Maps are a good tool to help you get oriented geographically. Over the past several years, more digitized maps have become available giving us a better view of our ancestors' neighborhoods through time.

Below is a collection of maps show where the Glückstal Colonies are located on maps from before the colonies were established up to the present day. Also illustrated are the possible emigration routes from the Germanic states to Russia, the railway lines that were used to emigrate from Russia and on to the Dakota Territory in the United States.

See also Research Source Guide: Maps Related to Germans from Russia and the maps included for each colony in the Colonies section.

Emigration Routes (1763-1809)

When Tsar Alexander I issued his manifesto on February 20, 1804, the Russian territory north of the Black Sea became open for settlement by foreigners. Colonists from the Germanic states began arriving almost immediately. More than 800 families arrived in South Russia in 1804. Their migration paths depended on exactly when they left. The Glückstal Colonies Research Association's Passport collection and Points-of-Origin offer more clues as to emigration routes and should be consulted. Those who arrived before the Glückstal district had been established in 1808 would have all gone to Odessa first as there was no where else to house them. After a short time there, they were relocated to the Armenian village of Grigoriopol to live until the Mother colonies were ready to be inhabited.

Map of Europe showing two routes from France and Germany to the city of Odessa on the Black Sea. The top route goes through Krakow and the the bottom goes through Budpest.

Top red line: Presumed emigration route taken by people from Alsace to Neudorf in about 1809.

Bottom blue line: Route taken by emigrants traveling the Danube to the Black Sea area between 1816 and 1818.

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Map showing routes from Lodz and Krzepice in Poland to Odessa.

The routes from the vicinity of Lodz and Krzepice in Poland are well-documented by passports published by Karl Stumpp. The alternate routes from Khmelnik to Odessa are taken from his map. Map by Harold Ehrman. [Glückstal-2008], p. 15.

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Map of Europe showing multiple routes from points of origin to major settlement areas in Russia.

Karl Stumpp's map "Countries of Origin Migration Routes and Areas of Settlement (1763-1861) of the Volga and Black Sea Germans in the Mother Colonies. Source: [StumppP]

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Glückstal Colonies (1809-present)

In 1808, the four Glückstal Mother colonies were founded: Glückstal, Neudorf, Bergdorf and Kassel. In the spring of 1809, the colony of Glückstal was settled. The 106 German families who were living in the Armenian village of Grigoriopol were relocated to the village of Glinnoi, which was renamed Glückstal. Glückstal served as temporary housing for other families waiting for the other colonies to be settled in the spring of 1810: Neudorf was settled by 100 families in January; Bergdorf was settled by 68 families; and Kassel was settled by 99 families. Kassel was moved in the spring of 1841 due to persistent flooding. The maps below show the Mother colonies through time, including the original location of Kassel when it is still evident on the map.

Nineteenth Century

The Glückstal colonies were situated along a major military route between Balta and Tiraspol. Villagers along this route provided food and lodging for troops passing through as Russia expanded its territory in the southwest during the 19th century. In its conflicts with Turkey, Russia acquired the Dniester Region in 1791, Bessarabia in 1812, and the Danube Delta in 1829. It lost the Danube Delta and southern Bessarabia in 1856, but then regained southern Bessarabia in 1878. Map by James Klein.

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circa 1809

This map of unknown origin appears to be the original survey map of the Glückstal Colonies. It shows the locations of the Mother colonies "Glücktal", Neudorf and "Bergtal". Kassel is not shown but was later located in the rectangular area labeled "184". Other Russian towns shown are Grigoripol, Shipka (to the south of the area labeled "b.") and Malayesty (southern edge). Source: [Glückstal-2008]

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This section of an Austrian map of Russia shows the Glückstal Mother colonies as of 1872: 1. Glückstal, 2. Neudorf, 3. Bergdorf, 4. the original location of Kassel (it was moved in the spring of 1841 due to constant flooding), and 5. Kassel from 1841. Source: [Arcanum-1872]

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The Glückstal Mother Colonies on an 1886 map showing grape and fruit orchards. “Карта Тираспольского уезда с обозначением населенных пунктов и земских дач, принятых за единицы исследования, и виноградников.” (Map of Tiraspol County with the designation of settlements and zemstvo dachas, taken as survey units, and vineyards.) Source: [Tiraspol-1886]

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This section of an Austrian topographical map of the Glückstal Mother colonies in 1894: 1. Colony Glückstal (Glinnaja), 2. Colony Neudorf (Karmanowka), 3. Colony Bergdorf (Kolosowa), 4. Original location of Kassel (moved in 1841 due to constant flooding), 5. Colony Kassel (Komarowka). The map was published in 1912 based on 1894 data. Source: [Vlasenko]

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A map of the Glückstal Mother colonies in the Odessa Province. At this time, Ukraine was under Soviet rule. Cherson Province had been split in 1920, with the Glückstal colonies being in the Odessa Province from that point forward. 1. Colony Glückstal, 2. Colony Neudorf, 3. Colony Bergdorf and 4. Colony Kassel.

