Breitenweisen, Reichenbach, Lautertal & Schönberg are four small villages in the region of Starkenburg, in southern Hesse, about 40 kilometers south of Darmstadt city.
Johann Matthias Rutz, son of Hans Georg & Elisabetha Barbara Rutz, was born 8 February 1726 in Breitenweisen, and baptized on 10 February 1726 in the Reichenbach Evangelical Church. He married Anna Catharina Massal, daughter of Christian Massal & Maria Eva Hoffmann, on 9 Apr 1750 in Reichenbach. Anna Catharina had been born 15 Mar 1728, and baptized on 17 March 1728 in Reichenbach.
They had nine known children, each born in Lautertal and baptized in Reichenbach, except Anna Eva: (1) Johannes, born on 8 May 1749 and baptized on 9 May 1749; (2) Elisabetha, born on 27 February 1751, and baptized on 28 February 1751; (3) Anna Catharina, born on 26 April 1753, and baptized on 29 April 1753; (4) Anna Catharina (again), born on 22 April 1755, and baptized on 24 April 1755; (5) Johann Philipp, born on 30 November 1756, and baptized in December 1756; (6) Anna Barbara, born on 24 April 1759, and baptized on 26 April 1759; (7) Johann Peter, born on 13 June 1761, baptized on 14 June 1761; (8) Anna Eva, born on 4 April 1763 in Schönberg, and baptized there on 6 April 1763; and (9) Hans Philipp, born on 6 August 1765, and baptized on 7 August 1765.
Johann Matthias Rutz and his family emigrated to Russia, departing from Lübeck aboard the ship Der Junge Heinrich with skipper Henrich Niemann at the helm. They arrived at the Russian port in Oranienbaum on 4 July 1766.
Johann Matthias, his wife, and four of their children arrived in the colony of Dönhof, on 18 June 1767 where they are recorded in the 1767 Census in Household No. 98.
On the 1798 Census, Johann Matthias is recorded in Dönhof in Household No. Dh099. Daughter Katharina moved to Laub where she is recorded on the 1798 Census in Household No. Lb13.
There are two other Rutz families that arrived in Dönhof, both coming from the Starkenburg area. The relationship between them and the family of Johann Matthias Rutz has not be determined.
- 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).
- Parish records of Reichenbach (LDS Film No. 1195076).
- Parish records of Schönberg (LDS Film No. 1195091)
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 1 (Göttingen: Der Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 1999): 367.
- Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical Universiy, 2010): 148.