During the four years from 1764 to 1767, Germans colonized 104 villages in the desolate Volga Valley of Russia near the city of Saratov. Of these, 44 were on the West side, the hilly side (Bergseite) of the Volga River and 60 villages were on the East side, the meadow side (Wiesenseite). The original population of the villages ranged from 225 to 250 people each. The emigrants numbered a total of of more than seven thousand families, an estimated 25 thousand people. The majority came from Hesse Germany, with southwest Germany well represented and less coming from other countries. Separate religious affiliations were of primary importance and interdenominational villages were extremely rare. With few exceptions, all of the villages were Evangelical or Catholic and later Mennonite.
Messer and it's daughter colony, Neu Messer, are on the hilly side (Bergseite) of the Volga River. Messer and Neu Messer were both Evangelical Lutheran. After Neu Messer was founded, Messer was also referred to as Alt Messer.
I will send you a private e-mail with a map of that region that shows both Messer and Neu Messer.
Messer, Balzer, Saratov, Volga, Russia was founded in 1766. Balzer is the name of the canton, as well as the name of one of the original colonies.
Neu Messer, Frank, Saratov, Volga, Russia was founded in 1863. Frank is the came of the canton as well as the name of one of the colonies.
In late August and early September of 1940, Stalin expelled the German colonists from their Volga homes. They were sent to slave labor camps in Siberia. Over half of them died there. They were literally worked to death with insuficient food.
The Russian name for Messer is Ust-Zolicha. I have also seen it spelled Ust-Solicha, Ust-Zolikha and Ust' Zolikha.
The Russian name for Neu Messer is Lysanderdorf. I have also seen it spelled Lisanderdorf. I think that the former is the most correct.
In the next e-mail I will list some of the Lorenz information that I have.