Altpreussische Geschlechterkund in Salt Lake City

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a hard bound collection of Altpreussische Geschlechterkund which is easy to use as well as a microfilm version. All volumes are either in book or film format from 1927 to the most current edition, in this case, May 2014. Earlier editions appear to be in both book and film and later editions are in book format. None are listed on a cd/dvd.

Following up research in Altpreussische Geschlechterkund in the spring of 2013 at Concordia University in preparation for the Family History Tour and on cds in December 2013, the August 2014 research in Salt Lake focused on two topics: (1) Were there any more lists of names in articles that included Spurgat? (2) Which articles would provide additional information on the precise origin of the –at surnames?

(1) The following article was helpful:

“Das Burgerbuch von Goldap 1835 bis 1854” by Von Lutz F. W. Wenau (1997, page 53)
The Burger book from Goldap 1835-1854

While researching for the birth record of a great-grandfather (born circa 1846) on my mother’s side a number of years ago in Goldap, the original location of a military unit he was a member of, I found the family of Ferdinand Spurgat and Dorothea Leopold in Goldap, East Prussia, now Goldap, Poland. Births ranged from 1843 to 1854. Perhaps a sister, an Amalie Spurgat, married Edward Echtermak and two children were born in 1843 and 1844. In the Altpreussische Geschlechterkund article a Ferdinand Spirgaitis [Spirrgaitis], (14.9.1817) a drechsler or turner, is listed as is a Friedrich Spirgaitis, (12.6.1812) a horndrechsler. Perhaps the Ferdinand Spurgat listed in the parish register is the same Ferdinand Spirgaitis [Spirrgaitis], in the list of burgers.

(2) Four articles addressed the origin of the –at names:

“Familiennamen im nordlichen Ostpreussen Herkunft, Wandel und Wechsel” by von Horst Wenkel (1971, page 317)
Family name in northern East Prussia origin, transformation and change

In a section on The Names, two specific subsections sections are of importance to this researcher: one on “Litauische” and the other on “schottische.” The other two divisions are “Franzosiche” and “Deutsche Kolonisten.”

“Namengebung und Namenwechswl im nordostlichen Ostpreussen ub der fruhen Neuzeit” by Von Reinhold Wenskus (1990, page 27)
Naming and name change in the northeastern East Prussia in the early modern period

This is a follow up article to the one above, written 19 years later. The –eit and –at endings of names is addressed in the first paragraph and discussed later in the article.

“Altpreussische und litauische Familiennamen an der Kuste ostpreussens” by Von Werner Sievogt (1998, page 159)
Old Prussian and Lithuanian family name on the coast of East Prussia

This article mentions Suwalki and refers to –at names in the final paragraph.
Verschreibungen im Ostpreussischen (Konigsberger) und Litauishen (Gimbinner) Kammerdeparment im 18 Jahrhundert by Von Siegfried Hungerecker (1999, page 1)
Prescriptions in East Prussia (Koenigsberg) and Litauishen (Gumbinner) Kammerdeparment in the 18th century

This article lists twelve parish records as references to the liturgical year (Konfirmation and Trinitatis). Some locations are also mentioned as are several short lists of names, including some ending in –aitis.

If translations of portions of these articles become available, they will be posted.

Two future posts will examine two books on Prussian names.

Although only one of these articles included the Spurgat name, the search was still worthwhile as it became evident that the academic discussion about the origin of these –at names has continued over the decades.


About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
This entry was posted in Articles, East Prussia, Names, Research, Resources, Uncategorized, Web Sites and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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