Over three centuries ago, a group of Russian peasants broke away from the Greek Orthodox Church of Russia and began a religious sect called the Molokans (milk drinkers). They were persecuted by their countrymen and government, and were exiled to a remote area of Russia (Transcaucasia), where they lived and prospered for several generations.

As Russia faced war and unrest with eventual revolution, the pacifist Molokans faced further religious persecution and military conscription. To save their young men from death in these conflicts and to follow their religious belief of "Thou shalt not kill", the Molokans began to leave Russia from 1905 to 1912, leaving for far-away countries with their young families to live until a time when they could safely return to their homeland.

This web page reflects the journey of two Molokan families in 1911, the families of Peter J Tolmasoff and John P Patapoff, as they leave their small villages near Kars of Milikkoy, Chakmak and Chilhavor (now part of northeastern Turkey) for the United States and a destination called Los Angeles, California. Other Russian families also dispersed to various areas of Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Canada, Mexico and South America.

In 1998, this web page was posted in celebration of the 70th birthday of Peter Tolmasoff and the 80th birthday of Anne Tolmsoff, grandchildren of these patriarchs, after a great-granddaughter researched through family photos, stories and interviews for the history of these Russian-Americans. Here is the essence of these two emigrant families, refugees who traveled to the United States for their religious freedom and safety from war.

This web site does not represent nor have affiliations with any church or religion, or other organized group, but is intended to be a source of information for the descendants who share this Russian heritage and would like to know more.

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Peter John Tolmasoff Family
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John Paul Patapoff Family
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The Oregon Molokans 1945
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John Peter Tolmasoff Family

Further reading:
The Pilgrims of Russian-Town, Pauline V. Young, Ph.D., 1932, reprint 1998.
The Russian Colony of Guadalupe Molokans in Mexico, George W. Mohoff.
A Stroll Through Russiantown, George W. Mohoff and Jack P. Valov, 1996.

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Tolmasoff & Patapoff Genealogy Web Page 1999-2017, P. Tolmasoff