The Kammerzell Family


Theodore and Elizabeth Kammerzell~February 1928


Surnames also on this page:


From the Biography of Theodore "Ted" Kammerzell...provided by the Pilgrim Congregational Church-Billings, Montana~1982:

..."the oldest child and son of Georg Kammerzell and his wife Elisabeth (nee Lichtenberg), was born on the 19th of July, 1906 in the German village-colony of Walter, on the Volga River in Russia. His family was traditionally employed in agriculture...

With the worsening conditions and the threat of war looming over all of Europe, and with the Bolshevik revolution itself on the threshold in Imperial Russia, the Kammerzell family (consisting of the parents and three children) immigrated to the United States in the middle of 1912. They came on the German steamer Breslau to the Port of Galveston in Texas, and from there they came by train to Park City, Montana. (Interesting to note on the original travel document and ticket: The cost of the voyage from Germany to Galveston was less than the cost of the train fare from Galveston to Montana!) Little Theodore was only five years old at the time, so he did receive all of his formal public schooling right in Park City...At the age of nearly 16...Theodore was privileged to renew his baptismal covenant through the Rite of Confirmation on Palm Sunday, April 16, 1922...His memory verse was John 10:27-28...

At first the family worked simply as beet laborers for the Wm. Benners...While still a lad and then in youth, "Ted" had worked along with his parents and siblings on the land. Now, in young adulthood, he continued to help his family with their work responsibility, but also took the opportunity of extra employment with the railroad...

On February 22, 1928 Theodore Kammerzell was united with Elizabeth Weil...the happy young couple's marriage was blessed with two sons...

"Ted "and "Lizzie" worked together in farming a succession of different farms during a total of 24 years. After they had their farm sale, they came to Billings where Mr. Kammerzell then worked for the City Parks Dept. until his retirement at the age of 66...

Mr. Kammerzell had always enjoyed quite good health...his favorite pursuits...gardening, yard work and occasional fishing. He especially enjoyed the presence and fellowship of his grandchildren...the last call of his Maker came very suddenly...September 18, 1982...The time of his pilgrimage had been 76 years and 2 months."


*Research into the Kammerzell name has revealed possible origins and path of migration.  Moreover, a story of struggle, survival and hope...

In the mid 1700 times were troubled for thousands of struggling Germans.   Land was becoming scarce, conflicts between Catholics and Protestants were heated.  Thousands began to leave their homes with hopes of a prosperous new beginning.   The Russian Empress Catherine, whom it is believed to have had ulterior motives, had invited these agriculture-wise Germans to come populate the Russian Volga River Valley.  Many of these emigrants are believed to be from Germany's region Hesse. Life once in the Volga was miserably primitive for these colonists; Catherine's preparations were far from elaborate. She only provided small allowances, animals and implements.  These now Volga-Germans arrived to a vast, uninhabited grassland.  Many colonists did not survive their first year.

As a century passed, the original hundred or so of these colonies, plus new colonies, remained closed from the rest of Russia.  They prospered far beyond their original state, yet took less than a century to almost disintegrate. During the reign of Catherine's descendants, the Volga Germans were finding themselves persecuted by Russia because of their faith, language and German blood. In the mid 1800 many began to flee. By the end of World War I those who did not flee suffered years of further persecution in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. In these years to come, the communist government continued hateful acts toward these people; including enforced starvations, murder at the decree of Communist regime and deportation of hundreds of thousands into Siberia.   

Kammerzell is among the surnames of original colonists of Walter, Russia.

Kämmerzell is an ancient village near Fulda Hesse Germany, believed to be the name's origin.


*Research includes that of information which can be found just as I have. Nothing here is reprinted from anywhere. I've merely summarized my understanding of what I've learned from countless hours of searching the many, many accounts of the Volga Germans found on countless Internet pages. I have not verified all information is fact.



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