Research 2012-2015: Essen Archives: PART III

2015: I decided that I should contact the Essen Archives myself to see if they could send me the civil birth registration record of the third aunt who had been born in Essen in 1904.

I also asked them for any other birth, marriage, and death records of any other Spurgats that might have lived there between 1898 and 1950.

In particular I asked for the 1944 death record of Adolf Spurgat as there might be information not on the ITS record.

Ben and I decided that I would ask only for the information and not for a copy of each record as I really did not know what I would get. If I wanted, I could get the actual records later.

The procedure was complicated but doable. I wrote in English everything I outlined above and sent it in English to Ben for approval. (I also asked for some other information that might relate to the Hutop family. That is a separate story beyond the scope of this subject.) Then I e-mailed the letter in English to the same woman at the Essen Archives that Ben had used. She responded in German. I used Google Translate to get the gist of what she wrote back. I had to send the money to the City of Essen. When the city received the money, they would notify the archives that it had been received, and then the archives would e-mail me the results. I used Google Translate to get the gist of what she wrote. I sent the original in German to Benjamin and the Google Translate back to Ben so he would understand what I understood.

Here is what I learned about the death record from the Essen Archives:

Adolf Spurgat was unmarried. [On his] …Essen registration card [he is listed] as a professional artist initially registered [and later] disabled. On the Death display [it lists] unskilled construction laborers. It has been suggested that he committed suicide.

The death record of Adolf Spurgat stated that his mother Mary née Laurinat had recently lived in Duisburg. In the Death notice as a survivor (relative) [was] foreman Franz Kreft, [also] living in Duisburg, Brückenstr. 15…[15 Brucken Street, Duisburg, north of Essen.]

In subsequent correspondence with them, the archivist verified the name of the mother and explained that the mother’s maiden name in the birth records of his younger siblings all born in Essen between 1899 and 1902 is Mattotat.

And in the meantime, I found the marriage record of Johann Wilhelm Spurgat and Maria Matutaitis on microfilm, and had it translated.

There was more information on the civil death records than there was on the ITS record. The significance of some of this information is the subject of the next post.

The Essen Archives also sent me the information about other births and marriages in the Spurgat family, also the subject of a future post.

At the Feefhs conference in Salt Lake a year later in August 2015 I scheduled a conference with Dr. Diane Alfoumado. When I started to tell her about the impact of this single record on my research, she stopped me, phoned her colleague Ina Navazelskis, and asked her to join us. Ina is the Program Coordinator of Oral History at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and has conducted in-depth interviews with survivors and witnesses in audio and video format. Diane asked if she and Ina could tape my story of the results of the research with one ITS record to share with her staff when she returned to Washington D. C. I was fascinated as Ina went into her professional interviewing mode, made me comfortable as I proceeded, asking questions to clarify the fine points of my research.  See

From these records—1 birth extract, 1 ITS death record on a 3 x 5 card, 1 civil death record, 1 FHL microfilmed marriage record, and transcribed information from the Essen Archives, I made additions to my new appendix.





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 Essen, Families, FEEFHS, International Tracing Service, Interviews, Microfilm, Names, Research, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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