The Bellingtier (Bellendir) Family to the USA

George Bellentier 001

George Bellingtier, born 16 July 1908 in Josefstal, died 17 April 1993 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

George Bellendir was born in Josefstal on July 16, 1908 (OS).  He emigrated to the USA aboard the SS Noordam, arriving at Ellis Island from Rotterdam, on August 24, 1914 – along with his brother Alois (Albert), age 2, and mother, Elisabetha, age 23.

Bellendir Georg 16.07.1908

Birth/Baptism record for Georg Bellendir, born 16 July 1908, and baptized in the Josefstal Church on 20 July 1908, by Father Alois Oks. Parents are Georg Bellendir & Elisabetha Haberkorn. Godparents are Georg Gerk & Margareta Gerk.

His father, Georg Bellendir, emigrated to the USA aboard the SS Koln, arriving at Galveston from Bremen on March 31, 1911.

The family name was later anglicized to Bellingtier.

The family settled in the Fort Dodge, Iowa area.

Marriage  record for  Georg Bellendir, age 20, son of Ignatz Bellendir and Barbara Rep, and Ekaterina Haberkorn, age 16, daughter of Josef Haberkorn and Elisabetha Buss.  Marriage took place in Josefstal on 11 Feb 1908, performed by Father Alois Oks. Witnesses are Adam Dieser & Alois Rohwein.

Marriage record for Georg Bellendir, age 20, son of Ignatz Bellendir and Barbara Rep, and Ekaterina Haberkorn, age 16, daughter of Josef Haberkorn and Elisabetha Buss. Marriage took place in Josefstal on 11 Feb 1908, performed by Father Alois Oks. Witnesses are Adam Dieser & Alois Rohwein.

Bellentier 001

The Fort Dodge Messenger, January 19, 1983.

A little of the family history was written in the Fort Dodge Messenger. (click on the above photo to read more)

After Georg Bellingtier died on April 17, 1993, an old photograph from Russia was discovered among his things.

It is not known who is in the photo, but it was believed to be his father’s brother, Nikolaus Bellendir of Josefstal.


Bellintier 001

Fort Dodge Messenger obituary, dated May 1, 1963, for Elizabeth Bellingtier, Mother of Georg Bellingtier, born in Josefstal. Elizabeth died April 30, 1963 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.


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Emigration to Brazil & Argentina: January/February 1909

Coblenz1909 001In a previous post about emigration from Josefstal to South America, I documented some of the names from the SS Coblenz, and the departure from Bremen in Germany in January of 1909.  This ship arrived in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, February 13, 1909.

As far as we can tell, most of these emigrants would find their way to Argentina, with a few even returning to Josefstal in later years.

I was able, with the kind help of the Brazil State Archives, to obtain a better copy of the passenger list than the one I had…and it even listed village of origin. You can download it here.

I am posting the complete list, and also updating my original list of Josefstal residents….I think I had missed one family…as the original list had no village of origin…so I had to guess based on what Josefstal records we have.

One wonders, where are their descendents now?

SCHAFER, Adam (36), Katarina (30), Katarina (4)

SCHMIDT, Johannes (38), Anna (36), Marie (12), Peter (10), Katharina (7 ¾), Johannes (5), Elenora (2 ½), Jakob 1 ½ )

WEICHEL, Georg (30), Magdalena (25), Katarina (6), Juliana (5) Gottfried (19)

UHRICH, Peter (32), Elisabeth (24), Peter (10), Katharina (8), Alexander (6), Anna (9 months)

STREMEL, Johannes (36), Anna (30), Adam (7 ½ ), Michael (5), Anna (3 ½), Margareta (6 mo.)

BREIT, Josef (30), Margareta (34), Elisabeth (8), Josef (6), Philipe (4), Pauline (8 mo), Magdalena (50)

GERK, Peter (38), Katharina (24), Magdalena (2 ½), Georg (4 mo)

WEICHEL, Jakob (42), Julia (28), Margarita (2 ½ ), Susanna (7 mo)

KERN, Johannes (22)

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Christof Holzmann and Family of Pueblo San José, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Holzmann 001I have collected some of the documents dealing with the Christof Holzmann family of Pueblo San Jose, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This family traveled from Russia to Argentina sometime in the early 1900’s.

