Monthly Archives: February 2011

Grigorjewka, Paschnja, Siberia – Home of the Kasdorfs 1915 – 1921

Paschnja, Siberia

Written by Joh. Nick. Janzen

The settlement consisted of five villages:

  • Grigorjewka                -28 homesteads.
  • Markowka                   -28 homesteads.
  • Annanjewka                -28 homesteads.
  • Jekaterinowka            -40 homesteads.
  • Shelanowka                 -20 homesteads

The first four villages settled in 1912, the last in 1914.  Each homestead consisted of 60 dessj broken land and 20 dessj pastureland.  They villages were part of the Slatopolj township.  From 1913 to 1916 the Reeve was a German man whose name was Peter Bayer.  A man by the name of Toews was the secretary for many years.  His father was murdered while delivering produce to Slawgorod.

The soil was sandy, but the yields were generally quite good.  They grew very big water mellons.  In later years they planted lots of corn with great success.  The crops were delivered to Slawgorod which was more than 100 Km.

In Markowka the Huberts had a large store.  Each village had a blacksmith.

Difficulties:  Johann Peters died in a fire accident while working in the forests at Tomsk.

Very few houses were built of lumber.  Most were sod cottages.  The streets were lined with poplars.  Most homesteads were well treed.

The schools were very small and were built of sod.

* Len Loeppky Omsk Tour 2011.


Margenau, Siberia – Home of the Johann Kasdorfs – 1909 – 1915

It was in the year 1902 that the landless people from the village of Margenau, Molotchna came to the the city of Omsk1, to find land.   With the help of a Mr. Kaftan they were able to obtain a long term lease on land from an army Officer by the name of Ljapin2.  Shortly after the agreement was signed the lots were drawn up for the village of Margenau, Siberia.  It was located north of the forest on their property, approximately half a kilometer from the Trans Siberia Railroad, with the main street running from East to West.

The families that came here from Margenau, Molotchna were Heinrich Teichgraef, Kornelius Klassen, Johann Meckelburger, and three brothers, Jacob, Franz, and Heinrich Huebert.   Joining them in this settlement was Jakob Kornelius Unger from the the village of Neukirch.  He started up a dairy farm but was forced to sell it when the market for his products became too competative3.  He sold his buildings to Gerhard Reimer4, from Crimea.  Other land leasers also joined them over a period of time.

In 1909 Officer Ljapin decided that he wanted to sell his land.  Those that chose to buy land could remain here, while others chose to sell their homes to the land buyers and moved to the Slawgorod region where they were allowed to settle on government property.

In 1907 Peter P. Kasdorf came to Margenau, Siberia, from Margenau, Molochna with his wife Helena, nee Goossen, and their youngest son Jacob who was 17 at that time.  They also leased their land.  Peter died in 1909, leaving his widow Helena with a fair sum of money.  She decided to give each of her four children 4,000 Rubel, inheritance money.  This gave her children the opportunity to buy land at Margenau, S.  Her daughter Barbara, Mrs. Gerhard P. Reimer and her family who had moved to Margenau, S. from Spat, Crimea in 1903 now purchased property.

Johann Peter and Anna (Eitzen) Kasdorf

Johann Peter and Anna (Eitzen) Kasdorf

Her son Johann5, with his family, moved to here from Margenau, M, where he was one of the landless among the Mennonites.  Her daughter Helena, Mrs. Jacob Fr. Huebert, with her family had moved here with original group in 1902.

Other land buyers at this time were Peter Rahn from Crimea, Gerhard Wiens and Jacob Wall from Ufa, Abram Tieszen and Johann Regehr from Friedensfeld,  Widow Vogt from Memrik, and Kornelius Epp from Adreesfeld.

In 1907 an M.B. church for about 300 people was built in Margenau.  This church was attended by people from the area in the radius of about 25 kilometers from Margenau.  Jakob Franz Huebert was installed as the Senior Minister for this congregation.  His assisting ministers were Rev. Johann Regier and Rev. Gerhard Reimer4.  Franz Bergen was elected as the Diacon.

* Len Loeppky Omsk Tour 2011.

Auto Biography of Hans Kasdorf

Hans Kasdorf was born in Russia, grew up in South America and Instructed at post secondary schools in North America.  His autobiography is an interesting read for many Mennonites.   If you are going on the Len Loeppky tour to Siberia in June of 2011, you would probably do well to read the sections of this book that deal with the Omsk, Slawgorad area of Siberia.  Click here to read his autobiography.

