Putnam/ Dougherty family genealogy

Archive for the ‘Bender Ancestors’ Category

The Importance of Genealogy Workshops

Attending a genealogy workshop can

  • reignite your research.
  • provide you with more contacts of individuals with similar interest.
  • introduce you to new resources.
  • expose you to new methods of researching.

Have you heard of TL:DR? This is what may happen when confronted with a long dissertation to read in your family history research. It is TOO LONG therefore DIDN’T READ.

Attending a workshop on a specific group in your family line can give you a more personal connection and some specifics you may have missed due to TL:DR.

  • you may find a new friend and/or a new to you cousin.

This past week my husband and I spent three days in Leavenworth Washington attending workshops on “The Volga Germans”, presented by Concordia University Center for Volga German Studies (CVGS).

Leavenworth Washington

Leavenworth Washington

Leavenworth is situated on the eastern side of the Cascade mountains on US Hwy 2. It was a very appropriate setting for our German Heritage workshops since the picturesque town is styled like a Bavarian village.

This year is the 250th anniversary of the beginning  trek of many immigrating Germans to the Volga River area in Russia. CVGS is puting on 9 events around the country as a celebration for this auspicious anniversary. They have four  more coming up between June and the end of October. For more information visit their website at http://cvgs.cu-portland.edu/index.cfm.  I suggest if you have any Volga Germans in your family tree you should try to attend one of these upcoming events. This particular workshops gave

  •  an overview of the History of why our ancestors may have made the decision to accept “Catharine the Great’s” invitation to immigrate to Russia in the 1760’s.
  • What the geography of the region tells us.
  • A sampling of the food that our ancestors traditionally made.
  • The Volga Germans of  South America.
  • the 1941 Deportation.

I had read several books on the Volga Germans and done some research on my own in libraries and online in addition to asking my mother-in law questions. I was very interested in the history and the family connections to this remote region in southwestern USSR even though the connection is my husbands maternal grandparents. It was to me very interesting, yet I was not seeing the interest and enthusiasm when I shared what I learned with my husband Roy.

Last year I did  blogs on Johann Christoph Bender  and Nicholas Schneider. These were Roy’s original immigrants to the Volga River region. I was able to trace the lines through the 1857, 1834 and 1764-67 census’ for the Kratzke colony. These census provided some great information but unfortunately few maiden names. So I had gone to the workshops hoping to discover a means of determining the maiden names in these lines.

At this conference I not only learned  a great deal more from an expert on the Volga Germans, but my husband, who is not a genealogist and has limited interest, was an enthusiastic and captivated participant.  The whipped cream on this dessert was that we met several distant cousins. Now the cherry on top was the main speaker Dr. Brent Mai.

Dr. Mai sat down with us and shared his family research where it tied into my husbands line. He had some of those maiden names that I was looking for and footnotes indicating an 1897 census as a source. That census was after our Benders had left Russia but not all of the family left for America. Another reminder that there is more to be found in an area even once your family has moved on.

I had the family lines back six generations and Dr. Mai has two lines back 14 generations. Not a Schneider or a Bender but I now have more clues  and lots more to work on in this very interesting branch that has developed into a huge segment of the Bender family tree.






52 Ancestors – Discovering the original Schneider emigrant to Russia

Schneider Family route  Brandenburg, Salzwedel to Kratzke, Saratov, Russia

Schneider Family route
Brandenburg, Salzwedel to Kratzke, Saratov, Russia            (click on image to enlarge)

This week I have spent some time reviewing the information on my husbands family that emigrated from the German colonies along the Volga river in Russia. Due to traveling I have fallen behind in my blogging with Amy Johnson Crows themes – 52 Ancestors.
Last December during my research trip to Salt Lake City. I collected the information from three different census that occurred in the Saratov region of Russia the Bender’s and Schneider’s were from.

