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Genealogy of Lithuania

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Genealogy of Lithuania

A kind of 'digital library' and 'strategy center' for those tracing ancestries in and from present-day Lithuania. I've created Discussion forums based on geographies, as this is the only part of GW where you can reply to each other!  Here's a quick jump to all the discussion forums, otherwise, scroll through all the resources until you get to them.

Members: 136
Latest Activity: Aug 21

Below are some general tips, processes, sites, etc. for doing research. For state-specific or country-specific links, tips and discussions, please scroll down to the appropriate Discussion Forum.

A nice big Map of Lithuania. Lithuania is divided into 10 counties: Telsiai, Taurage, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Panevezys, Vilnius, Utena, Siauliai, Alytus and Marijampole. Here's a Wikipedia page of the counties of Lithuania.

Message Boards:
The Lithuanian Genealogy Group on Yahoo: fast-paced, informative, helpful.
Lithuanian Genealogy message board on RootsWeb.
Lithuania on Ancestry
Lithuania (Scandinavian and Baltic States) on Ancestry
Ethnic Race Lithuania on Ancestry
The Lithuanian group on GenForum
"Little Lithuania" genealogy message board on Network 54.
The Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society has a good database of Lithuanian cemetery burials in the USA, among other resources.

Words and Language!
A Lithuanian-English Dictionary (Volume I) from 1915 that you can download an a PDF file. Just click on the 'PDF' under the blue 'Read this Book' button. Here's Volume II, but it's only viewable online.

If you make the jump to searching for records in Lithuania, you might bump up against documents in Russian, Polish and Latin, in addition to Lithuanian.  Further, the Russian may be in cursive!  The sane thing would be to have a professional researcher find and translate these, but for the brave among us, the Steve Morse site does have a tool that changes Russian cyrillic print to cursive.



Ordering a Social Security Application (USA)
Online Form to request a Social Security application for an ancestor. You want the "Original Application", not the "Computer Extract". Alternatively, you can print off the form and mail it snail mail to the SSA.

Naturalizations (USA)

Basically Naturalizations are broken down to those that occurred before Sept. 27, 1906, and those after. For the former, you will probably need to contact the courthouse for the county in which the person applied for citizenship, or the State Archives. For the latter, you should seek information from the National Archives in Washington, DC (or one of it's satellite locations)

To order Naturalization papers online from the National Archives, you should have the following minimum information on your ancestor:
state in which naturalization occurred

} name of the petitioner
} country of origin
} city and county of residence at time of naturalization
} approximate year of birth
This is the main page for Requesting Reproductions from the National Archives. Naturalization paperwork is a steal, at just $7.50.
The Footnote site has some naturalization records online, but don't get your hopes up. You can search without becoming a member.

An excellent primer on Naturalization papers, including what info can be found depending on when the papers were filed. This is the main page for USA & Canada; be sure to click on "USA" for MUCH more information. And from there, there are links for individual state info at the bottom of the page.
A guide to finding Naturalization papers for your ancestor.

Making use of the LDS Family History Centers before you attempt the Vilnius Archives
Search the catalog by location (assuming you know it) to find what records they've microfilmed. Then make your way to the Family History Learning Center nearest you. If they don't already have the microfilm you want, for a nominal fee, you can order a copy to build your local Center's library. This is especially useful for older records (before 1900), as the LDS are prohibited from filming records in Lithuania these days (at least Catholic ones).

The Archives in Vilnius
Persons searching for information about their or their relatives’ birth, death or marriage (certificates from church and civil vital records books) should apply to:
Lithuanian State Historical Archives
Address: Gerosios Vilties g. 10,
LT 03134 Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: +370 5 213 7482
Fax: +370 5 213 7612
E-mail: istorijos.archyvas@lvia.lt

Persons searching for other information, such as passports and military service, should apply to:
Lithuanian Central State Archives
Address: O. Milašiaus 21,
LT 10102 Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: +370 5 247 7811
Fax: +370 5 276 5318
E-mail: lcva@archyvai.lt

The Archives in Latvia
You may find that your ancestors spent some time in Latvia, either for work, or as part of a protracted migration. The Latvian Archives have very extensive Genealogical Records (titled Raduraksti) (birth, marriage, death), organized by date and location. There is an English interface, however, there is no ability to search by name, and the records are in cursive Russian, so translation may be an issue.

Emigration/Immigration
To the USA:
The Steve Morse site is perhaps the most used search engine anywhere, though some of the data base it accesses are on Ancestry and require a membership.
Before there was Ellis Island (1892), there was Castle Garden. If your ancestor came through New York before 1892, you should search here.
Searching Ellis Island's site directly might bring up names missed in transcriptions to other sites.

