True Lithuania

The largest English website on Lithuania

Lithuania is Vilnius, the 15th century capital of what was then Europe's largest country.

Lithuania is four seasons of lush forests, countless lakes and magnificent coastal dunes of Neringa, sculpted by the wind, not by "Private property" signs.

Lithuania is the inspiring Hill of Crosses, a unique-in-the-world place where millions of people have been building Christian symbols despite any persecutions.

Lithuania is the geographic centre of Europe where the old Lithuanian ethnicity has been joined over the centuries by numerous other communities. There are centuries-old religious buildings of more than 10 communities as distinct as Roman Catholicism, Sunni Islam, Judaism and the Russian Old Believer sect.

Lithuania is a robust economy where the scars left by the Soviet Union may be investigated without ever having to do without modern western amenities.

Tourist? Expatriate? Researcher? Having roots in Lithuania? This website is for you.


Vilnius - the 15th century capital of Europe's largest state





History & Today


Famous Lithuanians


Politics and law


National symbols

FAQ on Lithuania explaining common misconceptions





Holidays and Celebrations

Lithuanian diaspora


Art and literature




Theater and Cinema


Beautiful nature

Castles and fortresses


Religious sites



Top 10 lists






Lithuania Minor

Environs of Lithuania






Accomodation and food


Lithuanian citizenship restoration

Warnings and Dangers
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  1. Dear Sir:
    I am trying to locate information, documents and / or photos of two (2) of my aunts that worked and lived in Lithuanian. The first is Josephine Magdalene Rakauskas who was born in 1894 and at 18 years in 1912 joined the Sisters of Saint Casimir and became Sister Anna Marie). In 1920 she was one of a group of Sisters led by Mother Maria Kaupas (Sisters Anna Marie, Angela, Immaculata and Catherine) to establish an order of the Sisters of St. Casimir in Kaunas. They did establish a home/monastery in the building know as the Camaldolese Monastery, now know as the Pazaislis. Sister Anna Marie returned to the U.S. remained a Sister of St. Casimir until her death in 1989 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
    The second aunt was Marijona (Mariona) E. Rakauskaite who was invited in 1920 by the Lithuanian National Opera in to sing with that group. She made her debut with the LNO in 1923 in George Bizet’s opera Carmen in the title role as Carmen. Mariona was a companion of Liudas Truikys the noted opera theater set designer. There is a museum in Kaunas dedicated to them.
    I enjoyed you we site and foud it most interesting and I learned many mor things about Lithuania, land of my ancestors. I am hoping to visit Lithuania and Italy as they are the homes of my Lithuanian and Italian ancestors. I am lucky to have such a rich cultural heritage.

    Sincerely, Alfred F. Tenuta, Jr., adopeted name (birth name Peter Paul Rakauskas,
    CW3 Army of the United States, Retired

    • Thank you for comment. I think your quest at locating the information certainly won’t be that hard if you will come to Lithuania and visit the said museum as well as the Pažaislis monastery (current nuns there have no connection to the historical ones I think but they would lead you on the right direction). This is by the way the article on the Žaliakalnis borough of Kaunas where the museum is located at and where most of pre-WW2 Kaunas artists lived at (and now there are several memorial museums and many memorial plaques).

      • Dear Augustinas:

        Are there any libraries or museums dedicated to the “Lithuanian Book Smugglers”. My grandfathers (Pranziscus Rakauakas) brother Mykloas Rakauskas was a “Book Smuggler” at the age of 16 and had to leave Lithuania in 1888 with the Czar’s police on his heels. I would appreciate any information on the “Book Smugglers”.

        • There is a book smuggler museum (knygnešių muziejus) in Ustronė hamlet near Krekenava (Panevėžys district municipality) – click here. It is open by appointment (phone numbers available at the link), I wouldn’t be too surprised if nobody speaks English there (I haven’t been there myself). The farmstead where it is located was used by book smugglers to hide illegal press. A few knygnešiai stories are also presented in other museums, such as AB spaustuvė in Kaunas suburbs (also open by appointment), maybe also Museum of Lithuanian litearture in Kaunas Old Town. There have been a couple of films made about the knygnešiai and numerous books, though the books are in Lithuanian language.

  2. This is a truly good website. Keep it up! 🙂

    Nusiunčiau draugei iš Amerikos, kuri labai domisi Lietuva, tai šis tinklalapis pats tas! Ačiū. 🙂

  3. I can’t seem to find this village anywhere. It was called both of these names, Kuloryny and Kulesgny.

    Also I cannot find Lidzianka on a map.

    Is there a Ledrianka in Lithuania?

    Any help would be appreciated!!


    • Hello. Vilages by these names indeed does not exist in Lithuania, these names are not Lithuanian. However throughout Lithuanian history Lithuania was occupied by various powers and in different languages the names of the same localities were different. Some names (Kuloryny, Kulesgny) sound like they might be Slavic versions of some Lithuanian names. Which part of Lithuania they should be in? Also take note that Lithuania once encompassed much larger area than it does today. What was once regarded to be a Lithuanian land may now as well be in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland or Russia. For instance, a google search finds “Ledianka” (one letter difference from Ledrianka) in Ukraine.