My husbands grandmother Anna Elizabeth Schneider came to the United States with her father Friedrich and step-mother Katharina , they left their home in Kratzke, District of Saratov, Russia for the United States about February 1899. The Census for 1857 dated 29 November  lists 9 Schneider family groups. Looking for a Friedrich Schneider 8 years old born in  June of 1848. Using the translated census from Brent Mai, Concordia University, Portland Oregon, Copyrighted 2005 by Dynasty Publishing, Beaverton, Oregon. We find Friedrich np (nephew) age 7.

1857 Census Kratzke

1857 Census Kratzke (transcribed)

This is the only Friedrich Schneider in this census.

Georg Friedrich Schneider (33 years of age) is the brother of the head of the household. Katharina Elisabeth (33) is listed as sisl (sister-in-law) to the head of the household.

Since Katharina is listed below Georg Friedrich we can assume that she is his wife. And those below them their children. Which includes Maria Elisabeth (12), Katharina (9), Friedrich and Johann Georg (4). Three more bothers in the Johann Jakob Schneider household are also listed with their families.

Using the two brothers names we look in the 1834 Census for the Schneider family. Again I used the translated census from Brent Mai. What is convenient is that the household # listed  in the 1857 census lists what the household # was in the earlier census. So in the 1834 census we find the household # 18 is the Georg Friedrich Schneider family.


1834 Census Kratske (transcribed)

1834 Census Kratske (transcribed)

Where Georg and Johann’s middle names inadvertently switched. The ages are not quite right according to the 1857 census. But the family names are rather consistent otherwise.

Stepping back to the earlier census taken soon after the colony was settled, there are two (2) Schneider families in this earliest census. the Dewald Schneider (37) w/ wife Anna Maria (28) and son Johann Adam (13). Johann Adam Schneider is found in the 1834 census having died in 1823 and counted in the 1816 census as being 63. That is so close that we can discount Dewald as our colonist. That leaves Nicolaus Schneider (38), Lutheran, coming from Brandenburg, Satzwedel with his wife Maria Katharina son Johann Friedrich (1/2) and stepson Johann Heinrich (4).

This same process can be used to trace other lines from Kratzke.

In reviewing the information on the family from Wilma and John Akers the listing of birth places  are all over the place, but the information states that Friedrich Schneider and Maria Katharina (Schrader) were married in Kratzke Russia in 1871. Therefore I am going with this lineage until I find out otherwise.

52 Ancestors-Johann Christoph Bender original Volga German


This weeks challenge that Amy Crow has issued on 52 Ancestors is “So Far Away”. The first thing that came to mind was the Movie “Far and Away”, so this story could be on either of my Irish Ancestors. The 2nd story that came to mind would deal with the furthest back in time that we have a known Ancestor. That would be Roger De’Puttenham  (tenant of Puttenham Manor, Buckinghamshire, England) who is listed in the Doomsday book (1086). The third story is for my husbands maternal line ancestor that traveled “so far away” from his home in 1767 Germany- to colonies on the Volga River area of Russia at the invitation of Catherine the Great. I think it is time to tell the story of Johann Christoph Bender.

Johann Christoph Bender was born about 1748 in Germany. Johanns early years were probably harsh during this time period. The Seven year war from 1754-1763 devastated Europe and to pay for the war the peasants were repressed. Germany was not united until the mid 1800’s but divided into many Duchies. Prussia  and Austria the larger.

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great

Catherine The Great came to power when her husband Peter III was assassinated in 1762. Soon after, she issued her Manifesto inviting foreigners to immigrate to Russia. Catherine employed recruiters throughout Europe. That was how Johann learned about the invitation and Czarina Catherine’s Manifesto. Once Johann had signed a immigration contract he would have been sent to an assembly point where temporary housing was provided. As soon as there was a large enough contingency he would have been transported to one of the Baltic ports where a ship would take them the 900 miles to the Russian port  of Kronstadt, a Russian naval port on an island in the Gulf of Finland, then on to Oranienbaum, known today as Lomonosov. Oranienbaum is just 40 kilometers west of St. Petersburg and the site of Catherine The Greats Summer Palace.

