Portland Metropolitan Area, Oregon

Includes the following communities: 
Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon
Gresham, Multnomah Co., Oregon
Troutdale, Multnomah Co., Oregon
Beaverton, Washington Co., Oregon
Clackamas, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Hillsboro, Washington Co., Oregon
Lake Oswego, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Happy Valley, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Tigard, Washington Co., Oregon
Milwaukie, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Wilsonville, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Oregon City, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Albina, Multnomah Co., Oregon
Aloha, Washington Co., Oregon
Forest Grove, Washington Co., Oregon
West Linn, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Middleton, Washington Co., Oregon
Redland, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Eagle Creek, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Sandy, Clackamas Co., Oregon
Beavercreek, Clackamas Co., Oregon

Many Volga German families settled in Portland during the early years of the city's existence, and additional families have continued to move into the area. From the original Volga German neighborhood (Albina) northeast of the downtown core, the descendants of these families are located throughout the metropolitan area which includes Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties.

The first Volga Germans, about seventeen families, arrived in Portland in 1881 after spending several years on the Kansas plains. Members of this vanguard included Conrad Appel, Phillip Fuchs, George Green, Henry Repp, and several Kleweno, Ochs, and Scheuermann families. They had first immigrated to Rush and Barton Counties in Kansas between 1875 and 1878. Most were from the colonies of Neu-Yagodnaya-Polyana, Schöntal, and Schönfeld, which were daughter colonies of Yagodnaya-Polyana and neighboring Pobochnaya. The group obtained special emigrant fares through the Union Pacific Railroad and Oregon Steam Navigation Company to travel to Portland where they had heard good farmland was available.

According to Richard Scheuerman in his book Palouse Country: A Land and Its People, the Volga Germans were disappointed to discover in Oregon that the best lands had already been taken and that the ground was available was unfit for cultivation. The frustrated immigrants turned to work at a local lumber mill and for the railroad, which was then grading the huge Albina fill in present Portland. In the spring of 1881, these Volga Germans learned that the railroad officials were offering to sell 150,000 acres of “the finest agricultural lands in the northwest,” east of the Cascades, which would be accessible by rail in 1882. When approached by the Volga Germans, the railroad officials saw their opportunity to implement their new plans for colonization of the Palouse country in Washington. Several representatives traveled to eastern Washington to inspect the available lands. They returned favorably impressed with the land’s fertility. The hilly topography reminded them of the Bergseite along the Volga.

Railroad magnate Henry Villard chose a retired brigadier general, Thomas R. Tannatt, who had commanded Union forces, to be the general agent of his new company, the Oregon Improvement Company, which was headquartered in Portland. Tannatt was the one who later arranged for colonization of the Palouse by the Volga Germans and other immigrants. These Volga German families that briefly settled in Portland were instrumental in the colonization and development of the Palouse country near the towns of Endicott, St. John, Dusty, and Colfax.

George Rath, in his book Emigration from Germany through Poland and Russia to the U.S.A., states that the oldest settlement of Evangelical Volga Germans in Oregon was in Portland. In 1882, colonists from Norka, who had at first settled in Iowa and Nebraska, came by train to San Francisco. These immigrants worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and were either brought to or terminated their employment in San Francisco. From there they sailed by ship to Portland where they were employed as day laborers in factories. In 1888-1890, after some years in which there were no new arrivals, Portland received another influx of Volga German colonists originally from Balzer and Frank. However, the majority of Portland's Volga German immigrants arrived between 1890-1905. Colonists Norka comprise the bulk of around 500 families in the existing settlement. They populated an entire ward in northeast Portland and were organized in a number or religious congregations. In 1892, a group of colonists from Catholic colonies along the Volga arrived in Portland from Topeka, Kansas.

