This page was begun 24 June 2001, revised 28 May 2004 -- rak.

Kutter, aka Brehning, Brenning, Karamysh, Neumann, Pfaffenkutter, Parafej Chutor, Popovka, and Popowka, a Lutheran colony was founded by the Russian Government on 8 July 1767.  Its official population was 353 (in 1773), 482 (1788), 574 (1798), 850 (1816), 1,398 (1834), 2,042 (1850), 2,191 (1857), 2,412 (1860), 2,357 (1886), 3,279 (1891), 3,191 (1894), 4,031 (1897), 4,108 (1905), 4.178 (1910), 4,260 (1912) and 2,065 (1916) {Mai, vol.I, p.20}.

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

According to Popov, the official census taker, in 1798:

"This colony is located ... on the Berseite, along the Bolshoi [Great] Karamysh River.  It is located 80 versta [1 verst is slightly more than 1 km.] from ... Saratov, 110 from ... Kamyshin, and from the neighboring colonies of Biedeck, 20; Balzer, 10; Messer, 5; Doenhof, 4; and 20 from the Volga boat landing.... All are of the Reformed faith, and belong to the parish in the colony of Messer, where there is a pastor, but there is a church here.  Small children are taught reading, writing, and catechism by a schoolmaster under the supervision of the pastor in his own house (p.141)."

"Property of the colony is bordered by lands of the aforementioned four colonies and by those of the manor of Bobrovka.... According to the inhabitants, 50 desyatina [1=2.7 acres] are under cultivation ... They ... hold 75 desyatina in hay fields ... This colony has shortages of everything it needs, and as a result ... most of the farming is conducted on ... non-arable land.  Up to 600 desyatina are plowed each year.... They farm with ploughs and horses.  They do not use any fertilizer.  On the arable land harvests are good, but poor otherwise.  Every summer gophers consume a significant quantity of the sown grain....  Because of inadequate harvests of hay, they purchase it from neighboring colonies.  Instead of firewood, they burn dung fuel.   They have no possibility of improvement from any direction ... They do not have sufficient fleece or hemp ... all are involved in farming ... in addition, the women make paper for the colony of Sarepta.  They receive about 700 rubles a year from the agent of that colony who resides here.  Of the skilled trades, they have 4 blacksmiths, one metal smith, three wheelwrights, 5 weavers, and two cabinetmakers.  They are favorably disposed toward work (pp.141-42)."

"They live in moderate condition.  Buildings are for the most part dilapidated.  There is very little new construction.  There are 5 stone houses, and stone is used in some of the farmsteads.  Yards are fenced with stones and wattle.  There is a sufficient quantity of this stone on their allotted lands.... Harvested grain is threshed on local threshing floors adjacent to their farmyards.... [They] have been encouraged to move these threshing floors to a more distant and safer location.... There are vegetable gardens next to all of the homes.  They have no orchards, apiaries, or mills.... The local grain storage facility is dilapidated, but constructed in a suitable place.  Rye, wheat, and oats are stored there ... (Mai, vol.I, p.142)."

My Kutter Ancestral Families:


(the Russian transliteration often is literally PELTS)

80. Johannes (10 Aug. 1753-23 Dec. 1836)

40. Johann Christoph (13 Aug.1793-13 Jan.1842)

20. Georg Philipp (11 Sept.1817-??)

10. Heinrich Jakob (19 May 1853-16 June 1934)

05. Elizabeth Christine (27 Jan.1885-20 Feb.1984)

Johann Christoph, son of Johannes, married first Maria Katharina Lub and 2nd, in 1821, Christian Pabst from Beideck (BFC).

Georg Philipp, son of Johann Christoph, married Anna Margaretha SCHEIDT from Balzer in 1836 (BFC).

Heinrich Jakob, son of Georg Philipp, married Christina Schlegel from Huck on 19 February 1873 (BFC).

Elisabeth, my grandmother, daughter of Heinrich Jakob, was born 27 January 1885 and in 1892 she, her siblings and parents left for America; the date in 1892 evidently was after 25 May when the youngest sibling, Amalie, is recorded as dying in Kutter (BFC).

My grandmother Kraus, for whose funeral I gave the eulogy, was a Beltz born in Kutter in 1885.  She, her siblings (except for the youngest, Amalie, who is recorded in the BFC as dying in Kutter and parents left for the US on 9 Sept.1892.  Her Beltz father, grandfather, and great grandfather all were born and died in Kutter.  Her great great grandfather died there, having made the trek from Germany to the Volga.

