True Lithuania

True Lithuania heritage search and more

True Lithuania is a website aiming to be an informative and well-illustrated English source on Lithuania created by a Lithuanian native Augustinas Žemaitis, a lawyer and avid traveler (recipient of Lithuanian tourism department prize "For persistence in travel and life").

Contact us at tour.baltic@gmail.com.

Services we can provide

True Lithuania provides or helps organize the following services:
*Legal services in Lithuania (the website owner is a member of the Lithuanian Bar Association).
*Heritage search inside Lithuania.
*Restoration of Lithuanian citizenship based on ancestry.
*Sale of images of Lithuania (all the ones available on this website may be provided in a good resolution, and our database is more extensive than that).

Free online guides we offer

*Guides to Lithuanian cities, towns, resorts, castles, religious sites, museums, valuable for tourists.
*Guides to practical life in Lithuania (transportation, shopping, restaurants, climate, dangers) valuable for both visitors and expatriates.
*The most extensive online English guides to Lithuania's ethnic and religious groups.
*The most extensive online Eglish guides on Lithuanian holidays, architecture, sports, music and famous personalities.
*A Lithuanian history guide that aims to be brief enough to be read at a single time yet complete enough to help you fully understand history and its results.
*Introductions to the Lithuanian politics, law, state symbols, language, theater, cinema, art, and literature.

Advertising in True Lithuania

True Lithuania offers wide advertising possibilities. Our visitors are mainly tourists, expatriates, researchers and people who are descended from Lithuania. Most are from English-speaking countries but a significant minority is from other European countries.

Comments (60) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Augustinas

    You may be the person who can help me. My ancestors lived in Kalviai (Kowalki)(Varena) It still exists. I cannot find any pictures of this community. Might you have a reference? I know who lived in the manor house in 1909 from the church census. I was wondering the simplest way of understanding who held these blocks of land going back to the middle ages. I know that my family (Stanielun) was represented in this village in 1795.

    aciu labai

    Jim Staneluis

    • James, Kalviai is a small village (population 68) so there are few pics available. However by clicking here you may see a farmstead recently sold in Kalviai, with interior and exterior images. It looks like a traditional home of the area (forested Dzūkija); many homes look like this in the region. The simplest way to search for historical information is through the state archives.

  2. Labas,

    I am hoping you are well and staying warm.

    I am hoping you could help me again with the spelling of family names. I want to have the Lithuanian Archivers do some reseach for me but uncertain of spelling. I have seen my great-grandmothers name spelled Szarniukic, Scarniukic, Scheran, Sarna, Serna, it was pronounced Sirna. I know she came from Pacmevezys in 1900.

    Her mothers last name was Yrameniuke and Petracrikic.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    aciu

    • Hi, thank you. Modern surnames that sound similar are Šernas and Šerna (may have been written Szerna, Szernas in Polonized orthography). “Šerniukas” is a diminutive of “Šernas” (meaning wild boar in Lithuanian); I am not sure if there is a surname “Šerniukas” but it is possible to call someone with a surname “Šernas” to be “Šerniukas” especially in early age / childhood. The city you mention is likely Panevėžys (click here for info). Yrameniuke and Petracrikic does not rings much bell to me currently, parts of the surnames sound Lithuanian (e.g. “iuke” is a female diminutive, “Petras” is a Lithuanian version of “Peter”) but other parts seem to be greatly transformed, or maybe these already were rare surnames before transformation. One possibility for “Pertacrikic” may be “Petrauskas” (male surname) and for “Yrameniuke” – “Ermanytė”, but I am not sure.

  3. Both my parents were Lithuania & I am very curious about my grand parents. I am named after my grand mother on my mother’s side, she passed away before I was born, I have no idea where she & my
    grandfather came from & have no history of their background. My
    Grandfather’s name was Bernakis & I have no idea what my Grandmother’s maiden name was. Where do I start to find out about these two people I wish I had the opportunity to know?

