History of the Protestant German Settlement in Lithuania Post 1

In January, February, and March 2013 the following posts included translations of several sections of Bilder aus der Geschichte des evangelischen Deutschtums in Litauen by Hermann Jaekel, published in 1964. These excerpts were part of a series of posts from var8ous chapter of my 2010 family history book, The Three Spurgat Families form Wylkowiszki and were included as background information for the reader.
The subject of each post is embedded in the last part of the urls below.
Although the above posts do not include a word for word translation of the contents, a full translation is available.
A second look at this resource in 2018 had resulted in five additional posts containing translations of other sections of this book to provide information for researchers.
I thank my translators, Pauline Utzinger and Irmgard Heim Ellingson
I have used both the book and the film. As of this writing in January 2018, the film has not been digitized.
The url in the Family Search Catalogue:

The Table of Contents in English:Image (149)



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Post 2 DNA Matches Results in a New Cousin and Then Not a Cousin

The discovery of a “Family Finder” DNA match in October 2017 to two researchers, one not connected with this blog and one which did, led to taking the next steps.
The contact with the first researcher left us both baffled. The only connection she could find with any possible DNA connection was through her maternal Scots-Irish Line. After a restless night, it turned out that that was the only connection I could make as well. See the following post:
Since her Germans came from Pomerania, Posen, and Switzerland and mine came from West and East Prussia, we let the matter drop.
The second match to an early reader of this blog was more surprising. When I brought the connection to his attention, he wrote:
Here is what I discovered:
We show up on each other’s chromosome browser.
We share a small segment on the left side of chromosome 9.
Your sister does not show up on my list of chromosome matches.
My sister does not show up on your list of chromosome matches.
We are not related on my mother’s side since my Kokoschka cousin has nothing on chromosome 9.
We must be related on the Hirsch side because another Hirsch cousin has some chromosome 9 overlap with me, but she does not show up on your chromosome matches.
A fifth cousin match takes us back to my ancestor Niklaus Hirscher born in Salzburg or his wife Barbara Brandstetter who married in East Prussia in 1762 near Ragnit near Tilsit. Their son, Johann Hirsch, is my ancestor who moved to New East Prussia (now Lithuania) around 1800. I think our DNA match on chromosome 9 goes back to East Prussia – no surprise.
Now that we were “fifth cousins” he allowed me to visit “For Family Members Only” part of this website and provided me a “for your eyes only” autobiography. To be connected through research and ancestry because of this blog was rewarding.
I mentioned that I know another East Prussian researcher who lives locally. She is my “go to person” because of her search in East Prussia for her -at name, her knowledge of the German language, and her background in teaching biology at the university level.
The “my new fifth cousin” posed a question:

Can you ask her what is typically found on the left part of chromosome 9 – eye color? hair color? Height? They must have figured out what features each chromosome covers. If I knew that then my other chromosome overlaps with other relatives might be more meaningful.
Quotation marks in her answer indicate exactly what she said.
She had just read an article (which I will forward to you when I get it) about what is called a “pile up.” It is “on the right side” of the center of (whatever technical term refers to the middle) which apparently is better than being on the left side of the middle of the chromosome.
“Lots of people have chromosome 9, in particular.”
Whether this is “important to health, I don’t know.”
Her “husband has a lot of people who share chromosome 9”
You “have to have at least 40 total centi Morgans in common and a chunk the size of 10 or 15” (depending on what you read) “or it is not worth pursuing.” It is “meaningless genealogically.”
It can be considered an “accident” or a “coincidence” or a fluke. My word, but she agreed.
“It is complicated.”
My final comment to “my newly-lost cousin:” Having said all this, would you like your family tree back? Do you want to change the password on your website so I cannot look at it?
His final reply:
I have just come up with my own theory that the section of chromosome 9 that we share has to do with how we think and doggedly pursue inquiry – which is very similar. So maybe that explains our common heritage.
And he signed it “Cousin”
For further information on a pile up on chromosome 9.

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DNA Post 1 Is There a Lithuanian Specific DNA?

The next two posts will focus on recent experiences with DNA.

I have been receiving Lithuanian Heritage since I first heard about it in the 1990s. The occasional articles about history, family roots, genealogy, specific locations in the Suwalki region, and notable Lithuanians hold my interest.

In December 2016 the colorful cover showed three “relatively common” European haplogroups: R1b, R1a, and N1c.