  4. Hello Augustinas! I have enjoyed your site so much and really appreciate the effort you have put into it. I plan to travel to Lithuania in about a year and a half to search out my ancestors and your site will be my main guide. I want to see the land of my ancestors. My grandmother, Anna Abartus (or Abartis) (born in 1895) left in about 1910 to escape from the Russians. She had aided her father, known as Red Beard Abartus who was a revolutionary in hiding, and was therefore known to the Russians and so she had to escape. She went to Canada. I think she was only 15 or 16 at the time and met my grandfather Leon Buta, from Lithuania as well. With everyone in my family gone now, I only have snippits to follow. Have you ever heard of such a story? Many kind regards, Brenda

    • Hello Brenda. I have not heard such story myself. It would help you if you’d know locations (towns) from where your forefathers immigrated from as you could talk to people there, check the church archives. If by “revolutionary” you mean “communist/bolshevist” then chances are that your great grandfather would be mentioned somewhere in Soviet history books (in general there were few communists in Lithuania but the Soviet propaganda (after the 1940 occupation) sought to show it as if there were many, therefore almost every single one was mentioned). However, take note that names might be memorized differently in Lithuania. Before 1918 independence there was no universal Lithuanian orthography meaning that immigrant names would be transcribed rather randomly in America (see e.g. this article). E.g. Anna and Leon are not Lithuanian names (Ona and Leonas are). Abartis and Buta (Būta) are Lithuanian surnames and they are quite uncommon therefore you may tell your story to people with these surnames you could find online (e.g. Facebook).

  5. Thank you Augustinas! My great grandfather was definitely not a communist!!! He was a teacher who refused to stop teaching in the Lithuanian language when it was forbidden to do so by the Russians. The only story I know of regarding location is that he was hiding in the hills on the Russian controlled side and in the closest town, the divide was down the middle of a street so that Lituanians could go to the shops on both sides but not out the back of the shops on the Russian side, if that makes sense… My grandmother braved the divide and got through to warn her father but she was seen by the Russians and so had to escape overseas. That’s the story. Thank you for telling me about the fact that the surnames are uncommon…I hope I can find where my grandmother lived. I have a photo of the family after she left as they all stood before a thatched roof home. Funny, isn’t it, the attraction to roots. Kind regards, Brenda

    • I truly apologise for the wrong interpretation, I took the wrong impression that in English language the word “revolutionary” is used primarilly for various radical militant far left politicians, e.g. F. Castro. If your given year of emigration is correct and this was not World War 1 then there are fewer possible locations as this was probably on boundary of Russian-occupied Lithuania and German-contolled Lithuania Minor, and there were two nearby cities/towns on both sides? In theory it could also be the boundary of Russian-occupied Lithuania and Russian-occupied Latvia as in Latvia there were less restrictions on languages despite the Russian Imperial rule (but this is probably less likely).

      • Yes, I used the wrong word. Perhaps resistance fighter would be more appropriate 🙂

        Yes, my dates are correctly set before WWI. Do you know the names of the towns where I could start looking based on my story?

        I don’t even know where to look for a map that would show me the borders of the occupations that you have noted….

        You are kind to help.

        • Click here for a map of interwar Lithuania. The territory marked “Rytprūsiai” was East Prussia both before and after WW1 (until WW2 when it was annexed by Russia). Also three regions immediately north of “Rytprūsiai” used to be part of Germany until WW1 but were part of Lithuania in 1923-1939. These are the regions centered in Klaipėda, Šilutė and Pagėgiai. I wouldn’t dare to guess exact towns as I don’t know exact size, but K. Naumiestis/Širvinta may have been possible (sadly Širvinta is no more: it was completely destroyed by Russians in World War 2 an not rebuilt; K. Naumiestis still exists).

          • that is very sad…I have no idea what all of you went through. I was protected in Canada

            Thank you Augustinas

          • Thank you for sharing the link. I can’t read French personally so can’t comment on the website though

          • Hi Augustinas

            I’ve done a bit more research and I think my great grandfather may have been involved in moving Lithuanian language books into Russian controlled Lithuania from Lithuania minor before 1904 when they were allowed to be used again…I think that is the border that our family story refers to. I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind contacting me through my gmail account so I can give more detail and ask some more personal questions? Many many thanks, brenda

          • I have contacted you by e-mail

  6. labas,

    I am very much interested in the area of Beinoraiciai also known as Beinoraiciu, my grandfather was born there in1892. During that time, what was the land like, what would people have done for a living? What would of made my grandfather leave there in 1913?

    • Hello. For introduction I suggest reading our page on the Lithuanian history (click here), especially the chapters on 1795-1918 Russian Imperial rule and 1918-1940 independence to better understand the era and its aspirations.

      Basically Russians decided to leave Lithuania as an undeveloped agricultural land due to its border proximity. At the time your grandfather was born the Lithuanian language was still banned and Catholics persecuted by the Russian government but by ~1904 it was forced to soften these policies. By 1913 independence movement was already in a full swing although only World War 1 allowed to finally win freedom, which was after 1913 (perhaps your grandfather would have participated in pro-Lithuanian protests in the USA ~1918 as many Lithuanian Americans did at the time, (click here for one picture of such protest)). Most Lithuanians of 1910s were peasants and would grow food for living. Beinoraičiai village (the one near Pakruojis I assume) was not much different from the major part of rural Lithuania.

  7. Labas,

    Thank you so much, the articles have helped me so much to understand Lithuanian history. My grandfather came to the US and joined the Army and went back and fought for the Lithuanians.

    In Aug. of 2012 I traveled to Beinoraicai, it is a beautiful part of Lithuania, so i would guess that it is pretty much like it was when he lived there.

    I love your website, so happy to have found it.

