This page was begun 20 June 2001 -- rak.

The mostly Reformed (some Lutheran) colony of Norka, aka Nekrasovo or Weigand, was founded by the Russian government on 15 August 1767.  Its official population was: 772 (in 1769), 957 (1773), 1,358 (1788), 1,660 (1798), 2,509 (1816), 4,113 (1834), 5,951 (1850), 6,300 (1857), 6,894 (1860), 7,641 (1886), 10,200 (1891), 10,518 (1894), 13,623 (1910), 14,236 (1912), and 7,210 (1926) {Mai, Vol.I, p.23}.

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

The official census report in 1798 said 

"... all villagers are of the Reformed faith having their own pastor and parish church with a schoolmaster who teaches small children reading, writing, and religion in a school building.  The colony lacks sufficient arable farmland, hay fields and water.  All are engaged in farming with seven also pursuing trades: three blacksmiths and four cobblers.  All are favorably disposed toward work.  A few live in good conditions, most in mediocre conditions.  All buildings are constructed of wood and, except for 26 new ones, the homes are dilapidated but have been repaired.  Six houses are of stone.  Yards are separated from the streets by fences, and on the inside are divided by wattle fences.  Gardens lie behind the farmyards.  There are two flourmills on the Norka River.  They have no orchards or apiaries.  They till by plowing.  They cannot grow flax or hemp.  Harvests of grain in several places are good, but only mediocre in most places.  The common granary is in good order and constructed in a suitable place storing rye, wheat and oats (Mai, Vol.I, pp.170-171)."

My Norka Ancestral Families


17. Maria Dorothea (1808-aft.1858)

34. Johannes (1777-aft.1798)

68.  Sebastian (1754-aft.1798)

136. Jakob (1717-bef.1798)

In my KRAUS Family Chart (hereafter KFC), Prof. Pleve said that Maria Dorothea Nagel b. 1808 married Johann Peter KRAUS. about 1828 and so must have been born about 1808. 

 In the 1798 Norka census (Mai, vol.I, p.759) household #1, there are Johannes 21 and wife Louisa (DEINES) 19 NAGEL along with their first 1-year old child, in the household of Sebastian 44 and Magdalena 42 (HEINRICH) NAGEL -- Sebastian was then the mayor of the village.  My guess is that Johannes, born about 1777 in Norka and Louisa, born about 1779 in Doenoff, became the parents of Maria Dorothea.

There are other possibilites.  Johannes' younger brother Melchior would have been 20 in 1808, could have married young and had Maria D. -- not too likely.  Johannes' father could have remarried a young woman and had a Maria D. in 1808 -- possible, he would only have been 54 or so in 1808.  Johannes' first cousins Sebastian (who married Katarina Prinz about 1792) and  Johann Mechior (who married Anna Maria Dergard about 1797) both surely were still having children in 1808 -- both are very possible. Johannes' uncle Johannes could have remarried a young woman had had a daughter in 1808 -- not likely at all, if he lived that long, he would have been 68 or so in 1808.

However, all the possible fathers of Maria Dorothea are either grandsons or great grandsons of Jakob Nagel who early settled in Norka and who was born about 1717 in Germany.  According to cousin, Robert M. Benson, AHSGR Norka village coordinator and also a Nagel descendant, Jakob, his wife Catherina, and some of their children arrived from Trenburg, Germany in Oranienbaum on 29 August 1766, on the ship "Elephant" and in Norka on 26 August 1767 -- with Catherine dying before 1768.  If I am correct in my guess about Maria Dorothea's parentage, these two are my great great great great great grandparents! 

They are listed in the 1775 Norka census (published by AHSGR) as household #105: NAGEL, Jakob 63, son Sebastian 18, along with son Johann Melchior 26, his wife Anna Maria 25 and their two children ages 1/4 and 3 1/2.  Again, if my guess is correct, the Sebastian is my 4g grandfather.  As we saw above in the 1798 census, he married Magdalena HEINRICH.


69. Magdalena (1756-aft.1798)

138. Andreas (1725-aft.1775)

Magdalena is listed in her parents' household in the 1775 Norka census: household #86 HEINRICH, Andreas 50, wife Dorotea 48, daughters Magdalena 17 and Katarina 15, as well as son Johann Ludwig 23, his wife Rosina 21 and 1-year old son.


137. Katharina (??-1767) m. Jakob NAGEL.

139. Dorotea (1727-aft.1775) m. Andreas HEINRICH.

I have no idea as to the origins of these women.  If someone can help with this, please let me know at [email protected].  Thanks!


35. Louisa (1779-aft.1798)

70. Johannes (1749-aft.1798)

It seems very likely that the Louisa DEINES who married Johannes NAGEL (see above 1798 Norka census, household #1), was the daughter of Johannes and Katarina DEINES who are household #60 in the Norka 1798 census (Mai, Vol.I, p.768): DEINES, Johannes 43, wife Katharina Maria (SORBERGER) 40; sons Wilhelm 15, Konrad 10 and Johannes 2; daughters Barbara Elizabeth 17 and Margareta 8; along with son Jakob 21, his wife Anna Maria (WALTER) and their son at 1/4 year.

As can be seen on the Doenhof page, young Johannes DEINES age 11 was listed in his parents' household (Johann Georg and Barbara Elisabeth DEINES, in the Doenhof First Settlers' List.  And at age 20 he is still listed with them in the 1775 Doenhof census.  But by 1798 he is no longer listed in Doenhof.  I suspect he married in Norka about 1800.


71. Katharina Maria (1758-aft.1798)

Now the principal mystery here is Johannes DEINES' wife.  In all of the Volga region in 1798 she is the only SORBERGER in the census!  Surely this is an error in spelling.  My first theory was that she most likely was a Norka native, that marrying her brought young Johannes DEINES to Norka, and that her family name got a little bit garbled in the 1798 census. 

So I read through the 1775 Norka census twice.  First looking for names that began with any letter and ended with anything even approaching BERGER.  I found no likely names.  Second, I read through looking at all the 15-18 year-old females.  Only one seemed just possible, but highly unlikely: Katarina 16 daughter of Konrad and Katarina SCHLEIGER in household #44.

Next I went back to read through the Doenhoff 1775 census in the same way.  STROMBERGER seemed likely, but alas, all the STROMBERGER daughters were accounted for.

So who was Katarina Maria SORBERGER born about 1758?  If anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it.

To get to the Ancestral Villages, click on them.  To get to the Tree Index, click on it.

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