Bergdorf Colony

Type of Settlement: Mother

Founded: between 1808-1810

Wolost: Glückstal

District: Tiraspol

Province: Cherson

Other Names and Spellings:

Russian: Колосово

Ukrainian: Колосове 

Moldovan/Romanian: Colosova 

Also: Halbdorf, Kolosova, Kolosowa

Current Name:

Colosova, Grigoripol District, Transnistria, Moldova

Coordinates: 47.3306, 29.5674

History of the Colony

Mertens [Mertens, pp. 240-241] gives the span of 1808-1810 for the founding of the village, which ranges from the time the decision was made to resettle the colonists living in Grigoriopol through the period when the village was actually settled in 1810. [Glückstal-1915] gives 1808, [Keller, vol 1, p. 31] gives 1809, and, beginning in the 1896 edition, [OdKal] gives 1810.

Bergdorf is always listed in third place among the Glückstal colonies, ahead of Kassel, so the assumption is that is was settled before Kassel. Bergdorf was settled by 68 families: 263 individuals – 136 males and 127 females. Again Württemberg was the place of origin for the largest number of families – 35; 21 came from Alsace, 4 from Baden, 1 from Palatinate, 1 from Prussian-Poland, 1 from Hungary, 1 from Hamburg, and 1 from Hesse. This resulted in a population that was about half Swabian and half Franconian. They had arrived in 1808 and 1809 in parties without leaders, or conductors.

When they arrived at the village site in 1810 they encountered a few Armenian farmers from Grigoriopol. The site itself had a few wells, but no houses. Their loans from the Russian government totaled 60,465 rubles: 32,160 for provisions, 26,225 for settlement, and 2,080 for seed; and their assets were estimated to value ca. 3,000 rubles.

Located in a narrow spur near the north end of the Tschornenko valley, the site of Bergdorf is in a very hilly area, which prompted its name “Mountain Village.” The name again was suggested by Councilor von Rosenkampf. Today it is known as Kolosova, which is a variant of the name the Bergdorfers gave to the valley in which it was located: Kalossova—after its first inhabitant, an Armenian name Kalos who farmed and raised cattle until the colonists arrived. [Mertens, pp. 240-241] erroneously gives Halbdorf as a variant name for Bergdorf. The source of that information likely is the 1848 Chronicle of the village of Rohrbach, which states: “Opposite the main village, on the southwest eminence of the valley, lies Halbdorf (or Bergdorf) with its beautiful houses built ten years ago (1838), now numbering some 36 houses. From Halbdorf, the entire colony of Rohrbach can be viewed.”

The village is 14 versts [1 verst = 0.66 mile] northwest of Glückstal, 45 versts from Tiraspol, and 260 versts from Odessa. Most of its 3,925 dessiatins [1 dessiatin = 2.7 acres] of crown land is also hilly, with good humus topsoil. By 1859 its land had increased to 4,134 dessiatins, which is further refined to 4134 dessiatins, 1,000 square Faden in 1915 [Glückstal-1915].

The village was laid out with one main street that branched into three at the point where the church was constructed. Stone quarries for building rock were located 10-25 versts away, near Grigoriopol. By 1915 it consisted of 69 farmsteads, 230 households, and 1,552 individuals – 795 males and 757 females. The school then had 200 school children and three teachers.

In 1848, all kinds of winter and summer wheat, as well as fruits and vegetables are cited as thriving. In addition, they had planted 241,880 grapevines. Both livestock and wine were helpful sources of income in dry years. At that time there also existed 460 dessiatins of woods, including oak, blackthorn, whitethorn, alder, ash, and what was called “dye-wood”—used to provide dye for morocco leather. Although many of their fruit trees had been destroyed by drought, they still totaled 25,193. In the village, common acacias and willows were planted. 

More of this article can be found in [Glückstal-2004] pp. 93-104.

Read more about Bergdorf in its 1848 Chronicle

By Homer Rudolf, 2009

Edited and updated by Sandy Schilling Payne, 2022

Progress of the Colony




















2 blacksmiths

1 locksmith

4 carpenters

2 steam mills

1 cement brick/tile maker

some large beekeepers

732 horses

809 cows

446 poultry

39 sheep

439 pigs


Year Pop.

1808 263

1810 263

1816 285

1825 550

1858 1340

1859 1360

1881 2243

1882 2247

1883 2353

1884 2486

1885 2578

1886 2587

1887 2473

1888 2732

1890 2626

1892 2225

1894 1417

1896 1436

1897 1258

1898 1318

1900 1387

1901 1387

1902 1368

1903 1387

1904 1387

1905 1387

1906 1338

1907 1399

1908 1249

1909 1249

1910 1441

1911 1540

1912 1538

1913 1488

1914 1497

1915 1552

1918 1552

1919 1264

1943 1708


1881 Friedrich Mattwich

1882-84 Friedrich Frank

1885-87 Jakob Hermann

1888, 90 Friedrich Mattwich

1892 Fr. Scheuffle

1894, 96 Jakob Leicht

1897-98 Heinrich Stein

1900-02 Johann Müller

1903-05 Jakob Maier

1906-08 Johann Hermann

1909-11 Ferdinand Fauth

1912-14 Jakob Schmidt

1915-? Fr. Ahl


Bergdorf Lutheran Parish was founded 1865.