Knowing that my brother tested as R1b, I eagerly approached this article:
The article focused on the report of Dr. Vaidutis Kučinskas at the Department of Human and Medical Genetics at Vilnius University which I had toured with Road Scholar one morning in July 2013.

Dr. Vaidutis Kučinskas answered seven questions:
1. Does an examination of Lithuanian DDA support or refute the idea that Lithuanians (and other Baltic tribes) were isolated from the rest of Europe?
Current studies do not reflect the isolationist theory. Geographical distance is the more likely reason that Lithuanians and other eastern and northern Europeans have different DNA.
2. Is there evidence of Viking and Lithuanian DNA?
More study of this questions needs to be done, but the basic answer is, “No.”
3. How close are the Lithuanians to the Latvians, Estonians, Germans, and other western Europeans?
“Lithuanian population is close genetically to the population of neighboring countries (e.g. Latvians, Estonians, Poles, and Russians)…” R1a (45%) and N3 (37%) are the two largest groups. Some differences exist between the northwest and north versus the south and southeast. Lithuanians are closest to Latvians. Geographical distance determines the relationship to the others, (i. e. the closer the country, the increase in a DNA match.)
4. How closely are European Jews related to no-Jewish Lithuanians?
Lithuanians are more closely related to other Europeans than to European Jews.
5. Is there evidence in Lithuanians of Asian, especially Mongol genes?
Tatars have a “high prevalence” of N1c1 and R1a1, both prominent in Lithuanians.
6. With regard to Y-DNA and MtDNA, what differences are there between Lithuanian men and women?
Common to many people, men show a higher diversity than women.
7. How do Lithuanians compare with other Europeans with regard to African origins?
The closer the country geographical, the closer the Y-DAN and MtDNA match.
These questions and answers only somewhat told me what I wanted to know: Is my family Prussian or Lithuanian? The R1b, Western European origins, rather the prominent R1a prominent in Lithuania, suggested the German or Prussian origin of my Spurgat family.
An Editor’s Note defined haplogroup and cited a website www. eupedia.com maintained by Maciamo Hay. Although not peer-reviewed, it offers a great deal of information about “population genetics.”
On the home page you can click on the haplogroup of your choice. The map for R1b (it was the same map as on the cover of Lithuanian Heritage) and scroll down. I learned a great deal about the R1b haplogroup. And found specific reference to my particular sub group.
The information about DNA in the article and website supports the “Prussian” side of the debate surrounding those with -at names rather than the Lithuanian side. At least at this moment.

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Landsmen Updated Post 2

Vol. 25 Double Issue (January 2017) Special Section on Kalwaria: Part II (Note: Both articles are listed as Part II)

The Editor reviews the information from Part I (Vol. 23, Nos. 1-2, November 2013.)
Another Historical Re-Cap of the Augustow District in the former Suwalki Gubernia is given. Each time the information, based on a particular author’s area of emphasis is given, new descriptions are presented. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth existed from 1569 to 1795. Of particular interest are the comments about the southern towns which are today in Poland. Next, the towns and counties under Prussian Rule (1797-1807) are listed. The Lomza district emerged during the Napoleonic Era (1808-1814). The inception of the new Augustow Province comprised the Suwalki-Lomza Gubernia. In 1866 these two gubernias were divided into districts or powiats. In 1918 when Lithuania became independent, it acquired the Suwalki Districts, including Wolkowiszki (Vilkaviskis) and four others—Wladyslawow, Kalwarja, Mariampol, and northern Sejny. More changes came with the new Polish independent nation and further changes at the time o f WWII. All of these the researcher must understand to access of records of interest.

Vol. 25 Double Issue (January 2017) Networking: Three Articles of Interest from Our Members: Update on the Suwalki-Lomza DNA Project by Rachel Unkefer
A very comprehensive summary of the history of DNA testing for genealogical purpose is presented at the beginning of the article. Especially helpful is the discussion of the three types of popular testing: surname, haplogroup, and geographic. Advantages of each approach are presented. A description of the ongoing Suwalki-Lomza Jewish DNA project suggests for readers of this blog the establishment of a Suwalki Evangelische DNA group or a Gumbinnen Administrative District DNA project, of if there were enough interest, a Kreis Stalluponen, Pilkallen, Gumbinnen, Ragnit, etc. DNA project. The common “biological code” is yet to be discovered. All forms, Y-DNA and MtDNA should be collected, but autosomal DNA of the oldest living people remains a high priority as 50% of DNA is lost with each generation.
Is there a reader who would be willing to head this project?