While not complete, here is a collection of documents from Russia and Argentina dealing with this family.

Hopefully the family will have old photographs and documents they might share.


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Georg Stremel

26Georg Stremel was born in Josefstal on 3 February 1899 (OS), to Johannes Stremel and Anna Marie Arnold.

Georg married Katherine Burgart on 12 Feb 1918, also in Josefstal.

This photograph, courtesy of the Stremel family, would seem to show Georg’s mother, Anna Marie Arnold Stremel. Georg’s father died in 1912. Also on the photograph would be Georg’s sister, Anna Margareta (born 1880), who had marrried Johann Adam Dieser.

Georg came to Canada in 1924, after he escaped Russia and lived for about 2 years in a refugee camp in Frankfurt/Oder.

He got his wife and son out as well, and they came to Canada shortly after.

The rest of the Stremel family would stay in Russia, and were deported to Siberia and labour camps in 1941.

For the file I have added Georg’s Birth/Baptism record, as well as the passenger list record for /March/April 1924, documenting his arrival on the SS Montrose.


Birth Baptism record for Georg Stremel, born on 3 Feb 1899 and baptized on 4 Feb 1899.

Birth Baptism record for Georg Stremel, born on 3 Feb 1899 and baptized on 4 Feb 1899. Godparents were Georg Dieser & Katarina Dieser

Passenger list for Georg Stremel

Passenger list for Georg Stremel

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UPDATED!! Pueblo San José Argentina: Alexander Holzmann

AlexanderHolzman2aThis post from May, 2013 has been UPDATED!

From time to time, I come across further documentation about folks who left Josefstal, and then traveled to South America.  This is such a case.

This obituary card, courtesy of Norma Holzmann, documents the death of Alejandro Holzmann, born in 1893 in Josefstal.

Rightly or wrongly, my documentation courtesy of draft records, state that he was actually born January 28, 1894.  So who is correct?  We’d have the have the actual Church record to check.

Alejandro was the son of Kristof Holzmann and Anna Margareta Schmidt.  The draft record states that the family went to “America” in 1904.  They eventually settled in Pueblo San José, Buenos Aires, Argentina, close to Coronel Suarez.

Also in this town, was his brother Alois Holzmann, who was confirmed in 1905 according to Church records from San José:



Alois was born April 8, 1883, also in Josefstal.  What happened to him? Perhaps someone will let us know. There were other families from Josefstal who also settled there…I will be documenting those over the coming months.


UPDATE: So on August 9, 2014, I received from Russia a copy of Alexander’s Birth/Baptism record.

Holzmann Alexander 28.01.1894

It states that Alexander Holzmann was born on 28 January 1894 (OS), and was baptized in the Parish Church in Josefstal on 30 January 1894 (OS).  Parents are Kristof Holzmann and Anna Margareta Schmidt.  The Godparents were Georg Dieser and his wife Katarina.

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The Valentin Dieser Family of Josefstal

Historical research is funny. You go through dry times, and then, all of a sudden, a flood comes. It was like that this year with some ongoing research I had been doing on our family. One specific set of records alluded me. These dealt with the father of my grandmother, Elisabeth Dieser Gerk. Her Dad, Johannes Dieser, was an allusive historical character. The family had birth dates for him and did not seem to fit, and no document survived the years they spent in the GULAG.

I even entertained the thought that perhaps he was adopted, and we would never close that file! Given the difficulty it is trying to get archival materials from Russia already, I just chalked it up to an unfinished piece of historical research.

Well, I am amazed. After 30 years of looking, associates in the archives found the missing piece of history.

Dieser Johannes 29.01.1874The Birth/Baptism record for my great-grandfather, Johannes Dieser. Born 29 January, 1874, and Baptized the next day…son of Valentin Dieser and Anna Margareta Belendir. He was born in Josefstal, which was part of the Catholic Parish of Marienfeld.

But that was not all. Here is a copy of the marriage record for my great-grandparents: Johannes Dieser and Marie Eva Heit.

