Hirschenhof - An estate in Courland/Lithuania [Baltic] On a map, it is
found east of the Düna and south of Riga. The largest town on the
Düna is Kokenhusen.
Apparently, the establishment of the Hirschenhof colony was a sudden
idea of the absolute monarch, Catherine the Great. Her order to General
Governor Browne dated 10 May 1755 offers some illumination. The Empress
have found Hirschenhof and Helfreichshof, situated near each other,
among those crown estates located in Livonia (Latvia) that are
abandoned. They are nearly empty; farmers inhabit scarcely one fourth
of them. There are too few people to work the land. We therefore find
it well and good to designate both of these communities as colonial
plantations to attract farmers from Germany. We shall transfer their
establishment and foundation to the supervisory direction of our
Latvian Economic General Director Stackelberg.”
According to the articles of this manifesto, „such
contracts should be agreed upon so that they do not obtain the least
advantage over the Saratov colonists. Rather, if anything, they should
be curtailed to some extent.”
The Latvian peasants dwelling on the estates at this time were to be
resettled to other estates. On August 17, 1766, sixty-nine colonists
signed contracts that marked the legal foundation for Hirschenhof in
Oranienbaum. Another twelve colonists followed on March 19, 1769.
Just as on the Volga, Hirschenhof colonists found others with whom they
had previously lived. They came in large measure from Denmark
(Schleswig) and consisted of the earliest colonists who had answered
the call of the Danish king in 1759.
By comparing the registers from Denmark and the settlement lists of
Hirschenhof, I have put the families together in this work. Differing
information in the reports of individual families result in differing
degrees of probability of accuracy in the correlation.
list of names