In the last post (October 30, 2014) I wrote about using two websites interchangeably to prepare for a recent trip to the Family History Library—Kartenmeister <http://www.kartenmeister.com> and Family Search catalogue <https://familysearch.org/search>.
The third website used in an attempt to find parish registers of the Spurgat ancestors who may have been born in East Prussia prior to immigration to Suwalki Province is explained below.
After compiling a list of great and 2nd great grandparents, including the maiden names of the women and a range of years in which they were born [based on their age in marriage and birth records], I had a short list of eight names (Berz, Gudat, Henning, Keller, Kuczynska, Raudinat, Spurgat, Wallat) to search for. Of course, I knew that any of them could have been born in Suwalki Province as there is an 1875 death record of 80 year old Dawid Spurgat, relationship undetermined, born in “the district of Kalwaria” in 1795 in what had been New East Prussia. And if the records for Wylkowiszki during this era were destroyed “in wars and fires”, these ancestors may not even have been living in East Prussia from 1805 to 1845, the time range for possible birth and marriage records. However, I knew that at least one, my great-grandmother, Anna Ber (aka (Bers, Berz), had been born in “Prusia” in 1838 as recorded on her 1874 death record when she was 36 years old. Maybe, just maybe I could find where. So far I have not.
By googling Kreis Stallopoenen, I found the rather well-known German website, wiki.de.genealogy.net, but this time by clicking on churches and then on Church of book inventories circle Gumbinnen, I located the best maps I have ever seen of each kreise in the Gumbinnen Administrative District. The link for Kreis Stallupӧnen is http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Ostpreu%C3%9Fen/Genealogische_Quellen/Kirchbuchbest%C3%A4nde_Kreis_Ebenrode_%28Stallup%C3%B6nen%29
So I printed a map for each kreis in which I might search and used that map to organize my research in that kreis. Each map identified the locations of the parish records by kreis, information I had always wanted to know. When I knew that someone with the Spurgat name had lived in that kreis, I now knew where to check the nearest locations beyond that kreis because some maps included the locations of parish records of the surrounding kreise.
So by consulting the map of each kreis, I could then go to Kartenmeister (See October 30 post) for more information, and then to the Family Search catalogue for films.
I had found Spurgats in the following kreise (Goldap, Gumbinnen, Insterburg, Ortlesburg, Pillkallen, Ragnit and Stalloponen (after 1938 Ebenrode) so I used maps from those kreise to organize my research.
To find the map of each kreis, in http://www.wiki.de.genealogy.net, go to Churches, then to Church Records. You will then find: Church of book inventories circle Gumbinnen.
In German, you will click on Kirchen, then Kirchenbücher. You will find:
siehe: Kirchenbuchbestände Kreis Gumbinnen
Using this process as a guide, you should be able to find a map of each kreis as I did.
I examined a well-known website with a different purpose this time and know that it holds so much more.
When I was in Salt Lake, I did not find a single birth or marriage record in the parishes I searched, but I eliminated a lot of possibilities! My next research trip to Salt Lake will continue to use this research strategy unless someone gives me a better way.