Dieser-HeitThis is a full page from the marriage book for Marienfeld, weddings all taking place on November 8th, 1894.

It lists 3 weddings that day, (there could be more on another page). Of course it lists the parents of the Bride and Groom, Valentin Dieser and Anna Maria Bellendir for Johannes, and Adam Heit and Anna Margareta Gette for Bride Marie Eva.

Johannes will die in the spring of 1933, in the Caucasus, due to complications in surgery…in a weakened condition due to the Great Famine of the 1930’s. Marie Eva, my great-grandmother, will starve to death in the summer of 1933, in her village of Josefstal.

The next question I had was about my grandmother’s grandfather, Valentin Dieser.

In my interviews with her, my grandmother told me the story of how her father was so upset about losing his Dad at a young age. So upset, that one day he wanted to do to the cemetery to “dig” up his Dad…just so he could see him again…or be lose to his remains. My grandmother thought that her father was 2 when his father (Valentin Dieser) died. She also thought she remembered that her Mom was 10 or 11 when her father (Adam Heit) died.

So…I was given the death record for Valentin. It states that Valentin Dieser died on 12 October 1885 in Josefstal at the age of 55.

Dieser 12.10.1885My great-grandfather, Johannes Dieser, would have been 11 years old.

So…in my quest to prove my grandmother’s stories, I discovered that she was partially right…she just got the parents mixed up.

These are the “puzzles” I love to do….trying to find the missing pieces…

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Emigration to South America: January 1909

coblenzAs I continue to research and compile passenger lists, I was alerted to a list documenting Josefstal residents leaving Bremen, Germany in January of 1909 and arriving in Rio de Janerio on February 13, 1909 aboard the SS Coblenz.  The lists do not list the place or origin, other than Russia.  But the names are obviously Volga German..and as I check various  records for Josefstal, we can reasonably be sure these folks are from Josefstal.

Most of these people will go on and settle in Argentina.

The details of those names are:

SCHMIDT, Johannes (38), Anna (36), Marie (12), Peter (10), Katharina (7 ¾), Johannes (5), Elenora (2 ½), Jakob 1 ½ )

WEICHEL, Georg (30), Magdalena (25), Katarina (6), Juliana (5) Gottfried (19)

UHRICH, Peter (32), Elisabeth (24), Peter (10), Katharina (8), Alexander (6), Anna (9 months)

STREMEL, Johannes (36), Anna (30), Adam (7 ½ ), Michael (5), Anna (3 ½), Margareta (6 mo.)

BREIT, Josef (30), Margareta (34), Elisabeth (8), Josef (6), Philipe (4), Pauline (8 mo), Magdalena (50)

GERK, Peter (38), Katharina (24), Magdalena (2 ½), Georg (4 mo)

WEICHEL, Jakob (42), Julia (28), Margarita (2 ½ ), Susanna (7 mo)

KERN, Johannes (22)


As I come across more information I will post and update the complete Josefstal passenger list.

Registros de imigrantes 1900 (janeiro)- 1909 (fevereiro) Family History Library International Film 1285697
Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro). Hospedaria de Imigrantes

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Josefstal Church Choir 1928

Josefstal choirJosefstalchoir 001This is a photograph that was given to me by Barbara Schaab.  It is a photo of the Church choir in Josefstal in 1928.

The photo was taken at the side door of the Catholic church in Josefstal.

My cousin, Alex Dreser, did up a helpful map of who is in the photo.

Located front and center is Father Johannes Falkenstein. A bio on him is available here.

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The White-Red Train: Experiences of a German-Russian Farmer in 1918

GRHS 001Note: The following article is a translation of an article that appeared in St. Peter’s Bote. The exact citation is unknown, but we are trying to track it down and will post that information here.  In the meantime, it mentions Josefstal and the villages around it. It is also available as a pdf here.