According to Prof. Pleve in the Beltz family chart, the Beltz family arrived in Kutter, presumably from Neu-Kolonie, in 1788.  Increasingly I doubt both the date and the itinerary.  My great great great great grandfather Johannes Beltz  married a Kutter girl about 1774, and they are listed there as a married couple in the 1775 Kutter census.  Their eldest son, Johann Ludwig is said to have been born just after the 1775 census, on 12 October 1775. 

There is reportedly a story in Geisinger's "From Katharine to Krushchev" p.17 which says "A wagon caravan was crossing land toward the new village of Kutter when they were set upon by highwaymen. Of the Beltz family in the caravan, only one boy managed to escape and make it to Kutter. This boy founded the Beltz name there." Except for this story, I now would flatly say that the Hergenborte Beltz family had nothing to do with us and that our Beltz family was from Isenburg and was in Kutter from the founding of the colony onward.

In the Kutter FSL [First Settlers' List as given in Pleve "Einwanderung" II:482 family #28] is the Roehrich [Roehrig] family of the Reformed faith who arrived in Kutter from Isenburg on 8 July 1767 the day the colony was officially founded: Jakob 39, wife Christina 42, son Johannes 15, and daughter Barbara 13. I note that an older wife on the Volga often means that it is her second marriage ... rak. Also in the Kutter FSL (p.490, #59) is the Schmidt farmer family also of the Reformed faith who arrived in Kutter also from Isenburg on 29 July 1767: Anton 49, wife Maria Katharina 42, sons Johann Ludwig 18 and Jacob 8, and daughters Maria Barbara 15 and Anna Katharina 1 1/2. I note that such a long interval between children (7 years between Maria B and Jacob, 6 1/2 years betwen Jacob and Anna K) on the Volga often means the death of a wife/mother and a subsequent marriage for the man.

By the 1775 Kutter census, the Roehrig family is household #29: Jakob 46, wife Anna Christina 54, stepson Johnnes Beltz 22 and his wife Maria Barbara 21 [we know from the 1798 census that she was born a Schmidt who is no longer in the 1775 census listed with her parental family in household #13]. In that same census in household #77 living with his mother and younger brother are Johannes Hert [Herdt] 21 and his wife Maria Barbara 20 [whom the 1798 census says was born a Beltz].

Now one of two things must be true: 

either 1) I am descended from the Hergenborte Kaspar and the Roehrig son Johannes listed in the 1768 FSL died while Kaspar's son Johannes Beltz has survived the trip from Leitsinger, been adopted by the Roehrigs [such adoptions often happened on the Volga to ensure that a young male was present to work the family land], married the Schmidt girl, and is now with her living in his adopted parents' household; 

or 2) the Roehrig offspring listed in the 1768 FSL are both Jakob's Beltz step-children, the children of his wife Anna Christina (family name unknown) by an earlier marriage in Germany, possibly in Isenburg, to a Beltz who is my ancestor and the father of the Johannes Beltz who founded the family in Kutter.

The prime objection in alternative 1) is that the Roehrig daughter Maria Barbara seems also to have been a Beltz. The prime objection to alternative 2) is the story of a Beltz wagon train massacre on the way to Kutter.


162&163. Anton (1718-??) and Maria Katarina (1725-??) (mnu) SCHMIDT 

81. Maria Barbara (SCHMIDT) BELTZ (1752-1824)

Johannes' bride was Maria Barbara Schmidt.  She and her parents are on the Kutter First Settlers list as household #58: SCHMIDT, Anton 49, wife Maria Katarina 42, sons Ludwig 18 and Jakob 8, daughters Maria Barbara 15, and Anna Katarina 1 1/2; Anton was a grain farmer (or baker?) of the Reformed faith from Isenberg.  Also Reformed and from Isenberg were households #59 headed by Peter SCHMIDT 36, and #60 headed by Heinrich SCHMIDT 47, whom I suspect were younger brothers of Anton.  All three SCHMIDT men arrived in Kutter on 29 July 1767.  As was noted above, Anton's wife in 1767-75, Maria Katarina, may not have been the mother of my ancestor Maria Barbara.