The Bremen Passenger Lists from 1920-1939, from Bremen to the USA, England, South America, Portugal, Spain, etc.

Lithuanian Directories:
Zebra-This is in Lithuanian only, but can search the whole country for a name or part of a name. Also, this only includes landlines, not cell phones.
118.lt- Includes landlines and cell phones. Has an English-language option, click on "EN" in the upper right corner.

For the Lithuanian language, here's some help:
"Telefonu knyga" is literally "book of telephone numbers". It does not provide listings of cell phones.
"Pavarde" means "Surname"
"Vietove" is "Locality" or "District"
"Bet kuri" means any of the localities in the list
"Ies^koti" is "Search"
"Apibendrinta paies^ka" is a general search, and "Detali paies^ka" is an advanced or detailed search, i.e., by given name, street name, etc., which I do not use since it does not focus so much on the genealogical or historical considerations that I'm primarily interested in and does focus more on locating listings for present-day
individuals.

The list of districts under the little arrow to the right of the box entitled "Vietove" refers to a list of districts (rajonai) that one can search by clicking on the arrow, rather than the entire country.
Since it is a telephone directory, i.e., a directory or list by family name or surname, it can only be searched by surname, not by town or village name or by given name.

g. = gatve, street (the street number follows the street name)
k. = kaimas, village
m. = miestas, town or city
mstl. = miestelis, small town
raj. = rajonas, district (compare to the English word "region")
sen. = seniunija, eldership or elderate, an administrative division larger than a town or city, but smaller than a rajonas. Perhaps, like a township or burough. Sometimes paired with "miestas" to mean something like an area inside a city.
pas^. = pas^tas, post office
The endings "-o", "-u", "-aus", "-os" all indicate the possessive case, meaning "of or belonging to" as in the phrase "city of Vilnius" = "Vilniaus miestas".

Lithuanian Post Office site to find postal codes for sending mail to Lithuania.


Roman Catholic Churches and Records in Lithuania

There's a link for churches by town out there somewhere, and when I find it I'll put it here.

Some birth, marriage and death records have been digitized at Epaveldas.  You'll find that they may be in cursive Russian, Polish or Latin (see Words and Language, above).  There is a list of which churches in which towns have been scanned (in Lithuanian) which you can find here.  It's like playing the lottery...you might get lucky!  The search interface itself does have an English version (on the blue bar, all the way to the right).  In the third field for "Subjects and keywords", type in "metriku" for the metrical books, and the name of the village, town or city from the list of churches.

Resources for Researching Jewish Lithuanian Ancestors:

JewishGen
There are many, many books addressing Lithuanian Jews in general. This list is from GoogleBooks.
Photos and history of sites of Jewish heritage in Lithuania, including: synagogues, cemeteries, schools and the Chaim Frenkel Palace.
International tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany has records on about 17 million persons (e.g., Holocaust victims and survivors as well as displaced persons (DPs)).

Meanings of Lithuanian Names
A database of surname origins (link is dead, don't think it will ever be back online)
A good listing & explanation of Lithuanian first names.
A list of MALE given names
A list of FEMALE given names
TheLithuanians

Social Networking sites I've used to find living relatives in other countries:
Facebook- primarily in English, but there are a lot of younger folks worldwide as members
Frype- popular in the Baltics, membership is by invite only. I got an invite from my cousin in Lithuania.
Orkut- if you have relatives in Brazil whose ancestors came from Lithuania, this is a must. There are quite a few groups about Lithuanian Genealogy there. I even found a group for my family.
Naza-Klasa- this is primarily Polish (and in Polish), but depending upon where your family was from (i.e. the Lithuanian-Polish border), it might be useful.

Discussion Forum

Garbenszus Surname! 1 Reply

HelloMy name is Mark GarbenusI am a 24 year old man looking for his long lost ancestors and such.I want to know where to trace the relatives beyond where I have gotten to so far.I have made it to my Great Grandfather Originally Named Kasimir…Continue

Started by Mark Garbenus. Last reply by Helen Pratt Aug 21.

Naujack - family name 2 Replies

Just wondering if anyone out there has any relatives with the "Naujack" name from the southwest area of Lithuania.After coming to America the name was changed to "Norick" or "Noack". I know that Joseph Naujack settled in Scranton, PA and had 7…Continue

Started by Kimberly Ruedemann. Last reply by ALDONA SIKORA Jun 21.

In Lithuania: Taurage County 2 Replies

Taurage county consists of four municipalities: Silale m., Taurage m., Jurbarkas m., and Pagegiai m. If you've traced your ancestors to Taurage, or have questions about this county, discuss here.Wikipedia page for…Continue

Started by Richie C.. Last reply by Richie C. Jan 28.