    • Thank you. Lithuanian nature indeed still looks the same. The people, their aspirations and lifestyle differ however. Back in 1910s nearly all Lithuanians who live in Lithuania were peasants/villagers, deeply religious, had many children and would make many things (some clothes, furniture) inside family rather than buy. As Russia left Lithuania undeveloped choosing an urban life meant emigration (whether to Riga, St. Petersburg or Chicago). Many emigrants of that era would however return and invest their money into land; to inherit the father’s land and expand it used to be the aspiration for many. Today it is different with urban life being more prestigious and villagers viewed in dismay by some; the youth leave the villages hoping never to return. Like in the USA technology was one of the drives for this change. However another drive was the Soviet occupation when nearly all land was nationalized and the land-owning peasants killed or expelled, religion attacked. Urbanization rate increased from 30 to 70 percent as more emphasis was put on heavy industry while the productivity of agriculture suffered as people no longer a bond to the land when it was not even theirs; some would get addicted to alcohol which is still a problem in villages. After independence restoration the land was returned to descendants, however, many of them now live elsewhere and are no longer farmers, therefore they sell or rent the land. This Soviet era also greatly villages architecturally with many old homes destroyed and new ones built on standard plain designs (including apartment blocks which never previously existed in villages).

  8. I have enjoyed your website very much. It is quite interesting to read the history and how it has influenced what is occuring today. I am only begining to research my Lithuanian grandparents emingration to Chicago in 1912. I am looking for possible directed readings specifically coverings the economy of Lithuania ~1890 to 1912. I am trying to determine possible motiviation factors for their emigration. My grandfather was a construction engineer(according to family lore) and founded a construction company shortly after arriving in Chicago.

  9. Thank you so much for your help. I was able to contact the Lithuanian Archives, hopefully they will be able to find some information for me.


  10. What a fascinating website, really inspired me to visit Vilnius.

  11. Great Site! I love Lithuania! All my people are from the Panevezys area. I think your site is the BEST for Lithuania. No BS. No Hype. Just pertinent information. Your’s is my default site for all things Lithuanian. Please keep up the good work. I know it’s not easy keeping up a site this informative. With Much appreciation, Paul Alencikas

  12. Labas,

    I am reading a book on genealogy, and it talks about first name patterns in Scotland and Italy. I was wondering if you know of a pattern in the Lithuanian Culture, so many of my family names repeat. This could help in my research.

    1st son Father’s Father
    2nd son Mother’s Father
    3rd son Father
    4th son Father’s Brother
    1st daughter Mother’s mother
    2nd daughter Father’s mother
    3rd daughter Mother
    4th daughter Mother’s sister


    • Hello,

      To my knowledge there weren’t such all-encompassing traditions in Lithuania. Instead, tradition depended on family and location. One quite popular historic tradition (but never universal) would be to name a child after one of the grandparents. In some families one of the sons may have been traditionally named after father.

  13. Labas,

    Thank you for clearing that up for me.

    Do you know of any other way than going through the Natiional Archives to find information on families. I have worked with them for a few years now, and the person who I am working with is not very helpfull. The people in the past would ask questions and they would find the information for me, this person wants exact dates and places, if I had that information, I would not be asking. Should I ask for a new person, or is there any other recourse I can take.


    You have been so helpful, Thank you again

    • Thank you,

      Of course, you can try to ask to contact another person. Whether this will succeed I don’t know, a lot depends on institution. “Soviet work ethics” are still quite common in the state institutions – under the Soviet occupation career prospects were largely independent of merit or work results, so the common work culture became to dodge as much work as possible (unless e.g. a friend asked to do it). That said, not every state institution employee is like that, but what you told in the recent post reminds me of this situation.

      By the way, I am a lawyer in Lithuanian Bar Association, so if you’d need legal services you can use our law firm – we could contact the archives in Lithuanian language in official way, perhaps the communication in Lithuanian will be more fruitful and would be received by different employees (the last time I called State Archives the person was helpful, but, of course, there are many employees). If you are interested, contact me by e-mail .

      Of course, there is never a guarantee that particular information will be in the archives – some wooden churches have burnt down (destroying the birth and marriage records) and so on.

      • Labas Augustinas,

        What you mentioned in your blog sounds exactly like what is happening with my requests.

        Thank you very much for your offer of help. I am going to gather all my information on my family and I will contact your office.


  14. i would like to learn the language and track my dad’s parents all are dead now so where can i start. my parents divorced when i was a toddler then never saw my dad much after. thx

    • It is the best to learn as much as you could from what you have: that is, from live people who remember these dead people and documents / things you may find at your home or their home. The names, places of birth, times of birth, times of marriage, spouse names (of your father’s relatives), etc. are especially useful. With this info one could search the archives. As for the language various diaspora institutions offer courses of Lithuanian language or may help you find a teacher – contact the nearest Lithuanian organization (the local chapter of Lithuanian community, etc.). Global True Lithuania website may help you find local Lithuaian institutions.

  15. Thank Augustinas for your hard work and dedication.
    1 comment I want to make to help some of those researching their relatives .
    As you have mentioned get as much actual documentation as possible.But there is a very large disappointing factor that will sometimes come to bear.those stories you heard thru your childhood many years ago may have been just an embellishment and not the actual truth.

  16. I found your website and am a consistent user. My maternal grandparents were from Lithuania and migrated in 1908 and 1910. My wife and I visited for 8 days in September and we left promising to return. Thanks for your website it reminds us of what we saw and hope to at a future time

  17. My Great, great grandmother’s last name was Stokus. is that a Lithuanian last name? I was told she came to the US from Lithuania. ALso, I was given Butkas as a last name too. are either of these Lithuanian? Thank You

    • “Butkas” surname does not exist in Lithuania, however surname “Butkus” does, so maybe your forefathers had their last name altered, with “Butkus” the original version. The original version may also have been “Butkevičius” as it was popular to drop Polish-inspired long endings and change them by short Lithuanian ones instead (such as “as”).

