Nikolaus Hell, a cloth weaver (Tuchweber), and his wife Maria settled in the Volga German colony of Merkel on 28 August 1766. They are recorded there on the 1767 census in Household No. 2 along with their newborn son Jakob Friedrich.
The 1767 census records that Nikolaus Hell came from the German region of Ulm.
In 1788, after paying his debts, Jakob Friedrich Heldt began military service.
- Mai, Brent Alan. 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga: Economy, Population, and Agriculture (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1999): Mv1689.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 3 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2005): 119.