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Place of origin
Seeheim, Seeheim-Jugenheim, Hessen, Germany

Johann Nicolaus Küster, second child and only son of Philipp Küster and Anna Catharina Christ, was born 28 September 1721 in Seeheim, south of Darmstadt. His father Philipp was born 25 February 1692 and died in 1771, while his mother Anna Catharina was born in 1693 and died 19 November 1764.

Nicolaus was a baker by trade and married Catharina Margaretha Hofmann on 4 June 1750 in Seeheim. The couple had three children before they went to Russia: (1) Maria Albertina, born in 1752 and died in 1753; (2) Carl Ferdinand Eberhard, born in 1754; and (3) Friedrich Zacharias, born in 1759.

The family left for Russia in 1766 and arrived from Lübeck at the port in Oranienbaum on 15 June 1766 on the Die Vergelte Weintraube under the command of skipper Anderson. [The surname was recorded as Kister on the Kuhlberg list.]

The Kister family arrived in Warenburg on 12 May 1767 with both sons, and are reported on the Warenburg First Settlers List in Family #4. At this point they also had two orphans living with them: Katharina Elisabeth Ickstadt, age 17, and her sister Anna Jacobina Ickstadt, age 8. Two other Ickstadt orphans, Johann Anton, age 5, and Anna Margaretha, age 15, are reported on the Warenburg First Settler's List in Family #1. 

These four orphans are the children of Johann Nicklaus Ickstadt and his wife Susanna Catharine.  They sailed from Lübeck on the same ship as the Kister family, and are incorrectly listed with the surname "Pistel" in the published translation of the Kulberg Lists.  The Idt/Rauchenbach translation of the Eideslisten (Oath Lists) gives their father's name as Johann Niklaus Ikstatt.

Three of the Ickstadt children are still living in Warenburg in 1798 and are recorded there in census households Wr73, Wr77, and Wr84.  On the 1798 census, Nicolaus Kister is also still living in Warenburg and is recorded in household Wr28 as a widower along with his son Carl Ferdinand.

The surname chart for the Pister families of Frank, Merkel and Urbach reports the Ickstadt family as the Pister family at the top of the chart.  This likely resulted from the incorrect translation of the name as "Pistel" on the published translation of the Kulberg Lists.  Based on the currently available documentation, this appears to be an error.   


Kirschnick, Ulrich. Ortsfamilienbuch Seeheim-Jugenheim (Darmstadt, 1999).

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).

Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 4 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2008): 322.

Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): 74. 75.  

Idt, Andreas and Georg Rauschenbach. Auswanderung deutscher Kolonisten nach Russland im Jahre 1766 (Moscow: Nestor-Historia, 2015): p. 201

Bill Pickelhaupt
Sheri Rohn Ertl
Maggie Hein