The -at Name in Russian
The area where Spurgats lived was at various times subjected to German, Polish (under a Russian protectorate), and Lithuanian domination. Each government affected the lives of its people and the way the vital records of their lives were kept. Up until the Polish Insurrection of 1863-64, the records were written in Polish; after the adoption of the “Russification” policy a short time later, all records were written in Russian, including first names.
The various records of one immigrant, William Gustave Spurgat, provide examples of the spellings of the Spurgat name in Russian; they lived in a Protectorate of the Russian Empire during the time period that records document their lives. His records fall into two categories: civil (birth, marriage, and death) records and visa and military records. These two categories are examined below to illustrate the differences.
The civil registers were kept by the local clergy acting as civil employees. The name was often written in the record with the German spelling as Spurgat. The following example illustrates how the name appears on the marriage record of William Gustave Spurgat and Wilhelmina Kaptain in 1899.
Spelling of Spurgat in a Civil Record
The illustration above is a transliteration (translated letter by letter). The Russian letter Ш translates into “Sh” creating an unusual spelling. The extra character at the end of the name, which according to a document about the Russian alphabet, is no longer used. The significance of the mark (which looks like a quotation mark) remains undetermined.
Spelling of Spurgat in Visa (Cursive) and Military (Printed) Records
Notes: (1) At the end of the third line, the translator intended to write“at the end.” (2) The “-aitis” on the end of the English translation indicates the Lithuanian influence in the name.