Monday, July 14, 2008

Village Coordinators: Strategies & Information

With hundreds of villages settled by Germans across Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s not an easy task to keep track of them! Village Coordinators in both the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the Germans from Russia Heritage Society work hard to assist individuals attempting to bring families and villages together through village research.

Village Coordinators work on a volunteer basis and spend many hours gathering and organizing information. They try to facilitate sharing of family group records, maps, individual and family histories, and video and audio tapes. Many have developed newsletters and websites.

During the 2008 International Convention of Germans from Russia, which meets July 28th through August 3rd in Casper, attendees will have a chance to meet and learn more from Village Coordinators – Strategies and Information and How They Can Help You. Presented at 3:45 p.m., Thursday, July 31st, the session will be led by three veteran researchers – Doris Eckhardt Evans of Almira, Washington; Curt Renz of Ames, Iowa; and Margaret Freeman of Redondo Beach, California.-

Doris Eckhard Evans is a native of Washington state and attended college at Washington State University, where she earned a degree in Education. She has been involved in genealogy for many years and was elected to the Board of Directors of AHSGR in 1999. She served two terms and retired in 2005. At its Lincoln, Nebraska meeting in 2006, the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia awarded Doris its Distinguished Service Award.

Curt Renz grew up in South Dakota and went to college in Iowa, later earning an M.A. degree at the University of Northern Colorado. A music teacher since 1962, he retired in 2002 and worked part-time at Iowa State University in their student practicum program. An active Village Coordinator in both AHSGR and GRHS, Curt has also served on the Board of Directors for both organizations.-
Margaret Freeman was born in rural Iowa and went to Linfield College in Oregon and later went to graduate school in sociology at the University of Hawaii. After her two sons were in school, she took necessary courses for a teaching credential at USC and is now retired after 23 years in the Santa Monica Elementary Schools. She attended her first AHSGR meeting in 1978; in the 1980s, with some friends, started the Gluckstal Colonies Research Association. During the Casper convention, the group will be presenting their eighth book, "The Glueckstalers of New Russia, the Soviet Union, and North America." A book signing is planned during the convention.
This session will take place in Ballroom A of the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Casper – headquarters for the convention. Up to about one thousand people are expected to register for the gathering.

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