Johann Wilhelm Schreiber, son of Conrad Schreiber & Anna Margaretha Roth, was baptized on 24 December 1749 in Ronshausen, 12 kilometers southeast of Rotenburg. He was confirmed there in 1763. The parish register in Ronshausen records that this man departed the village in 1766 "to go out into the world" ["Soll in die Welt gegangen Sein"].
It is believed that Wilhelm Schreiber temporarily changed his surname to Becker when he became a colonist, likely to hide his true identity because he was not yet 18 years old, the minimum age for marriage at that time. A "Wilhelm Becker from Ronshausen in the district of Rotenburg" married on 7 May 1766 in Büdingen to Anna Eva Moritz, daughter of Johann Heinrich Moritz. She had been born on 29 November 1750 in Reckershausen, Hessen.
This Johann Wilhelm & Anna Eva Becker arrived from Lübeck at the port in Oranienbaum on 9 August 1766 aboard the Russian galliot Strelna under the command of Lieutenant Sornev. They were traveling with Johann Heinrich & Anna Maria Mauritius [Moritz].
This Becker couple next appear as Wilhelm & Anna Eva Schreiner arriving in the Volga German colony of Norka on 15 August 1767 and are listed there on the 1767 Census in Household No. 135. [Igor Plehve confirms that this Schreiner is errantly recorded in his book on the 1767 Census and should in fact be Schreiber.] In the next Household (No.136) is recorded Johann Heinrich Moritz and his (new?) wife Maria Sibilla.
Wilhelm Schreiber, his wife Anna Eva, children (Johann Heinrich, age 6½; Anna Katharina, age 4; Anna Regina, age ¼), and father-in-law Johann Heinrich Moritz are recorded on the 1775 census of Norka in Household No. 139.
Wilhelm Schreiber and his wife Eva Moritz are next recorded on the 1798 Census of Norka residing in Household No. Nr146.
[An alternate theory that doesn't involve a name switch from Schreiber to Becker and back would be that the above noted Johann Wilhelm Schreiber from Ronshausen is the single theology student who arrived from Lübeck at the port in Oranienbaum on 19 July 1766 aboard the packet-boat Lebed under the command of Lieutenant Timophey Elshin. The above referenced Wilhelm Becker, also from Rosenhausen, died after arrival in Russia and his widow remarried to Becker's hometown colleague Johann Wilhelm Schreiber and settled in Norka as noted.]
- 1775 Norka Census (Household No. 139).
- 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): Nr146.
- 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): 82.
- Parish records of Ronshausen.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 3 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2005): 265.
- Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): #2681, #4991.