      There are people with surname “Stokus” in Lithuania, although its rare.

  18. I am trying to find out more about my great and great great grandparents who were born in Lithuania. My great grandmother was named Susannah Shemukenas and she was the daughter of Anna Vedderis (I do not have her father’s name). She was born in a place called Ezushula, which I cannot find on a map or on the internet. Susannah married a man named Joesph Ciroski but I believe that is the Polish version of his surname. They immigrated to the USA in 1902 through the port of Riga.

  19. Thank you. This is very helpful.

  20. What a great website. We will be visiting Lithuania in September and would love to meet up with relatives. Do you have a recommendation of a specific researcher at the State Archives with contact information. My grandmother, Stephania Asporas, came from Birzai around 1907. Thank you for your help.

    • Thanks. Usually the State Archives should be contacted directly as an institution and they can do a search for a fee. However, we may provide the services of:
      1.Contacting the archives in Lithuanian.
      2.Consulting on what documents will be needed.
      3.Reconstructing the likely information before the archive search (as, for example, city, town and personal names are often changed in US documents so knowledge of Lithuanian is needed to guess what were the original names).
      4.Other consulting regarding what, where and when to search.

      If needed, you may contact at .

  21. Hello, my name is Debbie Smith. I am living in hope that I may find my Great Grandfathers family. His name was John August Herman Boyer. The spelling of Boyer over the years has altered I believe but still unsure of original spelling. (Borya, Boyar)

    The only details that I have are these: –

    John August Herman Boyer (spelling variations)
    Born 1849, unknown as to where born
    Was last known in Memel (now Klaipedia) in c1874 when he left and emigrated overseas. He finally arrived in New Zealand c1874 – 1875.

    All I know is that his father (no known name) was a Bricklayer. This was noted on J A H Boyer’s Death Cert.

    There is No Mothers or Fathers names mentioned anywhere in any documents, nor do they offer up any other information about locations or siblings. I am sadly at a loss and there is no other recourse here for me. Hence I am writing in ‘hope’ of absolutely any assistance, please.

    I was fortunate to have a fellow friend search on Ancestry and below is all she could tell me.
    Quote `I can’t find anything for him particularly. But when I searched ‘Borya’ in the Lithuanian records it turned up several Bauers, all from Kaunas. Also some Boyars, again from Kaunas. A few from Vilnius, but not many. Klaipėda is coastal, so that may have been the point of embarkation rather than where he lived?’ unquote.

    I would very much appreciate any assistance going forward and so grateful for your time, ‘please’…

    Many, many thanks in advance

    Kindest regards

    Debbie S Smith

    • Hi. By search on Ancestry do you mean In general, archive search would be more definite as far from everything is available online, especially from outside USA. That said, the situation is not that easy as very little is known. Klaipėda may be an anchor, however as I understand it is not known how much time he spent there (whether years or a day); as Klaipėda was back then controlled by Germany while Vilnius and Kaunas by Russia it is also possible that he would have went from other German-held cities such as Koenigsberg. In such cases its somewhat hit-or-miss affair, but if there is luck it is possible to find something in archives.

      • Hi Augustinas, thank you so much for your reply. Your suggestions and info is appreciated. Yes, it seems for me a needle in a hay stack kind of search. The person here in New Zealand who looked up on the and posted to me the info I quoted previously for you to read, does a lot of genealogy. And that was all they could help me with.

        I am very curious though in regards to the name Boyar/Boyer/Borya etc.. A version or the versions of the spelling/s, are they very common to the area’s in Kaunas, or Vilnius? Not being able to access phone books from those area’s myself, I was just wondering if you may know, or have the ability to look at the phone book directory’s. Only of course if this is not to time consuming of you. I’m only asking if there maybe a small or large concentration of the name/s in area/s there.. If there is an online directory, I would look, but I probably wouldn’t know what I was looking at as I only speak and read English…tsk.
        If you know of any English written directory there in the area’s, that would be amazing if you could advise me.. Such huge thanks!!

        kind regards, Debbie

        • See this website. Type in surname at the field “Pavardė, vardas” and type in city at the field “Miestas”, then press “Ieškoti” on the right.

          In general, the existance of people with such surname now is doubtful. This is not a Lithuanian surname. He may have been a German, in which case it is likely the family was destroyed or expelled in the Soviet Genocide (see article “Germans of Lithuania“). Or the original surname may have been non-German and now the family may have a Lithuanian surname. “Bajoras” is something that quickest come to mind, but it is just a shot. Also, when searching I suggest replacing “y” with “j” as that is how this sound is written in Lithuanian, and also try adding Lithuanian endings such as “as” and “is”.

          • Thank you ever so much Augustinas… I will follow your instructions and visit the webpage, thank you… 🙂
            your wonderful..

            sincere regards, Debbie

          • Thank you ever so much Augustinas… I will follow your instructions and visit the webpage, thank you… 🙂
            your wonderful..

  22. Hi Augustinas. I am not able to find where my great grandfather came from on line. It states the area as Vilna (Wilno) and then specifically Kagaschin. It is in cursive writing and spelled twice. No search comes up with it. Any suggestions? He spoke Polish and i believe was of Catholic descent. Was there a place called Kagaschin in Wilno? Thanks in advance!

    • I must add that the year of the document was 1913.

