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Regional Research > Lithuania > Prökuls

Regional Research > Historic territory > Germany 1871-1918 > Kingdom Prussia > East Prussia > County Memel > Prökuls

Postcard from Prökuls
The main street of Prökuls
Houses in the main street of Prökuls



Prökuls, County Memel, East Prussia.


Other Names and Spellings

Meaning of the Name

School and tower of the ev. church in Prökuls
Hotel Preußischer Hof in Prökuls
Prökuls, Minge- river in summer
Prökuls, Minge river in winter

The name refers (according to Schmid) to a market. The Curonian diminutive -ul,-ull,- uls, -ullis means not important. But Peteraitis derives it either, according to Endzelin, from the Lettish "priekur" (to light a fire, to heat), which could mean slash- and- burn or Lithuanian "kulys" in the sense of "įlanka, vingis" ,a location near a bend.

There is another place Priekule in Lettland [1] (See "geonames" down the old village). Both places are on a small hill on a crossing: In Lettland a crossing of streets , in Memelland a crossing street- river.But no place is located directly near a bend.

  • Nehrungs-Curonian „preks“ = price
  • Lettish „prece“ = goods


  • Old-Prussian- Lithuanian "prekius" = to haggle, price, value
  • „priekelis“ = approaching, travelling, side street
  • "prektuoti" = to transport

Considering the Baltic history of settlement it is known that people preferred higher and dry places. So the placename could be "on dry grassland" , derived from

  • Lettish "prei-/ prie" = near, on, at


  • Lettish "kūla" = like grass, dry


  • Old-Prussian-Lithuanian "kules" = a kind of grass on peat meadows

General Information

  • Church and railway station, 20 km southeast of Memel, in 1939: 1196 inhabitants, railway station Memel-Heydekrug 1 km northwest of the place[9]

Political Structure

  • Founded in 1594[10]


  • See also Amt Prökuls
  • Distribution of the population around 1540

At that time the "Hauptamt Memel" without the city was divided into 61 bigger and smaller districts or areas, often called villages.

darin: Wirte Bender Instleute Knechte
Ayßs (Bezirk)43-- u. 1 Tagelöhner
Agolon (Bezirk)18192- u. 1 Sohn u. 5 Tagelöhner
Alt Begetenn (Bezirk)42--
Vff der Mynnyge (Bezirk)161562 u. 1 Stiefvater, 1 Krüger u. Sohn, 1 Bruder
Syllenyck (Bezirk)411-- u. 3 Tagellöhner, 1 ?
Wewersche (Bezirk)561- u. 1 Krüger u. Sohn
Wylkyßs (Bezirk)611-- u. 1 Stiefsohn
Wyßekenn (Bezirk)101524 u. 1 Tagelöhner, 1 Krüger
8 Bezirke darin678211620

= 196 persons or families
Wirt: farmer - Bender: participants,got a piece of land from the owner for his use, in return he works as a farm-hand. Benders are often relatives of the farmer. - Instleute: agricultural workers on an estate or Köllmer. Originally "Instleute" pay for flat, garden and fields, but have to work several days Scharwerk and work for normal wages.
Quelle: [11]

Fiscal Structure

Fiscal Information from 1717 on an extra page

Church Structure

Map from the places of the parish of Prökuls

Evangelical Church

The Lith. inhabitants around Prökuls attended the Lith. church in Memel and since 1587 were looked after by Lith. preachers from Memel who were preaching in the already existing chapel in Prökuls.
After breaking down the chapel, a royal church without a tower was built in 1636 . [12]
The ev. church was a simple building
built from 1680 till 1696. Later the church got a pointed tower and a slate roof.
The church in Prökuls was once the oldest church outside of Memel.
Even in the times of the order they had a chapel.[13]

Church and School

Adjacent Places

Inside the ev. church in Prökuls
Inside the new ev. church in Prökuls in 2009

Since 1628 Prökuls is a parish but in the following centuries had to give some places to the newly founded parishes of Dawillen, Saugen and Wannaggen .

Mentioned in 1678 : Lekszen or Lekßen.