In Lithuania: Klaipeda County 7 Replies

Klaipeda county, on the Baltic Sea, is made up of two cities, Klaipeda and Palanga, and five municipalities: Klaipeda m., Kretinga m., Neringa, Skuodas m., and Silute m. If your families come from this region, or you just have questions about this…Continue

Started by Richie C.. Last reply by Janice Reynolds Nov 21, 2012.

Comment Wall

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You need to be a member of Genealogy of Lithuania to add comments!

Comment by Wendy Alexander on June 16, 2012 at 6:21am

If you have a general location, many churches keep their own records by year and the number of Lithuanian churches will be limited in an area, so the search might not be that time consuming.

I had no contact with my father's family and by knowing the main Lithuanian church in the area where they lived, approx. years of key events, I was able to go to the place where those records were kept (the church closed and transferred records to another church) and by spending time searching through those records, I found my father's birth record, his parent's marriage record, information on his brothers and sisters, and information on his grandparents.  It was a major breakthrough for me. I had tried to my father's relatives...but have had no luck.

I contacted the church where the records were kept and they kindly assisted and was able to find the names of my great grandparents and where they lived in Lithuania, which was a very valuable discovery.

Wendy

Comment by Amy Lynn Marchenonis on June 7, 2012 at 4:03pm

To Michelle McGee: Thank you for responding to my post! I am in a bit of a tough place there, my parents are not in my life, so getting their birth records is not an option to my knowledge. I was baptized Catholic as a baby, but I do not know how to go about getting that information without their help. I have tried a few of those sites, but when all you can input is your name & info, and your parent's names, it does not give you anything. I get stuck. I cannot even find out who my ancestors are by my last name..

Comment by Michelle McGee on June 7, 2012 at 2:42pm

To Amy Lynn Marchenonis: It helps if you get your parents birth records, marriage records, baptism (if you are Catholic) records and any other related documents and find names and places. Have you tried using other sites like ancestry.com (awesome even though you have to pay for it) and FamilySearch and Ellis Island. Those are good places to start. I have a cousin in New Jersey who has done a lot of work on our Lithuanian ancestry. This place is a good start and get some feed back from time to time.

Comment by Amy Lynn Marchenonis on June 7, 2012 at 2:14pm

I see the last post here was in January. I hope that people are still actively on here. I have been looking for something like this for a long time.

Comment by Christine McCloud on January 25, 2012 at 8:54pm

My Lithuanian ancestors are Biliunas and Valek and settled  in Eastern Long Island, NY (Riverside, specifically) just before 1900.  I have yet to "cross the pond".  Looks like there are good resources here!

Comment by kathryn on December 24, 2011 at 5:54pm

Hello, I am trying to research my grandfather, Antanas/Tony Tverijonas who was either from Skaudville or Kaunas. He came to the U.S. (Chicago) about 1920. He had a sister who also came to the U.S. He was born in 1895 and she was born in 1894.  I have hit so many dead ends I just don't know where else to try. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Comment by carolyn travers on March 8, 2011 at 9:42am
for some reason, I can't make my email take the Lithuanian archives address listed above - - istorijos.archyvas@lvia.lt   Am I reading it incorrectly?
Comment by carolyn travers on March 6, 2011 at 10:42pm
Thanks so much!  I'll have to digest all this and start working on it.  I've seen the naturalization index but no-one claims to have the actual papers - - not Meriden, Hartford, the county, Archives, etc.  My only thought on Cekai is that I had heard somewhere that Anskaitas family came from southwest or western Lithuania.  I'll try anything at this point however.  You mentioned not being able to figure out how to send money to these archives.  I don't know about Lithuania, but in my German research, I can get Euros in lots of places here and for a small amount like 10E, I just send the cash.  Not lost any yet.
Comment by Gloria Weber Baikauskas on November 21, 2010 at 1:15pm
Heather, be aware that Lithuanians changed the endings of their surnames to fit the fad of the time. That "wicz" may have been a "kas, "kis", or something else. For instance I once asked a Lithuanian friend of mine who does translations, etc, if Baikowicz was the same last name as Baikauskas. She said it is. She said you find that often with names depending on the time period. Sometimes people kept the old "in" spelling, and sometimes they changed it back...or to a new "in" spelling.
Comment by Sherri S on November 18, 2010 at 12:28am
Congratulations on the 100th member! I am sad to say that work has kept me from using the resources you have posted but hope to do so around Christmas when I am off. Thank you for your time and effort!
 

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