RESEARCH 2012-2015 POST 21 Spurgats in Kreis Pogenen and Kreis Tauroggen County, Lithuania, and Conclusion to Spurgats in East Prussia

Schmalleningken/Smalininkai, Lithuania

In 1920 after the Treaty of Versailles a Kreis Pogenen was formed from some areas of Kreis Tilsit and Kreis Ragnit. Areas north of the river became part of Lithuania where the villages of Szugken/Zukai, Wischwill/Viesvile and Schmalleningken/Smalininkai are still in what was known as Lithuania Minor.

Schmalleningken/Smalininkai is a small city in Lithuania on the right-hand shore of the Neman River.  It was part of German East Prussia.


Although the following information, given to me by one of our local guides in July 2013, is about 20th century Spurgats, it reveals that people with this surname were connected to Schmalleningken after World War II to 1970. No online databases that the author had identified included any Spurgat names in Schmalleningken. Google Translate was used to interpret the original Lithuanian.

Episode 51 from the Prussian 22.12.1956- Archives Allgemeine Zeitung

Frederick W. Spurgat from Gumbinnen now at his daughter, the man …. Schmalleningken, Memel, now with his youngest daughter Edith Kotthofer in…

Episode 37 of the Prussian 11.09.1965- Archives Allgemeine Zeitung

5,028,920 Z Spitzer, Anna, Gr. Wersmeningken. 5039940 E Spurgat, Friedr., Dr. medical officer, Gumbinnen …… Schmalleningken.

Episode 19 of the 07.05.1955- Archives Allgemeine Zeitung

Christel Empire, born Mertinat, Heinrich Mertinat, Edith Mertinat, born Spurgat. Erhard grandson Thomas ….. Schmalleningken, East Prussia now Kirchheim-Teck, 21st – Profiles from the German Reich in 1901 www. si puslapį

Petschullat, Christopher, in Schmalleningken from Peucker, Marie, Controllmadchen out …. Spurgat, Joseph, from Old Wipes harrows, Spyra, Karl, from Bodziejowioe

Episode 01 from the Prussian 03.01.1970- Archives Allgemeine Zeitung

1970 saus. 3 – Steinert, Karl, Zugfuhrer from Schmalleningken, district …. Knuth, Herbert (Otto Knuth) from Goldap, Memeler …. Annie Wilke, born Spurgat


The Gumbinnen Administrative District and Konigsberg Administrative District were not organized until 1815. The following location does not fall under either jurisdiction.

Miks Spurgatis was born in Oznugan, (today Ornugariai, Taurage County, Lithuania) in 1852. The city of Taurage is located northeast of the city of Tilsit, today Sovetsk, Kalinigrad Oblast, Russia. Taurage was and still is a center for Lutherans in Lithuania. Taurage was in East Prussia until 1793, and in 1795 it became part of the Russian Empire.


After five years of research I have eliminated a lot of possibilities, another way of stating that I have identified no single, solid connection between the possible origins of my -at family in East Prussia.

Another researcher explained:

As for your theory that there were four different families with the name “Spurgat”, I promise you that that would be impossible, given how small the population was.

The conclusion that I had drawn was that there were at least four different Spurgat families in the Wylkowiszki area in the 19th century based on an examination of every Spurgat record I could find. I did not mean to suggest that these four Spurgat men were not related to each other. The remaining existing records did not support any possible conclusions as to the relationship of these four men to each other. I certainly recognized that they were most likely related in an undetermined way.

There were no uncommon Lithuanian names… among different families in areas of such low population densities –and Spurgaitis is a very uncommon name. Furthermore, in the many scholarly journals that I’ve read, and in consulting with several linguists who specialize in the names of families from East Prussia and Lithuania, the assumption that is made ***without question*** is that all instances of a given surname in a given geographical area are references to the same family. In addition, I have come across countless records of countless different families in countless different towns in villages, some far apart from one another but still in the   same general region, and in the several cases where I’ve crossed referenced parents names, siblings’ names, etc. each family with the same surname was one and the same.  Not to mention that you can see this is the case if you have DNA testing done at, for example, Family Tree DNA, and then look at who matches whom. I’ve even had two different people tested in Europe who have some variation of my last name, and sure enough, were all from the same family. Of                 course, I knew that based on the similarity of the surnames, each Germanized Lithuanian, but I had the testing done anyway in order to see how closely related we are.

In the case of Spurgat, the branches you’ve found most likely originated from a common male who lived between 300 and 500 years ago. He probably emigrated from Lithuania to East  Prussia, and then perhaps one or more family members from later generations went back to  Lithuania.

If so, “wars and fires” may well have destroyed any possible evidence of any Spurgats before 1849. However, the search continues with the never-dying hope that ancestral dust may still reside in the next unturned page.




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 East Prussia, Families, history, Records, Research, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to RESEARCH 2012-2015 POST 21 Spurgats in Kreis Pogenen and Kreis Tauroggen County, Lithuania, and Conclusion to Spurgats in East Prussia

  1. Cynthia Lock says:

    Hello, Cynthia, I found your blog to be interesting and informative to my own research and recent discoveries. I attempted to email you, but the server rejected saying no such address. I asked Vilius to double check your address as he suggested I write you.

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