    • Hello, State Archives may be the best place to search information, as well as many other archives, however, usually you need to know more than just name. By the way are you sure the surname was “Bernakis” rather than “Berankis”? One place to search for information when you have less may be specialized internet forums and groups, such as LithuanianGenealogy Yahoo group. However, the more information you will know initially the more likely you are to succeed (especially names, places, dates) – therefore you should seek for whatever more information you could find on your side, e.g. go through your grandparents documents and other things or talk to all people still alive that knew them (if there are any).

  4. Hello
    I have started working on my husbands family tree. His grandparents were from Lithuania. We do not have much information on his grandparents. His grandmother was born in Turiskiai, Krosna Township . We have not been able to locate this area. Although maybe the name has changed. We are also looking for the name of the Catholic church in Krosna. We believed she was baptized there. If you are able to give us some direction it would be greatly appreciated .

    • Hello. The village is Tūriškiai (56 inhabittants), the town is Krosna (401 inhabittants). Krosna church is dedicated to St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist (Lithuanian: Šv. apaštalo evangelisto Mato bažnyčia). We may provide heritage search services in archives, if needed.

      • Thank you for informing me of the population in those area . We were able to find my husbands grandmother’s baptism record from the church . Recently we found out that she had been married before and was a widow before marrying in Canada. You stated you offer heritage searches in archives and was wondering the fee. We were wondering if she married her first husband in Lithuania at the same church. Also is there a place in Lithuania called Keloaria (spelling most likely is not correct)
        Thank you

        • We have sent you now our offer by e-mail.

          There is no place “Keloaria”, but there may be places with somewhat different spelling. However, in this case it would be better if you’d provide anything you know where approximately that place would be located or about its relative size and what is the source of “Keloaria” name, what is the date of that record, etc. As there may be multiple placenames similar more or less to Keloaria so this would help to select the more probable ones.

  5. Hello,

    Am interested ind researching my Grandmothers mother(Kazakevicius)
    And Father (Valantanavicius) he was conscripted by Prussian army at 16 years of age then by Russian at 20 d. From Mielashkowpy, Suwalki.

    • Hello, did you write the placename correctly? On what document does it appear this way? Maybe it appears another way in other documents?

      • Hello,
        The town name was on his American naturalization paper.
        The only document I have from Lithuania is his discharge papers to the Russian military reserves. The top right corner of the page is missing, and that contains most of the vital information.
        There is a book and entry number. Would Lithuanian archives have the Russian military records for 1902?

  6. Hello,
    I am writing you from Lithuania. Just few day ago I found one old broken picture of the women with the words on the the side “como Lembre sempre” ?… And afterwards my mother informed that her grandfather’s brothers or sisters migrated to Argentina via First World War. Their surnames were Silanskas, Šilanskas, Silanskiene, Šilanskienė, Silanskaite, Šilanskaitė. They are born in Dzūkija region, Alytus or Varena district, near Daugai in Andriunai or Doskonys.
    My grandgrandfather’s name was Andrejus (Andrius) Šilanskas.

    I would be very appreciated to get any hints of my relatives.

    • Thanks for contacting. If you want to search your relatives who may be still living in Argentina, and you know all the names, it is the best to contact Argentinian and Lithuanian-Argentinian organizations.

      However, if you want to learn about the lifes of your forefathers and their relatives while they were still in Lithuania (e.g. when they married or were born, or what were the names of their children and siblings) then we may help you search the archives. The two may be combined: you should first learn the names of the people through the Lithuanian archives (we may help with that) and then, knowing the names and dates, you may contact Lithuanian Argentine institutions to find out if these people were somebody’s relatives.

      • Sveiki Augustai,

        galbut Jus galite pasakyti i kokias tiksliai organizacijas turetume kreiptis?
        Buciau labai dekinga!

      • Ir dar vienas klausimas – kokia pavarde galeciau ieskoti SILANSKAS pavardes po angliskos transformacijos: Shilanskas, Shilanski, Silanska?
        Matau, kad turit be gal daug patirties, tad viliuosi sis klausimas jums bus labai paprastas:)

        • Gali būti įvairiai, taip pat ir Szilanskas, Szilanski ar pan. Vienos tvarkos nebuvo: kai kada būdavo rašoma pagal tarimą (kaip rašytų anglas, pvz. su “Sh”), kai kada pagal lenkišką raidyną (pvz. “Sz”), kai kada su lietuviška galūne, kai kada be ar su slaviška galūne; kai kada ne taip nugirdus ir pavardė “pakoreguota” (ypač dažnai sumaišytos panašios raidės, pvz. “Z” ir “S”) ir t.t.

