Home > Exhibits & Events > Austin 2016
Volga German
Genealogy Workshop

6-7 February 2016
Austin, Texas

Concordia University Bell Tower on the Campus Green
Austin, Texas
Skyline of Austin, Texas
      The Center for Volga German Studies is hosting a two-day genealogy workshop in Austin, Texas, that will focus on resources and tools to research the genealogies of the Volga Germans, their ancestors, and their descendants.

      The public is invited to attend.


Early Registration: $95 per person if you register before 1 January 2016.
Regular Registration: $125 per person for registration received after 1 January 2016 or at the door.

To register & pay by credit/debit card, use the online form.

If you prefer to pay by check, print the Registration Form, and mail it along with your check. To qualify for the Early Registration rate, payment must be received by January 1.

If you have questions, please call Tanya at 503.493.6369.

[Note: There is no discount for partial attendance of this event. Notice of cancellation before 15 January 2016 will receive a full refund; after 15 January 2016 will receive no refund.]


Neill-Cochran House
Built in 1855, the Neill-Cochran House preserves and reflects the experience of some of Austin's earliest residents.
      Registration and all workshop events will be held at the historic Neill-Cochran House Museum.

            2310 San Gabriel St.
            Austin, TX 78705

Parking: Parking is available free in the museum lot, accessible from 23rd Street inbetween Leon and San Gabriel.


      Dr. Brent Mai, Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, will be the speaker for the workshop. He has spoken world-wide on many topics related to Volga German history and culture. Dr. Mai, whose father's side is Volga German, grew up in Western Kansas, graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, and continued graduate studies at George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Vanderbilt University.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Saturday Schedule, 6 February 2016
8:30 - 9:00 Registration & Visiting
9:00 - 9:45 Session 1: Introduction to the Volga Germans and their Heritage
Everyone starts on a different page when it comes to their knowledge of who the Volga Germans are and how they came to be in Russia. This session will bring all attendees to the same place in that understanding - and we'll carry on from there.
10:00 - 10:45 Session 2: The Geography of Volga German Genealogy
The trek of the Volga Germans around the world has created a challenging landscape for genealogical researchers. Each Volga German colony had many names during the past 250 years. The boundaries of the regions in which the colonies are located changed numerous times. Add in two languages (Russian & German) and two alphabets (Cyrillic & Latin), and more complications arise in understanding how one Volga German location relates to another. During this session we'll address these multiple geographic identities and how they affect research.
11:00 - Noon Session 3: The Western European Origins of the Volga Germans
When the Volga German colonies were founded (1764-1772), Germany did not exist. Rather, the ethnic Germans were living in a plethora of jurisdictions, kingdoms, duchies, and independent cities - many without contiguous borders. Today's Germany did not exist until these areas were unified in 1871 by Otto von Bismarck. Furthermore, not all Volga Germans were actually German. French, Italian, Polish, Dutch, British, Austrian, Swiss, and Scandinavian colonists also lived among them. During this session, we'll explore resources that are available to help determine the colonists origins before they became Volga German.
Noon - 1:00 Lunch
Lunch will be provided. Those with special dietary needs should let Tanya know during the registration process. For those who sign-up onsite, there many not be a provided lunch.
1:00 - 2:00 Session 4: Volga Germans Censuses
Several censuses were taken during the 177-year history of the Volga German colonies. During this session, we'll examine those that are known to exist and how they work together to create a genealogical outline of Volga German families.
2:15 - 3:00 Session 5: Reading Russian and German Records
Most records pertaining to the Volga Germans while they were living along the Volga River are in either Russian (Cyrillic alphabet) or German (Latin alphabet). We'll discuss the challenges presented by these two languages and share some resources to make working with them a bit easier.
3:15 - 4:15 Session 6: Immigration, Emigration, & Migration Records
The Volga German colonies existed for 177 years. There was an immigration that brought them there; for some, an internal migration within Russia; and an emigration that dispersed them around the world. During this session, we will review those records that exist for these movements.
4:30 - 5:30 Session 7: Records of the Volga Germans Abroad
Beginning in the 1870s, Volga Germans emigrated from Russia to other parts of the world. This session will identify a variety of resources available for researching the descendants of Volga Germans who have settled in North and South America.
Sunday Schedule, 7 February 2016
      Sunday's schedule will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. During this time, Dr. Mai will be available at the Neill-Cochran House to provide one-on-one assistance with using the resources that have been discussed on Saturday. Bring the family information you have uncovered thus far, and he will help you formulate strategies to move beyond any roadblocks. Lunch is not included on Sunday.
Hotels near the Event Site
      The Neill-Cochran House is located in a residential neighborhood. There are no large hotels within easy walking distance, but there are some bed & breakfast style accommodations nearby:

Hotel Ella
1900 Rio Grande Street
Telephone: 512.495.1800 or 800.311.1619

Star of Texas Inn B&B
611 W. 22nd Street
Telephone: 866.472.6700

Austin's Inn at Pearl Street
1809 Pearl Street
Telephone: 512.478.0051

Austin Folk House B&B
506 W. 22nd Street
Telephone: 512.472.6700

      The following hotels are located in downtown Austin, near the historic Sixth Street entertainment district.

Holiday Inn Express
805 Neches St.
Telephone: 855.239.9222

Residence Inn (Marriott)
300 E. 4th St.
Telephone: 855.239.9485

Hyatt Place - Downtown
211 E. 3rd St.
Telephone: 866.539.8122

Hampton Inn & Suites - Downtown
200 San Jacinto Blvd.
Telephone: 855.238.1591

Last updated 5 January 2016.