Pleve in the BELTZ family chart says Johann Christoph BELTZ married Maria Katharina LUB, b. 1794.  In all the Volga colonies no LUB was recorded in the 1798 census.  There were two, and only two, LOEB listed.  One was a 79-year old Catholic widow in Schoenchen -- not a likely candidate ancestor of our Maria K! -- although the BELTZ most likely had some fairly close Catholic connections in that region -- click on Neu-Kolonie for details.  The other was a 17 year-old male recorded as living in Dinkel in the Bangert census.  This could have been a older brother of our Maria K. whose parents had died shortly after her birth with her being farmed out to some other family in 1798 and her true family name being overlooked by the census taker??  The villages of Dinkel and Bangert were very near Laub where the BELTZ family briefly first settled and not too far from Neu-Kolonie where they were for almost 20 years, so this scenario is a possibility. 

However,  in the BELTZ Chart, Pleve does not record a home village for Maria K.  In his charts this usually means that she was from the same colony as her spouse to be.  That was Kutter, where, so far, I have found no trace of a Lub or Loeb.  Right now it seems more likely that the LUB was a transcription error.


My own guess is that Maria K's actual family name was LOOS.  So far this is a guess supported by very thin circumstantial evidence.  If this guess is correct, this is my LOOS Kutter lineage:

164. Peter (1734-bef.1798)

82. Peter (1766-aft.1798)

41. Maria Katharina (1794-12 Sept.1821)

In the 1798 census, in Kutter household #5, Anna Elisabeth NAZARENUS (no age given, although her mother is 49, so she could be as much as 29) is listed both as the divorced wife of Peter LOOS and as the step-daughter of Johannes LOOS through his current wife the widow of an unnamed [it was Johann Peter--rak] NAZARENUS.  Along with Anna Elizabeth, listed both as her illegitimate children and as Johannes' step grandchildren, are Heinrich Wilhelm 5 and Katharina 2.  My guesses are 1) that Katharina's full name was Maria Katharina LOOS and 2) that Peter LOOS obtained his divorce from Anna Elizabeth by alleging and perhaps by proving some outrageous conduct on her part, so that her children were declared illegitimate since they no longer had a legitimate father living with their mother.

Peter LOOS 32 was living with his widowed mother, Katharina 57, in Kutter household #43 in 1798, along with his new young wife, and three grown siblings.

In the 1775 Kutter census, household #59 was Peter LOOS 40, wife Katarina 34, and children: Johann Peter 9, Katarina 6, and Johann Konrad 1/2.

In the 1767 Kutter First Settlers' List, household #64 is Peter LOS 33, wife Katarina 26 and son Johann Peter 1.  Peter is of the Reformed faith, a grain-farmer? (or baker?) from Isenberg.  Also in the List is the Johannes LOS family as household #2 -- he too is of the Reformed faith, a grain-farmer (or baker?) from Isenberg.  Since my copy is of the typescript of the List, I do not know on what date they arrived in Kutter.


163.  Maria Katarina (1725-??) who married Anton SCHMIDT. 

165.  Katharina (1741-after 1798) who married Peter LOOS.

333. Anna Maria (1723-??) who married Ludwig NAZARENUS.

I have no good clue as to these women's family names.  mnu means "maiden name unknown".


332. Ludwig (1717-bef.1798)

166. Johann Peter (1752-bef.1798)

83. Anna Elizabeth (1775-after 1798)

I don't yet know whether these folk are in the Kutter First Settlers' List [If they are, please let me know the details at [email protected]].

In the 1775 Kutter census [trans. and pub. by AHSGR], household #32 is: Ludwig Nazarenus 57, wife Anna Marie 51, sons Anton 17, Georg 30 (his wife Elisabeta 25), Johann Peter 22 (his wife Elisabeta 20 and daughter Anna Elisabeta 2 weeks).

For the relevant 1798 census entry, see the LOOS family above.


167. Anna Elizabeth (1749-after 1798) who married Johann Peter NAZARENUS, and later Johannes LOOS.

The translator of the 1798 Kutter census had considerable doubts about this family name.  If you have any information regarding it, please let me know at [email protected].


21. Anna Margaretha, of Balzer, married Georg Philipp BELTZ, probably in Balzer in 1836, although they evidently lived as a couple in Kutter.


11. Christina (15 Dec.1854-9 Nov.1947), of Huck, married Heinrich Jakob BELTZ in Kutter on 19 February 1882 (BFC).


To get to other ancestral villages, click them.