Conference Notice

Black Sea Event

Saturday, January 23

9am MST-10a MST Jeremy Kopp & Michael M. Miller (60 Min)

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

Michael Miller, Director, and Jeremy Kopp, Outreach & Operations Coordinator, will provide an overview of the GRHC and a website tutorial that demonstrates how to access digitized collections on Digital Horizons and the NDSU Institutional Repository. This tutorial will also show how to quickly access archival finding aids, photographs, oral histories, and correspondence collections.

10:15a-11:45a MST Dr Eric Schmaltz (90Min)

A People on the Move (Volk auf dem Weg): The German from Russia Legacy as Reflected in the "American Dream”

This presentation will explore the history of ethnic Germans from Russia who settled on the Great Plains in vast numbers at the turn of the last century. Dr. Schmaltz traces how these “people on the move” had to navigate the great challenges and dynamic opportunities of American society. In pursuit of the American Dream, this group, still one of the largest ethnic heritages across the Dakotas, after nearly one hundred fifty years has become a vital part of American life and culture, leaving a profound legacy in many endeavours, whether agri-business, architecture, art, foodways, language, music, politics, and faith. Dr. Schmaltz has deep North Dakota roots, including Germans from Russia on both sides of his family, and he has spent a quarter of a century studying German from Russia saga.

11:45a-12:30a MST “Lunch”, break out room (45 Min)

12:30 to 1:30p MST Merv Weiss (60 Min)

World War I (1914) set in motion a progression of events which, by 1944, eventually ended the German presence in Odessa district. Military ethnic persecution and starvation living conditions resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and geographic displacements. An entire culture in the Black Sea districts was erased from Soviet history. From a wide variety of sources, I have gathered many personal stories of those times.

1:45p-2:45p MST Carolyn Schott (60 Min)

Discovering Your Black Sea Ancestors: This session will discuss the history of Germans who settled in the Black Sea area (now Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Georgia), including the waves of migration to the region, as well as migration and deportation that resulted in their leaving. We’ll review the resources available for Black Sea German genealogy research and how the history of each area affects the records that are available.

3p-4p MST Duane Stabler (60 Min)

Through Grandfather’s eyes

4:15-5:15p MST Dr. Ann Braaten, Curator, Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, North Dakota State University, Fargo (60min)

Artifacts and Textiles from NDSU museum collection

For over 25 years, NDSU's Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) has acquired textiles and clothing items representing this ethnic group. This object-based presentation features textiles and clothing items from Germans from Russia (GFR) and shares GFR family traditions, lives, and experiences as GFR moved through the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. GFR tendencies towards collectivism and individualism will discuss, as well as the transition from home-based textile production to commercial, factory-based production as shown in their textiles. The GRHC Textiles and Clothing Collection is housed in the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection and is a partnership between the GRHC in the NDSU Libraries and the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Interior Design and Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences and Education at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND.

530p-6p MST Quick Q&A panel and Windup. Discussing how post-event access works and thank yous.

Sunday, January 24

9am -10a MST Dr Mila Korentikov (60 min)

Researching your Black Sea German Genealogy in Russian and Ukrainian Archives

1. Doing research in Crimea

2. Doing Research in Ukraine

3. Peculiarities and challenges - placing your order, translations

10:15-11:15a MST David Kilwein (60 min)

EWZ - how to research within EWZ

11:30a-12:00 Lunch, breakout rooms

12:15 -115p MST Carolyn Schott (60 min)

Exploring the Black Sea German Research Website: This presentation will help you explore and make the most of the research resources on the Black Sea German website (

1:30 to 2:30p MST Allyn Brosz (60 min)

Grandma was Homesteader: Claiming Land in Her Own Name: A Tutorial on U.S. Federal Land Records

This is a tutorial on U.S. federal land records: homesteads, pre-emption claims, and timber culture (tree) claims. Particular attention will be given to accessing and using the application files to enrich your family history. Case examples will be presented for the Black Sea Russian German women who homesteaded and claimed land in their own name in North and South Dakota. I will discuss how they qualified to do this and the special conditions they faced. The discussion of women homesteaders will also include material from the Daughters of Dakota series published by the South Dakota State Historical Society. A resource sheet will be available.

2:45-3:45p MST Dr Tim Janzen (60 min)

This presentation will review the basics about how to interpret Y chromosome, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA test results that you get from genetic genealogy testing companies. At least several examples will be given for each type of DNA. You will learn how to apply each type of DNA testing for specific genealogical research questions.

4:00-5:00p MST Carolyn Schott (60 Min) Visiting Your Ancestral Town: Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors? This presentation will describe methods for finding your ancestral towns and helpful tips for planning your visit. Using stories of her own ancestral town travels (which have included attending a Maibaum raising in Germany, hiking through rural cemeteries with a broken foot, and participating in a protest in Kyiv), Carolyn will help you make the most of your opportunities to visit the places where your ancestors lived.

5:15-5:30p MST Q&A panel/windup

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