Two Hessler families settled in the Volga German colony of Norka on 15 August 1767. They are believed to be related, but the exact relationship between them has yet to be determined.
(1) Johann Jacob Hessler, son of Johann Jacob Hessler of Niedergründau, and Anna Maria Meininger, daughter of Johannes Meininger of Mittelgründau, were married in Rothenbergen on 26 August 1745. They had a number of children whose baptisms are recorded in the Gründau parish register including Christina (born 28 May 1751), Anna Margaretha (born 22 May 1755), and Friedrich (born 5 February 1762). Father Johann Jacob Hessler died 8 November 1762, and his widow remarried on 5 January 1764 to Hartmann Ifland.
Johann Heinrich Hessler, son of Johannes Hessler, & Katharina Reiswig were married on 4 June 1766 in the Reformed Church in Lübeck. Johann Heinrich's birth and baptism are recorded in the Gründau parish register. They joined the immigration to Russia.
The Hessler, Ifland, and Reiswig families arrived together from Lübeck at the port of Oranienbaum on 9 August 1766 aboard the pink Slon under the command of Lieutenant Sergey Panov.
Johann Jacob Hessler's three children are recorded on the 1767 census of Norka in Household No. 67 under their stepfather's surname of Ifland. Johann Heinrich Hessler and his wife are recorded on the 1767 census in Household No. 72.
The Oranienbaum passenger list records Heinrich Hessler as a farmer while the 1767 census records him as a craftsman (Handwerker). Both documents record that he came from the German district of Isenburg.
- List of those recruited by Johann Facius from 13 November 1765 to 18 February 1766.
- 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): Nr010, Nr155.
- Mai, Brent Alan and Dona Reeves-Marquardt. German Migration to the Russian Volga (1764-1767) (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2003): #1191.
- Parish register of Gründau (Archion.de).
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 3 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2005): 248.
- Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): #4042, #4044.