The –at ancestors and those they married were peasants who lived in close proximity in villages and on manor farms. Their jobs were those of skilled (blacksmiths and farmers) and unskilled (homeworkers and servants) workers. Their meager living conditions can only be imagined. They were born, married, had children (many of whom died as did their mothers), eked out a living, and died. In between their labors they served as witnesses for each others’ important events in their lives. They survived as a German “evangelische” minority in a world of Poles, Russians, Jews, and Rutheniens, and worshipped according to the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran Church. Somehow, these Spurgats had a desire to lead a better life and armed with the stories of others who had already emigrated, they sought ways to immigrate.
Originally posted September 18, 2013