First Complete, Documented Family Tree
of the Falz-Fein Family in Russia,
Anniversary Edition, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the emigration of the founding father,
Johann-Georg Fein from Saxony to Russia (1807- 2007)
Appendix to the Family Tree 2007
With the documentation
of the true history of the first Fein in Russia.
Four generations of our
ancestors in Russia, with portraits and a short text.
Hereby I present the
data for the fifth generation of the descendents of Johann Georg Fein
for the first time.
This family tree is the end result of my many years of genealogical research:
This version takes into
consideration my latest findings regarding the history of the first
Fein, who was a completely different person than had been previously
Documents which I found
when researching in archives in Odessa and Cherson in the last few
years made me question the validity of the prevailing version of the
history of the first Fein in Russia.
In my efforts to support the work of Ms. Anita Maaß on her book
about the Falz-Feins ,
I concentrated in 2002/03 intensively on the history of Tauria
(Crimea). This provides a background for the evaluation of the
"sociocultural development and integration" of this family
of German colonists. Thereby I noticed - and am seemingly the first
to have done so - a grave incompatibility between the previously
published histories of the Feins in Russia and the history of Tauria.
The first Fein (supposedly Johann Melchior from Württemberg) was
previously reported to have settled in "Molotschna near
Melitopol/Tauria" in 1763
This was not possible because the Russian "Gouvernement Tauria"
was founded in 1802, after the conquest of the area by Catherine II
in 1783. This prompted me to intensify my research.
In 1763, the supposed year of Johann Melchior Fein's settlement in Molotschna near
Melitopol/Tauria, Tauria itself did not yet exist! The area was an
unsettled steppe in the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Clearly
Johann Melchior could not have settled in Molotschna/Tauria in 1763.
This also eliminates the possibility that Johann Melchior Fein, born
in Cleebronn/Württemberg in 1740, was the founder of the
Fein/Falz-Fein family in Russia. He actually had only been chosen
because his birth in 1740 fit plausibly to the presumed date of
settlement of 1763.
Thus Johann Melchior was neither the first Fein in Russia nor the founder
of the family. He was also NOT the person from the story in Woldemar
von Falz-Fein's book "Askania-Nova"
who supposedly attacked an officer!
He could also not have accepted the invitation of Catherine II in 1763
to travel to St. Petersburg and then to settle in Molotschna/Tauria,
as was alleged. Catherine II invited the Germans to settle in Russia,
not in what was in 1763 still Turkish-Osman territory.
Nothing that has been
previously written about him and the beginnings of the Falz-Fein
history has anything to do with true story of the Falz-Feins in
Russia! All family trees containing Johann Melchior are therefore
My research has now
confirmed the following facts:
It was the textile
machine engineer Johann Georg Fein from Saxony, born in Erfurt in
1773, who in 1807 went with his family to Ekaterinoslav/Russia to
build textile factories.
It was he who bought the plot of land nr. 104 (3470 Desjatin) in the colony
Molotschna/Tauria in 1810, where he settled as a free colonist in
Thus 50 years later than previously claimed the first Fein settled in Tauria and became
the earliest ancestor in Russia of the Falz-Fein family.
Until now all authors in the "East" and in the "West" who have concerned
themselves with the history of the Falz-Feins have uncritically
accepted the contents of the previous publications. These were based
upon the book by Woldemar von Falz-Fein "Askania Nova"
in which he refers to a story told by his mother of a soldier Fein
from Württemberg who supposedly stabbed an officer with a
bayonet during an altercation. This soldier allegedly deserted and
then settled in Molotschna/Tauria in 1763.
Woldemar expressly accompanied this story with the statement:
"I cannot confirm that all of this really happened in this way."
Nevertheless 30 years later the author Ms. L. Heiss, Stuttgart, in her novel for
young readers "Paradise on the Steppe" about Askania-Nova
and the Falz-Fein family assumed that the story was true without
heeding Woldemar's caveat.