    • Hello, Vilma,

      The words written on the side of the photo are in Portuguese. I am wondering whether your family also had any ties to Brazil?

      “como” = “as/like”
      “lembre” = “you remember” / “he/she remembers” (lembrar = to remember)
      “sempre” = always

      In other words, “as you always remember (them)” (or, “as he/she always remembers (them)”).

      Good luck finding out more!

  7. Hello I am writing on behalf of my husband who is looking for information on both of his Lithuanian parents (now deceased). His mother Ona Sarkaite was born in Rokiskis May 1929. Her father (no name) was a school principle and sent to Siberia. We are not sure which deportation. Ona – an only child – and her mother – a school teacher – escaped Lithuania and stayed in a refugee camp in Germany before emigrating to Montreal, Canada. Where might we find information on this family? Searches for Sarkas, Sarka or Sarkys in Rokiskis come up empty.
    My husband’s father was Romaldus Bukauskas who left in the 40s with his parents (father Pranas or Pranes). They were from Obeliai. Any suggestions for where to search for information?
    Many thanks.

    • By searches for “Sarkas”, “Sarka”, “Sarkys” in Rokiškis do you mean Google searches?
      A search in archives may be good. We may arrange this / provide such services, if needed.
      Also, what information exactly would you seek to find?

  8. Hello!

    I’m a grandson of Lithuanians that imigrated to Brazil after second world war, we still have relatives in Lithuania, but we don’t have any document to prove my Grandparents were born in Lithuania, since sovietic union destroyed most of the documents that churches had at that time.
    We have some documents proving that he entered in Brazil as a Lithuanian, I’ve already visited lithuania a few times and I would love to keep this roots moving on with my future family, there’s anyway I can restore my family citizenship?

    • It is possible. We may help in searching for proofs. While not everything is possible, the more proofs would be found the bigger are the chances that the citizenship restoration request will be approved.

      We will contact you by e-mail with our prices as well as ask the other relevant information.

  9. Hello,

    I am writing from the U.S. with a question about a Lithuanian place name. In the Ellis Island archives, there is a record that seems to pertain to my great-grandfather and his family. Their ship sailed to New York from Hamburg, Germany, but they were Lithuanian, and their hometown was listed as “Galsiniki.” Does this place name sound familiar? How would it be spelled in Lithuanian, and does it still exist today?

    Also, I am interested in learning more about your genealogy services. Thank you in advance for any information you can email me about this.

    • Sorry, I should clarify: the Lithuanian town is listed as “Gallisiniki.” Does this hel in identifying its present-day spelling?

      Thanks for the great website, and I look forward to hearing more about your services!

      • Hello,

        I will look into possible similar-sounding placenames, however, before that, perhaps you know (or have been told) which part of Lithuania your great grandfather came from? As there are many similar-sounding village names, knowng area would help narrow down the search.

        As for genealogy services, we will send you our offer by e-mail.

  10. I found this website by accident whilst helping my 8 year old grand daughter to write a project about Lithuania.

    My Grandmother lived in London after emigrating from Lithuania in the 1890s. She lived in Vilnius and moved to England after her husband and son or daughter died from chicken pox. From my Mother’s birth certificate, it seems to show her married name in Lithuania was MAGGIE GEISZTORJITIS and her maiden name was KUBILIUS. She re-married a Lithuanian man in London called YUSEF (OR JOSEPH) SCINSKAS. I have searched all the census archives in London and can find no record of her, but my family told me that she did not have a birth certificate with her- we never knew how old she was, but I just remember her being very wrinkled and bent; and lovely.I never met my Grandfather, who had died and when Maggie died, I was about aged about four.

    My Mother’s first name was EVA and she lived to be 98 years old, until three years ago.

    My wife and I visited Vilnius about 15 years ago and tried to get information from some Council Offices that we tracked down, but they simply told us that most records were destroyed by the Russians and so it was not worth looking.

