Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys


A Family History donated by: Harry Windecker

Exodus to and from Russia.

In the 1760s, German colonies were established in Russia, at the prompting of Catherine "The Great" (also of German descent) shortly after she ascended to the Russian Throne. Of note are the villages of Walter and Walter-Khutor, located on the "Bergseite" or hilly side of the Volga River, about 70-miles west of the City of Saratov. Specifically, it was located on the Medweditza (She-Bear) River, a tributary of the Don River. The Don flows into the Black Sea, whereas the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea.

Evidence indicates that the people who settled Walter came from or were assembled in Büdingen, the same area as our Windecker ancestors. A query was also found that indicates that Windeckers may have come from Bühl, along the Rhein (see Kappelwindeck, above). From Büdingen they traveled one of two primary routes to their destination, one by sea to St. Petersburg and down the Volga River, the other, entirely overland. In either case, the destination was Saratov, then to their individual, unimproved land. The first settlement was named Walter. As the community grew and spread out, other villages were formed, including Hussenbach, located on the opposite side of the Volga River.

The original population of Walter in 1767 was 376. It rose to 6,600 in 1912, but during the Russian Revolution of the early 1900s, many these Germans departed Russia for America and Canada. Many others were killed during the Revolution, and still others were deported to Siberia. The population fell off dramatically to about 2,700. The Windecker surname was amongst the Germans to depart Russia during this period. These German-Russian-Americans settled in the West, in central Canada, and in the states of Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Washington and Oregon. Windeckers today, in these states and portions of Canada, are primarily the descendants of the Russian immigrants. Windeckers, who came from Russia, can also be found in Argentina. Elena M. Vega, of Argentina, writes of her maternal grandmother, Amalia Windecker, who came from Hussenbach, Russia.

Copyright 2001. Harry Windecker. All rights reserved.

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