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.