The meaning of the name Kasdorf

1. In all probability a Germanized spelling of Karsdorp, the name of a prominent Dutch Mennonite family in Leiden, some of which reportedly moved to Hamburg, Germany.

2. German: habitational name from places in Saxony or former West Prussia called Kasdorf or Kastorf, named with the Rhineland dialect word Kas, Kos ‘copse of young oaks’ + Old High German dorf, thorf ‘village’.

3. (Käsdorf): habitational name from any of several places in Lower Saxony named Käsdorf.

Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, Mar 2003

Kasdorf, the Name

KASDORF, the Name

The information given here has been found in Libraries and the internet.  Please comment if you have more information.

In 1940 Gustav E.Reimer (1916-1979) of Heubuden (1), West Prussia, son of Diakon Gustav Reimer, published his paper “Die Familiennamen der Westpreussischen Mennoniten” in Nr.3 of ‘Schriftenreihe des Mennonitischen Geschichtsvereins’ which was reprinted in 1963.   According to this paper the Mennonite Kasdorfs were primarily found in three congregations in Prussia: the Flemish church in Danzig-Stadt, the Flemish church at Tiegenhagen, and the Flemish church at Heubuden.  It is this latter church that our ancestor Peter Kasdorf (1774) adhered to.

The earliest Mennonite Kasdorf found to date is Johann Kasdorf (~1617) of the Danzig area.

It is believed that this Johann possibly left the Lutheran church to join the mennonites.  Through information from George Kasdorf (Mass.) I learned that the Kasdorfs originally were of the Lutheran faith.  Many lived in the Gdansk area where the mennonites had settled from about 1530 on.  It is believed that this Johann Kasdorp joined the Mennonites.

According to the Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vil, III p. 152.

Karsdorp was a former Dutch Mennonite family name,  especially found in Leiden, where Jan Karsdorp was a deacon  of the Flemish congregation 1695-1897, and of the (1700) United Mennonite congregation 1714-1717; Nicolas Karsdorp was five times a deacon of this congregation during the period 1725 – 1762, and Anthony Karsdorp four times  in 1747 – 1777.  The Karsdorps were rather well-to-do merchants.  Gerrit Karsdorp and Gerrit Karsdorp Jr, both preachers at Hamburg, Germany were members of this family.  Another member of this family, Abraham Karsdorp, a carpenter of Dordrecht, Dutch province of South Holland, was custodian of the meeting house and the last member of the Dordrech congregation when it died out about the middle of the 19th century.  After his death his nephew J. Karsdorp considered himself private owner of the properies of the congregation, as did after his death in 1865 his heirs, who sold the meeting house appropriated the funds of the congregation.  Harmen Karsdorp, Jr., from Hamburg, apparently belonging to the same family, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1700, with his wife Adriana de Vos and their children, and became a preacher of the Germantown congregation.  Isaac Karsdorp (d. before 1708) who also went to Germantown in 1700, probably emigrated from Hamburg.

The Prussian Mennonite name Kasdorf, found in Prussia, Russia and Ameica, is probably of the same origin as Karsdorp.

There are some who would debate this.  According to the Kasdorf’s from the United States it is believed that the name originated in northern Germany, and originally was Von Kasdorf.  There is a town in northern Germany called Kasdorf.  It is said that this town was named as Kaiserdorf (village of the king) originally and it was later changed to Kasdorf.

Kasdorf is a municipality in the district of Rhein-Lahn, in Rhineland-Palatinate, in western Germany.  There is a village named Kasdorf about 60 Km west of Frankfurt.

Ther is a city named Kaiserdorf in Austria.

To Russia 1803

Peter Johann Kasdorf and Maria Steffan came to Molotchna, S.Russia. on June 23, 1804.  They came with the first group of settlers that settled in Molotchna (about 162 families). According to B.H.Unruh’s history, they came with 1 Wagon, a half plough, a harrow, 6 horses, 2 sheep, 20 head of cattle, and 10 pigs.

At the time of the migration to Molotchna they had only one child, Susanna, named after Maria’s mother.

In 1807 they had another daughter who was named after her mother Maria.  Although no record is found of her death, we assume that she died before 1813, because they had another daughter at that time that was named Maria.  Their only known son Peter was born on Oct. 1, 1811.

They settled with 20 other families near the junction of the Molochnaya and Juschanlee Rivers, between the villages of Lichtenau and Muensterberg and they named their village Blumstein.

