Introduction: German language genealogical periodicals have always been an attraction to me, first because of the possibility of their contents and second because of their accessibility at Concordia University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, http://library.csp.edu/?s=Germanic+Genealogy+Society+collection&submit=Go where the Germanic Genealogy Society, http://www.ggsmn.org of which I am a member and serve as a content editor for the Germanic Genealogy Journal, has its library.
However, the greatest barrier is, of course, the language, but technological advances have made the use of this collection somewhat easier for the un-schooled German family researcher.
Of greatest interest is Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde, variously translated as “Old Prussian Genealogy,” “The Study of Generations,” or simply “Family Research.” Previously, I used this publication with limited success in the Germanic Genealogy Society collection at Concordia University, but a combination of Internet and on-site research has increased my success.
As part of the preparation for my Family History Tour in 2013 and my search for villages in East Prussia where people with the Spurgat name lived, I consulted this resource.
A Wikipedia article provides an overview of the organization. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verein_f%C3%BCr_Familienforschung_in_Ost-_und_Westpreu%C3%9Fen Again, you can get to this website by googling Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde, searching down the page for the Wikipedia website, and clicking on Translate this page.
The website http://www.vffow-buchverkauf.de/schriftenverzeichnis/apgfa.php provides an overview of this publication. By googling Altpreussische Geschlechterkund and clicking on Translate this page, you will get the English version. Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde is divided into two parts: APG Volumes 1-4, 1927 to 1943 and APG New Edition (aka New Series) Volumes 1 to 43, etc., 1953 to the present. You can also search by name and/or localities and keyword, save and print the results.
Again, I used a two pronged research approach.
1. I found three articles which included the Spurgat name which were listed on my prioritized research list.
2. A description of the contents of each issue helped identify articles of interest. I created my own Table of Contents in English with a copy and paste into my word processing program so I could further study the titles. The results provided a list of prioritized articles to examine at the Concordia University Library. I took notes on my findings, and I copied the articles of highest interest for further study and possible translation. Even though I could not read the German, several articles had lists of names which I skimmed. With the actual publication in my hands, an index helped me locate any other Spurgats. Sometimes the list of names included dates. I was pretty excited to find (at that time) the earliest reference was that of Anna Spurgaitis in Springen, Kreis Gumbinnen in 1744! (This was 16 years earlier than the International Genealogical Index which had given me the following information but no location! Katrina Spurgat was listed as the mother of Kristions Kumutatis (born October 3, 1782).
International Genealogical Index (IGI) birth: 1760
• spouse: Ahsmys Kumutatis
• child: Kristions Kumutatis
Every time I found the Spurgat name with the online search engine (1) or by skimming an article of interest (2), I went back to Kartenmeister (See October 2014 post) and to the Google map to record the location, and finally to the Family Search Catalogue https://familysearch.org/catalog-search to check the availability of microfilms. In this way locations of Spurgats from Altpreussische Geschlechterkund became part of my prioritized research in Salt Lake in August 2014.
Another way to access Altpreussische Geschlechterkund is through the cds listed on their website. I was privileged to have access to a few cds containing some of the articles of my interest. My research strategy was the same. I had already pinpointed the articles of interest so I could skim them onscreen and/or print them. I could very easily look for my surname in the index. When I accessed the website as preparation for this post, I was disappointed to find that cds from 1927 to 1986-1988 are not longer available.
However, world cat http://www.worldcat.org/title/altpreussische-geschlechterkunde/oclc/776817321
lists six locations in the US.
The 2014 publication is listed in German on the www.vffvow.de website but not in English.
A search like this may seem like a great deal of work to find one name on a list, but this kind of search sharpens my research skills, broadens my geographical and historical perspective, and helps focus my research on the Spurgat locations in East Prussia.
The www.vffvow.de website includes other publications, and one of them, Die Kartie Quassowski, may be the subject of a future post.
You may want to try http://www.vffow-buchverkauf.de/schriftenverzeichnis/apgfa.php
if for no other reason than to search for your surnames.
The next post is on using Altpreussische Geschlechterkund at the Family History Library in Salt Lake.