Prussia was one part of Germany that conquered the rest of what is now Germany. Austria is also ethnically German and it once had a large empire too. Ever read War and Peace? There was a lot of French cultural influence on eastern Europe as an offshoot of Napoleon's conquests. And I suppose invading soldiers do tend to leave a trail of babies behind but that kind of ancestry would be difficult to trace. (Father: unknown) Three of them were Mennonites. Mennonites are pacifists and Russia (which owned Ukraine at the time) was willing to accept them because they didn't need them for their army, since they had more men of their own than they could afford to equip and train. My dad also used to say that German settlement was encouraged by Catherine the Great, since she was of German ancestry. The fourth was a Prussian whose parents moved to Russia to work, gravitating toward the German settlements, I guess.