In church records she
found a Württemberger, Johann Melchior Fein from Cleebronn whose
birth year of 1740 could plausibly fit to the year (1763) of assumed
settlement in Molotschna/Tauria. As this man was a soldier, the
fight with the officer also seemed to fit. She therefore
fictionalized the story and presented him in her book as the first
Fein in Russia! By appending an (incomplete) family tree of the
Falz-Feins to her novel, she evoked an impression of historical
authenticity. (This book has been published in German, English and
French.) This was the origin of the erroneous version of the family
Our ancestor Friedrich Fein was the eldest son of this Johann Georg Fein
and NOT "the youngest son of Johann Melchior Fein", (who
supposedly almost murdered an officer) and thus could not have
inherited his "explosive character". He would also not have
been ?chased out of the house with a shotgun by his father?. In
fact, he came to Russia in 1807 with his father Johann Georg and was
still working together with him in 1817 on the mechanisation of textile factories in Tauria. Thus he had been
born in Chemnitz/Saxony in 1794 and not in Molotschna.
Friedrich Fein later became known as
the "king of the sheep breeders", the founder of the family
fortune, the founder of the Falz-Fein dynasty and the most
outstanding character in a family that produced many important
I was able to establish the early history of the Falz-Fein family in Russia just in time. I
enabled Ms. Anita Maaß to incorporate the new, corrected
version into her manuscript before it was published.
Johann Melchior Fein from Württemberg is not our founding father and thus the Fein
family in Württemberg, as well as our very prominent Falz-Fein
family, is spared the blemish of having had a family member (or even
a founding father) to whom the "horror story" of this
soldier Fein was attributed.
The family tree diagram "2007" (representing five generations) presented here is
the final, definitive result of many years of work after emigrating
to Germany as well as the results of my research after the changes in
the Soviet Union.
This family tree diagram
is finally one which historians and authors can rely upon. It also
offers the necessary historical and documentary background for
The oldest living member
of the family, Baron von Falz-Fein, Liechtenstein, has inherited
memoirs of his father, Alexander Eduardowitsch Falz-Fein, written in
pre-revolutionary Russia in 1911, concerning the history of the
Falz-Fein family. These he brought to the attention of myself and
others, but they were ignored because we assumed that the story from
Woldemar Falz-Fein was authentic. (Obviously Woldemar had been
unaware of his brother?s memoirs.)
When Ms. Heiss wrote the novel "A Paradise in the Steppe" about the Falz-Fein family, she
also based her story on the writings of W. Falz-Fein and found a Fein
born in 1740 who fit the tale of Woldemar Falz-Fein in the church
records of Cleebronn/Württemberg. Trusting the tale of Woldemar
Falz-Fein, we erroneously accepted Johan Melchior Fein, whom Ms.
Heiss had found, as our founding father.
Baron von Falz-Fein, by sponsoring several publications (unfortunately still with the old
version of the family history) was able to keep interest in the
family achievements alive.
The memoirs of the Falz-Fein family by A. E. Falz-Fein, 1911, are additional proof of
the authenticity of the history of the Falz-Fein family in Russia as
stated here. This can be used for future publication.
Ms. Anita Maaß investigated church records and other archives in Saxony to collect
data on the Fein family.
supporting the new version of the family tree, particularly
concerning the Falz family, was provided by Dr. Volkmar Richter of
Dresden, who is a descendant of the Falz family in Saxony. Ms. N.
Dragobytsch, who is a researcher at the Ukrainian nature preserve
"Askania-Nova" (which now bears the name of its founder,
Friedrich Falz-Fein), provided additional information about the
history of the Falz-Fein family.
Mrs. Maria and Dr. Viktor Prieb of Berlin (descendants of the Mehlmann family of
Prischib/Tauria) provided invaluable help in the preparation of the
family tree diagram with its texts and portraits, as well as the
Russian version thereof. The English translation was provided by Mrs.
Andrea Gruhn- v. Schlippe of Berlin (descendent of Rosalie v.
Schlippe, born Falz-Fein).
Boris S. von Skadowsky died on 20 April 2011,
shortly after his 90-year anniversary
The whole family tree on 38 A4 pages
with chronicles, documents, texts, maps and images