Volga German Congregations: 

Ebenezer German Congregational Church
First German Baptist Church
Free Evangelical Brethren Church
German Evangelical Brethren Congregational Church
Mennonite Brethren Church
St. Agatha Catholic Church
St. Mary's / Immaculate Heart Catholic Church
St. Paul's Evangelical and Reformed Church
Second German Congregational Church
Trinity Lutheran Church
Zion Congregational Church

Volga German Families: 

The following Volga German families settled in and around Portland:

Achziger from Kolb
Adler from Kolb
Albert from Norka
Albrecht from Norka
Alt from Norka
Altergott from Schwed
Amen from Frank
Appel from Morgentau
Arnbrister from Galka
Arndt from Norka
Arnhold from Beauregard
Artzer from Kamenka
Aschenbrenner from Brunnental & Norka
Axt from Jost
Bastron from Frank
Batt from Dietel
Bauer from Norka
Befort from Ober-Monjou
Bender from Kratzke
Bernhardt from Frank
Bershauer from Eckheim
Besel from Hussenbach
Bieber from Rothammel
Bihn from Norka
Blatner from Kamenka
Blehm from Straßburg
Blum / Bloom from Norka
Böckel from Kutter
Bollig from Graf
Borgardt from Schwed
Brecht from Schöntal
Brehm from Norka
Brendel from Preuss
Brenner from Norka
Bretthauer from Brunnental
Brill from Norka
Brun from Norka
Burbach from Norka
Clobe (Kloberdanz) from Rothammel
Deines from Norka
Denner from Franzosen
Denning from Herzog
Derr from Norka
Detloff from Semenovka
Dick from Norka
Dietz from Huck, Kratzke, & Walter
Dillman from Norka
Dinges from Norka
Dinges from Wittmann
Dittloff from Semenovka
Dolberg from Beideck
Dome from Pfeifer
Döring from Norka
Dreher from Ober-Monjou
Dreiling from Herzog
Dumler from Blumenfeld
Ebel from Stephan
Eckhardt from Frank
Eichler from Dönhof
Eisel from Norka
Eisenach from Frank
Elsasser from Galka
Engel from Ober-Monjou
Erdmann from Grimm
Etzel from Pfeifer
Fahrenbruch from Frank
Fegler from Neu-Norka
Feuerstein / Firestone from Norka
Fink from Norka
Fischer from Schwab
Flohr from Merkel
Freiberger from Köhler
Fritz from Friedenfeld
Fritzler from Grimm
Fromm from Hussenbach
Frueauf from Norka
Fuchs from Norka
Gallinger from Hildmann
Gantz from Müller
Gareis from Köhler
Geist from Kraft
Georg / Jörg from Norka
Gerlach from Norka
Giebelhaus from Norka
Glanz from Norka
Glass from Norka
Gobel from Norka
Goetz from Herzog
Grasmick from Balzer
Grün / Green from Norka
Greenwald from Brunnental
Haberman from Balzer
Hagelganz from Kutter
Hahn from Norka
Hamberger from Norka
Hardung / Hartung / Harding from Brunnental
Hefeneider from Norka
Heilbrun from Dietel
Heili from Graf
Heinrich from Norka
Helzer from Norka
Henkel from Norka
Henrich from Hildmann
Herder from Beideck
Hergert from Brunnental
Herrman from Liebental
Hert from Alexanderdorf (Caucasus)
Hessler from Norka
Heuser / Heiser from Norka
Hildermann from Holstein
Hilzer from Norka
Hochnadel from Schuck
Hoffman from Balzer
Hohnstein from Norka
Holmgren from Karras (Caucasus)
Hopp from Frank
Horst from Norka
Huwa from Volmer
Ingenthron from Kamenka
Jacobi from Norka
Jäger / Yeager from Norka
Jost / Yost from Norka
Kaeberle from Pfeifer
Kaiser / Keiser from Norka
Kammerzell from Frank
Kanzler from Kolb
Karlin from Katharinenstadt
Kaucher from Reinwald
Kaufmann from Schilling
Kechter from Walter
Kern from Norka
Kisselman from Dönhof
Kister from Brunnental
Klaus from Norka
Klein from Köhler
Kloberdanz / Kloberdance from Rothammel
Knaub from Merkel
Knaus from Balzer & Moor
Knippel / Knipple from Norka
Kniss / Kness from Norka
Koch from Kolb
Koch from Müller
Koch from Norka
Kohler / Keller / Kehler / Kaylor from Norka
Komlofske from Husaren
Kreick from Huck
Kress from Schuck
Krieger from Norka
Krug from Kratzke
Krumm from Kukkus
