We all come from “somewhere”

It seems in America that we all “come from somewhere” else. My family comes from many places, but on my father’s side, they were called “black Germans”. As a kid, I never understood. You see, my father’s family came from an area near the Black Sea. They were “resettled” Germans in the mid 1800’s, who left Germany and went to the frontier at the bequest of the Russian Czar to repopulate an area where the population had been decimated during war time. There is a long history of Germans, living in what was then Russia. There are many articles about the why’s and how’s, but essentially, they were offered land and were able to resettle and build communities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_Germans ).

Growing up, I knew that my father spoke German as a young child until he went to school. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I understood that his heritage came not from Germany, but from somewhere else. My paternal grandparents were both born in the area of Odessa (Russia) Ukraine.

A wonderful history of the family was prepared by one of my paternal aunts, and she wrote the following about my Grandfather, Adam Lingor. “Adam was born 20 miles north of Odessa, Russia in a small German settlement called Josephstal Grosliebenthal. When they lived in Russia, their last name was spelled Lingore and when they came to the United states the E was dropped. The family immigrated to the United States and arrived May 17, 1900 on board the SS Kaiserine Maria Theresa. It took about nine weeks to cross the ocean and one of Adam’s brothers died of diphtheria on the ship. They settled in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Other relatives also came on the same ship but they settled in North Dakota.”

My Grandmother, Josephine, was very young when she came to the United States. My aunt wrote the following – ” Josie was born March 12, 1898 in Kleinlibenthal, Groslietenthal just outside of Odessa, Russia. In 1901 Josie and her family immigrated to the United States and docked at Staten Island, New York. The came to America because they couldn’t practice their catholic religion in Russia and also because the Russians were drafting men into their army. They traveled steerage to America and the trip took about nine weeks and was very uncomfortable because they were so crowded. From New York they took the train and traveled west not knowing where to go and finally stopped at Onaka, South Dakota.

Many Germans in Russia were leaving in the late 19th century, as restrictions on their practice of religion and military conscription, and much more were happening. Settlements in the central United States were opportunities for immigrants, as well as in Canada.

As we move forward a full century, plus a few decades, my thoughts go to my father, a first generation “German from Russia”. Looking back on the stories, I now better understand the challenge a child who only spoke German in the home, until he went to school. My grandparents raised 9 children in a home with an outdoor privy, and it wasn’t until my father was in his 20’s that they had indoor plumbing. My grandfather had a 4th grade education, and my grandmother went as far as 8th grade. Those grandparents made certain their children were raised in the church, they were educated beyond their own limited education and given the opportunities that America offered. My grandfather, an immigrant from Odessa, served the US Army during WWI, and my father, a WWII veteran was in the Army Air Corps. There are stories of my dad, being a tail gunner in a B52, and of being one of the few that could still speak a few words of German. He carried shrapnel in his legs his entire adult life. America gave him the opportunity to be educated, and he spent his life teaching in public schools. His brothers and sisters all worked in jobs of service to others, from Bureau of Indian Affairs to the local Fire Department to working at the local hospital as a nurse.

So today and in the last 3 weeks, I think about my family heritage. My cousin Vicky and her daughter Lisa helped me with filling in some of the blanks with dates.

It may have been Russia from where my grandparents came, but for nearly 30 years it has been Ukraine. I wanted to honor the struggles of the immigrants that left the Black Sea region, and emigrated to America. And I want to honor the Ukrainians who have built a democracy in the last 30 years, and are standing strong to fight for their country.

On March 1, 2022, Quilter Pat Sloan designed a quilt block and asked quilters around the world to help the children of Ukraine. Quilters Stand for Ukraine is a fund raiser, where individuals donate to UNICEF to help the children of Ukraine. The pattern for the quilt block below is available at that link.

Double Saw Tooth Star for Ukraine

Many quilters around the world have contributed, and at last look over $180,000 has been raised thru contributions to UNICEF. On the link above, Pat Sloan tells you about other ways to help as well. She makes reference in her post to Becky Petersen, who is “boots on the ground” in Poland doing AMAZING things.

When I made my block, I decided that I would hang it on my door which has a large window. I decided to make it two sided, and to find a way to honor my grandparents heritage.

I chose a pattern from Sashas Quilts (Oleksandra Derenovska) called Rise of Freedom. Her design is quite simple, and to be honest, I purchased it after I made my version. I want to support the designer, but I did not paper piece the one you see below. In my case I used 2″ squares for the project, (except the half square triangles).

Peace for Ukraine

What I loved about her design was what she wrote ” When I sewed my flag, I thought about my Motherland. Now this flag became a very great symbol of freedom and independence so beloved by me and each citizens of my country. I believe you will have fun sewing this quilt block. Looking at him, you will remember the struggle of my people for their identity and know that if we join together, we can turn the world upside down. I will always remember these days and the solidarity of the whole world towards my country.”

And I added some information about my paternal grandparents and their heritage at the bottom. i contemplated using the Ukrainian word for PEACE which is мир , but thought it worked better for my purpose to put it in English. I used my Janome11000 embroidery machine for the words on this project.

I hung it on my door, on the inside of the glass to protect it from weather.

Peace for Ukraine
Double Saw Tooth Star

There isn’t much, as an individual we can do, sitting here in North America, but the power of groups of people is amazing. Look for ways to help on Pat Sloan’s blog. Look for Becky Petersen’s blog & website QUILTED TWINS . Becky is doing amazing things in Poland, and her twin,  Rachael, who runs the fabric store is helping from this side of the Atlantic. You know you can be confident that they are “real people” when someone like Pat Sloan has suggested them. (I’ve been following Becky in Poland on her blog for at least 6 years!) I love what Becky said at the end of this week’s blog post “On a macro scale, it seems like we can do little, but on a micro scale – in our little part of the world – we can make a difference.

Sending prayers for PEACE / мир .

14 thoughts on “We all come from “somewhere”

    • Thank you Carole. At times like this I feel pretty darn helpless. I am so blessed in my life and sharing in small ways by quilting or financially helps ease the feeling of doing nothing. As an American we live with freedoms that others can’t even imagine. And then we have these little threads that connect us to others in far away places, and the world becomes quite small.


  1. I loved reading your post on your heritage. Thank you for sharing this. Yes, we all do “come from somewhere.” God bless and help the people of Ukraine and His people of the world.


    • Thanks for taking the time to read the post and to comment. I pray for the safety of the people of Ukraine too. I did this, because there is little I can do directly to impact a change, other than to pray.


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