This group had left Prussia in 1803, but when they got to Chortitza settlement it was decided that they would not be able to build homes before the winter set in and therefore they stayed with their Mennonite “brothers” through the winter.  In spring when the weather was favorable again they moved on to their new home in the Molotchna area.

Russia to Brazil

Russia to Brazil

According to the Ship List from the MB Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba:  Johann Kasdorf and his family were among the emigrants from Russia to Canada aboard the in 1930.  Due to a late decision by the Immigration Canada that they could not accept any more refugees from Russia, the Kasdorfs were re-routed to Brazil.  The Kasdorfs were listed on the passenger list as follows:

Kasdorf Johann – 48, Frau Anna – 47, Kinder: Anna – 24, Johann – 14, Abram – 5, Heinrich – 9, Jacob – 7, Maria 7 months; from the village of Gljaden, Slawgrad, Siberien; with the destination in Canada at Chortitz, Winkler:

Sponsors:  1.  H.H Quiring, Chortitz, Winkler, Manitoba, parents of Anna (Eitzen) Kasdorf.  2.  Schwager und Schwaegerinnen: Jacob, Kornelius und Agatha Eitzen, siblings to Anna, of the same address.  3.  Peter Kasdorf,  (son of Johann and Anna) of the same address.


In Brazil they settled in the Curitiba area.  Johann was 48 years of age.  They took up farming here.  Johann died in Brazil; Anna and her daughter Mary moved to Canada in 1960.

All the children except Peter were here with them.

Glyaden, Barnaul, Russia – Home of the Kasdorfs 1921 – 1929

Glyaden, Barnaul

According to the information that Peter gave to his daughter Susan in the last years of his life, the family moved to Glyaden when he was 13 years of age.  This would have been about in 1921.  Here in Glyaden #3 they received land along with other relatively poor mennonites who had come from Southern Russia, because of their landless situation.

They lived in Glyaden #3 until 1929 when they began their emigration to Brazil, South America where they arrived in 1930.  Because of what they had seen during the revolution they were very sure that Russia, under the communist Regime was not a place where they would be able to live in freedom.  They took their first opportunity to leave the country.

* Len Loeppky Omsk Tour 2011.

Russian Revolution


During the Russian revolution, Johann was forced to take care of the army horses.  First for the government forces and then for the Red Army after he was captured by the communists.  He took his son Peter with him, which turned out to be a blessing; had Peter not been with his father, his fate would probably have been on the front lines of the army.

Because of his circumstance, where he took care of the animals for the army, he was seldom in great danger.  However, Peter later told his family of the dreadful things he had seen.  He had to use the horses to dig mass graves for the red army.  They would then line up their captives alongside the grave and either shoot them, or in many cases they wanted to save amunition so the prisoners were either killed with a spear or decapitated, as young Peter was forced to watch.  He then had to fill in the grave with horse drawn grader

Marriage of Peter Johann Kasdorf and Anna Eitzen – 1905

Johann Peter and Anna (Eitzen) Kasdorf Margenau, Molotchna

Johann and Anna were married on January 11, 1905.  Their first child, Anna was born on October 10, 1905. Their next two children, Helena(I) and Peter Johann were born in Marganau, Molotchna, between 1905 and 1908.

Omsk Settlement The next four children, Helena(II) born in 1909, Jakob(I) born in 1912, Agatha born 1913, and Johanna Helena born in 1914, the source does not give a birth village, just Russia.  Since it is believed that the Johann Kasdorf family moved to Marganau, Siberia, near the city of Omsk, in early 1909 and did not leave here until 1915 it is assumed that these children were born at this location.  Johann, bought land at this location and farmed for a while.  Johann also invested in a feed mill, “schrotmuel” near Margenau, S. To finance this venture Peter loaned money, using his farm as collateral.  The size of the mill can best be assessed by the number of employees; they employed seven or eight workers.  They did not have any insurance, and to their misfortune the mill was destroyed by fire.  Because of the money that was owing on the place, the Kasdorfs had to sell their home at this place.  They lost all they had.

Paschni After the fire in 1915 the Kasdorfs moved to village of Grigorjewka in the Paschni, settlement in Siberia.  Three children were born to the Kasdorfs at this place; Johann in 1915, Lydia in 1917 and Heinrich in 1920.  Johann had a lot of experience with animals, and earned a meagre living as a veternarian.  This would come in handy during the revolution.  Because they were quite poor when the communist rule began they did not suffer as much as the more well-to-do.  If they had been owners of a feedmill they would not have fared as well.