Saturday, July 21, 2012

Germans from Russia

In researching my family history, I noticed that a great deal of my ancestors moved to Russia from Germany for a single generation before moving again to the Dakotas. I wondered why they would make such big moves. A move of that size had to have been such a big production and would take weeks, maybe even years. to execute. So why?

The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center states, "Any Germans from Russia out there? Well today (posted on 7/17) is the anniversary of a somewhat important day in your history, and in the history of South Dakota. It was on this day 250 years ago in 1762 that Catherine the Great was formally crowned Empress of All Russia. However, she gained that position 8 days prior on July 9. Catherine the Great issued two manifestos inviting ethnic German peasants to come to Russia to escape conscription into the army and for a chance at a better life. Hundreds of thousands would come to Russia between 1763-1871. Russian policy changed in 1871 and the ethnic Germans began leaving the Russian steppes for the Great Plains of North America, as well as South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Many settled in the Dakota Territory."

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