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Ellen Laubhan's Biography


Ellen Laubhan grew up in Follett, Texas, a small farm community of predominantly Volga Germans, where she learned to appreciate her heritage as a German from Russia. She was
in college when her grandparents, Martha (Ehrlich) and Jona Laubhan, presented her with a book called “Ehrlich: a Family History, 1763-1970,” which reinforced interest in her ancestry. Reading historical fiction throughout her life, she believed an important story was missing. Ellen pursued a nagging desire to tell the exciting, tumultuous story of the first Volga German pioneers, focusing on their unflinching resolve to make a better life for themselves and future generations. After retirement, Ellen spent approximately seven years researching and writing The Empress’ Gift: The Volga Frontier, an historical fiction novel about the earliest Volga German pioneers. She drew from her ancestral roots to tell the story, which will appeal to millions of Volga German descendants living in the United States, as well as fans of authentic historical fiction worldwide.

While conducting research and writing this book, Ellen developed a deep respect for these resilient pioneers. Through family histories, she learned about the earliest years in Russia,
including encounters with the wolves on the frozen Volga River. It was that story and others that kept guiding her forward. While the book’s characters are fictitious, Ellen found inspiration in
many historic individuals, including her relatives, who arrived in Russia several years after the first pioneers. The story was developed from many original family documents and other vital
sources. Of utmost importance were the vast resources of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR: Ellen is pleased to share credit with family and friends, who supported her throughout the book’s development. She praises the staff at Rowe Publishing (, who led her through the publishing process.

Ellen earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from Texas A&M University, Canyon, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of
Wyoming. She is a member of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) and Wyoming Writers, Inc. She and her husband have four children and five grandchildren.

They divide their time between Laramie, Wyoming,

and Phoenix, Arizona.

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