Kleefeld, Molotschna Colony – Early Landowners

There are 4 files in the various Russian archives which provide information on the first group of landowners in the village of Kleefeld. 1) File #1751 of the Peter J. Braun archives has a list of the original 1854 settlers in Kleefeld, arranged according to their Wirtschaft numbers. 2) The Braun archive, file #1841 has a school register for the year 1857-58. Although Wirtschaft numbers are not given in this file, the families with school-age children are arranged by Wirtschaft number and can be compared with the list of original settlers. 3) The Braun archive, file #1932 also has a school register for the year 1861-62. This list has the Wirtschaft numbers for landowning families with school children. 4) A Molotschna colony voters list dated 17 Sep 1862 has a list of Kleefeld voters arranged according to Wirtschaft number (Odessa archives Fond 6 Inventory 4 file 20854).

A comparison between these 4 documents allows one to follow the landowning families during the first 8 years of the history of Kleefeld. Kleefeld originally had 40 full Wirtschaften. Apparently, at some point before 1860, three of these were split to give 6 half farms.1 However, the lists of 1861-62 and 1862 show no evidence of this. The same source indicates that there were 38 landless families in Kleefeld in 1860.1 The 1857-58 school register includes 12 landless families. The 1861-62 list has 14 landless families. Unfortunately landless families can be very difficult to track and also had a tendency to move frequently. This study makes no attempt to follow the landless families in Kleefeld.

One big advantage of having Wirtschaft numbers attached to families is that one can separate families where the household heads had the same name. This is the case for Kleefeld where there were two Peters Warkentins (#1 and #39) and two Abraham Thiesens (#5 and #23).

The prepared table indicates new owners with shaded entries. If an owner did not have children enrolled in school in 1857-57 or 1861-62 the entry for that year is blank. I have also included the probable number for the owner in the GRANDMA database.

1Isaac, Franz. Die Molotschnaer Mennoniten: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte derselben: aus Akten älterer und neuerer Zeit, wie auch auf Grund eigener Erlebnisse und Erfahrungen dargestellt. Halbstadt, Taurien : H.J. Braun, 1908. (See also the GAMEO article on the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement).

Table of Kleefeld, Molotschna Colony – Early Landowners.

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