2015 FEEFHS Preparation

Foundation of Eastern European Studies

I spent the week of August 9 to 15 at my 14th FEEFHS Conference as a researcher, a conference attendee, and a presenter. I still believe that FEEFHS is the best place to learn about the very difficult research area of Eastern Europe, including Suwalki Province. The next three posts will be about the preparation for research I did at the Family History Library, the FEEFHS Conference, and the results of my research.
Preparation for My Research

I am still trying to locate those hard to find “German” ancestors in East Prussia.

See 2014 posts.

Last year I concentrated on confirmation records, birth records, and marriage records for the appropriate years in Bilderweitschen, Goritten, Mehlkehmen, and Stallupoenen in Kreis Stalluponen without much progress.

This year I used as my base all the information I had collected from print and online sources of people with the Spurgat name in Kreise Pillkallen, Ragnit, Insterburg, Gumbinnen, Goldap, and Ortlesburg. A sample of that table is included below.
Interestingly, I did not find any Spurgats on this table listed in Kreis Stalloponen that matched the family story that centered on the border town of Eydkuhnen. In this case I have not yet found that the family story matches any records or references in writing.
I found a great map of each kreis showing each parish at

I had also purchased Kevan Hansen’s Parish Registers in East Prussia, Part III which covers most of the kreise in the Gumbinnen Administrative District. The maps are great and a list of all locations in each parish follows. A master list of all the locations in East Prussia, Part I, Part II, and Part III is at the end of the volume.

Next I used the Kartenmeister website to locate and learn about each parish in each of the seven kreise


Still in Kartenmeister, I clicked on the link to Google Maps and printed a colored map of each location to show where it is in the Kalinigrad Oblast today.

Next, I used the Family Search catalogue to find appropriate microfilm for each parish.

I used the compiled list of names and possible dates of births and marriages of great grandparents and great great grandparents of the Spurgat families, including the maiden names: Berz, Gudat (Guddat), Henning, Keller, Kuczynska, Raudonat, Spurgat, and Wallat as revealed in birth and marriage records from Suwalki Province.

I decided to examine the films that Tauf, Heiraten, and Tote Indices first. I knew I would not be able to examine all the microfilm for all parishes within each kreis, but I wanted to do as much as I could.

I compiled a priority list of films with indices or confirmation records so I could look at as many names as possible in the shortest amount of time. This list also included birth and marriage records without an index within a five year span of a birth or marriage date suggested by the age on the records.

I also wanted to examine
• Manuscripts and books pertinent to northern East Prussia with Lithuanian references.
Landsmen (the journal of The Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists) http://www.jewishgen.org/SuwalkLomza/ articles from 2013 to 2015 for future blog posts.
• the prioritized list of Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde (The Study of Old Prussian Genealogy) articles for possible translation and lists of names that I had started in 2013.• www.vffow.de/Info/publikationen.htm

In addition, because I have been working on an addendum to the 2010 The Three Spurgat Families from Wylkowiszki, I was doing a bit of research in two related areas which will be the subject of several posts in 2016.

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.
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