Skip to main content

Background on the Founding of ZVA

How the Zichydorf Village Association Was Started

© copyright 1996 by FEEFHS; all rights reserved

Webmaster's Note: What do you do in Regina in the middle of a 1996 Saskatchewan deep-freeze (-45 degrees Celsius on a cold day and -40 degrees Celsius on the warmer ones for two straight weeks)? Barry Anwender and Laura Grzyb first met by eMail and decided to establish the first Banat single village association. Here's a summary of how they met on the Banat eMail List and how it happened, from the eMail messages and in Barry's words:

On Mon, 8 Jan 1996 11:40:12 -0600 Laura wrote to the Banat eMail list Genealogy Society: "Hi all, I am just new to all of this, so forgive me if I ask a stupid question. My Family are from Zichydorf. SCHWARTZ, BOLEN (BOHLEN), KLECKNER, KLEIN. Can anyone help?"

Barry replied to her and other Banat subscribers: Hello Neighbor! My name is Barry Anwender and my ancestors also came from Zichydorf, Austrio-Hungary. I am especially interested in the BOLEN/KLECKNER relationship because my great-great grandmother is Eva BOLEN. She married my great-great grandfather Jacob ANWENDER and they had five sons. All but two sons died at birth or very young. Then, Jacob died when the youngest was two years old. Apparently EVA remarried a Zichydorf widower named KLECKNER who had two sons of his own.

Laura and I (Barry) owe many thanks to Bob Madler and the Banat mailing list folks because in a matter of hours we also heard from Shirley & Glen Gibbard in British Columbia, Canada and Edmund Mildenberger in Colorado, USA. Even more amazing, we heard from Tut Pera in Margita, Yugoslavia - a small village about 5 kilometers from Plandiste (the current Serbian name for Zichydorf).

It became apparent that each person had their own collection of history and genealogy. So I sent out another message suggesting that it would be nice to gather all the pieces of the puzzle together for the benefit of all.

On Mon, 15 Jan 1996 08:49:20 -0800 (PST) John Movius of FEEFHS wrote us with encouragement to organize and an invitation to create a Zichydorf Village Association (ZVA) online. It would use a new ZVA HomePage on the FEEFHS Web Site and also other resources available to Banaters thru Bob Madler's online email Banat group. Bob Madler then chimed via eMail with his full support.

John also told us FEEFHS actively encourages the creation of new associations and societies, that descendants of ethnic Germans from Russia in America and Canada had well over 130 village associations formed over the past decades. Some of them go as far as building the basis for an ortsippenbuch (village genealogy). Two of them are FEEFHS members: the older, larger Gluckstal Colonies Research Association and the more recent Mennonite Molotschna Villager newsletter. There also is a FEEFHS member oorganization that is a Slovak-Rusyn village association newsletter named Osturna Descendants.

The rest is history. A special thanks goes to Bob Madler for his excellent pre-release of the Banat parish record indexes. Then there is also Monica Ferrier from McMaster, Canada and Dr. Wolfgang Dieing of Germany. They helped with the German-English translations of the Zichydorf parish indexes.

Finally, a special thanks goes to Glenn Schwartz, our newly arrived ZVA NewsEditor. Glenn confirmed Zichydorf's date of origin and provided the surnames of the first families who rebuilt the village. is has finally happened. 19 February 1996 was chosen as the date to announce the establishment of the ZVA. This coincides with the first anniversary of the founding of its parent society, the Banat eMail List Genealogy Society...

Happy Anniversary Banaters as we launch our first Banat village association!

We hope the Zichydorf Village Association will encourage the creation of many-many more Banat village associations in the future.

Barry Anwender, Co-founder