1736 Pritzkus Spurgatis
Peasants and Tenants of Northeast Prussia about 1736 is an indexed publication by Horst Kenkel which lists groups of individuals recorded in June 1736 in the four Hauptamter (Main Offices) in the District Litauen (Lithuanian District) in the Gumbinnen Administrative District of East Prussia. The original title Amtsbauernund Kӧlmer im nӧrdlichen Ostpreussen um 1736: nach der “Repeuplierung” des Distrikts Litauen. Nach der Generaltabelle und den Repeuplierungstabellen translates as “Peasants [statute farming laborers] and tenants [free landholders] in northern East Prussia for 1736 after the repopulation of the Lithuanian districts from the general table and the repopulation tables.”
The book also included a General Table of those charged [taxed] until the last of June 1736 in the Lithuanian Department on the hides of land [of] the Salzburgers, (The “recognized” Salzburgers in the Prussian-Lithuanian district are listed first.) then the Swiss, the Nassauians [Nassau-ites?], and other Germans as well as Lithuanians by how many were good or bad managers [or house/land keepers or hosts]. The numbers indicate the ownership of land in hides and morgens, e.g., 1.20 = 1 hide and 20 morgens; the “g” means “good host”; the “s” means “bad host.”
A ‘hide’ was the amount of land that could be cultivated by a single plowman and was considered to be the amount of land needed to support a family. It was more or less standardized to be around 120 acres but could vary widely depending on local land conditions. Listed under the General Table of Hauptamter (main offices) in (Kreis) Insterburg in the Amt. (office) of Gaudischkehmen, also known as Didlacken ( 23.6), was Pritzkus Spurgatis. Pritzkus Spurgatis is listed as living in Kraupischkehmen along with nine other men, five of whose last name is written as –atis! He had 15 Morgen and was a poor (or bad) manager of the land.
The quality of the land Pritkus Spurgat owned may have been a factor in whether or not it was well-managed. The description of the land of Pritzkus Spurgatis is given as 0.15, the least amount of land recorded. (Many entries described the amount of land as between 1 and 2.) Of the 93 men listed in the Amt. (office) of Gaudischkehmen (Didlacken 23.6), the surnames of 41 men (a substantial minority of about 40 %) were spelled either –at, -atis, -ait, or -aitis.
An astute observer noted:
Pritzkus is the Lithuanian version of Friedrich and the short variation of “Fritz.” It does not sound German at all. Other entries from the same 1736 Famers and Tenants list included the Spurga name. Because the sources consulted do not list the –a suffix as a Baltic name, those individuals are not included here as a variation of the Spurgat name. Today Didlacken is known as Svoboda, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. 1740 to 1758 “Spurgatis “from Kraupischkehmen FHL microfilm revealed that the “Spurgatis” name (no first name or initial) from Kraupischkehmen in the Insterburg parish in Kreis Insterburg was listed from 1740 to 1758. A “Spurgatis” from Jessen was listed in 1740, 1741, 1750, and 1754. A “Spurgatis” from “stadt” or city was listed in 1745, 1753, and 1758. Because of the lack of overlap of these years, it is not possible to determine if these listings are of the same man whose labors took him to nearby locations. Further research may provide more details.