(Bob Schauer was unavailable for the picture.)
We are a virtual group of volunteers wanting to freely share with fellow researchers. Therefore, there are no membership dues or fees for anything we provide on this site.
Our team includes researchers from different geographic areas around the Black Sea (Crimea, Odessa, Bessarabia, Dobrudscha, and others) and different religious backgrounds (Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite).
Below are brief biographies of the members of the Dale Wahl Team. As you learn more about researching Black Sea German ancestors, you'll understand that many of the colonies were primarily Lutheran or Catholic (although there were Swedish Lutheran, Mennonite and Jewish colonies as well). They learned to get along...some even intermarried!
Rich AspenleiterRich, from Spokane, Washington, is a descendant of German-Russian ancestors from the Beresan region. In about 1996, Rich took an interest in the stories of the "old country" his father would bring up occasionally. This was the inspiration to learn all he could about his ancestors and his German-Russian history. Rich talks about several exciting genealogy finds, but the most exciting was meeting and later marrying his best friend and soul mate, Gayla. Rich's research focuses on the Catholic villages of the Beresan District of Odessa and the Dobrudscha region.
In Honor of Dale Wahl
20 Feb 1938 - 13 June 2008
In honor of our
dear friend and mentor,
Dale Wahl, who passed
away in 2008. With the
encouragement of his
family, we've set up
this website to carry on
his passion for
encouraging and freely
information with others.
"My dad would be extremely delighted and excited to have all his hard work being made available to a new generation of German-Russian researchers. My family and I would like to thank the team he would be proud of for sharing his vision."
We lost Dale in the summer of 2008. Before he passed away, he asked us to honor a legacy he wanted to share with the world.
Dale was a lover of technology and ultimately wanted all his genealogy files digitized and made available online to German-Russian researchers worldwide.
He did not want anyone or any organization burdened with excess files, paperwork, and costs they could not manage. He did not want others profiting from the sale of freely contributed and available family data. When Dale died, a small team of people respectfully volunteered to help preserve his legacy in the way he requested.
The Dale Wahl Team
From 2008 to 2010, the "Dale Wahl Team" sorted, scanned, categorized, labeled, and distributed the vast collection of genealogical materials Dale had acquired in over 30 years of researching, both his own family connections and the thousands of others he helped, over and over again.
Books and other materials were sent to the Germans from Russia Heritage Society library. Personal family files and photos were returned to the Wahl family as requested. Permissions were obtained for the use of family data sent to Dale by other researchers.
In the end, the Dale Wahl Team sorted the family data from the historical data; the historical research from the archival research, random photos, maps, and much more. Then they scanned over 130,000 pieces of documentation which is being made available now, on this website, much of it for the first time.
This was Dale's dream, but it would not be possible without the gracious help of Dale's immediate family who understood what a vast resource he had accumulated. The Dale Wahl Team would like to offer a special thanks to Dale's family who trusted us with the two rooms and a garage full of documents, equipment, and electronic files. But, more importantly, with believing in us to accomplish what Dale said he wanted.
Genealogical research in the 21st century will bring new opportunities and new research information, new definitions for the sharing of research, and new opportunities to connect with family members worldwide. In some small way, we hope this is a new start for German-Russian researchers. Please use and enjoy what Dale has helped us create.