      • It should be noted that “Vilna” maybe means the “Governorate of Vilnius”, which was a terrritorial unit of thr Russian Empire that encompassed parts of the modern Belarus (most people there were Polish speakers of Lithuanian descent who switched the languages over centuries, see article “Poles of Lithuania“). So, the locality may be in today’s Lithuania or Belarus and the name is likely somewhat sifferent. I amnot sure exactly, it would help id you know a more precise area.

  23. Kaip tau anis Augustinas.
    My grand farther came to the US in 1910 his parents were German he was born
    in 1889 near Kaunas his father owned a grain mill. how would I find information on
    if the mill still exist today.the family name is Lindau and his given name is Adolf he had brothers Robert,William,Karsis ? on spelling. the Lithuanian Monks here in
    Kennebunk,Maine speak a different Lithuanian.

    • Depending on the information you have, we may do an archive search to learn what exactly property did they have and then we could determine if that mill still exists.

  24. Sveiki, Jūsų kontaktus turiu iš parodos Adventur`2016, Druskininkų stende palikote savo vizitinę kortelę. Būtų malonu bendradarbiauti- mes esame menininkų šeima vykdantys kūrybinius užsiėmimus SŪRI PAMOKA.Esu gidė, vedu pažintinius maršrutus po miestą ir apylinkes. Ar bendrauti galima lietuvių kalba?

    • Laba diena,

      Atsiprašau už vėlyvą atsakymą, kadangi buvau išvykęs. Taip, galite bendrauti lietuvių kalba, netrukus su jumis susisieksime el. paštu.

  25. I’m looking for ANYTHING on my great grandmother Mary (Marija?) Switsavage (Last name could be a bit different due to translation errors during immigration and etc.) born around 1888 in Leipalingis and migrated to the U.S. before WWI. She was married to a Micheal (Mykolas?) Rakus (could be Rakauskas) but I can’t find anything on him at all.

    Anything you can find will be greatly appreciated.

  26. Greetings, Augustinas.

    On April 15, 2016, Max wrote about his quest to find information on this great-grandparents: Michael Rakus and Mary Switsavage. I am interested because Michael Rakus was the brother of my great-grandfather, Mathias Rakus, the son of Thomas and Eva Rakus. Any information about Michael will perhaps lead me to a greater knowledge of Mathias. In your reply to Max, you mentioned archive search services. Would I be able to avail myself of them? Please let me know. I am interested in tracing Mathias back to Lithuania and discovering there his immediate family.

  27. Hello,
    On your website
    You mention an Atomic bunker museum (Western Vilijampolė) in Kaunas.
    I would like to contact them for a future visit, could you please give me their email?
    Best regards,
    Erik Martensson

  28. I am trying to find some information and documents of my grand grand father, who as born in Kaunas, around 1873. He migrated to Brazil in 1927. HIs name is Andre Macaitis, father of Terese, Jeronimas and Affonso (who was born in USA). Can you help me ? If it is possible, please send me an email.

  29. Hello, can you help me? I look for information about my grandfather jurgis bucholcas he was born in vilkaviskis in 1909 I sent an email to the Lithuanian archive and they informed me that he does not have these papers, is it possible that they do not have 1909 documents? Is bucholcas a common name in Lithuania? thanks

    • Dear Marjorie,
      There are various possibilities. Firstly, there are several archives in Lithuania so there may be information in other archives than you contacted. Secondly, the last name may have been altered somewhat during emigration. Thirdly, the date may be wrong (it was common at the time not to know the exact birth year and write it differently in differnt documents), leading to a fruitless search. Fourthly, the records may have been lost during such events as church fires (hwoever, in this case some other recors may be available).

      Bucholcas is not a common surname at all, other versions may be Buholcas, Bukolcas, Bucholtz (with Lithuanian ending removed), etc. As Vilkaviškis area had a sizeable German minority prior to World War 2, it is possible that you had some German ancestors as the surname is of German origins.

      We may offer an archive search by our specialists, if needed.

  30. Dear Augustinas,

    Fantastically informative website.

    I’d appreciate your advice in helping me plan a family holiday to Lithuania in July. We are an Australian family of 6 (2 adults 4 children). We will have around 12 days in Lithuania and would spend 1 day in the capital, then head out into the countryside. We prefer rural farmstays on our trips.

    I’d imagine we’d do 5 nights in two different locations. We will have a car. Which regions would you recommend for best sense of rural traditional life? I’ve been looking around Dzukijos national park. There seems to be some good traditional homes there. Any advice appreciated.

    • Hi,

      Dzūkija national park is a good place to discover the forested countryside of Lithuania. It is also the area with the smallest population density and has nice wooden villages.

      Arguably the most striking Lithuanian natural landcape is, however, the Curonian Spit: . Together with Nemunas Delta regional park on the opposite side of the Lagoon ( ) it also offers a unique historical lifestyle where fishing prevailed over the agriculture (and, indeed, used to be the sole source of food for some annually semi-submerged villages). These places are somewhat more expensive by Lithuanian standards, but not by Australian standards.

      The lakes area of Aukštaitija is another option ( ), albeit probably

      That said, Lithuania has a larger population density than Australia, so there are no such out-of-the-beaten-path locations like the Australian outback. The village life has been more influenced by the towns or the historical tragedies such as the Soviet occupation and mass nationalization. However, there are good attempts at recreating / safeguarding the old ways of life as a kind of “village tourism”. A positive thing is that any distance in Lithuania may be covered in a day, so it is easy to visit nearly entire Lithuania staying just at two or three places.

      If you are interested, we may also offer tours (e.g. 3 hours long) in various locations of Lithuania, such as Vilnius and Kaunas.