The Great Palace Catherine II Summer Palace

The Great Palace
Catherine II Summer Palace


The above print is a drawing of the Great Palace in Oranienbaun, Russia. Notice the ship tied up near the palace gates. (Click on images to enlarge.) This may be the landing for the Germans arriving in Russia. It is stated that over 20,000 colonist were recorded by the Titular Counselor, Ivan Kuhlberg in Oranienbaun.

The ocean trip from a German port could last from 9 days to several weeks or even months with an unscrupulous captain. History  states that the new arrivals were often lead in reciting the oath of allegiance to the Russian Crown by the German pastor of Oranienbaum’s Lutheran Church. In one historical account I read, it stated that not only did Catherine sometimes speak in German to welcome the colonist from her balcony at the Summer Palace but she and her officials had once walked in review and stopped to speak  or shake an individuals hand.

Once in Oranienbaum, Johann would have been given materials to build a hut for his own housing. His stay in Oranienbaum may have been from several weeks to months. The time spent near St. Petersburg would have given Johann an opportunity to see what it was like in Russia except he would not have been free to wander, and no matter where Johann might have hoped to establish himself he would be compelled by the Russian officials to locate along the lower Volga River near Saratov.

So finally the time to travel to Johann’s new home came. From Oranienbaum to Saratov was over 2,000 miles. The trek could have been made by boat down the various rivers or overland. The overland trek took months up to a year depending on when the group was finally allowed to leave. They traveled in groups with the women and children riding in carts and the men walking. In the dead of winter it was doubly grueling. over 26,000 started out and 12.5% died in route. Johann Chritoph Bender arrived in Kratzke on 8.5.1767. Is that August 5 or 8 May?

From the 1768 census for Kratzke, Saratov, Russia, Johann came to the Colony on 8.5.1767, from Wittenberg, Nauteis(?).  He was listed as a Lutheran. It was either expected that he would receive  or he had received 25 rbl. (rubbles) from Vormundschaftskontor (the government).  In 1768 he was just 20 years old and married to Katharina who was 18 years of age. The census indicates that Johann had 2 cows (2 Kühe) had plowed (4 des. = 4 desyatina (farmer)) approximately 14.4 acres and sowed approximately 3.5 bushels of rye (gepflügt: 4 Des., gesät: 5 Cetverik Roggen). Thanks to the internet for providing this non-linguist with a translation, even if it was one word at a time.

Kratzke Lutheran Church (1996) Photo source: Rodney Fink

Kratzke Lutheran Church (1996) Photo source: Rodney Fink

By the 1816 census for Kratzke, Saratov, Russia there is no Johann Christoph Bender, having died sometime between 1807 and the 1816 census.There is Johann Peter Bender (age: 25), Georg Jakob (age: 25), and Georg Philipp (age: 9), brothers. Listed separately a Johann Kaspar Bender (age: 36) family, a Johann Fredrich Bender (age: 30) family, and a Johann Philipp Bender (age: 43) family. The youngest son age 9 would have been born about 1807 when Johann Christoph was about 60. In the initial listing in 1768 for Kratzke there is only one Bender and by 1816 we have at least five Bender families. Having met my husbands grandparents I  picture how Johann Christoph Bender must have looked and try to imagine the adventure that he had taken on as a young man to make such a trek “so far away” from his birthplace.




52 Ancestors #31 Anna Elizabeth Schneider German/Russian Connection part 2

My Husbands grandmother was Anna Elizabeth Schneider she was born 9 April 1885 in Russia to Freidrich and Maria Katharina (Schrader) Schneider. The couple (Fred and Maria) had been married in Kratska, Russia in 1871.

