[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Musings about population demographics in Volhynia

Richard Benert benovich at montanadsl.net
Fri May 9 10:38:58 PDT 2003


Your estimate of 153,000 is probably as defendable as a good many other

The suggestion made yesterday of looking into the 1909
"Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gemeinden in Russland", (translated by Ewald
Wuschke) was a good one.  Since I have recently xeroxed a copy of the
relevant pages from the original (actually from another xerox of the
original) and also made a copy for the SGGEE Library, I am able to give the
figures for all of the parishes as of 1904, as given in this book.  (Ewald
translated the portions on only 6 of the 10 parishes).

Following are the figures given for the Lutheran population of each parish,
followed by my calculations (hopefully somewhat accurate) of the average
population of each local congregation in parentheses.  In a few cases, a
local congregation was made up of more than one village, so the average
village population may in some cases be somewhat exaggerated.   It also
seems certain that the book did not record all the villages contributing to
a congregation, which would also elevate the figures per village.  See my
comments on Jerry's figures for Tuczyn Parish.  These figures from the 1909
book may be quite misleading concerning the size of individual villages.  I
offer them as part of the "musing" process!

Zhitomir                    16,926 (316)
Rozyszcze                18,000 (333)
Heimtal                     17,949 (233)
Tuczyn                       12,739 (318)  (This is based on the 41 villages
listed in the
1909 book.  Jerry's figure of 107 villages for
the parish accounts for his lower
average figure per village).
Novograd-Volynsk   18,095 (221)
Vladimir-Volynsk      14,875 (309) This includes about 10 Russian villages,
with a                                                             small
German population in each.
Emilchin                       7,300 (243)
Luzk                              7,752 (250)
Radomysl                     6,674 (176)
Rovno                    about 10,000
      In the case of Rovno, 37 villages were listed with the number of
families or "Wirt"s in each .   The number of "souls" was given for 23
villages.  For these 23, the total was 3,543, making the average for each
village 154.  If we divide 37 villages into the remaining 6,500 population,
we get an average of 175.  Since about 1,000 families were listed in these
37 villages, we get about 27 families in each village and 6.5 souls in each

The total Lutheran population, from these figures, is about 130,310, if my
calculator is working correctly.  If you add in the Baptists and others not
included in the Lutheran figures (there were almost 20,000 Baptists in the
1897 census, says Giesinger) you come up with a figure remarkably close to
Jerry's estimate of 153,000 total German population.  Amazingly, Jerry came
up with that figure on the basis of an average village population much
smaller than those I gave above.  I hope someone can explain this mystery!

One other thing, in response to Jerry's comment about post-1900 figures.
First of all, these figures from the 1909 book ARE post-1900 figures (mostly
1904), and they are not related to any political program.  I suspect that
Jerry was referring, however, to Trepov's figure of 127,000 in 1909.   But
Trepov's figure cannot be assumed to be too low because his intent was to
exaggerate the German "danger".  (The amazing thing is that, even though
they showed a drop in the German population since the 1890s, the government
went ahead with a bill to further limit German land acquisition on the basis
of Trepov's report.  But here I emphasize that these figures were NOT
related to the Deportation of 1915--and I am not aware of any Deportation of
1905.  Until the German armies advanced on Russia, the government was
thinking only of limiting land acquisition, not of deportation).

The figure of 127,000 for 1909 may be roughly compatible with our guess of
around 150,000 for 5 years earlier.  I've read that about 7,000 alone went
to the Baltic provinces (if memory serves) in those years.  Is it possible
that an additional 15 to 20,000 may have emigrated to other places?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jerry Frank" <jkfrank at shaw.ca>
To: <ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org>
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Musings about population demographics in

> Thank you to everyone for their comments , some very extensive, about the
> population figures for Volhynia.  Here are some additional comments (not
> intended to be argumentative) regarding some basic themes I see.
> Large families:
> I agree that there were a significant number of large families.  However,
> don't think the average size would be up above 10.  There was quite a high
> infant / child mortality rate.  In many cases, only half or less of the
> children would survive to adulthood.  In some cases, all the children in a
> family are lost to an outbreak of cholera.  The large families would bring
> the average up but this would be mitigated by the mortality rate in
> Census:
> As some have already pointed out, the census in those times may not have
> had particularly good controls on it and may have been manipulated for
> political purposes.  Is the 1897 census reliable?  Were the 1880-1885
> the peak of population growth, being offset in later years by outward
> migration?
> I would, in particular, consider post 1900 data especially suspect because
> of its application to the deportations of 1905 and 1915 and the political
> implications of that from various points of view.
> Parish statistics:
> A population of 12,700 is given for the Tutschin Parish in 1904 with some
> very large villages mentioned.  However, I counted all the villages in
> parish and come up with 107.  That is an average of 118 persons per
> village.  If we extrapolate that average to all of Volhynia, we come up
> with about 153,000 Germans.
> Some final comments:
> I am not a student of demographics so it may be unfair to use average
> village population to determine total population.  While some villages may
> have had 500 Germans, others may have only had 20.  Perhaps that is too
> a disparity to allow for fair use of averages.  However, I think the
> numbers of villages used, while not allowing for accuracy, should at least
> allow us to be in the ballpark.
> One thing I did not see mentioned is consideration of the outward
> from Volhynia from 1888 onward.  Reference is still given to incoming
> migration but it is hard to put a handle on how many thousands left after
> 1890 for East Prussia, and North and South America.
> All things considered, it is my opinion that the 200,000 figure is
> too high.  How much too high - well, perhaps we can debate that for the
> next 50 years.    :-)
> Jerry Frank - Calgary, Alberta
> jkfrank at shaw.ca
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