I would love to be able to tell you that I located some ancestors in selected villages in East Prussia.
I examined indices, confirmation records, birth records, and marriage records for the appropriate years in Bilderweitschen, Goritten, Mehlkehmen, Stallupoenen and in Kreis Stalluponen. (I had examined Enzuhnen and Eydtkuhnen in 2010.) I thought I had possibly located Caroline Guddat, a great great maternal grandmother on a confirmation record, but the marriage record did not give the name of the man she married, Friedrich Berz. I checked for another possible marriage before the 1838 to 1843 birth range for their daughter Anna Berz, my great grandmother, but I did not find one, nor did I find the birth of Anna Berz, who was “was born in Prusia.”
I am glad that I took the time to organize research for all my great and great great grandparents for the Spurgat families because that prospective research is all ready for another trip to Salt Lake whenever that may be.
But I had other sources to check.
I was able to read and/or copy all of the articles from Landsmen, the journal of The Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists that I was interested in. Perhaps this will be the subject of a future post.
I was able to locate, skim, and copy many of the articles with lists of names from Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde.
In lieu of his book, I had two articles by von Max Mechow from Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde that dealt with the subject of Prussian-Lithuanian surnames in northeastern Prussia. “Preussische Namen als deutsche Familiennamen “ (Prussian name as a German family name) was the name of both articles. One paragraph in particular seemed appealing , and I left the conference with a partial translation from two professionals and a way to follow up with one of them. Certainly, this will be the subject of a future post.
My other success came from one of three books at the Family History Library: Amtsbauernund Kӧlmer im nӧrdichen Ostpreussen um 1736 : nach der “Repeupilerung” des Distrikts Litauen. Nach der Generaltabelle und den Prӓstationstabellen” shortened to Farmers and Tenants of Northeast Prussia about 1736. This was a most interesting find as three kreise were represented: Insterburg, Ragnit, and Memel. Each location in each kreis was listed alphabetically and surnames were listed, first the Salzburgers, followed by the Lithuanian list. Then a third section listed those of a higher class.
The point is I found the only Spurgat listed in the entire volume, a Pritzkus Spurgatis in Kraupischkehmen, Kreis Insterburg! This was important for two reasons. It is the earliest date I have found the Spurgat name anywhere, and the kreis was identified. This was important as there are also locations in Kreis Ragnit: Kraupschkehmen and Augsgirren Kirchspiel Kraupschkehnen. The Spurgat name has been found in the IGI with the “Kraupschkehmen, East Prussia” location, but did not list the kreis.
Kraupschkehmen was listed under “Amt Gaudischkehmen (Didlacken 23.6).” Kartenmeister gave me the location and the FHLC gave me the numbers of ten films in the alternate name of Didlacken. Alas, there were no Spurgats or the names of other great and great-great parents. But I still consider the find successful.
Although I was disappointed that no other researchers with roots in Suwalki Province and East Prussia were there, it was exhilarating to speak at the conference and to spend time with other serious eastern European family researchers.
I am organized enough to make another research trip and still hunt for Spurgats et al in northern East Prussia from 1810 to 1840. Of course, it is still possible that these people were in Suwalki Province by that time, and the records for Wylkowiszki were destroyed in “wars and fires.”