In November 2014 we had the answer: 15 records were enough to establish our relationship: His great grandfather, Ludwig Hutop, and my grandmother, Pauline Hutop Spurgat,  were half brother and sister! My grandmother was the daughter of the first wife, Dorota Cering, who died in 1881. Johann Ferdinand Hutop, my great-grandfather, remarried, and Benjamin’s line traces back to his great grandfather, the son of the second wife, Charlotte Simoneit.

Not only that, but we learned the name of a 2nd great grandmother, her four children; the names of Benjamin’s great-grandfather’s siblings, enough to compose a 19th century Hutop family tree in Germany and America!

The work from the archivist at the Lithuanian State Historical Archives showed a very thorough investigation. Not only did we get the 15 records and the translations, we also got the archivist’s  thoughts about the exhaustive search, how s/he had pieced things together, new questions asked, and further research completed and explained. It was above my expectations.

Later I was able to find these records on FHL microfilm and realized that had I even thought that these people existed, I could have found them myself.

I soon realized that the project had to include new information about our grandmother’s Hutop family and so what started out as a few simple e-mail attachments grew into a 200 page 2015 Addendum to the Three Spurgat Families from Wylkowiszki. Part of my decision to write semi-monthly blog posts starting in June 2015 was to allow time for the additional research it took to complete this project in twelve months.

So this series of posts includes the research used to complete this task. The posts are not presented in a rigid chronological order as all researchers know that serious study involves following several leads at once.

The following topics will be covered in these posts:

1 and 2 Introduction: Contact from Ben Hutop

3  and 4 Ethnicities behind the Name

5  and 6 New East Prussia

7 A Passport from the Ober Ost

8 Two Approaches to Additional Hutop Research

Tallin, Estonia

Willuhnen, Kreis Pillkallen, East Prussia


  • City directories
  • Civil birth records


  • Archivum Patriae
  • International Tracing Service

11 WORKING WITH THE ESSEN ARCHIVES III Ben, Cynthia, Circus World Museum, Harvard University

12 My

13 International Tracing Service

14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 Spurgat research and resources in East Prussia through the centuries.

21 Summary in 2 column format

22 Epilogue: What is to come

REMINDERS FOR THE RESEARCHERThe purpose of this blog has not been to share my own family story. Rather it has been to help others with their own research based on my experiences and examples.  Some of the research strategies are based on 500 Brickwall Solutions to Genealogy Problems published by Family Chronicle Magazine in 2003.

Use others as sounding boards and network

Revisit the information you already have

Maintain an open mind

Pay attention to the smallest piece of information

Be prepared to spend money

Take classes and get involved in the social side of genealogy

Make educated guesses

Stay abreast of the latest technology

Remember that the original documents might contain clues that are missed or mis-transcribed

Visit the places your ancestors lived in

Do on-site research

Study the collateral lines

Above all, never give up

Sources: Lithuanian State Historical Archives, FHL Microfilm

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 Families, Lithuania, Marijampole Lutheran Church, Microfilm, Names, Research, Resources, Suwalki Province, Uncategorized, Villages. Bookmark the permalink.

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