2019 Post 1 East Prussia


This series of posts presents one researcher’s study of East Prussia specifically for those researching ancestors in what is now Lithuania and whose origins probably lie in East Prussia. At least one family story suggests that movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was easier than it is today as their ancestors easily crossed the border between the German and Russian Empires. Perhaps the next 19 posts will help Suwalki Province researchers find one kernel of evidence that may result in finding a village of origin in East Prussia.

Proposed posts.  Changes possible.


POST M1 Overview and The Pruzi                                                                                           

POST M2 The Peoples of East Prussia                                                                                    


POST PH 1 The Rise of Prussia to 1772                                                                                   

POST PH 2 The Rise of Prussia 1772 to 1803                                                                       

POST PH 3 The Napoleonic Era 13-1807 to the Congress of Vienna 1815                

POST PH 4 1815 to present


POST HF-NF 1 East Prussia in Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction                                                                


POST R 1         Administrative Divisions of East Prussia                                         

POST R 2         Personal Research Strategy                                                 

POST R 3         Research Strategy: Simultaneous Use of Secondary and Primary Sources

POST R 4         Print and Online Maps                                                                      

POST R 5         Print and Online Gazetteers                                                 

POST R 6         Additional Secondary Sources: Periodical: Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde

POST R 7         Books and Print and Online Indices                                     

POST R 8         East Prussian Records in Ancestry.com: Searching by Surname

POST R 9         Steps beyond a Surname Sort                                                          

POST R 10       Tale of 2 Browsers                                                                 

POST R 11       Sources for East Prussia                                

POST R 12       List of GGS Articles on East Prussia and Online Sources     

Migrations: People of East Prussia

It is important to understand the varieties of people who lived in East Prussia and the reasons that they came here.

Migrations over the Centuries

Germans had been migrating east for centuries. No mass migration occurred at any one time. Most researchers agree that for Prussia the migration of Germans to the East began with the Teutonic Knights in the mid-13th century. Even the Teutonic Knights included many non-Germans. To understand the German movement to East Prussia, it is important to understand who these Prussians were. Migrations were both eastward and westward.

Image of Old Prussian “Commoners”


Who Were the Pruzi?

The Pruzi, often called the Old Prussians, did not become the people of Prussia, known for their military endurance. Prussia was composed of many German states, duchies, and kingdoms that banded together in the mid-19th century and formed the Second German Empire from 1871 to 1918. Prussia, the nation, was fused into the German Empire.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the conquered tribe, the Pruzi, became extinct, but the name Prussia remained among the nations of the world until the Allied Control Council formally dissolved the state of Prussia on February 25, 1947.  (Koch, 288.)

This map shows the 65,800 km, the approximate extent of the pre-conquest territory of the Prussian tribes, before they were assimilated by the Germans, Lithuanians, Poles, and Belarussians.


See https://suwalkigermans.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/addendum-post-3-ethnicities-of-a-name-prusi-and-maps/.

Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia

The author is indebted to Ed Brandt and Adelburt Goertz’s book Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und Westpreussen) Records, Sources, Publications and Evets), Minneapolis, MN: no publisher, 2002. This guide is the most detailed source for understanding the migrations of people to East Prussia. Both Brandt and Goertz are deceased now but their legacy is unmatchable. The depth of their research provided Brandt with resources to make statements like these: One third of East Prussians reportedly have at least two Preussen ancestors if they go back five generations. GGJ, VOL 2, No. 4, Winter 1999. Page 9.


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.
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