Posted By:Jack Mason
Subject:Hanoverians in Ukraine?
Post Date:March 15, 2013 at 10:36:51
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Forum:Germany Genealogy Forum
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Is anyone out there aware of the potential significance of Germans from the Prussian Province of Hanover immigrating to Volhynia in the late 1800's?

From everything that I have been able to get my hands on, my great-grandparents' migration pattern seems highly unusual. The vast majority of German folks in the Kostopil/Rozyszcze areas seem to have come originally from some part of modern Poland, Czech Republic or Baden-Wuerttemberg. After a considerable amount of effort, I was only able to identify one individual living in one of these colonies who was born within 100 miles of my ancestors.

If it makes any difference, I know my great grandparents were married in Novohrad-Volhynskiyi in 1879, and had children born in Mylsk and Mydsk through the 1890's. They were Lutheran. They were supposed to have been farmers. All pretty vanilla so far.

However, I do recall my aunt telling me 3 stories whose odd peripheral details may possibly provide some useful information:

1. My grandmother was supposedly contracted out for an arranged marriage to an American by her father, who had become seriously angry with her for taking a shine to a soldier. This would have been shortly before 1910. I didn't imagine a large conscription of Germans or military base in this part of Ukraine at that time.

2. My grandmother was sent to leave for America via a ship in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein. I understand that Kiel was the major port for Baltic Sea trade from Germany to Russia, but my understanding is that the vast majority of Ukrainian Germans departed from Hamburg, which makes much more sense to me given the relative access of the two ports to the Atlantic.

3. My grandmother was supposed to have been amazed at the poor quality of her new husband's German when she arrived in America. She said that he had such a thick Polish accent and countrified way of speaking that for a long time she could not understand a word he said.

This first husband was not my grandfather, by the way.

Anyways, that last item struck me as the most unusual. As such a large majority of these Ukrainian Germans seem to have lived in what is now Poland, it seemed odd to me that she would have been so confounded by a Polish accent.

I'm 100% certain that I have identified the correct family. My grandmother gave specific information as to her birthplace and her parents' names on numerous occassions, both in extensive interviews with my aunt and on official government documents. I know for a fact that at least one of her parents were born in Hanover Province(likely near Walsrode or Sassenbach) because of a close autosomal DNA match with a predicted 3rd cousin who can only connect to me through this line. The rest of my lines are Irish.

Any help you could offer in providing me perspective on this unusual set of circumstances would be much appreciated.