The great grandson of Johann Lingertat sent another e-mail in February 2015:
One of two unexpected discoveries that have come my way this past week:
When looking through my mother’s papers for an address last week, I came across a small, folded paper that I don’t remember seeing before. I opened it, and there was my grandmother’s confirmation certificate from Wilkowyschki (the spelling on her certificate), dated July 17, 1892. Something I thought I would never see! After “g 1879” is “No 12.” I know from your work that all these records were entered in numerical order. I can’t read the pastor’s signature. Someone else filled out the rest of the form in beautiful, bold script. As one might expect, the form was printed in Koenigsberg. The certificate is stamped with a round stamp that depicts an object with apparently three crosses on it. I got a kick out of finding this while you have been posting your series on Wylkowiszki .
A few days earlier I stumbled upon some interesting information when I followed my practice of googling word and phrase combos that might produce information. I came across an article by Dr. Cynthia Vakareliyska (whom you have mentioned): “Multiple Language and Cultural Self- Identities of German-Speaking Lutheran Minorities, etc.” In this article was a fact of interest to both of us: Seymour, CT, on the Naugatuck River, had “an enclave of pre World War I Suvalkijan German immigrants.” My aunt was the maid of honor for a Lutheran lady who came from the “old country” and who lived in Seymour, and we had many contacts with her family over the years. Another family from Seymour had some ties to my grandmother’s brother in Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania. Based on the information in this article, I would guess that their connection with my grandmother’s brother came from earlier days in Suwalki Province. I bet my grandmother was very aware of the Seymour connection to Suwalki Province.
My Note: I had e-mailed Dr. Cynthia Vakareliyska in July 2012 and she graciously responded with some suggestions for “the East Prussian hunt.” When I read the above mentioned article, I created a file of notes that someday I might put it on the blog. That “someday” will be later in 2015.
The story of the Lingertat families continues:
My grandmother lived in Naugatuck, Connecticut, also on the Naugatuck River, about ten miles up river from Seymour. My grandfather, Peter Drignat, was called to serve St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Naugatuck in about 1910. He was one of several seminary graduates who came from Lithuania and who founded and served Lithuanian Missouri Synod Lutheran congregations. He died in Naugatuck of cancer in 1913 at the age of 41. My grandmother stayed on and called Naugatuck home for the rest of her life. She died in 1962. My parents, my brother and I lived there from 1954-1962 and have only been back a few times since then.
The people in the Naugatuck congregation identified themselves as Lithuanian. It was there that my grandmother really learned to speak Lithuanian and developed many close friendships with wonderful people in the congregation. My grandmother always spoke English in the home for my brother and me. She would revert to German with my mother, aunt and father. We rarely heard any Lithuanian being spoken except by the older people because Lithuanian services had been discontinued in the church for years. Names in the Naugatuck congregation included -at names like Hermonat and Martinkat, -ait and -aitis names like Enemait, Luguwait, Urgaitis and Urkshaitis. Other names that come to mind are Michalanis, Gerulis and Uraschka. I’m doing this phonetically from memory. I’m sure the spellings are way off.
I imagine these people came to settle in Naugatuck because there were many extremely well- paying jobs for relatively unskilled workers for many years. Naugatuck’s main claim to fame was the U.S. Rubber Company (tires, tennis shoes, Naugahyde synthetic leather) and the Peter Paul Candy Company (mounds and almond joys). Sadly both companies are gone now, and the town has suffered greatly economically.
My comment: I asked if I might see the 1879 confirmation certificate of Mathilda Lingertat. This is what I would like this blog to become–a central place for Suwalki German Lutherans. As soon as I saw it, I realized I had a similar certificate in my family too except that the only information on it is the name of the confirmand, Amalia Kratz.
My response back to the great grandson of Jan Lingertat follow:
The Wilkowyschki spelling on your grandmother’s confirmation record is one of the several German spellings I have seen. My grandmother was confirmed in Marijampole in 1890. We don’t have a family certificate, but I have the records from microfilm and in my book.
From the website of the Marijampole Lutheran church: I think the pastor we met with must have written the following.
…Then [1876 to 1893], Karlas Julius Pastenacis came…
Could Pastenacis be the name on the certificate?
I did not know that there were Lithuanian Missouri Synod Lutheran churches. The -ait names you list are absolutely fascinating and might help some other researchers…
The final reply from the great grandson of Jan Lingertat:
I think you are right about Pastenacis being the name of the pastor on the certificate (and it agrees with the time-line of pastors you have). The “No. 12” after her birth date intrigues me. Could there have been a number given for every confirmand the way marriages and births were numbered? According to my grandmother’s records, she was the twelfth and youngest child in her family. Could that be what “No. 12” means?
It appears that all of our ancestors living in Lithuania had what we would call a meager academic education. They had the education necessary to do their jobs.
The final post about the Lingertat connection will be a few days past September 15.