Does "German Russia" refer to Courland? #courland #latvia

Singer, Matthew <MSinger@...>

Dear Courland SIGers:

By way of (re)introduction: my name is Matt Singer and I had been very
active on the Courland, Latvia, and Lithuania JewishGen SIG listservs
from about 1998 to 2002. I am in the process of re-affiliating with
those SIGs and their listservs.

My question (and I have posted this on the Latvia SIG as well): are
others aware of the use of the term "German Russia" as a way to refer to
Courland (or perhaps some other area inside or outside the Russian Pale
of Settlement)?

Why I'm asking: among my KLEINMAN family (on my mother's side), though
it was large and close, no one seemed to know the specifics re: the
family's European place of origin. A great-aunt mentioned being "from
Russia" in general but noted that my great-great-grandfather, Abraham
Kleinman, spoke German as his native language (Abraham, by the way,
emigrated to the U.S. in 1887 and immediately settled in Pennsylvania
German-dominated central Pennsylvania). After learning about Courland's
unique history as a historically/culturally/linguistically German region
within the Russian empire, I searched the All-Latvia database (as it
existed in the last years of the past century) and found Kleinmans in
what was then called Friedrichstadt and is now known as Jaunjelgava.
While some of the first names listed on the All-Latvia database were the
same as those in my family (Abraham, Elias) there wasn't enough
information provided to be absolutely sure that these were "my"
Kleinmans (I found these Kleinmans on the "Jews without Permits" lists
rather than revision lists; revision lists would have provided much more
information about age, other family members, etc.).

We recently found a 1910 census record >from Altoona PA listing Abraham
Kleinman and his family. The census record notes that Abraham and his
wife were born in "German Russia" and, as my aunt had said, notes that
their native language was German.

Thank you!
Matt Singer


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