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.
Latest Activity: Sep 16, 2020
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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 marla jacques Oct 14, 2019.
There will likely come a time that the only logical next step in your research is to contact the Archives in Vilnius. There are smaller Archives in other cities, but by and large, all surviving records have been moved from churches and…Continue
Started by Richie C.. Last reply by Anthony Lumbis Jul 25, 2018.
Hi, This is my first post to Genealogy Wise. I'm interested in tracing as much information as I can about my Grandparents, who came from Lithuania to Glasgow around 1905.They very possibly came from Sunskai in the Suwalki Region, and birth dates…Continue
Started by Colin White. Last reply by Colin White Jun 19, 2018.
Probably the biggest frustration is finding out what village your people came FROM in Lithuania...assuming you know their real surname, of course. How do you go about figuring it out if there's no one left to ask? What strategies, resources, etc. do…Continue
Started by Richie C.. Last reply by Richie C. Mar 27, 2018.