This page was last updated 26 July 2011 -- rak.

Reserved for Balzer image

The Balzer Church

Balzer was both one of the original German colonies (villages) near the Volga and a Kanton or district center for other nearby, similar villages including Kutter. It was founded by the Russian government on 28 August 1765 as a Lutheran colony (its Russian names included: Goloi Karamysh, Goly Karamysch, and Golyj Karamysch). Its official population was 410 (in 1769), 479 (1773), 781 (1798), 11,110 (1912), and 11,556 (1926) {Mai, 1798 CENSUS, vol.I, p.12}.

For the exact location of Balzer, click on the Saratov Area Map (soon to come). According to the 1798 census taker, Popov: "This colony is located ... along Goly Karamysh Creek ... 73 versta [a verst is somewhat longer than 1 km.] ... from Saratov ... 112 from Kamyshin, 15 from Beideck, 12 from Messer, 10 from Anton, 9 from Kutter, 6 from Moor and 12 from the Volga boat landing.... All ... inhabitants ... are of the Reformed faith belonging to the parish of Messer, where there is a [Reformed] pastor, but the church is here. Young children are taught reading, writing, and religion by a schoolmaster under the supervision of the pastor in a school building (p.58)." "The land is bordered by land belonging to the five colonies just mentioned plus the estates of Akhmat and Mordovo [my guess this is where the boat dock was -- rak] ... The colony has insufficiencies in almost all areas of economic importance, but most particularly in arable land and hay fields.... all the inhabitants are engaged in farming on ... marginal lands and they purchase feed for the livestock. They use dung for fuel.... flax and hemp ... will not grow here ... Of the trades, they have four blacksmiths, two wheelwrights, and five bootmakers. They live in mediocre conditions. Buildings are mostly dilapidated. There are 30 new homes, one of stone, and several have stone outbuildings. Yards are fenced with boards and wattle. There are vegetable gardens near the colony, along the Karamysh River. There are no orchards or apiaries. There is one flourmill.... They farm with plows and horses ... do not fertilize ... Harvests of grain are only mediocre. Gophers consume little crop here... The grain ... has up until now ... been ... threshed on floors located adjacent to the houses ... then sold in Saratov ... They are only just now moving the threshing floors to a safe distance from the houses.... the local common granary here is old, [but] it is in good order and constructed in a safe place ... currently storing rye, wheat and oats (Mai, vol.I, pp.57-58).

The image of the church on this page came from the Balzer website where there is much more information on, and images of, Balzer village. The internet address of that website is:

My Balzer Ancestral Families:


21. Anna Margaretha (26 Aug.1814-??), of Balzer, married Georg Philipp BELTZ, probably in Balzer in 1836, although as a couple they evidently lived in Kutter.

42. Probably Johannes (1786-aft.1814). In the Balzer First Settlers' List (Pleve, vol.I, p.86), household #52 was SCHEIDT, Heinrich 26, Reformed faith, farmer from Isenburg (Stumpp, p.78, says he was from the village of Duedelsheim), and wife Margaretha 25, having arrived in Balzer on 18 June 1767. And household #53 was SCHEIDT, Philipp 25, Reformed faith, farmer from Isenburg, and his wife Cathatina 30 -- [a probable elder brother of Heinrich-rak]. However, in 1798 only one SCHEIDT household was recorded in the Balzer census, so it is highly probable that these are Anna M's ancestors. Household #53 SCHEIDT, included Johann Heinrich 58, wife Anna Margaretha HOHNSTEIN 58, son Johann Heinrich 31, his wife Susanna HOFFMANN 30, and their children Johannes 12, Anna Maria 9, Friedrich 7, Elisabeth 4 and Georg 2. By 1814, Friedrich would have been 23 and Johannes would have been 28. Either could have been father to Anna Margaretha. [Can anyone tell me which was her father? If so, e-mail me at] My working guess is that it was Johannes.

84. probably Johann Heinrich, Jr. (1767-aft.1798).

168. probably Johann Heinrich, Sr. (1740-aft.1798). Whether this is the correct ancestor or if it was Philipp, both have been proven by Wayne Bonner to have been from Düdelsheim, Isenburg-Büdingen County.


43. A female(aft.1786?-aft.1814) m. 42.Johannes SCHEIDT. I have no idea what either her given or maiden names were or who her parents were. If anyone can help on this, please e-mail me at


85. Susanna (Feb.1766-aft.1798) married Johann Heinrich SCHEIDT, Jr.

170. Valentin (1728-aft.1798). In the Balzer First Settlers' List (Pleve, vol.1, p.77), household #20 is HOFFMANN,Valentin, 36, Reformed faith, farmer from Kurpfalz, wife Anna Barbara 35, children: Anna Catharina 12, Margaretha 8, and Susanna 4 weeks [so she was born, in late Feb?, on the boat coming down the Volga!--rak]. Arrived in Balzer on 28 March 1766. And in the 1798 Balzer census household #49 in the was HOFFMANN, Valentin 69, wife Barbara BOSCHE 67, 2 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren.


169. Anna Margaretha (1740-aft.1798) married Johann Heinrich SCHEIDT, Sr. In the 1798 census index all the other HOHNSTEIN on the Volga were in Norka, except for one in Kolb#19 and one Höhnstein in Schaffhausen#24. My working guess is that Anna M. was of the Norka HOHNSTEINS. I don't yet know if there is a 1775 Balzer census available in which to check these people.


171. Anna Barbara 35, wife of Valentin Hoffmann (rak#170), and likely mother of Anna Catharina 12, Margaretha 8 and Susanna 4 weeks. Living next door to Jacob Busch 41 Reform farmer from Kurpfalz, his wife Christina 27, and sons Philipp 17.5 and Johann Jacob 1.5.


171. Anna Barbara (1731-aft.1798) m. Valentin HOFFMAN. She is Anna Barbara in the Balzer First Settlers' List (FSL) and Barbara BOSCHE in the Balzer 1798 census. Living next door in the FSL was Jacob Busch 41 farmer from Kurpfalz [like Anna Barbara's Hoffman husband], Jacob's wife Christina 27, and his sons Philipp 17.5 ([by a previous wife], and Johann Jacob 1.5. This man may have been Anna Barbara's elder brother.

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