  31. Bom dia,

    Gostaria de saber como seria a grafia do nome Miguel Pawlowski, nascido em setembro de 1929, que teria o nome original da Lituania, Kaunas, Mykolas Paulauski, filho de Antanina e José (Jozef). Estou procurando registro em vapores vindos para o Brasil em aproximadamente 1926. Ele veio com o pai e um irmão de nome Casimiro (Casymir?)

    • Good Morning,

      I would like to know where my father’s brothers Mykolas Paulauski, who came to Brazil together with his father (Josef) and a brother (Casimir), his mother was Antanina and stepmother Ana. They are from the city of Kaunas, Lithuania . They had as brothers the Vicent, Mania, Stanislav, Stephania, Helena, Ana, Francia, Casimir and children of the second wife (Ana or Ona) of the father: Mechka

  32. I recently was gifted with a journal by my great grandfather that was passed down by many generations. I am looking to have it transcribed. I thought it was in Polish however the translator said it was in Lithuanian. His name is Joseph Sydlowski, born 1872 and passed away 1957. He was one of the organizers of St. Steven’s Church, belonged to Kasa Posmiertna in Perth Amboy, NJ. Can anyone help me translate his Lithuanian journal into English?

  33. Hi is Jakabachka a last name in Lithuania? Thanks Paul

  34. Hi

    We are a family of 4 adults, planning on being in Vilnius .we would like to travel to Kaunas and Salantai. Would you do a hotel pickup from Vilnius for your tour of Kaunas 3 hour tour? Do you do any tours to Salantai?

    • Hi,

      Yes, we may pick you up at Vilnius. We offer tailor-made tours to every Lithuanian city or town on request, including Salantai. Such tours are mainly popular among the people descending from those places.

    • Hi Theo, I am a descendant of a family by the name of Katzeff/ Katvav from Salantai (they ran an inn in the area). My great grandmother Dora Katzeff (along with her mother & 5 of her 7 siblings) emigrated to the UK in 1920. Having stumbled across this post whilst doing a genealogy search I thought it’s worth asking if it’s possible you are related?? Many thanks

  35. Hello Augustinas,
    My grandfather, Frank Vaitonis, emigrated to Ashley, Pennsylvania, United States from Vilnius in the early 1900’s, then sending for his wife, Victoria and his two daughters in 1911. My grandfather died in a coal mine explosion in January 1917 in what was the Maxwell Mine, which later evolved into the Huber Breaker in Ashley, PA. The last name evolved from Vaitonis into Whitonis and the family was associated with the Holy Trinity Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA until its demise. Could you tell me if there are any remnants of the Vaitonis family left in Vilnius?

    • As Vilnius is a large city (550 000 people), it is, unfortunately, impossible to know every person who lives there. However, these days, Google search is usually helpful. You may search for “Vaitonis” and check the results. As the Lithuanian nation is smaller than the English or American nations, quite often a significant portion of people with the same surname are your relatives (if such relatives exist), at least if the surname is not among the few most popular ones. You may use the contacts you could find this way and ask people if they had emigrated relatives (to the Pennsylvania area). Those who had may be glad to re-connect.

  36. I was recommended this blog through my cousin. I am now not positive whether
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  38. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to
    make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  39. Nezinau ar jums bus indomu, ir nezinau ar tiktu kaip nors susijungti su jusu svietaines, bet ant mano svietaines,, as rodau vienos valandos filma apie mano tieva, Povila Skardziu. Ir, po to, as rasau apie knyga kuri kalba apie jo laika 1938-1939 saugant presidenta Smetona. Jei indomu, butu malonu jei jus susijungtumet vienaip ar kitaip su mano svietaine.

    Jonas Skardis
    mobilius: 505-670-5060

    • Dėkui už nuorodą. Nuspaudus ant jūsų pavardės jūsų komentare dabar yra galima patekti į jūsų puslapį.

  40. Hi Augustinas
    I am researching my maternal family who came from Salantai. I hope at some point to visit!! My great great grandparents Mere & Ben Katzeff/ Katzav ran an inn/ tavern in Salantai (around 1900) and I would love to find it!! Do you know anyway of finding out where this inn/ tavern was? Kindest regards Abi

  41. Hi! I’m looking for information about Jurgis Bielinis. I don’t think there are any books about him in English, but I would love it if there were. Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • There is some information on him in English Wikipedia: . You may also do automatic translation of Lithuanian sources. Other than that, I am not too sure what to add – like about any famous person, you can just summarize the main facts about him (which Wikipedia does well) or you may write an entire biography about his work.

  42. I’m looking to know the date of which this website was published and I can’t find it. Can someone please help me with this? I would be so grateful, Thank You!!!

    • The website has been started in 2012, however, it is constantly updated. So, an article may have been published at any time since then up to this year (2018). Articles are also updated after publishing if the situation changes.

      If you are looking for a way to cite the website, the correct way of citing online sources is to mention the date you accessed the website rather than the date it was published, as there is no single publication date.

  43. Hello,
    I discovered you site, much more interesting than Lithuanian Genealogy. I need help.
    I read that you could do research, not for free, of course. Most of my family lived from 1700 to 1938 in Courland just above Klaipeda. I was last year in Klaipeda to see a house where we lived : Grosse Sandstrasse, n° 6 ( it no longer exists ) I’m looking for
    all information on Johann Gedowius, Lutherien, Master-Cobbler, resident from 1858 to 1866 at the adresse above. Where was he born ? Are he dead in Memel ? I am unable to search in the Vilnius Archives, because I do not have birth or death dates.
    I am french, I lived in Paris,

  44. Hi !
    Could you, please, send me an e-mail with your quotation for your research in the
    town of Memel, about a part of my family Gedowius.
    Sincerely yours,
    Alain Gedovius

  45. Hi,

    This is Gel, an outreach assistant. I wanted to find out who the best person is to speak with to contribute an article on your website?

