I received an early Christmas present when the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia sent me the winter newsletter. It is always packed with good information but this one was very special.
On page eleven, the article entitled "Visit to Mariental (Sovetskoye) Russia- April 2010 by Ray Rohr was my present. I met Ray in Medicine Hat at the AHSGR convention and we had an opportunity to talk about our ancestral village. During our chat, I learned Ray, who lived in Canada, spent winters in Sun Lakes, Arizona which is pretty much right next door to my home in Chandler, Arizona.
His report on his travels gave me new insight into what it is like to travel to Russia. I know Ray, who is a pilot, prepared as best anyone could with the short notice he had.
Ray and I knew we must be related since we both descended from one of the original Mariental settlers, Nickolaus Herman. I emailed Ray and thanked him for sharing his experiences. I also asked if he was in Canada or Sun Lakes. Turns out he is heading to Sun Lakes after Christmas and we will find a way to get together this year since he does not have to plan for a trip to Russia.
I love how these connections make all of the research and time and effort pay off. It is a great Christmas present for me to build on the Mariental story.