The text of this page was begun 23 June 2001 -- rak.

Balzer, a Lutheran colony (its Russian names included: Goloi Karamysh, Goly Karamysch, and Golyj Karamysch), was founded by the Russian government on 28 August 1765.  Its official population was 410 (in 1769), 479 (1773), 781 (1798), 11,110 (1912), and 11,556 (1926) {Mai, vol.I, p.12}.

For the exact location of Balzer, click on the Saratov Area Map.

According to the 1798 census taker, Popov:

"This colony is located ... along Goly Karamysh Creek ... 73 versta [a verst is somewhat longer than 1 km.] ... from Saratov ... 112 from Kamyshin, 15 from Beideck, 12 from Messer, 10 from Anton, 9 from Kutter, 6 from Moor and 12 from the Volga boat landing.... All ... inhabitants ... are of the Reformed faith belonging to the parish of Messer, where there is a pastor, but the church is here.  Young children are taught reading, writing, and religion by a schoolmaster under the supervision of the pastor in a school building (p.58)."

"The land is bordered by land belonging to the five colonies just mentioned plus the estates of Akhmat and Mordovo [where my guess is the boat dock was -- rak] ... The colony has insufficiencies in almost all areas of economic importance, but most particularly in arable land and hay fields.... all the inhabitants are engaged in farming on ... marginal lands and they purchase feed for the livestock.  They use dung for fuel.... flax and hemp ... will not grow here ... Of the trades, they have four blacksmiths, two wheelwrights, and five bootmakers.  They live in mediocre conditions.  Buildings are mostly dilapidated.  There are 30 new homes, one of stone, and several have stone outbuildings.  Yards are fenced with boards and wattle.  There are vegetable gardens near the colony, along the Karamysh River.  There are no orchards or apiaries.  There is one flourmill.... They farm with plows and horses ... do not fertilize ... Harvests of grain are only mediocre.  Gophers consume little crop here... The grain ... has up until now ... been ... threshed on floors located adjacent to the houses ... then sold in Saratov ... They are only just now moving the threshing floors to a safe distance from the houses.... the local common granary here is old, [but] it is in good order and constructed in a safe place ... currently storing rye, wheat and oats (Mai, vol.I, pp.57-58).

My Balzer Ancestral Families


21. Anna Margaretha (26 Aug.1814-??), of Balzer, married Georg Philipp BELTZ, probably in Balzer in 1836, although they evidently lived as a couple in Kutter.

In the Balzer First Settlers' List (Pleve, vol.I, p.86), household #52 was SCHEIDT, Heinrich 26, Reformed faith, farmer from Isenburg (Stumpp, p.78, says he was from the village of Duedelsheim), and wife Margaretha 25, having arrived in Balzer on 18 June 1767.  Household #53 was SCHEIDT, Philipp 25, Reformed faith, farmer from Isenburg, and his wife Cathatina 30 -- [a probable brother-rak].

However, in 1798 only one SCHEIDT household was recorded in the Balzer census, so it is highly probable that these are Anna M's ancestors.  Household #53 SCHEIDT, included Johann Heinrich 58, wife Anna Margaretha HOHNSTEIN 58, son Johann Heinrich 31, his wife Susanna HOFFMANN 30, and their children Johannes 12, Anna Maria 9, Friedrich 7, Elisabeth 4 and Georg 2.

By 1814, Friedrich would have been 23 and Johannes would have been 28.  Either could have been father to Anna Margaretha.  [Can anyone tell me which was her father?  If so, e-mail me at [email protected].] My working guess is that it was Johannes, in which case my lineage would be:

168. Johann Heinrich, Sr. (1740-aft.1798)

84. Johann Heinrich, Jr. (1767-aft.1798)

42. Johannes (1786-aft.1814)


43.  Unknown (aft.1786?-aft.1814) m. Johannes SCHEIDT.

I have no idea who the parents of these women were, or in the case of #43, who she herself was.  If anyone can help on this, please e-mail me at [email protected].


85. Susanna (Feb.1766-aft.1798) married Johann Heinrich SCHEIDT, Jr.

170. Valentin (1728-aft.1798)

In the Balzer First Settlers' List (Pleve, vol.1, p.77), household #20 is HOFFMANN, Valentin, 36, Reformed faith, farmer from the Paletinate (Kurpfalz), wife Anna Barbara 35, children: Anna Catharina 12, Margaretha 8, and Susanna 4 weeks [so she was born, in late Feb?, on the boat coming down the Volga!--rak].  Arrived in Balzer on 28 March 1766.

Household #49 in the 1798 Balzer census was HOFFMANN, Valentin 69, wife Barbara BOSCHE 67, 2 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren.


169. Anna Margaretha (1740-aft.1798) married Johann Heinrich SCHEIDT, Sr.

In the 1798 census index all the other HOHNSTEIN on the Volga were in Norka, except for one in Kolb#19 and one Hoehnstein in Schaffhausen#24.  My working guess is that Anna M. was of the Norka HOHNSTEINS.

I don't yet know if there is a 1775 Balzer census available in which to check these people.


171. Anna Barbara (1731-aft.1798) m. Valentin HOFFMAN.

She is Anna Barbara in the Balzer First Settlers' List; Barbara BOSCHE in the Balzer 1798 census.

In the Mai index to the 1798 censuses there was no other person with the family name BOSCHE on the Volga.  But there were BACH, BAUHS, BOCK, BOFF, BOSCH, and BUSCH.

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