Litz Family History:
From Russia to Winnipeg


Background and History


One’s ethnicity is based on where their ancestors originated.  This poses a dilemma. How far back does one go to decide heir ethnicity? 


For evolutionist this poses a real problem, who wants to say that their ethnicity is amoeba? Okay, I’m being silly here, but when you think about it, how does one define it.  I guess this is a judgment call, which will be disputed amongst families, and a personal “choice” based on the information available, be it fact or fiction.


Nationality is quite simple; it’s where you were born.  Citizenship and nationality are for the most part are usually the same. But, alas, there are exceptions.  Our ancestors were prime examples of that.  Let me explain.


We have always been told we were German (ethnicity), our grandparents’ nationality was Russian, their citizenry was originally Russian, but they immigrated to Canada and became Canadian Citizens.


To date, on the ethnicity question, I have found no records in Germany for our family, on either the Litz or Kroening side.  The earliest records found to date are from uh…okay, that’s confusing too; Time for a history lesson boys and girls.

Now I could go on adnauseum on the history of Poland, Russia, and the rest of eastern Europe but others have done a far better job than I ever could so if the history interests you the following are excellent sites.


On the Poland issue, below is a map that shows the various partitions and dates which may help sort some of it out to a degree. (click on photo for a larger image)



English: Partitions of Poland
Deutsch: die drei Teilungen Polens

2009-03-05 19:59 (UTC)







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So, you may ask, what are we; Germans, Poles, Russians or Ukrainians.  Well, it is my thinking from the research that I have done to date that; on the Kroening side, I believe we are German.  On the Litz side: and you are going to love this, I believe we may be Scandinavian, this based on the earliest record for our surname in the 1600 being found in Sweden and Denmark, which proves nothing, but it is an interesting thought.


So, is everyone all boned up on where the borders were and when, who controlled what, and why?  Me neither and I have gone through this hundred of times.  Suffice it to say, with the records I have found, I can with some certainty state that Robert Litz, our grandfather, was born a citizen of Russia, and therefore his nationality was Russian prior to his immigration and so was Hulda Kroening, except there now exists a Teutonic connection based on an answer in her brother Ferdinand’s immigration document on race.  His answer was Teutonic.  Seems I have more explaining to do but the following link does a much better job that I could..


There is a wealth of good sites with maps of the areas where our ancestors came from.  My favourites are the map pages on the SGGEE website, they also have links to other sites where maps can be located.

Other Research Links

There are many links that I have used to gather information. Most of you are aware of them and the organizations that are useful for genealogical research. That being said, for anyone who doesn't know about them, here are some of my favourites. 

Tab down to the St Petersburg records and you'll find some of the family! Also a lot of Litz's in the Bessarabian records...hmmm who were they?l

 A great free site for Canadian Census data

 Free vital stats for Manitoba

Information on all things regarding Canadian Genealogy

A great site for Passenger lists leaving Great Britain, British Census, and BMD info

Great site, required payment for some info.  If you go to bottom of screen you can also get ancestry for UK, DE, COM (everyone but USA is primary) etc.  The county links give you Canadian or British entries only option.

Great site from the LDS church.  Many transcribed records, however be warned that there are entries from private individuals who submitted their family trees with dubious sources so not all you see is accurate if it isn't from actual records.

Great transcribed BMD and Census for Great Britain....and its Free