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Belowesch. German colonies near Chernihiv

Recently we carried out research on a family of German colonists which settled in Belowesch (Bilovezhі) nearh Chernihiv (Chernigov).

Gorodok, german collony in Chernihiv (Chernigov)

Gorodok (Horodok) near Haivoron, a german collony in Bilovezhi, on a map from 1880.

The colonies were established by the decision of Catherine II. Her idea was to  modernize agriculture in the region by creating well managed farms which could serve as an example for local villagers and rise general level of productivity in the area. The ideas were much in spirit of the Enlightment and idea of well managed, absolute state, which emerged in the Western Europe in 18th Century which also the Russian Empire tried to follow. 124 families  were granted land on Bilovezha steppe in the district of Borzna in 1767  and 23 families established a town — Gorodok (Horodok). The 23 families were initially involved in crafts, but soon they switched to agriculture. Remaining 124 resided in 5 villages:

  • Grosswerder (Velykyi Verder, Великий Вердер, today Zelenivka, Зеленівка),
  • Rundewiese (Rundevize, Рундевізе, today Kruhloluhivka, Круглолугівка, does not exist since 2009),
  • Kleinwerder (Malyi Verder, Малий Вердер, today Pershotravneve, Першотравневе),
  • Belowesch (Bili Vezhi, Білі Вежі, today Bilovezh Pershi, Біловежі Перші),
  • Kaltschinowka (Kalchynivka, Кальчинівка, same name today).

The town of Gorodok does not exist anymore, it’s marked on the maps only by the Horodok train station in the middle of forest.  In 1951 Gorodok was renamed to Vosmoye Marta (8th of March, Восьмое Марта) and later included in administrative borders of nearby Haivoron.

During the research we localized following documents on the colonies and the colonists in State Archives in Chrnihiv, Odessa and Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk, Yekaterinoslav). Let us know if you’d like to have these records researched.

Censuses

  1. Revision list of the merchants, state serfs and colonists in the Borzna district; 1816
  2. Revision list of the townspersons-colonists and stat serfs; 1854
  3. Revision list from 1813; 1813
  4. Revision list from 1815; 1815

Tax records

  1. On the land tax on colonists from Belowesch colonies; 1810
  2. On the land tax on colonists from Belowesch colonies; 1811
  3. On the land tax on colonists from Belowesch colonies; 1814
  4. On the collection of taxes from the Belowesch colonists to maintain postal services; 1814
  5. On the collection of the land tax from the Belowesch colonists; 1817
  6. On the collection of taxes from the Belowesch colonists to maintain public space; 1817
  7. On the collection of the tax from the Belowesch colonists to sustain state roads; 1817
  8. On the collection of the land tax from the Belowesch colonists; 1818
  9. On the collection of taxes from the Belowesch colonists to maintain public space; 1818
  10. On the collection of taxes from the Belowesch colonists to support postal services; 1818
  11. On the collection of the tax from the Belowesch colonists to sustain large state roads; 1818
  12. On the collection of taxes from the Belowesch colonists to maintain water regulations; 1818
  13. On the land tax on colonists from Belowesch colonies; 1819
  14. On the collection of taxes from the Belovezha colonists to maintain public space; 1819
  15. On the land tax on colonists from Belowesch colonies; 1819
  16. On the collection of the tax from the Belowesch colonists to sustain state roads; 1819

Other documents

  1. On the correspondence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the resettlement of the Belowesch colonists to the Chernihiv governorate and other documents regarding the colonists; 1805-1812
  2. Lists of the Belowesch colonists with sizes of their lands indicated; 1808-1809
  3. Report on the economic state of the Belowesch colonies; 1809
  4. Notes on the documents regarding re-settlement of the Belovezha colonists and on investigation of illegal activity of the Khreshchatyn colonists; 1809
  5. On voluntary donations from the colonists from Belowesch, Gdańsk (Danzig), Sweden and from Mennonites residing in Yekaterinoslav to support military draft; 1807-1808
  6. Information on economical situation of the Belowesch colonists; 1817
  7. Information on the situation of the Belowesch colonies; 1828
  8. On the re-settlement of the Belowesch colonists to the Yekateinoslav governorate; 1833Statistical information on the Belowesch collonies from 1836; 1836
  9. On the fire in the colony of Velykyi Verder; 1838
  10. Request of the superintendent of the Belowesch colonies to send him books of tax income; 1812
  11. Request to send 8 copies of the state regulations on village production [?] in german language; 1812

You can find more information on these colonies here:

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May 4, 2017