    I would love to know anything about Maggie Kubilius and her family, in particular, when she was born.

    Excellent website in which I have enjoyed reading and learning more about Liothuania.

    Greg Marshall, Cheshire, UK

    • Dear Greg,

      It is possible to search for information in the archives. While it is true that some archives were destroyed, many weren’t, so unless one searches one could not know. Today such searches are easier than 15 years ago as some (though still not all) documents have been digitized.

      If you don’t know her age, maybe you know her birthplace (i.e. if she was from Vilnius and was born there, or moved to Vilnius from somewhere else, or she was from some village/town in Vilnius district)? In general, any additional information you know (heard from your mother who heard it from grandmother) may help (raise success possibility in searching archives), especially where it concerns dates, locations and names (of person in question and all her relatives such as brothers, sisters, parents, children).

      In any case, we may offer services in archive search. We will send you our prices and details.

      BTW “GEISZTORAJITIS” is an English transliteration for “Geištoraitis”, or, in female version, “Geištoraitienė” and “MAGGIE” is also an Anglicization of original name, such as “Margarita”.

      Regards,
      Augustinas Žemaitis.

  11. My paternal grandfather was born in Bajorai, Kretinga in 1886. Unfortunately, he passed away when my dad was only 4, my dad is 85 himself and would like to find his past. Are there people that can help with geneaology searches in Lithuania? Ancestry is no help.

  12. hi i am searching for any info that i can find on my lithuanian ancestory. i dont know if my last name is the correct spelling. i do know that my grandfather peter douchinsky lived in western pennsylvania and west virginia and that he came to america in 1897 approx. i cannot find him from ellis island records. i have no living relatives that can help with info. do you know where i can go to discover what their circumstances where prior to comming here and the correct spelling of our last name

    • Lithuanian last name “Dučinskas” would seem to be the most probable original last name, as it sounds the same (with Lithuanian ending “as” added). We provide heritage search services and we will send you details by e-mail. However, some place to start will be needed, perhaps you’d know which part of Lithuania he came from (e.g. where in Lithuania he was born), or could find that information somewhere in documents or such?

  13. Hello, my parents and grandparents were residents of Memel and Nidden during and before WW I. I am researching my heritage (including DNA) and found out just recently that I have absolutely no German in my DNA, although my parents and grandparents’ mother tongue was German. Towards the end of WW II all of them fled from their homes and left for Germany. I have a number of different spellings for my grandfather’s last name and cannot get anywhere throught the US Mormon search website. The last name at one point was spelled Sziele, but I heard also from my mother that she saw the name Szylis above the entrance to a farm outside of Memel. Any suggestion what other name it could be? My grandmother’s last name was Gudovius. But that is all I know. My mother’s family was from Nidden (Nida) and I have found information about her family background up to a certain point. I am not sure what country I should zero the search on as they lived like Germans around the turn of the century.
    I very much would appreciate your help.
    Thank you.

  14. Hello,
    I’m happy to have found your site. My father was born in Lithuania. His brother lived out his whole life there, married and his widow still resides there. My aunt Emma Datis was a big supporter of the Theatrical Arts in Vilnius I believe. Sadly she just passed away. I’ve often wondered if I have other family living there today. John Vidrinskas is my fathers name. His siblings, Emma, Margo, Joseph and mother Maria. I wish there were more Lithuanian Americans where I live, I’ve always been proud of my heritage 🙂

  15. I intend to be in Joniskis on 10/7/2016 and see the house where my grandparents live and worked until 1935. Their names Zalman Zingerevicas and Chaiha Feiga Wolffson.
    They owned Manufakturos Prekyba , Turgaviete Nr. 23, Joniskis.
    The name of my uncle was Reuven Baruch Kaplan and his wife Yenta.
    I will appreciate to receive information about them and about jews in Joniskis.
    Thank you very much.

