Kreis Tilsit Tilsit was founded in 1365. Germans had been living there for a very long time. The borders of Tilsit as a city and a kreis changed throughout history. The district of Tilsit existed from 1818 to 1922. The district of Tilsit-Ragnit existed from 1922 to 1945. Tilsit is on the south side of the Memel (now the Nemunas/Neman) River with the Queen Louise Bridge connecting to Lithuania. There was a Lithuanian Lutheran Church, a German Lutheran Church, and a Reformed church, perhaps suggesting a large number of Scots. The city of Tilsit is now known as Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. 1703 Hans Spurgait
Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde is a German language genealogical periodical. The title is variously translated as “Old Prussian Genealogy,” “The Study of Generations,” or simply “Family Research.” The online search engine on their website www.vffow-buchverkauf.de/…/apgfa.php helps the researcher find articles of interest, many of which have lists of names, locations, and dates. Three articles contained the Spurgat name. Most prominent was Von Horst Kenkel, Volume 10, 1977-1978, pages 106 and 111.
The oldest record with the Spurgat name was located in a “List of the young [body of men or troops], who have been found, recorded and enlisted* in the month of July 1703 at the Royal City Tilse.” The entry of Hans Spurgait is significant because it is the earliest Spurgat entry found to date, the record of a Spurgat born in the 17th century, circa 1684, and perhaps an indication that some people named Spurgat were of the craftsmen class. The list is broken into groups where the employer is listed first. In Hans Spurgait’s case, his employer was George Hintz, jun. who had two apprentices enlisted.
The entry looks similar to a baptismal or marriage record. The abbreviation S.d. means Sohn des Bleichers Joachim S., son of the bleacher Joachim S.[purgait]; the abbreviation gb. Tilse means geboren Tilse, born in Tilse, i. e. Tilsit; 19 J. means 19 Jahr, that he is 19 years old; Hutmacherjunge means his profession is that of a hatter youth, helper, or apprentice.
Most of the locations included above are easily located on http://www.kartenmeister.com which provides a brief history of the location, the nearest Lutheran parish, the kreis (county), and a link to Google Maps at https://.maps.google/com which shows the current locations in Lithuania, Poland, and the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. See https://suwalkigermans.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/kartenmeister/
The –at Name in the 19th and 20th Centuries The next posts will examine the results of locating the –at name in the 19th and 20th centuries. These are less likely to be the ancestors of my -at family, but for researchers these locations are clues to collateral lines.