The Beck family of Gelnhaar is a connecting link to several families that settled in the Volga German colony of Walter.
Joachim Ritzel, son of Asmus and Anna Margaretha Ritzel, married on 9 May 1737 to Elisabetha Margaretha Vogel, the daughter of Hans Adam Vogel. They had at least one child, Julianna, who was born on 8 November 1739. Julianna Ritzel married Johann Adam Vogel and immigrated to Russia settling in Walter [see the Vogel family].
Joachim Ritzel's wife Elisabetha Margaretha died and on 24 June 1750 he remarried to Julianna (surname illegible). They had at least one child, Magdalena, who was born 25 March 1753. Joachim Ritzel died on 19 November 1756.
Joachim Ritzel's widow, Julianna, married Johann Heinrich Beck, son of Johann Erhard Beck, on 31 January 1759. They had at least two children: (1) Johannes, born 2 March 1759, and (2) Sibilla Barbara, born 13 February 1765.
Johann Heinrich and Julianna Beck arrived in the port at Oranienbaum on 15 September 1766 aboard the snow-brig Die Frau Dietrika under the command of Skipper Joachim Friedrich Luhn - along with three children: Magdalena (Ritzel, Juliana's daughter by her first husband), Johannes, and Sibilla Barbara.
They settled in the Volga German colony of Walter on 10 September 1767 and are recorded there on the 1767 Census in Household No. 88.
Johann Heinrich Beck is also recorded on the baptismal register of Gelnhaar as the father of Wÿgand Beck, the illegitimate son of Susanna Müller, who had been born on 28 December 1758. The baptismal register also notes that Johann Heinrich denied this paternity. Nevertheless, Wÿgand used the surname Beck on later documents in Russia.
Susanna Müller, her husband Johann Nicolaus Wenzel, and her son Wÿgand (Beck) arrived in Russia on the same ship that Johann Heinrich Beck was on, and also settled in the Volga German colony of Walter where they are recorded on the 1767 census in Household No. 91 [see the Wenzel family].
Katharina Elisabeth Beck, daughter of Johann Erhard Beck and sister of Johann Heinrich, married Johann Konrad Link and immigrated to Russia, settling in Walter [see the Link family].
- 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): Wt046.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 4 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2008): 314.
- Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): #6048.
Entry in the Gelnhaar register recording the baptism of Wÿgand Beck, the illegitimate son of Susanna Müller and Johann Heinrich Beck.
Source: Maggie Hein.