Spelling Variations
Associated Colonies
Place of origin
Büdingen, Wetteraukreis, Hessen, Germany
Hellstein, Main-Kinzig-Kreis, Hessen, Germany

There were two Pauli brothers who settled in the colony of Norka. Both are sons of Philipp Jacob Pauli, a Schulmeister (Schoolmaster) living in Wächtersbach.


The older of the two sons, Philipp Jacob Pauli, was born about 1728. He married Maria Elisabeth Burghard (Burkhard), the daughter of Johann Jost Burghard, on 9 December 1756 at the Reformed church in Büdingen. At the time, Büdingen was part of the county of Isenburg. According to their marriage record, Philipp Jacob worked as a Strumpfweber (stocking weaver).

Three children were born in Büdingen:

  • Johann Georg, baptized 2 December 1757 (in Büdingen)
  • Johannes, born 18 April 1760 and baptized 20 April 1760 (in Wächtersbach) 
  • Christian Friedrich, baptized 25 March 1764 (in Büdingen)

In 1766, Philipp Jacob petitioned the Count of Isenburg for permission to migrate to Russia.

Philipp Jacob, Maria Elisabeth, along with their three children, arrived in Oranienbaum, Russia on 19 July 1766. They sailed from North German port of Lübeck aboard the “Fortitudo” commanded by John Scott.

After more than one year of travel, the Pauli family arrived in the colony of Norka on 15 August 1767. They were recorded there as Household No. 16 in the 1767 Census of Norka.

Four more children were born in Russia:

  • Johann Eckhardt, born en route to the settlement area about 1766
  • Elisabeth, born in Norka about 1768
  • Catharina, born in Norka about 1773
  • Margaretha, born in Norka about 1775

Philipp Jacob and Maria Elisabeth are listed in the 1775 Census of Norka as Household No. 179, along with their four sons. For unknown reasons, the Pauli daughters are not listed in this census.

Philipp Jacob was recorded in the 1798 Census of Norka as a widower in Household No. 188. He was living with his son, Johannes, and daughter-in-law, Catharina Weitzel.

Philipp Jacob died in Norka during the year 1809 at the age of 81.



The younger son, Johann Peter Pauli, was born about 1733. He married Maria Elisabeth Wilhelm in Wächtersbach on 20 February 1754. She was the daughter of Johannes Wilhelm from Schlierbach and had been baptized 5 December 1734. Eight children were baptized in Hellstein:

  • Anna Kunigunda, baptized 22 December 1754, died 14 January 1755
  • Philipp Jacob (twin), born 18 September 1755, baptized 20 September 1755, died 7 January 1756
  • Anna Catharina (twin), born 18 September 1755, baptized 20 September 1755, died 7 January 1756
  • Georg Christian, born 14 February 1757, baptized 20 February 1757
  • Anna Catharina, born 5 February 1759, baptized 11 February 1759
  • Anna Elisabeth, born 11 November 1760, baptized 14 November 1760, died 4 May 1762
  • Johann Wilhelm, born 6 December 1763, baptized 11 December 1763
  • Anna Maria, born 30 March 1766, baptized 6 April 1766

The marriage record for Johann Peter and Maria Elisabeth, and all of the baptism records for their children, indicate that Johann Peter was a Schulmeister (Schoolmaster), like his father.

Records for the former County of Isenburg show that the Pauli family departed as colonists bound for Russia between April and June 1766.

Johann Peter, Maria Elisabeth and their four surviving children sailed from Lübeck aboard the Lübeck ship “Die Jungfer Frederika”, commanded by Hans Christian Korsholm. The family arrived in Oranienbaum, Russia on 14 September 1766. The four children who arrived in Russia were: Georg Christian (born 1757); Anna Catharina (born 1759), Johann Wilhelm (born 1763) and Anna Maria (born 1766).

Unlike most of their fellow colonists, the Pauli family remained in St. Petersburg for over a year. Archival records show that Johann Peter submitted a request to the government on 13 August 1767 asking that he, his wife, a son, and a daughter, be allowed to remain in St. Petersburg. Given that the family arrived in Russia with two sons and two daughters, it seems that one son and one daughter had died since that time. Johann Peter’s request to remain in St. Petersburg was denied. On 30 December 1767, he was ordered to travel to Saratov.

Because of their long stay in St. Petersburg, the Johann Peter Pauli family is not listed in the 1767 Census of Norka. The census was taken in Norka about the time they were departing from St. Petersburg. Given that traveling to the colonies took about one year, the Pauli family probably arrived in Norka in late 1768 or early 1769.

Johann Peter, Maria Elisabeth, Georg Christian and Anna Maria are recorded in the 1775 Census of Norka (Household No. 166) along with two daughters that were born after their arrival in Norka:

  • Anna Catharina, born about 1772
  • Maria Sybilla, born about 1775

Anna Catharina (born 1759) and Johann Wilhelm (born 1763), are not listed in the 1775 Census. They are the two children who died in St. Petersburg before 13 August 1767.

One more daughter became part of the Pauli family after the 1775 Census:

  • Catharina Elisabeth, born in Norka in 1777

The 1775 Census notes that Johann Peter is the Küster (church sexton) in Norka. According to Johannes Preisendorf in his chronicle titled “Auszüge aus der Chronik der Kolonie Norka an der Wolga”, Johann Peter also served as the first Schoolmaster in Norka. The role of Küster and Schulmeister were often combined given that the schools were operated under the authority of the church. Johann Peter likely served under Norka pastors Fuchs, Herwig and Cattaneo during the early years of settlement.

Both Johann Peter and Maria Elisabeth are listed in Household No. 174 of the 1798 Census of Norka. They were living with their son Georg Christian and daughter-in-law, Elisabeth Würtz.

Johann Peter Pauli died in 1810 in Norka at the age of 77. His wife, Maria Elisabeth, died sometime after the 1798 Census of Norka.


Parish records of Büdingen, Wächtersbach, and Hellstein accessed on

Decker, Klaus-Peter. Die Auswanderung von 1766/67 aus der Grafschaft Ysenburg-Büdingen nach Russland. (Geschichtswerkstatt Büdingen, 2015) pg. 160.

Idt, Andreas and Rauschenbach, Georg. Auswanderung deutsche Kolonisten nach Russland im Jahre 1766 (Second edition). (Moscow: 2019). p. 32, No. 46 and p. 55, No. 272.

Idt, Andreas and Rauschenbach, Georg. Einige Kapitel Aus Der Geschichte Des Kolonisationsprojekts von Katharina II. 1763-1775. (Moscow: 2021). p. 359.

Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): pgs. 245 and 364.

Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 3 (Göttingen: Nordost-Institute, 2005): p. 232.

Rye, Richard. The 1775 and 1798 Censuses of the German Colony on the Volga, Norka: Also Known as Weigand. (Lincoln, Neb.: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1995): 1775, pgs. 27 and 28. 1798, pgs. 63 and 65.

Maggie Hein
Steve Schreiber