Kuhltau / Kilthau from Norka
Kuhn from Herzog
Langmann from Reinwald
Lauer from Rothammel
Lebsack from Frank
Legler from Neu-Bauer
Lehl from Norka
Lehr from Norka
Leiker from Ober-Monjou
Lesser from Frank
Lind from Dönhof
Linenberger from Herzog
Linker from Brunnental
Lofink from Norka
Loos from Norka
Lorenz from Näb
Macht from Köhler
Mai from Kratzke
Maier from Dreispitz
Maul from Norka
Mehler from Eckheim
Mehling from Hussenbach
Meier from Schulz
Melcher from Brunnental
Metzler from Dobrinka
Michaelis from Kratzke
Milberger from Eckheim
Miller from Norka
Miltenberger from Rothammel
Mohr from Beideck
Morasch from Yagodnaya-Polyana
Nagel from Norka
Neuman from Kutter
Niederhaus from Huck
Nolde from Norka
Obermiller from Brunnental
Ostwald from Hussenbach
Pappenheim / Poppenheim from Brunnental & Dönhof
Pauli from Norka
Pfannenstiel from Ober-Monjou
Pfenning from Norka
Popp from Norka
Propp from Hussenbach
Reich from Norka
Reifschneider from Brunnental & Norka
Reisig from Shcherbakovka
Reispich / Reiswig from Norka
Rehn from Kolb
Rekart from Köhler
Relke from Holstein
Repp from Norka
Reuscher from Norka
Richmeier from Herzog
Rieger from Kutter
Rosenow from Kolb
Ross from Norka
Rothermel from Norka
Ruhl from Yagodnaya Polyana
Rupp from Ober-Monjou
Sauer from Norka
Sauer from Zug
Schäfer from Grimm
Schäfer from Huck
Schäfer from Norka
Schanaman from Norka
Schechtel from Schuck
Scheidemann from Norka
Schell from Sewald
Schibel from Messer
Schillereff from Frank
Schilling from Norka
Schleicher from Norka
Schleining from Norka
Schlitt from Norka
Schmer from Norka
Schmidt from Katharinenstadt
Schmunk from Rosenberg
Schneider from Norka
Schneidmiller from Hussenbach
Schnell from Norka
Schoessler from Walter
Schreiber from Norka
Schreiner from Kolb
Schwab from Hussenbach
Schwan from Franzosen
Schwartz / Swartz from Norka
Schwerdt from Kamenka
Schwindt from Norka
Seder from Norka
Sell from Frank
Sinner from Norka
Sittner from Huck
Spady from Norka
Spieker from Norka
Spomer from Beideck
Spreier from Dietel
Stang from Volmer
Steinbock from Köhler
Steinfeld from Holstein
Steinmetz from Brunnental & Hoffental
Steinpreis from Reinwald
Sterkel from Norka
Stricker from Rosenberg
Suppes from Pfeifer
Swartz from Norka
Tautfest from Dietel
Traudt from Norka
Trebelhorn from Beideck
Treber from Norka
Trieber from Norka
Uhrich from Frank
Unrein from Ober-Monjou
Vogel from Wiesenmüller
Volz from Balzer
VonFeldt from Herzog
Wacker / Walker from Norka
Wagner from Frank
Wagner from Kraft
Wasemüller from Rosenberg
Weber from Beideck
Weber from Norka
Weckesser from Anton
Weidenkeller from Norka
Weigandt from Norka
Weigel from Herzog
Weitz from Yagodnaya-Polyana
Weitzel from Norka
Weitzel from Frank
Wilhelm from Huck
Wilhelm from Kolb
Will from Norka
Wittman from Holstein
Wolf from Norka
Wolsborn from Frank
Worster from Balzer
Wunsch from Galka
Yeager from Norka
Yokel from Balzer
Yost from Norka
Zechman from Kolb
Zilch from Norka


- The Volga Germans in Portland (Steve Schreiber)
- Scheuerman, Richard D. & Clifford E. Trafzer. The Volga Germans: Pioneers of the Northwest. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 1985.


- Lincoln Park Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Mount Calvary Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Multnomah Park Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Rose City Cemetery (findagrave.com)
- Willamette National Cemetery (findagrave.com)

Pre-Volga Origin

Albina neighborhood of Portland showing the intersection at N. Vancouver Ave. & N. Russell St. in 1909.
Photo courtesy of Steve Schreiber.

Volga Colonies

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