This page was begun 18 July 2001 and revised on 28 May 2004 -- rak.

Leitsinger, aka Kustareva and Kustarewo, a Roman-Catholic colony founded 12 May 1767 by the contractors LeRoy & Pictet.  Destroyed by the Kirghiz in 1774.  Official population: 223 (in 1767) and 247 (1769) {Mai, vol.I, p.20}.

Possible Leitsinger Ancestral Families

I am increasingly suspicious that the Johannes from whom I am descended was not the son of Kaspar and Anna Elenora and increasingly believe that "my" Johannes never lived in either Laub or Leitsinger.  The Laub/Letisinger Beltz family was real and Pleve's research regarding their origins, arrival in Oranienbaum and subsequent journeies to Laub and Leitsinger are all valid, but I am beginning to believe that the last remnants of this Beltz family perished in the 1774 Leitsinger massacre.

161.  Anna Elenora (mnu) BELTZ (1729-aft.1788?)

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

I think the widow Beltz moved here from Laub in 1768.  The typed Russian version of the Laub Original Settlers' List says they went to Kustareva, which is Leitsinger.  The Beltz Family Chart done by Pleve says they moved to Neu-Kolonie (following Pleve, Rick Rye rendered the Russian Kustareva as Kustarova [i.e. Neu-Kolonie].  Neu-Kolonie of course did not exist in 1768 -- it was founded in 1776 by the survivors of the Kirghiz raids on Leitsinger and Keller.  Following the destruction of Leitsinger, the widow Beltz would have taken her family along with the other survivors in 1774-76 to the new colony of Neu-Kolonie.

Why Anna E, a Lutheran, in 1768 moved her now fatherless children here, to a Catholic village, is so far a mystery to me.  If you have any ideas, please let me know at [email protected].  I can only imagine that someone must have offered her a job (perhaps a job caring for several orphaned children which no one else wanted or was available to do ... and Anna E. as a young widow was only too happy to take it up since, except for remarriage which she evidently was not up for, there was no way for her to find support for herself and her children ... ).  At any rate, I increasingly believe that she and her children did not survive the Kirghiz raid described below.

To go on to Neu-Kolonie, click it.

To look at other Russian villages, click on them.  To go to my Tree Index, click on it.

The Destruction of Leitsinger

The references below are to Gottliev Beratz' book The German Colonies on the Lower Volga.

The second attacks by the Kirghiz tribes came in August of 1774 (p.215).  At least 1,000 tribesmen were involved (p.217).  Many [colonists] were killed, hundreds were taken captive into slavery and the torture and mayhem were almost beyond imagination (p.218).  Nine colonies in the area of Stahl (but not Stahl itself) were hit on August 15 and five more were hit the next day (p.221).  A wave of fear spread throughout the German colonies and people tried to flee to the larger colonies and cities for protection (p.222).


"On 24 October 1774, the Kirghiz attached the colonies of Rovnoye (Seelmann), Kustareva (Leigsinger), Krasnorynovka (Keller), and Kotshetnoye (Hoelzel or Preuss), and carried away 317 persons into slavery, among whom was my brother-in-law Dallfuss with wife and children; these were sold into slavery in minor Bukhara.  I and my family ... fled ... to the other side of the Volga ... The two colonies lying between Seelmann and Hoelzel, Leitsinger (2 versts north of Seelmann) and Keller (3 versts south of Hoelzel), were especially hard hit in the Kirghiz attacks.... Some of [the inhabitants of those two colonies] who escaped capture and death ... resettled in Hoelzel, Preuss, and Seelmann, the rest united to form a new colony about 20 versts below Seelmann, which became known among the people as 'Neukolonie', while the Kontor gave it the official double name Kustareva-Krasnorynovka, i.e. it received both of the official names of the destroyed colonies (p.229)."

"The total number of German colonists taken captive by the Kirghiz [in the 1774 attacks] must have exceeded 1200.... We can assume the number [of Germans] that lost their lives during the attacks ... was not as great as the number carried away (p.230)."

During the next 25 years a few of those captured either escaped or were ransomed and returned.  Military protection was increased and Kirghiz attention turned elsewhere, so there were no more large-scale attacks (pp.230-34).

If Anna Elenora and her children escaped capture and death they were indeed most fortunate!