Vol. 25 Double Issue (January 2017) Short Takes: More on Napoleon.
See the previous post for “London the Baker and London the Congressman. “

Landsmen Updated Post 1

Vol. 25 Double Issue (January 2017) Editor’s Corner
The editor announced plans were underway to implement “a strictly internet concept of operation” to improve the Suwalki-Lomza website on JewishGen and very tentatively to have a Members Only component. At the time of publication, January 2017, Vol. 25 Nos 3-4 was scheduled to be published during the summer of 2017 or to continue publishing the journal through Vol. 26 (2018). As of the writing of this post in January 2019, no information on the website finalized these plans. In other words, this post may or may not be the last one from the published Landsmen. If the publication goes online, a blog post will provide the link.

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Landsmen Updated Post 1

Earlier posts summarized articles of interest from the Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group.



The next two posts bring the reader up to date on articles that may interest other researchers in what would become Suwalki Province in 1866.

Vol. 24 – Double Issue (March 2016) Special Section on Kalwaria: Part II. The editor’s overview provides a “Brief Historical Re-Cap” of Kalwaria in particular, but much of the same history relates to the nearby towns of Suwalki Province. As many times as I read the history of this area, I am always ready for a review. This article is an excellent refresher from the time of The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569 to 1795); New East Prussia (1795 to 1807); the Duchy of Warsaw under French control from 1808 to 1814; the Kingdom of Poland (aka Congress Poland and Russian Poland 1815 to 1918); to independent Lithuania starting in 1918.

Vol. 24 – Double Issue (March 2016) UK Naturalization Certificates on Ancestry.com by Jill Whitehead.
This interesting article discusses the pros and cons of online research. The author compares results of online records with paper copies she had researched earlier and enhanced her research with other UK sources, i. e. ten year censuses, birth, marriage and death records. She provides examples of how simply changing one letter of a town can alter the results, i. e. Kalvaria versus Kalwaria. She also provides examples of the same town listed as “Calvary.”
Another example is about a town I have recently become interested in: Vystitis (Lithuanian), Wiestieniec (Polish), and Wistitten (German.) Family Search provides three similar spellings: Vistytis, Vyshtynets, Wischtiten. Although almost all of the time, it was in Suwalki Province, in “the mid to late 19th century due to some border changes” it was in East Prussia and is now catalogued online in the Kaliningrad Oblast. It is this very issue we researchers in this area struggle with. By the way, FamilySearch did not recognize any of the first three spellings listed above. This article reminds researchers to access as many resources as you can.

Vol. 24 – Double Issue (March 2016) Short Takes: London the Baker and London the Congressman by Paul A. London, PhD.
This article centers on two men with the same name born in Vilkaviskis in the 19th century and their immigration to New York in 1870 and 1891. The author clearly explains his research that distinguishes each man from the other, one who became a Congressman in 1915. Of interest to researchers in this area is the mention of a visit to Vilkaviskis in July 2015, two years after I was there with my family history tour guide. The reader is given the name of the former director of the museum and a guide specializing in the history of the region, both with excellent recommendations.
Many stories about Napoleon’s army in Lithuania abound, and this article contains an interesting one with a likely family connection. This article might have escaped my notice had it not been for a brief article “More on Napoleon Stories” in the “Short Takes” in the January 2017 issue in which another researcher disputes Napoleon story in the above article. As researchers we are interested in both the family stories which can be proved and those which cannot be.

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Pillupönen: Eliminating Possibilities

Since my primary research goal is to locate any records of my paternal and maternal ancestors in East Prussia, I try to go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake as carefully prepared as I can to achieve this goal. The results of this research which started in 2010 was summarized in posts in November 2016 to February 2017. It is easier to say, “I have eliminated a lot of possibilities” rather than “I have not found a single clue.”

Two family stories indicated Eydtkuhnen in Kreis Stallupönen as the best place to look. Ironically, I found no Spurgats or any of the other names I was seeking in all my research, mostly perusing indices, so I had moved to adjacent kreise, Gumbinnen and Insterburg as possibilities. In checking my research, I discovered that I had missed a parish in Kreis Stallupönen, so that should be my next target. Without a trip to Salt Lake in 2016, I ordered films from one parish in Kreis Stallupönen that I had apparently missed, Pillupönen.

