At last I saw the welcome sign to Vilkaviskis, so familiar to me through the visits of others.
Although we had driven around Wylkowiszki/Vilkaviskis and through it before, we had not stopped. Even though it was the major town of the area and the place where the civil records were kept, we have little knowledge of how much time anyone in the Spurgat families might have spent here.
We approached Wylkowiszki/ Vilkaviskis from west and just happened to stop for gasoline at the often photographed location of the former Wilkowischken Evangelical Lutheran Church. In July and August 1944 as the German army retreated and the Soviet army moved in, the whole area was severely damaged. As far as I have been able to determine, the church was destroyed at this time.
We had lunch across the street which happened to be outside the Town Hall where many couples had come to get married that day. Many people were carrying flowers into and around the building. This was as close to the old civil registers where Spurgat marriages were recorded as I would get: Mathäus Spurgat and Minna Keller in 1861, Johann Spurgat and Anna Ber (Berz) in 1865, and Johann Spurgat and Karolina Raudonat in 1874. In the next generation William Gustave Spurgat and Wilhelmine Kaptain were married in 1899 and Josef Spurgat and Amalie Kratz were married in 1903.