The Balliet of the Dakotas

In 1968 it was hardly possible for Stephen C. Balliet to find out the connection between the Balliets of the Dakotas and the other branches because the book that gives the clue was published as late as 1973. Die Auswanderung aus Deutschland nach RuBland in den Jabten 1763 bis 1862 by Dr. Karl STUMPP is more than 1000 pages long, for it gives a list of emigrants. On page 213 we can find Johannes Balllet, born ca. 1768, who was one of the founders of the German colony of Petersthai near Odessa, South Russia. On page 624, Stumpp enumerates the other members of the family: the wife Ottilia, born ca. 1778, and the children Christian Balliet, born ca. 1793, Franz Balllet, born ca. 1799, Margaretha, born ca. 1802 and Susanna, d. 1814. On page 625, there is another Balliet family of Petersthai: Jacob Balliet, born ca. 1788, his wife Maria, born ca. 1788, and two children Catharina and Christian, both dead in 1815. This information is given by the 1816 census. According to Stephen C. Balliet, Petersthal is the place in South Russia where the Balliets of the Dakotas had come from. We can therefore be sure it is the same branch.

Unfortunately neither Stephen C. Balllet nor Dr. Karl Stumpp mention the Alsacian origin of this family. The connection with Alsace-Lorraine has been found by comparing the names of the members of the family, especially the children's names: Christian and Franz were quite unusual in the Balliet family. In part 3 of the Balllets of Emmaus we mentioned the couple Paulus Balliet m. Susanna Grosjean. Paulus was a son of Johann Nicolaus Balliet Sr. and Margaretha Durand. He was baptized in Diedendorf 20 Aug. 1719 and married in Rauweiler 3 Jan. 1744 Susanna Grosjean from Kirrberg. They had six children all baptized in Rauweiler:

  1. Ottilia Balliet, hap. 17 Mar. 1746, m. 9 May 1775 the teacher Christian Zimmermann, son of the teacher Jacob Zimmermann from Zweibrficken, Palatinate, Germany.
  2. Jacob, bap. 18 Mar. 1749, m. 18 May 1770 Barbara Kreupp, daughter of Michael Kreupp from Gorlingen, county of Nassau-Saarwerden, Alsace. They emigrated to a German colony in South Hungary at some time, butt they came back.
  3. Johann Nicolaus Balliet, bap. 11 Feb. 1755
  4. Ludwig BaUiet, bap. 4 Feb. 1757, m. 16 Feb. 1779 Maria Philippina Lamy, daughter of Marcus or Marx Lamy, from Burbach, Nassau-Saarwerden.
  5. Paulus Balliet, bern before 1762, m. 9 May 1775 Anna Catharina Kurtz, daughter of Peter Kurtz from Kirrberg, county of Nassau-Saarwerden, Alsace.
  6. Johannes Balliet, bap. 9 Aug. 1762. He lived in Kirrberg and married twice: 1 m. 11 Oct. 1785 Susanna Billiar, daughter of Jacob Billiar from Kirrberg, 2 m 29 May 1787 Ottilia Billiar, daughter of Stephan Billiar from Kirrberg.

This Johannes Balliet emigrated to South Russia. The first part of his life is described by Albert Girarden in his book on Kirrberg:  When Susanna Billiar was 17 years old, she was in love with Georg Schmittenknecht. Unfortunately, her ambitious mother thought Schmittenknecht wasn't rich enough and compelled her to marry a richer farmer: Johannes Balliet. Susanna submitted but refused to let her husband touch her. A few months later, she was pregnant and in 1786 Johannes Balliet refused to have the illegitimate daughter Maria Susanna baptized as his child. The count of Nassau-Saarwerden had investigations made. Susanna said the father was a soldier of Saarburg, Lorraine. She said she had met him at a village fair in Hellering and she didnít remember his name. She said she had no longer heard of him since. But every inhabitant of Kirrberg was of course aware of the real father. Susanna was fined 24 florins plus 4 florins for the hospital. She had to do public penance in the church on 5 Apr. 1787. Then, Johannes and Susanna divorced, which was very rare in the eighteenth century. Susanna married Georg Schmittenknecht and died 29 May 1795.

Johannes Balllet married Susanna's cousin Ottilia Billiar. The official investigations describe him as an exceptionally stupid yokel who couldn't understand the judge's questions. They had six children baptized in Rauweiler:

  1. Ottilia Balllet, bap. 22 Feb. 1788
  2. Jacob Balliet, hap. 13 Feb. 1790
  3. Johann Christian Balliet, bap. 26 July 1792
  4. Maria Barbara Balliet, hap. 28 Apr. 1795
  5. Franz Balllet, bap. 16 Dec. 1797, d. 20 Oct. 1798
  6. Franz Xaver Balllet, bap. 9 Aug. 1799

There is no other mention of this family in the Alsacian records after 1800. Apart from some slight discrepancies between the dates of birth, it fits with Dr. Karl Stumppís information. Unfortunately, there is a blank in the Russian genealogy between 1816 and 1884 when Stephen C. Balliet's account takes over.  S. C. Balliet says Michael Balliet didnít emigrate from South Russia around 1900.

In 1941 Stalin deported the Germans who lived in South Russia to Kazakhstan for he was afraid they would help the Nazis invading the Soviet Union. In 1996 the American Halbert's Family Heritage published a Balllet family book claiming to list all the Balllets of the world (!!?). Fourteen Balliets are listed in Germany. The author of this article got in touch with them and received two answers: both families were of Russian origin. Either the father or the grand father had emigrated to Germany alter World War II. One of them still had a sister living in Kazakhstan!

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