Sailing from Riga to Hamburg as the first leg of the journey to America makes a lot of sense. Are there/have you seen any sailing records for Riga? Regarding your question re:how long were relatives in Russia, I don't have any definitive information; however, I suspect it was not long as most of the records that I have been able to locate (a few ship manifests, marriage & death certificates) seem to say "Germany" more often than "Russia". I have located several brothers of my great-grandmother whose manifest & immigration papers mention Suwalki, hence my interest in researching these records. All the ancestors who came to the US were good German Lutherans (I have found their names on church rolls in Cleveland, OH where they settled), so I have to believe there are likely to be some church records somewhere in present-day Lithuania/Northeast Poland that will show their presence. My plan now is to continue to enlarge the circle of towns with Protestant church records. Again, thanks for your responses and suggestions!