Michael M. Miller, director and bibliographer of the NDSU Libraries’ Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, will lead the 18th Journey to the Homeland Tour group to Ukraine and Germany May 17-27. The tour will include stops at Odessa, Ukraine; the former Bessarabian and Black Sea German villages; Stuttgart, Germany; and Alsace, France.
Several individuals have already signed up for the tour. Each of them has a personal connection to the planned stops.
“I developed an interest in family history in 1970 when I interviewed my paternal grandfather who had immigrated from Russia as a boy with his parents,” said Vern Mathern of Mesa, Ariz., a 1962 graduate of NDSU and native of Edgeley, N.D. “This Journey to the Homeland will visit the same places of my great grandparents who immigrated from the Kutschurgan villages near Odessa, Ukraine, and their ancestors who migrated from the Baden region in Germany and Alsace in France.”
Eileen (Klein) Krenzel of Castle Rock, Colo., a native of Rugby, N.D., said, “I look forward to traveling with others whose family histories are so much like mine. North Dakota has remained ‘home’ to me. It is a gift to me to have a state university that values this important heritage and provides the opportunity for such a trip.”
“This trip is an opportunity to ground myself with the hopes, dreams and hard work of all those who came before me. It is a humble, symbolic ‘thank you’ for all of us descendants to our ancestors for their daring to venture where their dreams took them,” said Mark Mathern of Casper, Wyo., who grew up on a farm near Edgeley, N.D., with 12 siblings.
Mark’s brother, Timothy Mathern of Fargo, a 1971 NDSU graduate and N.D. state senator, said, “I am going on the tour to get in touch with my roots and to learn about what legacy remains of my ancestors 100 years of wandering between Germany and the United States. Mom and Dad would be proud of their kids figuring out how to make the Homeland Tour a source of understanding for all of us.”
“The trip will help me understand the journey of my grandparents from Strassburg, near Odessa to Dodge, N.D., in 1907 with their family,” said Marlene (Schumacher) Lindquist of Bismarck, N.D., and a native of Dodge.
Diane (Schumacher) Weber of Bismarck, a native of Halliday, N.D., grew up in a family of 12 children, said, “I am looking forward to visiting the Catholic villages where my grandparents were born, Selz and Strassburg, near Odessa, Ukraine. This is a dream of mine.”
While in Stuttgart, Germany, the tour group will visit the Germans from Russia museums and libraries. Following the tour, Miller will stay additional days in Germany to meet with colleagues for German-Russian projects.
NDSU is student focused and committed to its land-grant mission.