In 1912 the following places belonged to the parish of Prökuls :

Birszeningken, Bratzischken, Budwethen, Bundeln, Buttken, Darzeppeln, Daugmanten, Dittauen, Dräszen, Drawöhnen, Drucken, Gröszen, Gropischken, Grumbeln, Jagschen, Jodicken, Kallwischken, Klischen, Klooschen, Oberförsterei Klooschen, Kooden, Lankuppen, Launen, Lingen, Meszeln, Mittenwalde, Nibbern, Pangessen, Pangirren, Pempen Dorf u. Vorwerk, Piaulen, Pleschkutten, Prökuls Dorf u. Gut, Protnischken, Rooken, Rundischken, Stragna Dorf u. Gut, Schwenzeln, Schwenzler Moor, Schilleningken, Schudnaggen, Schwentwokarren, Terrauben, Tyrusmoor, Wensken, Wilkieten, Wowerischken, Ziauken, Ziobrischken.

Before 1903 the places of the parish of Wannaggen belonged to the parish of Prökuls:

Aglohnen, Ayssehnen estate, Aschpurwen village and estate, Bliematzen Forestry, Deegeln, Dwielen, Kantweinen, Paaschken, Posingen, Pöszeiten, Stankeiten, Stoneiten, Szaukeln, Szaggern, Szydellen, Wannaggen.

Before 1854 the following places of the parish of Dawillen belonged to the parish of Prökuls:

Baiten, Gelszinnen, Grabsten, Jurgen, Kissinnen, Kojellen, Margen, Piktaszen, Schernen, Schnaugsten, Stutten.

Before 1844 the following places of the parish of Saugen belonged to the parish of Prökuls:

Bejehden village and forestry, Czutellen, Grünheide, Grunauwißken (Forge), Iszlusze, Kebbeln, Pliekurren Vorwerk, Silkoten, Sakuten, Szeppoten.

  • in 1678 Kußle Krüger was mentioned in the parish of Prökuls . ( Alternative spellings: Kuszel Krüger, Kussel Krüger, Kuschel or Kuscheln).

Further Hints

Communion Cup
New ev. church in the former parish room in 2009.
In the tower are the bells of the former church of Kairinn.


The original churchbooks of Prökuls exist almost completely in Berlin (Evangelisches Zentralarchiv Berlin).

  • Deaths 1776-1891
  • Confirmations 1792-1864, 1873
  • Participants-Holy Communion (only Lithuanians !) 1781-1787
  • Chronicle 1908-1940
See: Churchbooks County Memel
Mission festivity in 1931
Silver Confirmation (?)
The book of baptisms tells about an attack of Cossacks in the year 1757 in which the preacher Wannovius reports that Präzentor Trantz
was captured by cossacks for a week and that Pastor Jacob Wessel was killed. The church was destroyed and the churchbooks were burnt.

Today`s Situation

Memorial altar in Prökuls
German insciption
on the altar
Location of the former church of Prökuls [14]

Cemeteries in Prökuls

Probably there were several cemeteries around Prökuls: one near the old ev. church, one near the estate (Station) and one above the municipality Drucken in the forest (near the monument).

The following inscriptions could be found:

Cemetery near the Monument

  • Schlieszeit Marie 05.11.1894 - 06.10.1931
  • Goert (?) ??? 11.05.?? - 25.09.1888
  • Mokulies Auguste 09.12.1870 - 1940 (lt. OFB 07.07.1940)
Hier ruhet in Gott unsere liebe Mutter, Schwiegermutter u. Großmutter)

(According to Herrn Dust and Herrn Wittenberg)

Cemetery near the Church

The folloing photos are from the old cemetery opposite the old ev. church taken in 2011 by Jens Schütt who kindly donated the photos.

Catholic Church

  • In 1888 and 1907 Prökuls belonged to the catholic parish of Memel.
    In 1938 the catholic church of „Heiligen Antonius von Padua" was built in Prökuls .