    I am looking to write an article that you can post on your blog. The article will be well-researched based on the large pool travel experts that our company has access to. In exchange, I was hoping that you could credit our online travel media site for providing the article to you. Please let me know if you would be interested?

    Thank you,


    • All the articles in “True Lithuania” are written by the owner of the website (me) and this “single person’s touch” is an important distinction that distinguishes us from sites such as Trip Advisor, therefore, we are not interested in articles by other contributors.

  46. Need help finding family the name is Richard Jakubauskas born 1895? Moved to Boston that’s my father his farther was Simon Jakubauskas or however they call it sinus? Any help would be nice Thanks

  47. i eat the A S S

  48. Now I am going away to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming yet again to read
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  49. Good day sir, my name is Tola, I lost the contact of a good friend of mine which happened to be from Lithuania. I lost my phone which make me to lost his contact. Is name his deivydas belovas, am so sure is finding away to get me back

    • You should use internet search, maybe you’d find information about him there. Perhaps you had any common acquaintances – you should then contact them. If Deividas would ever see your message here, he would reply probably, however, it is unlikely he would read here.

  50. If you want to increase your experience just keep visiting this site and be updated
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  51. Hello Augustinas,
    This website is fantastic. The global one is awesome as well, for learning about Lithuanians in Chicago/Illinois!

    I hope you can help me figure out what these two anglicized words are in Lithuanian:
    Jauzanui (a town name)
    Yasemuti (a surname)

    Also, I have a surname spelled three ways: Idikauskas, Ridikauskas, and Pidikauskas. Are the prefixes Idi, Ridi, and Pidi interchangeable in Lithuanian?

    Thank you for such an informative website, though I’m sure you hear that all the time.

    • Thank you,

      No, Ridi/Pidi/Idi are not prefixes and are not interchangeable. Likely the surname is not spelled correctly in some sources, e.g. maybe someone read “R” as “P” and then wrote down the surname like that, or vice-versa.

      I am not exactly sure about the names. As for Yasemuti, it can be Asmutis or Jasutis. Jauzanui could be Juzumai. In any case, the change of name during anglicization is quite large and so there are multiple relatively similar names but not one extremely similar. If you know an approximate region where “Jauzanui” was located it may help.

  52. Thank you. I wish I knew what region for “Jauzanui.” The ancestor Ona Idikauskiute said her birthplace was “Mikitu” or “Krukui” — which I took to mean Mikytai or Kriukai — two small towns about 12km apart in Marijampole Region, Sakiai district. The same ancestor said her father’s birthplace was “Jauzanui.”

    This woman married a man named Silanskis in Pajieslys (Kedainiai District, Kaunas Region) and they lived in Josvainiai (same district, region) before emigrating to the U.S. Could “Jauzanui” be a really mangled version of Josvainiai?

    I assumed, maybe incorrectly, that Ona would have to live or have relatives close enough to Kedainiai District in order to meet her future husband at some point.


    • Yes, I think if there is other data pointing to Josvainiai then it could be Josvainiai.

      Josvainiai is spelled like “Yos – vay – nyay”

      It is possible “Jauzanui” is spelled similarly by an English-speaker, at least if “j” is spelled as in many European languages (i.e. as “y” not as in English). Maybe somebody wrote down the name as he/she heard it and that somebody did not speak Lithuanian.

  53. Good morning,
    Please send me information about your fees to search records in the Lithuanian State Archives. Thank you.

  54. LABAS,

    I hope you are doing well. I am hoping you could tell me what a Forrester is and who they might have worked for in the late 1800s. My great grandfather was a forested, and I can not get a clear definition.


    • Foresters take care of the forests. There may be numerous jobs for them. Ethnic Lithuanians usually were “eigulys” at the time, i.e. forest guardians (protecting the forests from illegal logging, hunting, etc.).

  55. Thank you, an interesting article, I was just looking for any information on Lithuania, history, culture, economics.

  56. Re: Error In Your Website…?


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    I was doing some industry benchmarking for a client of mine when I came across your website.

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  57. Can you lie about the amount of people in a hotel room?

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  58. Hello,

    I am trying to locate 2 friends of my late Aunty, Grazina Grybas. Their names are

    ALMANTAS & JANNA DZIMIDAVICIUS who may be in Lithuania but that is all I know.

    Can someone point me in the right direction?


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  60. My grand father came from a city called Korno or Kovno, they emigrated to south america betwen 1930 and 1933, my mother was born in 1934 and my grand father in 1902, if anyone has more info about the sizeable emigration primarily to the South America, I will appreciate.

  61. I liked the post, very interesting and well written, I really needed to know about the geographic center of Europe.

  62. Hello, my name is Fernanda. All right? I live in Brazil.
    I would like to know information about names that are from Lithuania … Because when the names arrive in Brazil, they change … In the case of my Tataravo, his name here in Brazil is CASSEMIRO JANKAUSKAS. And what would that name be like in Lithuania?
    If you can help me, thank you.

    • Kazimieras Jankauskas would be his name.

      • Hello, thanks for the feedback !!!
        Thanks for the help, as I am starting to search for the origins of my family and I am alone in this .. For now I only have the name, surname and the name of my great-grandfather’s parents, but to request the document from the Lithuanian archive I need more information … Do you know how I can search: the street where you lived, where you worked … this information ?? It is difficult to talk to my family to ask for information.

