Our Ancestors came to Russia

Peter Kasdorf and Maria Steffens Kasdorf

Peter and Maria came to Molotchna, 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, (a wealthy family).

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 know that she died before 1813, because they had another daughter at that time that was named Maria.  Their only 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 Muesterberg 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 mennonite families that had migrated to southern Russia earlier,  until spring.  When the weather was favorable again they moved on to their new home.

Peter Johann Kasdorf

Peter was born in Schweingrube, Stuhm, Marienburg Werder, Prussia.  The village of Stuhm was located south of Marienburg, about 45 kilometres south of the Gulf of Danzig in the Baltic Sea.  His father, Johann Kasdorp was listed in the 1776 census in the village of Heubuden, also in Marienburg Werder.  This would be about 20 kilometres north of Stuhm.

Peter was married to Maria Steffen.

According to the 1835 Russian census, Peter Kasdorf moved to Margenau from Blumstein in 1826.  He was 60 years old at this time.  He moved here with his wife Maria (53), his son Peter (23), and daughter Maria (21).   At this time no mention is made of his older daughter Susanna, who would have been 32 years old.  It is assumed that she would have been married by this time or she may have died.  We continue to search for more information about  her.

Maria Steffen

The Steffen name was not totally uncommon among the Mennonites of that day.

Maria, born at Fuerstenauer-weide, Prussia in 1780 was the eldest daughter of  Johann and Susanna Steffen.  Little is known of her mother, but her father was born in Margen, Elbing, Prussia in 1760 and he was the son of  Christian Steffen.  Johann was the 6th of seven boys in this family.  It is believed that this family was of the Lutheran religion, not Mennonite.  However, Johann is listed in the 1776 Prussian Mennonite list.  At this time it is not known to the writer when he joined the Mennonites.

Maria had two sisters, Margaretha and Susanna, and one brother Johann.

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