Catholic church

Civil Registration

Adjacent Places

In 1907 the following places belonged to the civil registration of Prökuls :

Birszeningken, Budwethen, Bundeln, Buttken, Darzeppeln, Daugmanten, Dittauen, Dräszen, Drawöhnen, Drucken, Gröszen, Gropischken, Grumbeln, Jaagschen, Jodicken, Kallwischken, Klischen, Klooschen, Pangirren, Prökuls, Protnischken, Rooken, Schilleningken, Schudnaggen, Schwentwokarren, Schwenzeln, Stragna, Terrauben, Wensken, Wilkieten, Wowerischken, Ziauken.


Because of the missing churchbooks till 1938 the copies of the civil registration Prökuls are of valuable help. They are in Standesamt I in Berlin . But they are not from all parts of the parish.The Mormons have films, too.

  • Births 1874-1910, 1912-1938; 1940+1942 each only two entry
  • Marriages 1874-1893, 1895-1912, 1914-1938
  • Deaths 1874-1938


Inhabitants of Prökuls on an extra page


Originally the place was called Paminia (on the Minia/Minge).

  • from 1511 there is a document about an inn „zur Minnige“ . Inns were established near traffic junctions and were used for trade
  • in 1511 Jerge Kuszlin received the inn with a garden and land and the ferry over the Minge for "Kulmischem Recht" for a tax of 9 Mark [15]
  • in 1540 Lukas Preckol was the owner of the inn. In 1587 the church was built and the first known pastor was Caspar Radunius .
  • in 1594 they had a teacher.
  • Since 1628 Prökuls is a parish but some places had to be given away to other parishes.
    The population was Evangelical-Lutheran, the Catholics belonged to the parish of Memel.
  • in 1905 the village had 500 inhabitants, among them only a few ethnic Germans.
  • in 1925 there were around 1100 inhabitants.

Immanuel Kants `s paternal ancestors came from Kantweinen/ Kirchspiel Prökuls. [16]

Köllmer Prökuls

Adjacent Places

Manor Stragna, 1870
To the "cöllm." estate Prökuls adjacent places
In the east: Jureyten Brusz
In the south: Heinrich Drucken
In the west: mit Herrn Landtschöpp ...
In the north: Stragna Andres :[17]


Elementary School

  • Easter 1837 to 1839 Teacher: Kreyssig, Friedrich [18]
  • 1942 1. Teacher: Bendiks, Max, Tel.60. Teacher: Pritzkat, Siegfried. Teacher: Jankus, Ursula

Voluntary Fire Brigade

Voluntary Fire Brigade Prökuls (Photo ca. 1925 - 1930)

The Voluntary Fire Brigade Prökuls was founded in the year 1900 .

The bigger part of Prökuls`population was Lithuanian-speaking.
The fire brigade`s house had decorative inscriptions in German and Lithuanian.
Proudly the men present their Opel-fire-engine (Photo ca. 1925 - 1930).

Behind the steering wheel: Michel (Max) Glaszeris. He was born in 1905 .

Railway Station

Railway Station Prökuls seen from the forecourt in 2009
Railway Station Prökuls seen from the embankment in 2009
German inscription on Railway Station Prökuls,
hardly to read in 2009
German inscription on Railway Station Prökuls,
in 2009
Water tower near the railway station [19]
Adjacent building of the railway station Prökul in 2009

Streets in Prökuls

Memeler Straße in Prökuls
Department Store Isaak in Prökuls from 1929


  • JANKUS, Gerhard: Prökuls: Kirchspiel und Marktort im Memelland, Iserlohn 1984. (116 S.)
  • RUGULLIS, Ewald: Der Amtsbezirk Lankuppen im Kirchspiel Prökuls, Kreis Memel-Land: Erinnerungen an ein deutsches Grenzland an der Memel: Erzählungen über das Leben und Wirken der Menschen hier und in den umliegenden Gemeinden des Amtsbezirkes, Hilden 2000. (191 S., enthält u.a. Ortspläne der einzelnen Gemeinden des Amtsbezirkes Lankuppen)



