Records in the German Empire, and in particular East Prussia, should be readily available on microfilm (5, 310 rolls have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah as of 3 October 1996) or possibly stored in local, regional, and state archives. Germans are known for their orderliness, and they kept fairly meticulous records in local parishes from the mid-seventeenth century. However, incomplete records for this highly-fractured area are the result of the changing borders between and among nations, the destruction of war itself, and the resulting chaos of retreating and advancing armies and hoards of civilian populations at the end of World War II. Those responsible for preserving the records are known to have loaded them on wagons for safekeeping as they fled burning cities just ahead of advancing troops. How many volumes fell off these wagons is unknown as is the number of those that were hidden for safekeeping by thoughtful pastors, but never recovered. Although many portions of what was the German Empire have records fairly complete, some of the East Prussia records (today divided between Russia in the north and Poland in the south) are incomplete. These large heavy registers were scattered and may remain uncatalogued in many archives. Communist rulers for fifty years did not value the records of defeated nations.
The Lutheran church in Eydtkuhnen was consecrated during the lifetime of the Spurgat ancestors in 1889. As can best be determined by the single word two “cousins” remembered a decade apart, their grandfathers were “from” a place known as Eydtkuhnen. Perhaps these two grandfathers were born nearby in the 1830s, but the records of their lives remain undiscovered, or they lie in an undisclosed location, possibly available to researchers in the future. So the story of this –at family begins in the 1840s, much later than that of many other immigrants.
Author’s Note: The only other clue to Spurgat family origins lies in one 1874 death record in Wylkowiszki of Anna Ber Spurgat. (See a future poast.) The words “she was born in Prusia” (Prussia) appear on the death record, indicating that some of those who spent most of their lives in the Wylkowiszki area were born in Prussia (circa 1838) and immigrated to Wylkowiszki.