The White-Red Train
Experiences of a German-Russian Farmer in 1918
Translated by Michael Rempfer
Edited by Dr. Eric J. Schmaltz

Translator’s and Editor’s Note: This German-Russian farmer managed to leave the Volga Region for Germany in 1925, and from there to Canada with the help of the Volksverein [National Association]. This piece appeared in the German Catholic publication St. Peter’s Bote [St. Peter’s Messenger], established in February 1904 in Rosthern, then moved shortly thereafter to Winnipeg, and in September 1905 ending up in Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In the summer of 1918 the Russian revolution was in high gear. We were living at Marienfeld near Saratov in the Volga region. The front wasn’t very far from us. One day there was a call for the farmers of the German villages to join together and march against the Reds.

That suited us just fine, and the teacher who was also village clerk took the matter in hand. Everyone was drummed up. Old and young they came, whoever was capable of holding a weapon was mobilized.

It was all bitterly earnest. Day and night the community leaders sat together and deliberated how best to come to grips with the campaign against the Bolsheviks. According to reports there was no longer any military in the city of Kamyshin on the Volga as the troops had gone to the west or south fronts. However, guns and ammunition had to be procured in order to be able to risk an offensive there. There were, of course, a few rifles in the village. We even had some ammunition, but neither would go very far to be able to equip our people, even in part.

Then a plan surfaced to obtain weapons and ammunition in the nearby Cossack village of Lebyasha, some seven versts [1 verst = 1.0668 km or 0.6629 mi.] east of Marienfeld, especially since the Cossacks were said to have joined the movement. The villages of Marienfeld, Avilovo, Erleibach and Josephtal with yet a few smaller settlements collectively took up this plan in order to attempt an assault on Kamyshin. Then the farmers hoped to find enough weaponry and munitions in Kamyshin to be able to mount a wider campaign against the Bolsheviks, for which they counted on the aid of Denikin’s White Army.

The proposition began in all seriousness. A kind of martial law was put into force; everyone was compelled to take part under threat of being shot to death. Many faces appeared very troubled and many, who had up to now been committed mostly to the sport of the matter, felt considerable disenchantment.

A delegation of the farmers was dispatched to the Cossacks at the village of Lebjascha to get arms and ammunition. They got there late at night. The village was quiet, as if abandoned, and there were no lights burning in the cottages. Finally, the farmers found an old Cossack sitting on a bench who was obviously waiting for them and knew why they had come.

The old man’s response was very depressing to us. He told us that the Cossacks had left because they foresaw a greater disaster to come. They didn’t want to go with us because they considered the cause to be lost. The old man advised us to go home in all haste and to give up the plan.

The delegation of farmers was seized with alarm then. They not only had fear of the Bolsheviks now, but also of the Cossacks, and they fled in the direction of their own villages. In the dark of night they raced across the fields seeing a Bolshevik in every rider and man afoot, and in their terror distinguished neither friend nor foe.

When the envoys were finally home and had informed the community leadership of the failure of their mission, the community of Marienfeld nonetheless enthusiastically resolved to risk the expedition and to be content with the ammunition and firearms at hand.

The next morning dawned and found all the members of the community gathered. Their deliberations were interrupted by the arrival of a freight train from the west which was completely filled with farmers. Loud shouts of hurrah resounded, and out of the confusing disorder of cheering it was learned that the occupants of this train had succeeded in capturing it and now would use it to carry out the planned campaign.

White flags on the individual cars proclaimed the political view of the happy masters of the train. These fluttering pennants and flags had been made from the white kerchiefs of the women, from bed sheets and pillowcases, and served the purpose very well. The residents of Marienfeld became curious about the cars, and they walked around the train. When some of the more audacious ones also wanted to look at the engine, the engineer begged to differ. But it came off badly for him when our farmers rebuffed him: “What? You would stop us from inspecting the train that we captured? Shut up and listen!” The engineer acquiesced and did exactly that.

Then all the able-bodied men of the village got on the train. It wasn’t possible to sneak away as there were lookouts all around the train. Anyone without a gun was told to arm himself with a pitchfork, scythe or threshing flail. Thus equipped, the gallant warriors were finally ready to depart. The curious engineer wanted to know where to go. The worthy farmers answered in miserable Russian that he should continue to advance to Kamyshin, which must be captured. His response of “Ne ponimanyu” (I don’t understand) finally produced a man who could speak Russian who made the instructions understood. Then things began!

