Since I was seven years old, my grandmother has given me a Matryoshka doll every Christmas. These Russian-made dolls connect my family back to their Russian heritage as Germans from Russia. In 1895 my great-grandmother, Marie Schnell was born in Buenos Aries, Argentina. Her mother and father had immigrated from Russia to Buenos Aries around 1887 to escape famine and military service. In 1904 at the age of nine my great-grandmother and her family received a sponsorship from a family in Weld County, Colorado to immigrate to the United States. In 1905 my great-grandmother and her family moved to Colorado where her father found a job in Windsor working in the sugar beet fields. Today my family and I continue to live in Windsor as my grandmother and great-grandmother did before me. Every year my grandmother gives me one of these dolls to remind me of my Germans from Russia heritage and as a representation of each generation of our family.
– Sara Umland