History of the Lutheran Parishes in Volhynia

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The Lutheran Parishes of Volhynia

(Courtesy of Richard Benert)

It is always interesting, often helpful, and sometimes necessary to know the parish to which one's ancestral village belonged. The current state of our knowledge, handicapped by a paucity of reliable sources, prevents us from confidently assigning every Volhynian village to a parish. But, based on a few authoritative sources that list at least some of the villages in the various parishes, we can make educated guesses about the villages not so listed. Help along this line has already been offered by Ewald Wuschke, who drew what appears to be fairly accurate parish boundary lines on maps of Polish and Russian Volhynia in his Wandering Volhynians (March and September, respectively, 1990). In addition, he printed a Volhynian Village Index of some 900 names, with parishes indicated, in the March, 1991, edition of that journal, which is in the SGGEE Library. While not without error, these are generally useful sources. Numerous Volhynian villages are also listed in the on-line Odessa Library. For many of these villages, however, the parish is not indicated.

The information given below is based on three sources, the most important of which is Die Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gemeinden in Russland, Eine historisch-statistische Darstellung, published in St. Petersburg in 1909 by the Central Committee of the Sustentation-Fund for the Evangelical-Lutheran Churches in Russia. Full translations of the reports in this book on the Volhynian parishes were made by Ewald Wuschke and printed in Wandering Volhynians (September, 1989, through September,1990). Two other helpful sources are Eduard Kneifel, Die evangelisch-augsburgischen Gemeinden in Polen, 1555-1939, (Vierkirchen bei München, self-published, n.d.), which discusses the parishes in western Volhynia, and Hugo Karl Schmidt, Die Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Wolhynien, (Marburg, 1992), which also is limited to Polish Volhynia, but does list the pastors of each parish, including those in eastern Volhynia. No attempt has here been made to verify the facts and figures presented by these three writers.

Since Volhynia was divided and sub-divided several times into geographically smaller parishes, most individual villages were in two or three different parishes during their existence as German colonies. A village found in Emiltschin parish, for example, belonged to the parish of Heimtal before 1896 (when the Parish of Emiltschin was formed), and to the parish of Zhitomir before 1869 (when the Parish of Heimtal was created). Similarly, a village in Rowno Parish was in Tutschin Parish from 1888 to 1902, and in Zhitomir Parish before 1888. One must be aware of the year an event happened and to which parish a village belonged in that year. This means that one must pay attention to which older parish a new parish was created from, and in what year this happened. In the event that a parish was formed from parts of more than one older parish (in the case of Tortschin in 1930), it will be necessary to do further investigation to determine to which of the older parishes a village belonged. This may not be easy. Even the signature of pastors on a vital record, usually a reliable proof of which parish the event occurred in, may not always be trusted, since there were times (some of which are indicated below) when parishes without a pastor were served by pastors of neighboring parishes.

The lists of villages linked to this page are mainly based on the 1909 publication, with a few additions from Kneifel. Many villages shared the same name. Where possible, a nearby town or village is mentioned to distinguish one village from others of the same name. The researcher should check the lists of all parishes to see if a village name appears in more than one parish. With the exception of some villages listed by Kneifel, which are in Polish, German spellings have been retained. When alternative village-names are known, both names are alphabetized unless they are very closely related alphabetically.

For villages in Zhitomir, Rowno, Wladimir-Wolynsk and Luzk Parishes, the 1909 source listed Eigentümerkolonien (in which land was owned) separately from Pachtdörfer (in which land was rented). These villages are marked with an asterisk (*). For Heimtal and Emiltschin Parishes, a distinction was made between Pachtdörfer and Kolonien, implying (perhaps) that these colonies were in fact Eigenthumerkolonien. These colonies also receive an asterisk. No such distinctions were made for villages in Tutschin, Nowograd-Wolynsk, Roshischtsche and Radomysl Parishes.

A "+" indicates a village with a school (and usually a chapel [Betsaal] within it); a "~" indicates a village with a separate chapel. For the sake of simplicity, I have used the English "county" instead of the Russian word, "uezd", to refer to the administrative districts below the provincial level.

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Splitting of the Volhynian Parishes

(Refer also to the chart which shows the formation of the parishes in diagram form - pdf format)

The following is a listing of all Lutheran Parishes in Volhynia - listed in chronological order of creation. The table indicates the parish from which the new parish was created.

We are attempting to compile three sections of information about each parish.

It will take a lot of work to provide material for every parish but we will continue to work on it so come back often to look for new material.


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1863 (out of Zhitomir)

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1869 (out of Zhitomir)

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Tutschin (Tuczyn)
1888 (out of Zhitomir)

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Nowograd Wolynsk
1889 (out of Zhitomir)

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Wladimir Wolynsk
1891 (out of Roshischtsche)

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1896 (out of Heimtal)

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1899 (out of Roshischtsche)

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1901 (out of Kiev)

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1902 (out of Tutschin)

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1930 (out of Roschischtsch,
Luck, and Wladimir Wolynsk)

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1936 (out of Rowno)

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1936 (out of Tutschin)

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1937 (out of Roshischtsche
and Wladimir Wolynsk)

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1938 (out of Roshischtsche)

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