Between 1708 and 1711 a famine in East Prussia killed 250,000 people; estimates vary from 33% to 41% of the population. In an attempt to repopulate the area, Crown Prince Frederick William I led the rebuilding of East Prussia. Although estimates vary, about 20,000 of the Protestants expelled from the Archbishopric of Salzburg between 1731 and 1738 settled in East Prussia.[i] In 1732 the arrival of the Salzburgers in East Prussia, particularly in the district of Prussian Lithuania (Gumbinnen) resulted in Lithuanians becoming a minority and having their ethnic identity threatened.[ii]
Kreis Gumbinnen was the home of several families with my –at name in the 18th century—villages and manor farms in the parishes of Gerwischkehmen, the city of Gumbinnen, Nemmersdorf, Niebudszen, and Walterkehmen.
The source of the information about each person with the –at name is given below.
Today the city of Gumbinnen is known as Gusev, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia.
1744 Anna Spurgaitis
The Index Quassowski is a 350,000 entry index compiled by Wolfgang Quassowski from about 1918 until 1945. It contains handwritten captured data mainly from East Prussia printed on small index cards. Because many of the official and religious sources in WWII were lost, this index was published in Hamburg, Germany, after the death of Quassowski in 1968. From 1977 to 1993 the Association for Family Research in East Prussia and West Prussia published his work as a 24 volume reference book.
Anna Spurgaitis (The suffix –atis is the Lithuanian spelling of the –at truncated German spelling.) was born May 16, 1744, in Springen, Kreis Gumbinnen, today Tamanskoe, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Anna Spurgaitis married Enskys Brozaitis on December 28, 1766. Two other Spurgatis names were included in this list, but first names, dates, and locations were not given. (Page 307-308. Band 18, Familienbuch.)
1759 Jurgis Spurgat
FHL microfilm revealed the family of Regina and Jurgis “Spurgatis” in Norgallen, in the Nemmersdorf parish in southwestern Kreis Gumbinnen. Jurgis Spurgat and Regina geb. Kalwaige were married in 1759, the month and date not recorded, but out of 28 marriages that year, their marriage record was number 24, suggesting a marriage late in the year. Three children were born to them: Louisa (born in Norgallen) was baptized New Year’s Day (Anno novo) in 1761; Cristions, also born in Norgallen, on December 3, 1763, and baptized four days later on December 7; and Regina, born January 27 in Norgallen and baptized four days later on January 31, 1767. A few other Spurgats in the Nemmersdorf parish in the 19th century.
1760 Katrina Spurgat
An entry from the International Genealogical Index, known as the IGI, stated that Katrina Spurgat was born in 1760 in Springen, (Kreis Gumbinnen), East Prussia. Her spouse was Ahsmys Kumutatis, and her child, Kristions Kumutatis, was born October 3, 1782. See https://familysearch.org/search/collection/igi. Springen is in the Niebudszen parish and is known today as Tamanskoe, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia.
This entry was only 16 years later than the IGI which had listed Katrina Spurgat in the same village and kreis! Perhaps these two women, born sixteen years apart and both named Spurgat from Springen, Kreis Gumbinnen, East Prussia, were sisters, cousins, or are a generation apart as aunt and niece.
The IGI is a collection of entries from LDS members from 1973 to about 2011, not a primary source, but a finding aid. “International Genealogical Index (IGI),” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:1:MBG6-3YN : accessed 2015-04-04), entry for Katrina Spurgat. This entry was submitted on November 18, 2012, by unknown submitter 38379 and was recorded by the author on April 26, 2013.
1795 Justine Spurgatis
The marriage of Justine Spurgaitis to Jekubs Meinikaites took place on November 6, 1795, in the City of Gumbinnen, Kreis Gumbinnen , asreported on the IGI. See https://familysearch.org/search/collection/igi.
[i] Brandt, Germanic Genealogy, 582.
[ii] Brandt, Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia, IX-18.