POST 6 Secondary Sources VFFOW (Print and Online Index) AND BOOKS

VFFOW The Index Quassowski

The first secondary source is The Index Quassowski 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.

An example is given in

The index included the marriage of Anna Spurgaitis, born May 16, 1744, in Springen, Kreis Gumbinnen, today Tamanskoe, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Anna Spurgaitis married Enskys Brozaitis on December 28, 1766. This fact gave me another kreis and another village where people with the same last name had lived.

VFFOW Verein für Familienforschung in Ost- und Westpreußen e. V. Association for Family Research in East and West Prussia

The Association for Family Research in East and West Prussia has on online name index.

You have to copy a series of letters and numbers and symbols to convince them you are not a robot but once you do that, you can put in a surname and select search. It is pretty intuitive even though it is written in German. Websites have a tendency to not be a barrier because of language. The dates are from 1874, the start of civil registration to 2017, the last time I looked.

This is the home page. Note that in the upper right-hand corner you can select Translate.

For example,

Surname Search and Start Search

Results of Spurgat Search

There are three records:

Kraupschisken (2) Kreis Ragnit (1)

I have done some research there and I will want to check these records to see if they are duplicates or new.

Ortelsburg, Ortelsburg, is a city is in Kreis Ortelsburg, part of the Gumbinnen Administrative district that is now in the northeastern corner of Poland.  A fellow researcher had a letter from a woman in Sacramento, California, whose family was from here. This record is about one of the members of her family he mentioned in his email so I might be able to forward it to them. This appears to be a birth record.

On the right you can select scans to see the actual records. You have to search each page unless you have an actual birth date. But if you don’t and you are looking, you should be able to find the record you seek just by knowing the year.

Sometimes there are references to other records written on the bottom of these records.


The last example of an East Prussian secondary source is a book: Use FamilySearch catalogue to find title of interest. For example,

Peasants and Tenants of Northeast Prussia about 1736 was compiled shortly after the last and greatest plague. A previous post highlighted this book in a different context and provides more detail.

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.

Office of Gaudischkehmen (Didlacken) 

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. It is also possible that the land he was given was poor for growing crops.


The purpose of examining secondary sources, both print and online, is that they give you background information on the specific administrative district and Kreis of interest and may lead you to more primary sources is you already have the digital records.

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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