        • Knowing his surname and approximate location is enough as you would search for documents for the area (i.e. the entire town, for example, the local church records). There is no need to find the exact street (nor it is often possible). If he owned property though it may be possible to find its address. We may offer heritage search services if you are interested.

  63. I don’t know if that’s how you write the name of this city, because here in Brazil it looks like this …

  64. Brilliant website. I am looking for information about my Grandfather Jonas Jarmuska born 1st of April 1927 father jurgis/George was a farmer…Jonas came to the uk in 1947 it states on his registration booklet that he was born in ukmerge .I have contacted the archives but cannot find record of him in or around the Ukmerge area. Any help would be fantastic. Thank you in advance.

  65. This website is such a valuable resource. I am curious to know how to locate newspaper articles or other literature referencing protest demonstrations at the German consulate in Kaunas in 1933 following the Reichstag fire in Berlin. I received a record from the central archives that references a protest specifically on June 27, 1933. Though the Reichstag fire was in February. Any thoughts on where to find details in press, publications or photos old be helpful. Thanks

  66. hello augustinas,
    i am trying to find out any information about how and when my father zigmas dauskursas fled/left lithuania any time after april 1940, i found a photo of my father on skis in a military? uniform in a copy of kardas. nr7.(309)n.1 page211,(what is /was kardas?, i am not proficient in the lithuanian language as yet). my father was born in raseinia 1909.
    my father married lena kijonkaite in kedainiai march 1940 and lena divorced my father in heidelberg germany may 1948, my father then remarried ( my mother) luise klara frick in heidelberg nov 1949, and after being in displaced person camps at camp wildflecken and camp kempten they immigrated to australia from bremen germany 1950. i am doing an ancestry search as i need to know as much about my father’s missing years namely 1940-1948 as well as my heritage etc. i never knew my father in a sense where he never discussed the war years, his early life and parents to me, this search is my project in life for me now as i am 69years old and have so much to achieve, the search is emotional as much as it is exciting , and i have shed many a tear researching about what all our ancestors had to go through. any help or information would be greatly appreciated, thanking you, yours sincerely,
    stephen arunas dauskursas

  67. thank you for your feedback augustinas, greatly appreciated, what a fantastic site this is also,great for my research.

  68. Dear sir,
    I am trying to find information about the book smuggling that went on when Lithuania was taken over by the cossacks. I was wondering if any information from this site would help me. I am doing a research paper and I need multiple sights in order to actually do this topic.
    Joy Stager

  69. I went to Lithuania 4 years ago and met my dad’s sister’s son Juozas Jankauskas, daughter Terese Balutiene and Stasys Merkevicius daughters Dalija and Aldona and many other relatives in Vilkaviskis and relatives on my mothers side in Kybartai, Kaunas, and Vilnius. I wanted to spend some time at Vilnius University’s Rare Book Section to try to find the translation and any other information I could on Jonas Merkevicius (who was a school teacher in Kaunas) and his translation of Adomas Mickiewicz (who was a school teacher in Kaunas) “Grazina” or “Grazyna” from Polish to Lithuanian. The University did find his translation in a newspaper „Vienybe lietuvninku“ in 1893). I am aware books published in Lithuanian in the 1800s were forbiden. There is a drawing of Adomas Mickiewicz childhood home in a Vilkaviskis Museum. I came back to Lithuania a year and a half ago hoping to spend a little time at the University doing research, but relatives wanted to do things and go places. An opera about Grazyna was translated in the 1920s, but it was not J. Merkevicius’ translation. He might have known Pushkin because my dad told me something Pushkin did, so when I was at Jonas Basanavicius’ museum (when my dad was young he knew Jonas Basanavicius) I asked Algirdas, who works there, if it could be true and he said very possibly because Lithuania was part of Russia at the time. Pushkin and Adomas were good friends in St. Petersburg and, Jonas, if he knew Adomas could have went to see Pushkin where the incident took place.

  70. Hi. Great website!
    I am researching family that originally came from Lithuania…and am hoping you might be able to help me with these 4 things:
    1. Family name now (in Canada) is Evask. My husband’s grandfather came from Lithuania in the early 1900s…and on most Canadian documents this was the name used. Having found an online Lithuanian dictionary of last names, there does not appear to be any Evask or close derivation starting with E. I did however find several derivations that started with I (Ivasauskas, Ivaskevicius). Any idea if the latter versions are the most probably…or is there a last name close to the anglicized Evask?
    2. The grandfather – born 1885 – has a document stating he came from Smerlgiu. I have not been able to find this on a map…closest I found is Smilgiai (in Panevezys region). Would you agree? Or is there a Smerlgiu?
    – also…is there a way to figure out the last name based on knowing the location he came from?
    3. Grandmother – born 1897 – has a document stating she came from Ponemuneo (district of Rokiskis). Again, have not been able to find this town…but have found closest: Panemunelis or Panemunis. Again…would you agree? or is there a town called Ponemuneo?
    4. Grandfather in English went by John. What would be the most probable Lithuanian name? He was Catholic.

    Many many thanks!!

    • 1.I think your suggestions are probable. As the last names would be written down from pronounciation in many cases, “i” may have been written as “e”.
      2.Smerlgių would be a genitive case of “Smerlgiai” (see Lithuanian language article). Smerlgiai does not exist, however, and Smilgiai thus seems likely. It may be possible to look at archive records of the location (e.g. church books) and see what last names were available there.
      3.Given the location at Rokiškis area, Panemunėlis is the most likely.
      4.Jonas would be the most probable name.

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