This page was begun 23 June 2001, revised 5 Nov 2002 -- rak.

Franzosen, aka Rossoshi, Rossoschi, and Rossotschi, was founded 28 July 1765 as a French Roman Catholic colony by the private contractor DeBoffe.  Its official population was 160 (in 1765), 169 (1769), 254 (1798), 3,055 (1912) and 1880 (1926) {Mai, vol.I, p.15}.

For the exact location of Franzosen, click on the Saratov Area Map.

According to Popov, the 1798 census taker:

"This colony is located ... on the Bergseite, near the Rossoshi Brook and the main Astrakhan road. It is 100 versta from Saratov, 80 from Kamyshin, and from the neighboring colonies: 10 from Grimm, 8 from Volmer, 5 from Husaren and 15 from the Volga boat dock.... 32 families are Roman Catholic and 15 belong to the Reformed faith.  The former belong to the parish of Kamenka and the latter to the parish of Messer, where they have parish churches and clergy.  There are small churches in this colony.... The schoolmasters teach children reading, writing, and religion under the supervision of aforementioned priest/pastor in their respective homes (pp.93-94)."

" ... almost all ... of the French ... for whom this colony was established ... have left and gone to various other places.  Their houses are occupied by the newcomers ... mostly Germans ... from other colonies (p.94)."

"Two sides of the colony border land belonging to Grimm, Volmer, and Husaren.  A third side neighbors the Zolotovskaya district.  The fouth side adjoins government land that is rented by Grimm and some owned by Grimm, Volmer, Shuck, Merkel, Kratzke, Sewald, Rthammel (p.94)".

"Due to the shortage of forest, the colonists use peat manure instead of firewood.  The colony has a shortage of all kinds of land.  These lands can be added to the colony from the aforementioned government land that adjoins this colony.  Also, the colonists can multiply their forests in a short time by planting trees ... [they] have a deficiency of hemp and flax, little of which is grown here ... They practice only farming.  There are no craftsmen here.  The colonists are diligent toward work (p.94)."

The colonists live in satisfactory conditions.... except for 14 houses ... the buildings here ... are built of stone.  Those 14 were built using the usual bricks from when the colony was established ... Both stone and brick houses have ramshackle wooden extensions.... Yards are mostly enclosed by wattle fences.  Vegetable gardens are located near the houses along the Rossoshi Brook.  There are no orchards or apiaries here, but there is one mill (p.94)."

"The land is divided into three fields, is cultivated using plows and horses, and is not fertilized.  During fertile seasons the harvest of rye and oats is good, other crop harvests are satisfactory.  Each summer, gophers eat a substantial part of the sown grain.... Those crops are harvested and [then] threshed on the threshing floors built near the houses ... a [serious] potential fire hazard ... The colonists sell their grain mostly in Saratov but some here in the colony.  The public granary here is big and built in a convenient place ... storing rye, wheat, and oats ...(Mai, vol.I, p.95)."

My Franzosen Ancestral Families

I no longer believe I have any ancestors who lived in this village ... rak, 5 November 2002.

To get to other ancestral villages, click them.