1865-68 Paul Guntbert Christ. Baumann

1868-73 Adolf Lockenberg

1874-1900 Adalbert Karl Heinrich Birnbach

1901-04 Hermann Blumenbach

1912-24 Karl Otto Seit

? Fredrich Mertz


1881 Valentine Seib

1882 (vacant)

1884-85 Wilhelm Wernik

1885-90 Gottlieb Zimmerman

1892, 94 Johann Bachmann

1896 Benjaminn Mauch

1897 (vacant)

1898-1909 Christian Aldinger

1910-15 Christian Seib


1817   Good crop.

1820   Hail storm caused significant damage.

1828   Grasshoppers.

  Livestock epidemic.

1833   Total crop failure.

  Livestock epidemic.

1834   Total crop failure.

1837   Good crop.

1838   Good crop.

1846   Grasshoppers.

1847   Serious drought, with severe shortage of fodder. 


c. 1900Bergdorf Evangelical Church[SPB-museum]
Bergdorf Lutheran church
n.d. — Bergdorf church built in 1851 in the classical style. [Schnurr1] p. 350.
Bell outside Bergdorf church
n.d. — Temporary church bell. [Schnurr1] p. 350.
A well with farm houses in the background
n.d. — Merkel farmstead in Bergdorf. [Glückstal-2004]
a house and fence
2005 — House and fence in Bergdorf. Photo by Carole Herlyn Schauer. [GRHC-JHT]


[Arcanum-1872] – “Russia (1872).” Arcanum Adatbázis Kft. 1872. [This map, although not identified on the website, is probably the work of Theodor Friedrich Schubert (1789-1865) a.k.a. Fedor Fedorovich Shubert. The 1860 and 1872 versions of this map appear on other map websites identified only as by "Schubert."]

[Bergdorf-1848] – “The Chronicle of Bergdorf,” transl. by Joseph S. Height. – Copies of this translation are available in three sources: [HeightH], pp. 199-201; [Glückstal-2004], pp. 95-96; and at the website [Odessa3], The original German version can be found in [Leibbrandt], pp. 65-68. 

[Bergdorf-1910] – Klüpfel, Johannes. “Das hundertjahrige Gründungsjahr der Kolonie Bergdorf, Süd-Russland,” in Eureka Post [EP], Eureka, SD: 17 Feb. 1910, p. 1. English transl. in [Glückstal- 2004], pp. 100-102.

[Glückstal-1915] – “Das Wolostgebiet Glückstal,” in [OdKal], 1915, pp. 108–128. English transl. in [Glückstal-2004], pp. 51-56; 68- 69; 86 & 96-97.

[Glückstal-2004] – Rudolf, Homer ed. The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America: A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy and Folklore. Pierre, SD: State Pub. & Printing, 2004.

[GRHC-JHT] Germans from Russia Heritage Collection Journey to the Homeland Tour Photo Collections, 1996-2019. Collections available on Flicker website, and NDSU Repository website,

[HeightH] – Height, Joseph S. Homesteaders on the Steppe: Cultural History of the Evangelical- Lutheran Colonies in the Region of Odessa, 1804-1945. Bismarck: North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia [now the Germans from Russia Heritage Society], 1975.

[Keller] – Keller, Konrad. German Colonies in South Russia: 1804-1904, 2d ed. translated by Anton Becker, 2d. ed, with some revisions by Adam Giesinger, 2 vols . Lincoln: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia: 1980-1983. [NOTE: 1st ed: 1968-1973.] Digitized version.

[Leibbrandt] – Leibbrandt, Georg. Die deutschen Kolonien in Cherson und Bessarabien: Berichte der Gemeindeämter der lutherischen Kolonien in der ersten Hälfte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. [The German colonies in Cherson and Bessarabia: reports from the parish offices of the Lutheran colonies in the first half of the nineteenth century.] Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1926. Digitized version.

[Mertens]Mertens, Ulrich, Allyn Brosz, Alex Herzog, and Thomas Stangl. German-Russian handbook: a reference book for Russian German and German Russian history and culture with place listings of former German settlement areas. Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications. 2010.  Digitized version.

[OdKal] Neuer Haus- und Landwirthschaftskalender für deutsche Aussiedler in südlicher Russland auf das Jahr ... [New house and farming calendar for German emigrants in Southern Russia for the year ...] Odessa: Druck und Verlag von L. Nitzsche, [published 1863-1915]. Digitized versions of 1906, 1909, 1910 and 1913.

[Schnurr1] – Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen: Evangelischer Teil. [Churches and Religious Life of the Russian Germans: Protestant Part.] 2d ed. Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1978.

[SPB-museum] – State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, [archive, museum, website],

Page last updated 10 February 2024