September 7-9, 2017 ELLIS COUNTY, KS
Welcome to the website of the Bukovina Society of the Americas. We are very happy you are visiting us here on the internet and we hope that you will find these pages informative and enjoyable. If you are interested in joining the Society, please note the information below on this page, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the opportunity to provide you with more information.
If you have a Bukovina ancestry and/or interest, we encourage you to participate in sharing your interests and thoughts both here on this website. Many visitors to this site have told us of friendships started here. And yes, many long lost “cousins” have found each other through the contact information provided. We hope that your experiences here will be equally rewarding.
During your travels we invite you to visit our museum and headquarters in Ellis, Kansas. People from all over the world have enjoyed the stop. The mini-map below shows the convenient location just off Interstate 70. If you e-mail or write ahead, we can be sure to have someone meet you there.
President, Bukovina Society of the Americas
Please click the president below to contact the Bukovina Society:
|O M Windholz||BSA President|
|Contents on this page:||
Books/memorabilia, click Store below
Bukovina and its People
Bukovina (land of beech trees) was a sparsely populated crown land of the Austrian Hungarian Empire in the late 1700,’s and early 1800’s when the ruling Hapsburg family recruited German speaking people to settle its virgin forests. Lutherans from the Rhine-Palatinate and Württemberg in Germany and Catholics from the Bohemian Forest of Austria (now in the Czech Republic) migrated to Bukovina to farm and work in the glassworks. Although a minority in the multicultural country, they lived in ethnic German villages and communities preserving their language and customs.
After one to two generations in Bukovina, land became scarce and the New World looked attractive. Agents for the railroads passed out flyers all over Europe to recruit the hard working ethnic Germans to settle along their lines. The newspapers brimmed with ads announcing free homestead land, and in the case of South America, free passage. Bukovina Germans migrated to Canada, the United States, and South America. Some 70 families chose Ellis as their destination during a span of 15 years beginning in 1886. Later arrivals located in Rooks, Trego, Ness, and other Western Kansas Counties. Two other colonies were started, one in Yuma County, Colorado, and one in Lewis County, Washington. After 1900, some Bukovina Germans located in New York and Chicago. Stepping off the train in Western Kansas in the middle of a vast prairie was a stark contrast to their forested ancestral lands, but the hardy pioneers carved out successful lives as the largest concentration of Bukovina Germans in United States.
Bukovina no longer exists as a political entity. In 1919 the country was absorbed by Romania with the northern part ceded to the Soviet Union in 1947. The ancestral villages of the Ellis Bukovina Germans today are in Romania.
The Bukovina Society
In 1886, the first Bukovina Germans arrived in Ellis, Kansas. They would act as scouts for a larger group that would settle there in 1887. While the descendants of these settlers continue to compose a large percentage of the town’s population, over the decades the younger generations would begin to lose their understanding of where this homeland was, and what their ancestors had experienced there. In 1988 a committee of interested individuals formed the Bukovina Society of the Americas to promote recognition of the Bukovina German people and encourage historical research of their heritage. Many members pursue the research of their genealogy as part of understanding this heritage. Each year the society conducts an international convention. It has grown in size and representation. Membership is open to others of Bukovina heritage and interest, and many people from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany and several foreign countries have joined or participated.
The society has published three books and cooperates with other authors and publishers of Bukovina history. Affiliation was made with the Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen of Germany, a similar society organized over 50 years ago, R. F. Kaindl Gesellschaft and numerous other international organizations. A computer project has begun to record the genealogies of members of the society. An archive has been designated with the Center for Ethnic Studies at Ft. Hays State University.
The Bukovina Society is operated entirely by volunteers. Speakers at all meetings, board of directors and spouse work, and labor for remodeling and operating the headquarters have all been generously donated. Expenses are funded by membership fees, sale of books, donations, and annual meeting registration fees.
The Bukovina Society of the Americas is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Kansas. On September 11, 1997 the Society received a determination from the Internal Revenue Service that it is a tax exempt organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations and contributions to the Society are tax deductible and can be directed to the Society headquarters at P O Box 81, Ellis, Kansas 67637.
Bukovina Society Emblem
The emblem used by the Bukovina Society of the Americas and other Bukovina organizations worldwide was the coat of arms of our ancestral homeland. It was awarded in 1862 by Emperor Franz Joseph I to the duchy of Buchenland (Bukovina). It depicts an Aurochs, the extinct wild ox of Europe, from which today’s cattle are probably descended. The head of the Aurochs is set on blue and red sections of the crest surrounded by three golden stars.
Bukovina Society Headquarters and Museum
The First Congregational Church, founded in Ellis in 1873, was believed to be the first organized congregation in the town. Early services were held in the Ellis House, and the town’s first school house. In 1907 through the generosity of the congregation and local citizens, the present building was erected. It was a grand event for the times, and prominently featured in the local newspaper.
The church was closed in 1971, but a centennial celebration was held in 1973 followed by the incorporation of the Ellis Arts and Historical Society to assure preservation of the historic building. Since then the trustees have made the facilities available for public use, with the chapel the site of occasional weddings, and the lower level used for local meetings, meals, and receptions.
The Bukovina Society had many dreams, and a headquarters building seemed far off except for the generous cooperation of the trustees of the Arts and Historical Society, led by Jack Nicholson and Mary Pearson. The City Council of Ellis in May of 1991 gave unanimous support to the society. The society headquarters was dedicated at the opening of the third annual convention in July of 1991. The museum will be opened for visitors to Ellis by calling one of the board members listed on the mailbox outside the building. You may also make advance times to visit by emailing email@example.com.
The Bukovina Society Headquarters-Museum maintains a collection of artifacts from Bukovina emigrants, along with a small library of books. Microfilm copies of some Catholic Bukovina parish registers are held at the Ellis Public Library. An archive of additional material is also located at the Center for Ethnic Studies at Ft. Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas.
To learn more about Ellis, please visit: http://www.ellis.ks.us/
Ellis County is considered by some to be the German Capital of Kansas, due in part to descendants of Bukovina German immigrants and an even much larger group of descendants of German immigrants who came from the Volga River region of Russia. To read more about the Volga Germans and Bukovina Germans of Ellis County, Kansas, please see German Attractions & Historical Churches of Ellis County, Kansas 2010.
|Headquarters-Museum Building in Ellis, Kansas||Mapquest Link Yahoo Map|
The editorial staff welcomes manuscripts and memorabilia related to Bukovina and/or Bukovinians for possible publication in the Newsletter and for its archives.
O M Windholz
P.O. Box 1083
Hays, KS 67601-1083
Memberships, book and memorabilia orders can be made by clicking Store, or can be mailed to:
Bukovina Society of the Americas
P.O. Box 81
Ellis, KS 67637