Reported by Viktor Frank, student of the 11th grade 
History teacher: T.P. Kalislyamova

Krasnoyarsk region, Sokhobuzimo district, settlement of Istok


The history of our family starts with the publication of the famous manifesto of the 22nd of July 1763, passed at the instance of Catherine II, in which foreigners were called upon to come to Russia in order to take up their permanent residence there and work as crop farmers and craftsmen.

„We decided to follow the appeal of the Russian empress Catherine and set out for the long trip to the east, a "leap in the dark". There, at our final destination, we will lead a fantastic life, which we can already clearly see in our daydreams, although we are filled with fear of all the unknown ahead of us. We – that means Germans from the banks of the river Rhine and the shores of the Baltic Sea, citizens of different nationalities coming from Lubeck, Hesse, Berlin, Gdansk and Konigsberg, born in Poland or Denmark, Sweden or Italy, inhabitants of dozens of villages, towns and European countries“.

The way of our great-great-grandfathers which began in 1764, led them across the Baltic Sea, continued on the rivers Neva and Volga and ended in the town of Saratov about two-and-a-half months later. It as a way full of difficulties for both adults and children who, pursued and chased by their living conditions, ran the risk to venture on something completely unknown.

On the 20th of September they went ashore not far from Saratov. Among those who reached the Volga region in 1764 under Captain Paykul from Germany there were Johan Sokolovskiy and his wife; they had come over from Poland. With them starts one of the branches of our family tree. At that time 101 men, 86 women and 146 children reached the banks of the Volga. The resettlers who had come to Saratov under the escort of Paykul’s troops, were devided into groups and sent further down the Volga, where they finally settled to both sides of the river for permanent residence. The first places where just arrived newcomers became settled in 1764 were situated on the right banks of the river Volga, on the mountainous side, south of Saratov. These were the villages of Sosnovka (Schilling), Talovka (Baydek), Sevastyanovka (Anton), Ust-Kulalinka (Galka), Nizhnyaya Dobrinka (Dobrinka).

Our forefathers had to bear a fateful life. From the very beginning they were exposed to numerous ordeals: as they were not accustomed to live under the conditions of a continental climate, they were taken ill of malaria, and they had to go through one crop failure after the other. The resettlers were forced to look for seasonal work elsewhere or do handicraft works at home, thus hoping to receive a couple of kopeks. Periodically epidemic diseases broke out in the settlements, both among the people and the cattle; the death rate was high. The conditions which caused such an enormous mortality were still prevailing several decades later. In 1909, in the little village of Stahl on the river Volga, 128 children were born, 178 people passed away, in Kukkus were born 109 children and 128 persons died. In these difficult years my great-grandfathers were born: Veniamin Sokolovskiy (1905), Fyodor Yakovlevich Frank (1905), Georgiy Yakovlevich Gof (or Hof, 1901), as well as my great-grandmothers: Amalia Sokolovskaya (Miller, 1908), Natalia Frank (Grenz, 1903), Yekaterina (or Katharina) Gof (or Hof / Weinberger, 1902).

(See birth certificate).


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