Beresan, Cherson, South Russia Map

South Russian-German Colonies of our Forefathers.

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[ TRANSLATE: | Current Map | 1800's Beresan Map ]
Beresan District on-line map
Larry Spiry writes,
"Russian Administration
Today, the land of our German-Russian ancestors, is called 'Ukraine', a nation that gained its independence during the breakup of the Communist Soviet Union. Before that, it was one of the fifteen Socialist Soviet Republics forming the USSR. And before that, it was the land that we commonly referred to as South Russia, or New Russia. The government administrations in this area have changed rather drastically over the years, from monarchy type appointed governments, to military administrations, to socialist communism, and finally to a free republic. Today the Ukraine nation consists of governmental districts similar to our American States and these are called 'oblasts.' Several of these Ukrainian oblasts are the roots of many of our German-Russian ancestors. These are the oblasts of Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson and Crimea. The adjacent independent country of Moldova is also an area of our roots and within its boundaries is contained a German-Russian district called Bessarabia. Bessarabia lies just to the west of the Odessa Oblast. In the early days, 'oblasts' were called 'provinces,' and it is these provinces that are addressing when we discuss the administration of the German-Russian Colonies. Ukraine today has a population approaching 60 million people. The size of this country is slightly larger than the landmass of North and South Dakota, and Minnesota combined. It is hard to imagine that this land was very sparsely populated in the late 1700's. But with the influx of immigrants from central Europe, this land soon became a central point for European grain farmers. This land was becoming more and more productive in spite of the many various plagues that hit these Russian communities. The administration of these new communities in South Russia was critical for the economical development of the land. Provinces emerged to provide better government direction for the settlers. The capital of each province is usually the town that bears the same name, for example, Odessa of the Odessa Province, Nikolayev of the Nikolayev Province, and Kherson (also spelled as Cherson) of the Kherson Province.
I have found that the author Konrad Keller gives the most information on the governments that ruled our ancestors. He writes that up until 1774, the military ruled this region of newly conquered land from the Turks. These possessions had relatively few people and what they did have were fiercely independent, the Cossacks, the Tartars and the roaming Kurd tribes. In the treaty that was finally signed in 1774, the Russians gained from the Turks, free access to the Black Sea for the shipping of their goods. In return, the Turks were given portions of their land back. Free shipping on the Black Sea was vital to the Russian economy at that time. No doubt, the Russian presence was not really welcomed by the Turkish government, but remember, the Turks lost the war.
The South Russian government that was established in 1774 included portions of the upper Cherson province and to the right of that, an area referred to as Jekaterinoslav Province. Nine years later, in 1783, the governorship of Jekaterinoslav was officially created. On today's map, Jekaterinoslav is not shown, but its capital would have been where Dnepropetrovsk, a city of one and a quarter million, is located today. The city of Cherson was founded in 1779. Nikolayev became a city in 1789 and finally Odessa was founded in 1794.
In 1795, the governorship of Vosnesensk was created which brought all of these provincial district capitals together, Vosnesensk, Cherson, Elizabethgrad, Tiraspol, Odessa, Nikolayev, to name a few. One year later, these provinces were placed under the New Russian General Government. It was in 1803 that the Nikolayev government was renamed the Cherson government. The first Governor-General of this entire region actually lived in Jekaterinoslav first, until 1805, when he moved to Odessa. Bessarabia, incidentally was brought into the fold in 1812. All of these regions, including Bessarabia, were called South Russia. Much of Bessarabia lies in the country of Moldova today. The Cherson Province, then, consisted of three principle areas, Odessa on the left, Nikolayev in the center and its own district, Cherson on the right.
Keller mentions that these districts had governorships and counties. The county reference must be the various 'districts' that contained the villages. For example Glueckstal, Beresan and Liebenthal Districts, to name a few, would be considered as counties. He also refers to Cherson as having 2 governorships and 6 counties, and he states that this was the way it was at 'present.' I believe he was writing this data in the year of 1904 and 1905. The Czar was always the highest level of authority for the German settlers, up until the time the communists wrested the power in Russia. At first, when Catherine was in power, a Guardianship Council was created to help with the administration of these new settlers. The Council was disbanded in 1782, and this had a pronounced adverse affect on the colonies. The Council tasks were taken over by the governorships of the provinces, who did not deal properly with the immigrant colonies. Consequently, Keller writes that the colonies went into a series of decay years. Fifteen years later, in 1797, Russia reinitiated a form of the Guardian Council at Saratov, which is up around the Volga River region in Russia. Three years later, another office was set up in Jekaterinoslav, which was a great deal closer for the New Russia immigrants. Soon this office too would become over loaded, and finally, in 1818, a Welfare Committee was established for the immigrant colonies in the provinces of Cherson, Tauria, Jekaterinoslav and Bessarabia. This authority too became overworked and had to expand to meet the increasing needs and demands of the immigrants. The Welfare Committee remained in affect until 1871 when it was disbanded due to the "Russification" efforts of the government, that is, the immigrants had no more special rights. They now were classified as Russians, like everyone else within the country.
During the reign of Czar Paul I, the right for each village to self-govern was initiated in 1800. A village mayor, two aldermen and a representative for each 10 families were elected. The village administration also had a village secretary, who was appointed by the Welfare Committee. In addition to the village governments, colonies were grouped together to form 'volosts,' or districts, which had a government one level up from the village authorities. The district government elected a chief mayor, two assessors, and a number of assemblymen representing the villages. This group also had a secretary that was appointed by the Welfare Committee. Incidentally, the village mayors all reported to the district mayor. Policies established at the district level were funneled down to the village leaders for implementation. Conversely, those problems, which could not be resolved at a lower level, were submitted to the 'district' for resolution. It is interesting to note that in accordance with Author Konrad Keller, 'N. Spiry' was listed as a village secretary in 1819. He later became the Beresan District secretary from 1821 to 1823. This information seems to authenticate the Spiry family story handed down through the generations, which speaks of our 'senior' Spiry as being hired by the Russians as a surveyor. By the way, other names for the secretary position were recorder, clerk and 'schreiber' a German term for 'writer,' or 'recorder.' This was a prestigious job and the secretary was appointed, not elected as the others. The secretary was sort of a workhorse for the administration and surveying would definitely be one of his jobs."