This post briefly summarizes eight, three hour sessions, I spent examining these three films.

I use two parameters for this type of research:

• 16 names: birth records of great grandparents and great-great grandparents from who may have been born in East Prussia from 1809 to 1843, based on their ages in their marriage records in the Russian Empire.
• 6 names: marriages of great-great grandparents from 1830 to 1845 based on their ages in the birth records of their children in the Russian Empire.

So I ordered three films online from the Family History Library:

Evangelische Kirche Pillupönen (Kr. Stallupönen)

Taufen 1779-1805 (r. & l. S.) — Taufen 1806-1821 (r. & l. S.) 1813200

Taufen [1806-1815 (2. Kopie), 1821-1832] (r. & l. S.) 1811031 Item 2

Taufen 1833-1850 (l. & r. S.) 1810624

Remember: the wealth of information the FHL catalogue description gives: brief history of the kreis and names of all the tiniest of places the parish records cover.
The columned records were fairly easy to read and I concentrated on finding the father’s and mother’s names. Some were very light; some were smeared and blotchy; some handwriting was easier to read than others.

I looked at the names of the witnesses for quite a while. When I realized that the population of this parish was very stable through the repetition of names and the formation of families, I decided that I was not going to read witnesses as I doubted witnesses would travel very far; they had to live close.

The 24 hours of research can be summed up in the following way: the three films included the variety of names associated with the various ethnic groups in the eastern half of East Prussia. Common “German” names like Opperman and Zimmerman are intermixed with the usual Lithuanian suffixes- aitis, -eitis, -tis, -eit, and -in for the suffix of feminine names. This should be expected as the demographic descriptions of this area by multiple sources should remind the researcher that Germanized Lithuanians dominated this part of East Prussia through acceptance of the German language and religion.

In an interesting twist, I ran once again into the Hotop/Hutop/Hotopp family that had been featured in an early edition of Alt Preusssische. https://suwalkigermans.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/german-language-genealogical-periodicals-altpreussische-geschlechterkunde/

I was able to match the birthdates of some of the same children on the film as in the article. It made me realize that others had already perused these records over 90 years ago to preserve their family history. Maybe that was a research strategy to pursue: contact with German families who had already worked on their family history–placing a query on East Prussian websites. Has anyone had success in doing that?
Because of way these records had been filmed, you had to keep track of whether you were reading the left hand side or the right hand side in order to find the single birth record you are seeking. First the right hand side of the kirchebuch was filmed for a given year or series of years. Then the left hand side of the kirchebuch was filmed, easy for the photographer but not the researcher!

What does one do when all one has done is to eliminate possibilities? Think hard.

1. If any of the 16 names I am searching are not in East Prussia, they were in the Russian Empire Lithuania by this time.
2. If William Gustave Spurgat’s and Adolph Spurgat’s fathers came from Eydtkuhnen, they had to be in East Prussia until this time.
3. Should be able to find birth of great-grandmother Anna Ber/Berz/Bers as she was born in Prussia in 1838, but don’t know location.
4. Check all locations in Kreis Stallupönen again and see if there are records without indexes to look at as only looked at indexes in East Prussia.
5. Do a complete review of records in East Prussia looked at. Did you just look at indexes or did you look at actual records for the names and dates specified?
6. Dawid Spurgat, relationship unknown, was born in the district of Karole in 1795 so some people named Spurgat were born in New East Prussia before it became part of the Russian Empire.
7. Make a chart of all birth information you know about Spurgats, regardless of relationship.

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Results from Emigrants Index from Stalluponen to Poland (now Lithuania) 1816-1877 Part II

(Information is from three FHL microfilms)

FHL FILM 1539248 48 Item 1

I found a nicely- typed copy of names alphabetized by years starting in 1822. This was exactly the time period I was interested in. Many birth dates were in the 1820s, the decades before the churches were established and records were beginning. I observed a mixture of Lithuanian and German names and lots of surnames with-at endings. Some names in my family I recognized were Guddat, Keller, Kratz spelled Kraatz, and Sauskat.
Some names I recognized from other researchers were Martin Hirsch, Michael Hirsch.
I was especially interested in those who had Kybarti, Mariampole, Pilwischken, Virballis, and Wilkowischken as destinations and copied about 45 records.

