I am new to this site and still finding my way around. I have some experience researching my Polish ancestors but I am new to Lithuanian genealogy.
I am trying to determine the name of my Lithuanian ancestral village. My great-grandmother and her siblings (surname Galinis) were born near Alytaus and most of their documents in America list this as their birthplace. I have always assumed that Alytaus referred to the closest, larger town near their village. Two siblings list a village on their ship manifests, but I am unsure of the name. I have included an image showing these village names as they appear on the manifests.
My guess is the village named on the ship manifest is Kaniūkai and the other name might be Koniuchy? I found online that Koniuchy is the Polish name for Kaniūkai. However, it seems there are 2 villages with the name Kaniūkai. Are both of them also called Koniuchy? Am I totally on the wrong track here? I would love to hear some opinions from others here that know the area - my great-grandmother had one sibling, a sister named Rosalia Račkauskas, who remained in Lithuania and had several children. Our family lost touch with them over the years and I hope to find them.
I hope that maybe someone can help me get closer to finding my ancestral village. Thank you!
I'm not the best at this...if John Peters sees this post, he could clarify things, but here goes.
Alytaus (if spelled and used correctly) refers to the Alytus district municipality. So the actual city of Alytus would be Alytus, Alytaus, Lithuania. There are nearly a dozen villages named Kaniukai in Lithuania. I got this from the Excel spreadsheet in the Yahoo Lithuanian Group, and also typed in "Kaniukai, Lithuania" at maps.google.com. None near Alytus popped up, which had me worried at first. Then I adjusted (at google maps) and typed in Kaniukai, Aly"--as soon as I typed that in, "Kaniūkai Alytaus sen., Alytaus savivaldybė, Lietuva" popped up on the map. Do it an you'll see. You can switch to satellite view and zoom in and see the farm buildings there. It's just to the north of the 131 highway, adjacent to Likiskiai and Luksnenai.
Are you on the Yahoo Lithuanian Genealogy Group? If not you should be. Once there, you should send a message to Millie Marks (I don't know if she is in this GenealogyWise group). Her people are from Likiskiai or Likiskeliai. On of my families is two villages south of Likiskeliai. Assuming your family was Catholic, they would have gone to St. Guardian Angels Church in Alytus.
There are plenty of Rackauskas in the Alytus region on the Lithuanian phone directory (www.118.lt)--about 40 of them, but none in Kaniukai. There are about 8 with forms of the name Galinis in Alytus. If you got birth/baptism certificates from the Archives in Vilnius for your great-grandmother and her sister, you could confirm information. 40 Rackauskas would be a lot of letters to write to see if anyone had a great-grandmother named Rosalia Galinyte Rackauskiene, but it would cost you about $40, which is cheap money for making the connection to relatives in Lithuania.
Thank you for the helpful info. Do you think I'm on track with my guess of the village? I've seen a few Kaniukai village names, but didn't realize there were so many! Do all villages named Kaniukai also have the Polish name Koniuchy?
I'd be less concerned whether villages of similar names (Kaniūkai Alytaus sen.; Kaniūkai , Kaunas; or Kaniūkai, Šalčininkai, Vilnius Region) share the same spelling of Koniuchy. That's not so much a Polish spelling as a way it was spelled on manifests on arrival in the USA--phonetically. The important thing is that you know it's the one near Alytus City, and in the Alytaus administrative division. That should be enough to discard the ones near Kaunas or Vilnius. However, today, there are just a few houses left in Kaniūkai. I think they're near an asphalt plant according to Lithuanian Wikipedia (http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kani%C5%ABkai_(Alytus)) which also tells us that the north side of the road through the village is owned by the parish of Alytus, and that the village has a gas station (woo hoo!). It makes me think that you should contact the priest of the church in Alytus, seeing as how they own the land. I know a lady in the Yahoo group contacted the church directly, but I have not tried yet.
I looked for Račkauskas in the Lithuanian phone directory and there are 39 in the Alytus area...not so straight forward, unfortunately. Also, by the way, (I'm referencing your Genforum post here as well) Packianczius is mistranscribed--Packevicz is the clue...the name is Packevičius.
Here's an interesting video of a farmers' market in Kaniūkai...looks like people come from all over, according to the subtitles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWWO_E0tfiw Gives you some local flavor.