Source - Britannnica:
The province of Kherson dates from 1803. It is part of the Ukraine. Kherson, an oblast (state) in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the U.S.S.R., was formed in 1944 and covers an area of 10,463 square miles. It lies across the lower Dnieper River and along the shores of the Black sea, Sivash and the Sea of Azov. It comprises a level plain of Tertiary rocks with almost no surface water apart from the Dnieper and with extensive sands, often forming bare dunes. The Askania-Nova Nature reserve [part of one of the estates of the German-Russian Falz-Fein family}, used for scientific research, is located in southern Kherson. The climate is dry, with only 12-14 inhes of rain a year, and although much of the oblast is under plow to wheat, maize (corn) and sunflowers, agriculture suffers severely from drought. The population, the least dense in the Ukraine, numbered 824,167 (1959 Census), of whom 333,119 (40%) were urban and 491,048 rural.
Kherson, a town and seaport and the administrative centre of Kherson oblast stands on the right bank of the lower Dnieper, 15.5 miles from its mouth. Pop. (1959) 157,995. It was founded by G. A. Potemkin in 1778 as a fortress to protect the newly acquired Black Sea frontage of Russia. Its name was derived from the supposition that it was on the site of the ancient Greek colony Tauric, or Heracleotic, Cheronese (more probably Sevastopol. In 1803 it became the seat of a government (province). Its importance as a port dates only from 1901, when the Revach, a distributry of the Dnieper, was dredged, but the cascade of barges on the Dneiper built in Soviet times has greatly increased trade, especially in petroleum from the Caucusus area. The navigation season lasts from early March to late December.


1800's BERESAN DISTRICT, SOUTH RUSSIA MAP (now know as the UKRAINIAN states of ODESKA [the eastern tip] and MIKOLAIVS'KA [the southwestern side])

Beresan Map - Detailed Explanation

Researched by Mitch Roll, Dallas, Texas, USA - Last update: 11-21-00


In Review:

German-Russian Villages:

Other German-Russian Villages not currently listed on the map:

Annovka -
- Arnsutowka?
G. Selinger
- Gnadenfeld?
- [Naveselevka]
- Novo Nikolajevka?
- Siepucha?
- Woltschy?

Russian Villages/Towns:




Note: these valleys are only rough estimates and may be much shorter/longer or wider/narrower than they appear on the map


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