Maria Katharina died sometime between 1892 and 1894. Freidricich remarried a Katherine Elizabeth Muhlberger Schrader 24 October 1894.
In early 1899 through the help of an agency Freidrich Schneider and many members of his family including Anna Elizabeth (my husbands grandmother) left for America. On the ship Anna became quite ill and her hair fell out. There was a priest on board that gave her last rites and the story goes that it was assumed she was dying and the ship bells were rung, but she did not die. They landed in Mexico in April of 1899 and worked for six months in the banana fields to pay for their passage. From Mexico they travelled by cart and foot up through the southwest to the state of Kansas where they made their home. Several members of the party made their home in Russell while Freidrich and Katherine (Lizzie) and their unmarried children traveled on to Bazine Kansas. Bazine was where a brother of Freidrich’s first wife (Maria Katharina) was living.

Anna Elizabeth was just 14 when the family settled in Kansas. Many girls her age would already have quit school and she was definitely at a disadvantage with little to no English. Since many of her relatives had settled in Russell , the family visited back and forth and thus we can assume that Anna meet her future husband. The communities had quite a large number of Volga German families.  These families ancestors had taken the invitation of ‘Catherine the Great’ to immigrate to Russia and develop farms on the lower Volga River some time between 1764 and 1772. Colonies were settled along the Volga River near Saratov, Russia. This had been at the end of the Seven Year War that left many in Germany devastated and looking for a fresh start. The initial invitation to immigrate to Russia guaranteed no taxes for 30 years and they would be free of serving in the Russian military.  Their first years were difficult with the starting of the colonies, starting farms, and constructing housing. The colonies were organized based on religions some were Catholic and others were Lutheran. They mostly kept apart from their Russian neighbors, maintaining their German language and traditions.

1871 Tsar Alexander 11 rescinded the Volga Germans exemption from Military service.

1891 & 1892 Russia was hit with a great Famvine in the Volga region, 500,000 Russians die. Was Anna’s mother a victim of this great famine?

1894 Tsar Alexander 111 dies and Nicholas 11 becomes Tsar

1899 Freidrich Schneider Family leaves Russia.


Mary Bender, Anna Schneider, Molly Bender Amelia Bender, and Lena Bender  1904

Mary Bender, Anna Schneider, Molly Bender Amelia Bender, and Lena Bender

Anna married Henry P. Bender 19 October 1903. See my earlier entry for Henry and the other family members at (https://putnamsisters.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/52-ancestor-28-henry-p-bender-germanrussian-connection-part-1/)  Their first child Amelia was born 29 July 1904. Henry and Anna went on to raise 9 children plus a nephew. They lived and farmed in the Russell and Bunker Hill area until they retired and moved to Waldo, KS. in 1935. They were living in Waldo when Anna’s husband Henry suffered a stroke and died in 1960. In 1964 Anna moved to Brookville, KS and lived with her daughter Amelia and son-in-law Orlin Bean. While living with her daughter, Anna attended the United Methodist Women’s Society and worked on their sewing project of Cancer Pads for two hospitals in Salina. She is noted to have sewn 26,112 cancer pads during that time.

Anna Elisabeth (Schneider) Bender died 13 December 1976


52 Ancestor~ #28 Henry P. Bender – German/Russian Connection part 1

This week we will explore my husbands maternal grandfather, Henry Phillip Bender.

Henry Phillip Bender

Henry Phillip Bender

Henry was born 27 November 1883 in Kratzke, Saratov, Russia, a Volga German colony. His parents were George Phillip and Eva Elizabeth Bender. He was three years old when his family immigrated from Russia in 1886. He had two older half sisters Mary and Katherine Elizabeth.


