Johannes Schäfer, a craftsman (Handwerker), and his wife Anna Maria settled in the Volga German colony of Schäfer on 1 August 1766. They are recorded there on the 1767 census in Household No. 1 where Johannes is noted to be the mayor (Vorsteher) of the colony. It is after him that the colony took its name.
The 1767 census records that Johannes Schäfer came from the German village of Hanau in the Hessen region.
- 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): Sf18.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 4 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2008): 89.