Helena Blavatsky was born at Ekaterinoslav in Southern Russia (now Dnipro, Ukraine). She was the daughter of Col. Peter Hahn and granddaughter of Gen. Alexis Hahn von Rottenstern Hahn of old Mecklenburg stock. Her mother, Helena Pavlovna Fadeev, a distinguished novelist writing under the pseudonym of "Zinaida R-va, " was an aunt of the celebrated Count Witte and a daughter of Privy-Councillor Andrey Fadeev and Princess Helena Dolgoruki. Further back, her ancestors were allied with the royal family. She passed an undisciplined childhood, at one time with her father in an army camp, and then, after the death of her mother, with her maternal grandparents. Their old country mansion at Saratov, much like a feudal castle, in the midst of parks and forests, fed the high-spirited girl's naturally romantic disposition. Hysterical and subject to hallucinations, she lived in a world of her own fancy when she was not quarrelling with her various governesses.