Preckol on Prussiae map from (1629)
© AdM Archiv
Prökol on Carte des terres devant le Curis H [affe] [de] cote du Memmel, ca. 1670, 1:55 000, Sign. N 11999/50
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Prökuls on Schroetterkarte (1796-1802) 1:50 000
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Prökuls in 1802 (Schroetterkarte scale 1: 160 000)

Prökuls on Preußischen Urmesstischblatt 1860
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Prökuls and surroundings on Preußischen Urmesstischblatt 1860
© Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Prökuls on Messtischblättern 0493 Prökuls and 0494 Wilkieten (1910-1940) with the municipal boundaries of 1938
© Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie
Town sketch from the former inhabitants list of Prökuls prepared in the 1950s, (c) Bundesarchiv

Chance Discoveries

Often people, who were not born locally in the area, are found mentioned in church books or other archive source material of a place. These findings are chance discoveries. Such findings are sometimes the only opportunity to break through the Brick Wall in research. On the following page you can add chance discoveries related to this place or even find one for yourself.

Private Sources of Information and Offers of Help with Research

On the following page, private (noncommercial !) genealogists conducting research on this place, and/or those willing to share genealogical information, perform searches or provide scans/copies etc. regarding this place, can add their contact details. All inquiries should be made directly to the listed researcher!

Postcard to Ewa Schmidt
View of the church of Prökuls
Postcard to Ewa Schmidt,
living in Memel, Polangenstraße 35, Rückseite

Data from the Genealogical Place Database (GOV)

GOV-Id object_169350
  • church (1628 - 1945)
  • ev

TK25: 0493

Superordinate objects

Prökuls, Priekulė ( settlement )

Prökuls I ( parish )


  1. Diehlmann, Hans Heinz: Die Türkensteuer im Herzogtum Preußen 1540, Band 2, Memel - Tilsit, Verein für Familienforschung in Ost- und Westpreußen Hamburg 2006 The so-called Turkish taxes in the Duchy Prussia in 1540
  2. Henneberger Prussiae Karte von 1629, map from 1629 © AdM Archiv
  3. Staatsarchiv Akten der Oberrathsstube, Etats-Ministerium 98d
  4. Sembritzki, Johannes: Geschichte des Kreises Memel, Memel 1918, a history of County Memel
  5. Carte des terres devant le Curis H [affe] [de] cote du Memmel, ca. 1670, 1:55 000
  6. Dietrich Lange: Geographisches Ortsregister Ostpreußen einschließlich des Memelgebietes, des Soldauer Gebietes und des Reg.-Bez. Westpreußen (1919-1939), a geographical register of places in East Prussia
  7. Taufbuch Prökuls baptisms in Prökuls
  8. GOV:
  9. Dietrich Lange: Geographisches Ortsregister Ostpreußen einschließlich des Memelgebietes, des Soldauer Gebietes und des Reg.-Bez. Westpreußen (1919-1939), a geographical register of places in East Prussia
  10. Dietrich Lange: Geographisches Ortsregister Ostpreußen einschließlich des Memelgebietes, des Soldauer Gebietes und des Reg.-Bez. Westpreußen (1919-1939), a geographical register of places in East Prussia
  11. Hans Heinz Diehlmann, Die Türkensteuer im Großherzogtum Preußen 1540, Band 2, Memel - Tilsit. the so-called Turkish taxes in Prussia in 1540</>
  12. Chronik und Statistik der evangelischen Kirchen in den Provinzen Ost- und Westpreussen, Agathon Harnoch, 1890, Digitalisat auf Epaveldas
  13. Memeler Dampfboot, Dezember 1972, a newspaper from the Memelland
  14. Left the tree of life on the memorial altar. Whitsun 2008
  15. Gerhard Willoweit, Die Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Memelgebiets, Marburg (Lahn) 1969, an economic history of the Memelland
  16. Dates taken from Priekule
  17. Generalhufenschoß 1719-1766, Schulzenamt Memel, Hubenzahl 1719, Buch Nr. 3, Staatliches Archivlager, Göttingen, 1962, taxlists from 1719-1766
  18. Universal-Conversations-Lexikon 11.Band(Heinrich August Pierer) 1877
  19. taken in 2009
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