Avilova, the next station lying three versts to the east, was reached quickly. The farmers stormed off the train and notified the station master that they had taken over the train and were now taking possession of the station. “Tolko na pari minuti” (Yes, but only for a few minutes), the railroad man said with a smirk.

In the end, he was only too right.

The farmers had barely stepped off the train when another train approached from the vicinity of Kamyshin. The Bolsheviks! The company began moving uneasily, commands rang out which resulted in the farmers lying down flat on the railway embankment. One lay behind the other, it occurring to no one to angle a guard at the ends of the line. It was a surrealistic sight. Only a few had firearms. Most bore scythes, threshing flails and pitchforks. Orders were issued that everyone should grab the weapon of anyone killed nearby.

Then their destiny approached.

Gunfire commenced, sounding all across the battlefield, and then was suddenly overwhelmed by a great boom. The Bolsheviks had fired a cannon across the Lavla at the farmers. The train overpowered by the farmers decamped with empty cars, and behind it raced the terrified farmers, who had lost all composure with the sight of the enemy and the thunder of the cannon. It was a disorderly flight. Meanwhile the Bolshevik artillery continued to fire into the fleeing mob of farmers.

Our narrator chose a path through fields and straw stacks to his home village, ran through it to the other side where he found an empty, oar-less boat in the Algofka River. With it and great effort, he saved himself across the river into the adjoining forest.

What happened then was immensely tragic. Those fleeing struggled to get back home to their villages, wives and children, took bedding and a sack of food and sought safety in the woods. As everything was then lost, everyone who was able to escape raced haphazardly in frantic fear across the fields. Soon forest and field were swarming with refugees.

Meanwhile, the ominous train of the Bolsheviks came closer and closer to the village of Marienfeld and finally came to a stop at the station. The Reds got off the train and began to loot and burn the deserted village wantonly. What there was to take was taken. All the grain was collected and loaded onto the train, crates of the community’s trade goods were pillaged and robbed of their contents.

The few farmers who had hidden themselves in the village were whipped as quickly as they were discovered and ultimately sent out to bring in those who had fled. The message these beaten emissaries had to deliver was short and to the point:

“Everyone must return home at once. Whoever is found still in the woods after one hour will be shot immediately.”

The poor farmers then poured back to the village in bunches. However, the homecoming was wretched. Marienfeld was put to the torch on three sides and in the middle. The flames blazed furiously and consumed everything within reach. Even the church collapsed in ashes. A terrible night followed during which the people had to battle frenziedly for their homes which the raging fires threatened to consume. The wailing of people, the bellowing of cattle and the groaning of the injured resounded horrendously throughout the stricken village.

When the other villages saw the smoke rising over Marienfeld and perceived the sinister glow of the flames in the night, they approached the Bolshevik train with white flags and begged for mercy. So the other collaborators were spared Marienfeld’s fate. Their villages weren’t burned, but they were plundered all the same.

This article appeared in GRHS (Germans from Russia Heritage Society) News Volume 2014, Issue 1 Summer 2014 Used with permission.

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Statistical Information on Saratov Province: Volume 11, Kamyshin Area, 1891: Ilavlin Volost

Sbornik1891 001

Сборникъ статистическихъ свљдљнiй по Саратовской губернiи.
Т. 11 : Камышинский уезд. – Саратов : Тип. Губерн. Земства, 1891. – 504 с. : портр. –

Statistical Information on Saratov Province: Volume 11, Kamyshin Area, 1891 Saratov Provincial Zemstva – 504 pages.

A series of books that came out in the 1880′s and 1890′s, providing statistical information and background of Saratov Province.  Volume 11, published in 1891, details the Kamyshin area and most of the Volga-German villages in that area. You can click on the link to the book on the photo or here.

Researchers might notice some similarities with the A. N. Minkh encyclopedia.

I have separated the pages dealing with Ilavlin Volost, covering the villages of Rosenberg, Unterdorf, Marienfeld, Josefstal, Erlenbach, Oberdorf, Neu Norka and Alexandertal.  A pdf of those can be found here.

An English translation can be found here


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