A Brief History of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society
The Society was founded on January 9, 1971, at Bismarck, N.D., under the name North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia (NDHSGR). For some time, meetings were held in the Grand Pacific Hotel, with Judge Ray Friederich serving as the society's first president. On July 14, 1979, the membership, by popular vote, changed the name to Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS). Finally on January 21, 1982 the Society moved into its first permanent home on East Central Avenue.
Over the years the Society's activities and physical resources grew until in 1999 the members voted to initiate a fund drive to construct a new and much larger building. The move to the new headquarters took place on December 13, 2000.
The Society's Bismarck headquarters, ideally located in the heartland of our ethnic group on the continental northern plains, has become the leading research center for the Black Sea Germans from Russia in the United States and Canada. Their ancestors migrated in great numbers to Dakota Territory beginning in 1873. By the end of the century, they became a predominant ethnic group of this area. Although descendants of these immigrant forefathers have scattered far and wide, the ancestral ties always go back to the pioneer settlement heartland - the place of new World roots.