Source: [Etomesto-Od-1920]

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This map shows the location of both the Mother and Daughter colonies today with an inset of the larger area.

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Railway Maps (1880–1912)

Most of the Black Sea Germans who immigrated to America first traveled from their village in Russia to Odessa on the Black Sea where they boarded a train to Germany (Bremen, Hamburg), Belgium (Antwerp), or Russian ports on the Baltic Sea (Libau, today Liepāja, Latvia). Once there, they boarded steamships that carried them across the Atlantic, some stopping in Southampton, England to take on more passengers.

Their first stop in America was often New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore, but some ships docked at ports in Texas or Louisiana. Some ships went first to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, Canada before going on to the United States.

Once in the U.S., they travelled by train as far as the line went then purchased a farm wagon and equipment and travelled to where there was land to farm.

Russia 1880

"The greatest growth of long-distance railways in East Central Europe was during the 1860s and 1870s in the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, and to a lesser degree in the western regions of the Russian Empire." The map shows canal and railway development before 1914, the railway stretch between L'viv and Ternopil' as completed in 1871, and the railway stretch between Ternopol' and Odessa as completed in 1875.

A daily train schedule appearing in the 1886 issue of the Neuer Haus- und Landwirtschaftskalender für deutsche Aussiedler in südlicher Russland auf das Jahr (New House and Agriculture Calendar for German Emigrant in Southern Russia for the Year) indicates that emigrants leaving Odessa passed through the following places: Sniljakowo, Wigoda, Kolontajewka, Rasdelnaja, Wesselij Kut, Iwanowka, Satischje, Perekrestowo, Mardarowka, Tschubowka, Birsula, Borschtschi, Krutije, Kodima, Popeljuchi, Krishopol, Wapnjarka, Jurkowka, Rachni, Jaroschenka, and Shmerinka. At Shmerinka, the railway continued northwest towards Ternopol' and another railway goes to the northewest towards Kiev.

Source: [Magosci, map 25]

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Russia 1912

Die russischen Eisenbahnen (Russian Railways). A very detailed map showing every stop on each railroad line. It shows state run railroad lines, private rail lines, and freight lines. It also includes several detailed maps of cities and regions. Source: [Gerhardt]

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United States 1885

Chicago-Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway and Connections. Source: [MILW]

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Dakota Territory 1886

The official railroad map of Dakota issued by the railroad commissioners issued on November 1st, 1886. Rand McNally and Company. Source: [Dakota-RR-1886]

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The Dakotas

Colonists from the Glückstal colonies were among the first Germans from Russia to immigrate to the United States in the early 1870s. They made their way to the Dakota Territory, which was still being surveyed. Those who came to farm homesteaded in the southeast corner of the state and were among those who established the 14 original German-Russian townships.


Rice's Sectional Map of Dakota Territory. When immigrant Glückstal colonists arrived in Dakota Territory, it was still being surveyed. This map is the sectional map from 1872. Note that a portion of northeastern Nebraska was still a part of Dakota at that point. Source: [Rice]

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Post Route Map of the Territory of Dakota. This map shows railroads related to postal delivery and postal routes for Dakota Territory with some adjacent parts of bordering states, territories and Canada. The map was originally dated 1879. but it was updated to 1881 with revisions. Glückstalers in America relied on the mail service to communicate with family back in Russia. Source: [USMail-1881]

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When German from Russia arrived in the U.S., most of them came late enough in the settlement of the Midwest to avoid serious conflicts with the Native Americans. However, stories of raids from the past plus unrest among the Sioux Indian tribes mixed with sensational newspaper accounts to provide the background for the Dakota Indian Scare during the late fall of 1890. Many of the homesteaders fled to the nearest town for "protection." Map by James Klein. Source: [Glückstal-2004], p. 527–531.

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Page last updated 5 March 2022