Sample Card: Christian Guddat

image (372)

Information includes: religious persuasion, maiden name, date of birth, children’s names and years of birth, place of residence, cross-references to spouses and children, occupation, place of birth, father’s name, and date when this information was compiled.
Sometimes the Kreis was listed as Ebenrode, not Stalluponen, a name changed dated to 1938. Almost all of the emigrants were from locations in Kreis Stalluponen.

There were no Spurgats or Hutops to be found! But I also found records of surnames familiar to me from my maternal lines and lines other readers of this blog are searching for: Guddat, Hirsch, Keller, Kratz spelled Kraatz, and Sauskat.

The film did suggest the origin of some the families and the following list was compiled as possible place to look for Spurgat and Hutop origins in Kreis Stalloponen, East Prussia.
These films are fairly easy to read, and perhaps, your family name might be there or at least you might collect a list of locations of interest in East Prussia.
I made a list of all the people who came to Wylkowiscken, etc. from 1822 to 1858, most from Kreis Stalluponen as a source of possible locations to look in East Prussia.

The fact that these records are typed is an indication of a 20th century recording. What remains unknown is the original source of these records. Some of the records were handwritten. The 1934 to 1938 records could easily have been the originals.
The following list includes the places in Kreis Stalluponen and nearby kreise that those who came to the Wylkowischken area were from and creates a list of locations to check for records in those parishes.

You may contact me for a copy of the card if you find one of interest. There are many more who went to other locations that you may want to check.

1. Johann Adam 1822
2. Friedrich Postschlies
3. Elizabeth Schlelmminger 1823
4. Johann Christian Lange 1824
5. Wilhelm Vorek
6. Karl Kusehmann 1825 Wlikowischen
7. Michael Mauriszat
8. Ludwig Boettcher 1827 Wilkowischen
9. Christian Klein 1828 Mariampol
10. Anton Borokatis 1829
11. Johann Mathas Raeder
12. Johanna Christinna Reinbacher
13. George Schattauer 1830 tischler Mariampol
14. Christoph Griegoschat 1832 Pilwischken
15. Christan Guddat
16. Johann Jonat Pilwischken
17. George Kaleher
18. Christian Naujoks Mariampol
19. Jons Petrikat Pilwischken
20. Jacob Starratis Pilwischken
21. Johann Keller 1833
22. Christian Schaumann Gudellen
23. Wilhelm Ritzke
24. Christiam Sziedat
25. Johann Guttmann 1834 Guttkehman
26. Michel Linitzky 1835 Mariampol
27. Casper Friedrich Perner Mariampol and Wilkowischen
28. Eva Raeder
29. Kallweit, Christop 1836
30. Friedrich Perner
31. Anton Kruszewski 1837 Mariampol and Pilwischken
32. Heinriette Schwand
33. Heinrette Schwandt married Christian Glanert
34. Joseph Christian Schmelling 1839
35. Johann Kaukas 1840
36. Ewa Scheidereit geb. Mickeleit Pilwischken
37. Christina Kaul 1841
38. Maria Raedner
39. Christian Schattner Pojewon
40. Christoph Voight Pojewon
41. Heinrich Hauss (not Hutop) 1843
42. Christian Maszig 1846 Suwalki
43. Glass (not Gutop) 1848
44. Petwiz 1849
45. Ensies Dirwelies 1858 Mariampol

FHL FILM 1539246: Item 2 is a continuation of continuation of FHL FILM 1539248. These alphabetical typed lists are similar but from the later 19th and early 20th century.
Some names in my family and those of readers of this blog (that I know about) include: Blum, Bonaker, Kaptain and Kaptein, and Keller. The film ends with the Kosak name.

FHL FILM 1539247 Item 1 is a very long typed alphabetical list with many later 19th century and 20th century entries. This film continues with Kozak and ends with Oswald. I found 4 Lingertats, a name from another researcher.

Item 2 starts with names with that start with the letter P. Names I found included Wallat, Westenberger, and two different –gat names from Mariampole. Sch is separately listed after the alphabetical S. I noted several listings for tischlers, (cabinetmakers.) A few are out of alphabetical order in the Ws. (i. e. there are 2 sets of Wagner, Weger, Weger). Some Ws are after Zs.

This film is now digitized but available for viewing only at your local FHC, its affiliates, or the FHL. In other words it is locked for home viewing.



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