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 wrote: We 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.

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