New York Passenger List 27 December 1887 Ship: SS Devonia Departed: Glassglow, Scotland Arrived: Port of New York

New York Passenger List
27 December 1886
Ship: SS Devonia
Departed: Glassglow, Scotland
Arrived: Port of New York

New York Passenger List 17 December1887 Ship: SS Devonia Departed: Glasglow, Scotland Arrived: Port of New York

New York Passenger List
17 December1886
Ship: SS Devonia
Departed: Glasglow, Scotland
Arrived: Port of New York

When you review the list of Passengers there were 260 on board and the Bender family were the first of those from Russia to be listed, with a total of 93 individuals listed from Russia. The Community of Kratzke in the 1886 census notes that 84 families had immigrated to America. I am curious to know how long it took them to make it to New York, and I wonder how much longer it took them to make it to Kansas? Dang I wish there was a 1890 census I could consult to see where they were, and if they immediately set up their farms in rural Kansas.

The Family is listed in the 1895 Kansas Census in Russell County, Kansas in the Wintersett township. Henry is listed as only 9 years of age.

In the 1900 US Census Russell county Kansas in the Wintersett township, we find on line 57 Henry (16) attending school. This census indicates that his father Phillip (47) a farmer can read and write English but his mother can not. Henry is one of five boys at home along with a sister Mollie.

1900 US Census Russell county, Kansas

1900 US Census
Russell county, Kansas

24 October 1903 Henry marries Anna L. Schneider in Russell County, Kansas. Anna was the daughter (sixth child) of Fredrick and Maria Katharine Schneider.

Henry P. Bender and Anna Elizabeth Schneider 1903

Henry P. Bender and Anna Elizabeth Schneider

In 1904 Henry and Anna have their first child Amelia. Clara is born in 1905 and Henry Paul is born in 1907.

Clara, Paul, & Amelia Bender  1907

Clara, Paul, & Amelia Bender

The 1910 Us Census  shows Henry H.P. Bender (26) Rus.-German a farmer owner. Anna L. (25)  also shown as Rus-German. While it indicates that Henry can read and write English is wife Anna does not, but it indicates they both speak English. The three children are listed (Clara is shown as Mary)


1910 US Census Russell County, Kansas

1910 US Census
Russell County, Kansas


For the 1920 US census Russell county, Kansas we find Henry (36)  owns his farm (mortgaged), birth place Saradof Rus. as are both of his parents. Henry’s wife Anna (34) is also listed from Saradorf, Rus., as well as both of her parents. I believe Saradof should be Saratov.


1920 US Census Russell County, Kansas

. 1920 US Census
Russell County, Kansas


We now have 7 children. Amelia (15), Clara (14), Paul (12), Rudolph (9), Edward (7), Herbert (4 3/12), and Lavina (2 1/12). All but the two youngest are in school. In the Kansas 1925 Census we have the last two children Francis born in 1921 and Esther born in 1924.

1930 US Census Luray, Russell county, Kansas

1930 US Census
Luray, Russell county, Kansas


Here in the 1930 census we find Henry (46) renting their home and they do not have a radio at the time of the census. Henry is listed as being able to read and write and having come from Russia in 1886 and a naturalized citizen. Anna (44) his wife, not able to read or write, having come from Russia  in 1900 and is a naturalized citizen also. We find the children still at home in 1930 are: Amelia (25), Paul (22), Rudolph (19), Edward (17), Herbert (14), Lavina (12), Francis (9), and Esther (6). At this time Vernon P. (5), Henry’s nephew, has come to live with them. Vernon’s father was Phillip Bender, One of Henry’s younger brothers. Phillips wife was an Elizabeth Schneider a niece to Anna, she died in 1925. Phillip himself was shot to death in 1932. That’s a story for another time.

1940 US Census  Waldo, Russell county, Kansas

1940 US Census
Waldo, Russell county, Kansas

In the 1940 US Census Henry P. Bender (56) completed the 6th grade, his wife Anna also completed the 6th grade. The only children left at home are Paul (33), Esther (16) still in school and Henry’s nephew Vernon (14) still in school.

21 August 1960 Henry P. Bender died. He is buried in Russell  City Cemetery, Russell, Kansas.

Henry P. Bender

Besides being a farmer Henry was also a stone masonry. Several of his stone structures are still standing.




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