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Tscherbakowka, Russia

(or Shcherbakovka)

There were two villages by this name--one Russian, one German--both on the western side of the Volga River. The Minkh Russian Encyclopedia (according to David Bagby, 1992) indicates that the towns were named for Michael Shcherbatov, a well-known writer and man of letters during the reign of Catherine the Great. The Shcherbatovs (accent on the BAT) were a prominent Russian noble family.

Tscherbakowka, the Russian village was located right on the Volga, just across the river from Jlowatka on some maps, and across the river from and just slightly north of Jlowatka on others The German village lay about five miles west and south of the Russian one. Both lay in the province of Saratov (about 95 miles south of the city of Saratov) and in the district of Kamyshin. These various designations all lie on the Bergesseite (hilly side) on the west bank of the Volga River.

The German, or Deutsche, village was the birthplace of many of our ancestors. It appeared on some maps with the designation D. or Dt. before the name (as opposed to R. preceding the name). Founded on 15 June 1765, it was the eighth colony established and one of the original (or Mother) colonies located on the lower Volga for the German emigrees.

Population statistics of Dt. Tscherbakowka are sketchy. The 1769 census by Count Orlov shows 48 familes: 109 males, 87 females, a total of 196. In 1773, there were 49 families: 114 males, 115 females, a total of 229. The 1800s presumably showed steady growth, but I have no figures for nearly 140 years. By 1912 the population was 4448, but 14 years later (1926), it had dropped to 1903 inhabitants.

This German village was also sometimes called Muhlberg (Muehlberg) for its many mills. It was also nicknamed Sticker (pronounced Sthickher), probably from a contraction of syllables.

David Schultheiss, born in Kraft (5 miles west and south) and a resident there about 14 years until 1927, said Muhlberg was so called because “there was a canyon and in that canyon was one mill after the other, all driven by the falling water on the mill’s big wheels which turned the grinding stones. There• ‘were also quite a few oil mills, where people brought their sunflower seeds to extract sunflower oil.”

H.L. “Hub” Baker, whose mother Augusta Ehrlich was born in Tscherbakowka in 1880, stated that there were 34 mills driven by water power . Some were flour mills, others spinning and weaving mills powered by an enormous spring back in the hills. It gushed forth in a 30-36 inch diameter stream.

The map might also follow the name of the German village with (e) as opposed to (k). Our ancestral village was evangelical, protestant (e), rather than Catholic (k). In 1872, a big new wooden church was built for the predominate Lutheran congregation. It could seat 1000. It had a prayer house and connected school. The Lutherans emphasized ritualism and sacramentarism. Villagers who wanted more individual religion looked to some of the pietistic groups. George Burgdorf, a school teacher who became a traveling missionary, visited Tscherbakowka in 1869 and the 1870s. He influenced the German Baptists and Mennonites.

Tscherbakowka had a small library by 1894.thanks to the efforts of David Vollert, a local teacher.

(Family names in the year of 1913)

Bauer, Becker, Blaumer, Blehm, Brinkinan, Brunner

Demler, Dumler, Ehrlich, Faust. Fromm

Genter (Guenther?), Haffner, Hanschuh

Kisner, Krafft, Kraut, Laubhan, Lange, Lefler, Luck

Meier, Meyer, Meisner, Miller, Oblander, Riffel, Reisig

Schaefer, Schneider, Schwab, Steinert, Stricker, Stuckert

Vogel, Wassenmiller, Weiss, Weinbender, Winter

Wollert (Vollert), Possibly Eisenach

Eurich, Magel, Schick, Fritzler, Zwetzig, Schmunk

Facts about the village in 1913:

1 church

1 minister who served four villages and lived in another village

1 teacher who lived in parsonage

Parsonage, bell tower, church, cemetery all in a row on one street

2 stores

several mills owned by Wassenmiller, Laubhan, Baumer, Oblander, Schwab, Brinkrnan, Reisig, Stuckert, and one other

1 well

1 swimming hole

Alot of watermelon and sunflowers grown here, as well as wheat and the usual crops









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