anonymousreply 2002/05/2013

My grandparents fled, but not because of the impending arrival of the communists (which they, in fact, became), but because of the Cossacks.

by Anonymousreply 2102/05/2013

God no. We came from England to Virginia in the 1600's.

Who would confess to having relatives who went through Ellis Island?

by Anonymousreply 2202/05/2013

Well, my ancestors came over on the Mayflower.

by Anonymousreply 2302/05/2013

I had one great-great grandfather who emigrated from St. Petersburg. But he was born in what is today Lithuania and his name was neither Russian nor Lithuanian.

by Anonymousreply 2402/05/2013

The Bolsheviks, especially Trotsky, were financed by Wall Street and London bankers. Think JP Morgan, John D Rocekefeller, and Kuhn Loeb, etc. The motive of course was money, and lots of it. The Czar was at the time the richest man in the world and they wanted to steal his money(they did and it ended up in banks in NY and London) and also to get at his enormous oil holdings. Naturally the banker-controlled US government /media ridiculed all claims by Romanov heirs because it would mean the banking criminals would have to fork over the billions(plus interest) that they stole in 1917.

by Anonymousreply 2502/05/2013

My father and his family were Mennonites. I don't know if that counts as Volga Deutsch or not, but they came to Russia for the same reasons. And they were ethnically and linguistically German, having little to do with Russians. They stayed in Russia until WW2. Most of his family starved to death or were murdered by the Russians. My father was drafted at age 18 into the military. He was injured and capatured by the Germans who, realizing he was German, used him as an interpreter for a while before setting him free. He wandered into Austria and then Germany as the war was ending. There he met my mother, a German from Yugoslavia whose family ran for their lives from the Russians. They married and emigrated to Canada.

And here I am. A homosexual on Datalounge.

by Anonymousreply 2602/05/2013

Is that from Anthony Sutton's book, R25?

by Anonymousreply 2702/05/2013

My name is Iosif Mikhail Ulyanov. I am distant cousin of Vladimir Ulyanov, who became Lenin. My ancestors were potato farmers in Russia and had small distillery making vodka for locals. It later became Smirnoff. My great-great grandmother had affair with Mexican bullfighter when they met in Portugal. He produced famous coffee liquor, and together they invented delicious drink called Black Russian. My family calls them Blussians. I hate vodka, but I have problems with Scotch.

by Anonymousreply 2802/05/2013

Lawrence Welk was from an ethnic German family which came to the US from Odessa. He grew up speaking German, but his English had an odd accent, instead of a German accent, because it came by way of Ukraine.

by Anonymousreply 2902/05/2013

[quote]My family would be similar to [R2] except we were Black Sea Germans. My paternal grandparents did not come to America until 1910, and before that my grandfather was conscripted to serve in the Russian army. My uncle, my dad's brother, was actually born in Russia.

Cousin! I used Volga Deutsch as shorthand because that's what everyone knows, but my people were from outside Odessa too. (Something I've never understood is that when it was time to leave they walked to Hamburg and caught the boat there instead of going to Odessa.)

Here's a website you might enjoy. I'm guessing this is my ancestors' village. I wish I had paid more attention when the old people used to talk about all this. Anyway, you might enjoy the map or some of the other pages:

by Anonymousreply 3002/05/2013

[R:3]. You may find it informative to research the famine that decimated the Ukraine in the '30's, which is mainly attributed to the genocidal policies of Stalin et al.

by Anonymousreply 3102/05/2013

R29 - My parents, Germans from Russia and Yugoslavia, also didn't have the sterotypical German accent. They grew up speaking the regional dialect of their ancestors in Germany (from generations previous) but spoke High German once they came to Canada. They spoke English with an accent, but it wasn't a GERMAN German accent.

by Anonymousreply 3202/05/2013

All of my great grandparents fled Russia (and pogroms) about 100 or so years ago. This despite my great grandfathers having distinguished military service. Thank God!

by Anonymousreply 3302/05/2013

[quote]Supposedly he didn't learn to speak English, despite having been born in the US, on a regular basis until he was in his 20s

This was very common in the interior of North America. German was widespread as a vernacular and vehicular language in many places -- even schools used German as the language of instruction -- until World War I, during which the language was proscribed.

by Anonymousreply 3402/05/2013

It's from widely available public information, r27, reported by many sources.

by Anonymousreply 3502/05/2013

To r4 - Mamushka! It is I, Georgi, your love child!

by Anonymousreply 3602/05/2013

No. We flee from nothing. Except retail pricing.

by Anonymousreply 3702/05/2013

[quote] Supposedly he didn't learn to speak English, despite having been born in the US, on a regular basis until he was in his 20s and

Wikipedia claims this isn't true.

A common misconception is that Welk did not learn English until he was 21. In fact, he began learning English as soon as he started school. The part of North Dakota where he lived had been settled largely by Germans from Russia; even his teachers spoke English as a second language

by Anonymousreply 3802/05/2013

My partner's Jewish family came from Ukraine. He s constantly telling people he is Ukrainian. When he hears someone is Ukrainian, he says "I'm Ukrainian, too." To which they immediately reply, "You don't LOOK Ukrainian!"

Ukrainians do not consider Jews to be Ukrainian. When I tell him that Europe's biggest skinhead movement is from the area of Ukraine and that they are not overly fond of Jews or dark people, it does not compute.

BTW, I'm talking about Ukrainians, not Americans or Canadians of Ukrainian origin.

by Anonymousreply 3902/05/2013

Are you asking about ancestors who fled and or were expelled by the Imperial Russians or are you asking about ancestors who fled the Soviets after the revolution?

by Anonymousreply 4002/05/2013

Thanks, R7, I will check into that book.

And R2/R30, thanks for the link. A cousin of mine researched some family history, and I have pages on it someplace, not sure where. I think my ancestors' village was Karlsruhe.

My maternal grandparents were married in Feodosia. Looks like a place to visit someday.

I do remember another bit of info from the research. I know my great-grandfather is buried in Siberia. It would be interesting to know his life.

by Anonymousreply 4102/05/2013

Hiya, R26. Another gay Mennonite here whose ancestors left the Ukraine to settle in the heartland of the Americas.

by Anonymousreply 4202/05/2013

Yes, I fled. All that I have left is this jewel, an emerald...

by Anonymousreply 4302/05/2013

My Jewish forebears craftily kept alive by making elaborately carved furniture for the czar, so the story goes. (When I visited the palace in St. Petersburg, I looked at the breakfronts and cabinets, wondering if any were made by my relatives.) But it was not all fun and games: There are stories of hiding children to avoid conscription in the czar's army. Eventually, they got fed up, moved to Brooklyn and Chicago, and begat a line of lawyers and CPAs. And that's the last time they ever gave Mother Russia a thought. I, however, was a whiz when I took woodshop. Who knew?

by Anonymousreply 4402/05/2013
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