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Kamenka (Bahr), Russia

AHSGR VC - Rosemary Larson

Kamenka, was founded on July 7, 1765 by Catholic emigrants from various parts of Germany.  Bahr, as it was originally called after one of the early serttlers, lies on the left bank of the Ilawla river, a tributary of the Don, and is 110 versts (73 miles) from the provincial capital, Saratov, and 70 versts (47 miles) from the district capital, Kamyshin.

At the founding, according to Beratz, Kamenka had 42 families, with 73 males and 75 females.  At the general Russian census of 1788, Kamenka numbered 97 families with 268 males and 267 females.  The following have left the colony since its founding:  In 1858, 40 families migrated to the province of Samara on the Wisesensite of the Volga River:  Between 1876 and 1879, 37 families went to the United States:  In 1876 32 families went to Brazil.  In 1910 the colony had 399 farmyards with 5,351 people of both sexes, all of the Catholic faith.  in addition to these, there were 146 families still belonging to this community, who had their homes elsewhere on bought or rented land in other Russian towns or cities who had not given up their rights in their home village.


Kamenka is the seat of the dean, the superior of the Catholic clergy of the Bergseite.  From 1765 to 1768 Kamenka was only Catholic parish on the Bergseite of the Volga.  From 1914 till 1919 the deanery consisted of the following villages: Husaren, Schuck, also Degott, Rothammel, Seewald, Pfeifer, Hildman, Leichtling, Kohler, Semonowka, and Goebel.  After a reorganization in 1926 the priests of the colonies of Vollmer and Rothammel were no longer under the Kamenka deanery.


Kamenka is also the seat of the Russia land-captian who was appointed by the Tsar.  The colony was also the local government center for most of the Catholics colonies along the Ilawla river.  A medical doctor, with a female and two male medical assistants, a midwife, a pharmacy, and a hospital with ten beds.  It also has a post office and a telegraph station.  There are two annual fairs and a market day every Sunday.  The main highway from Saratov to Astrakhan runs through the colony.


The colony has the following artisans: 33 shoemakers, 7 cabinet-makers, 7 carpenters, 2 tailors, 19 millers, 6 blacksmiths, 5 wheelwrights, 9 transport drivers, 1 tinker, 2 musicians and 1 weaver.  There are 45 establishments dealing in manufactured goods, 9 small shops and 3 liquor stores,


The community pays personal and land taxes amounting to 12,495 roubles annually.  The community income amounts to 2700 roubles for local government. 

Source: AHSGR Work Paper #16 (December 1974)

Colony Movement
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Kamenka's Population

*Beratz reports the following numbers for 1773: 42 families; 148 total colonies (73 male & 75 females).

** of whome 2,964 were German.

*** of which 509 households were German.

****of whom 2<917 were German (548 households: 1,437 & 1,480 female).

*****of whome 3,289 were German.

Many thanks to Michael Frank who provided many of these photos from the colony of Kamenka from his 2016 trip to the Volga area.

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Resarch Material Available
Archival Records Available

Census Books


Kulberg List

First Settlers List

1834 Census 

1850 Census

1857 Census

Birth Records

Marriage Records


Death Records

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