    • General information on Joniškis, including its two recently-restored synagogues, is available here: http://www.truelithuania.com/joniskis-town-931 . If you want us to do a search in the archives for more about the particular people you have named and perhaps any other relatives, we may send information about proposed services by e-mail (though that unfortunately may be impossible to complete before July 10, as it often takes longer time to do an archive search). If you will also spend some time in Vilnius, we offer Jewish heritage tours there ( http://www.truelithuania.com/vilnius-jewish-tour ) as the Jewish heritage in Vilnius is the greatest (many Jews from the towns moved there over the time).

  16. My ancestors live in Joniskis until 1935.
    Their names
    1. Zalman Zingerevicas, my Grandfather. owned Manufakturos Prekyba on Turgaviete 23 (Mark Platz). I would like to visit this place (what is the actual address ?), and also what was his home address.
    2. Chaia Feiga Wolfson, my grandmother. Her parents live in Jonisksis or nearby. I would like to know their names.
    3. Reuven Baruch Kaplan and his wife Yenta and six children, perish in1941, holocaust. Any information.
    I plan to visit Joniskis on 10.7.2016.
    Thanks for your cooperation.
    Moshe Zimrat

  17. Hi there. I am in the beginning stages of doing some research on my family in Lithuania. My grandfather was born in Lithuania but immigrated to Canada at a very young age. I know a fair bit of information already – I have my great-grandmother’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, as well as immigration details. I am interested in finding potential relatives in Lithuania as I hope to be visiting there in Sept or Oct 2017. Can you please send me more information on prices for your genealogy searches? I have also started learning how to speak Lithuanian using online and I am curious if you know of an app or website that you would recommend. Thank you for your help!

    • Thank you for contacting us. We will send you the details of our offer by e-mail.

      We plan to include some free lessons of Lithuanian language and recorded files of to True Lithuania website in the upcoming month.

  18. Hi,

    For the life of me I cannot find anything on the Kalpokas surname. I’m originally from Argentina and my ancestors immigrated in the 1920s I believe. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    • What would you want to learn? There are numerous people in Lithuania with that surname (a Google search gives results). The word itself means a certain hat or a certain part thereof.

  19. I am traveling to Vilnius on September 27, 2016 with the intention of visiting the Village of Trasninkas, which is the place of my grandparents and great-grandparents birth. I have found very little about the Village and wondered if there is a way to determine the address of my grandparents’ childhood. My grandfather’s last name was Jurkevicius and my grandmother’s maiden name was Volengeviciute. Any assistance would be appreciated. Lee Davis

    • It may be possible to find such information in the archives (we may offer a service of such search). Otherwise, depending on when they left Lithuania, it may be possible to get some information by asking around in the village as some old people may remember them or their family (however, it is unlikely (m)any people would talk English there).

  20. Hello! I have been at a standstill with my great grandparents lineage. I know my great grandfather was Joseph Chesonis (I think it was Czesonis in Lithuania) and he was married to Marcella. That’s the most I know. I can’t find Marcella’s maiden name anywhere, not even her daughter’s marriage certificate. I would fly over there if I could!! But until then are there any online records available? Was hoping maybe a marriage certificate would provide some sort of info.

    • Hello. Lithuanian surname would be Česonis in modern orthography and likely full name Juozapas Česonis. There are few records online, but we may offer services of searching in the archives. That said, in order to know where to search we would need to know some more facts, e.g. birthdates (at least approximate) and locations of birth (at least approximate) of your great grandfather.

  21. Hello, I am trying to trace my Lithuanian family history. My Fathers name was Pranskus and he came as a displaced person never to return to LitHuania. I have his parents name and my fathers place of birth. Is it at all possible that you could help please?

    • With names, birthplaces and approximate birthdates it is possible. Even if this information is available only about some relatives, information about other relatives may often be derived from what is available. We can send you our offer for heritage search / archive search, if you are interested.

  22. I home am trying to find more about my grandfather Anthony or antanas Gelzinis migrated from bitkai between 1908-1910.He arrived from the ship Patrica from Hamburg.My grandmother Amelia was over later. both claimed Vilnuis as ..but relatives mentioned a hyphenated town. I am looking for any information more substantial

  23. Sveiki, Augustinai,
    Rasau Jums iš Lietuvos. Gal galit patarti, kokiais keliais ieskoti Australijoje gyvenanciu pusseseriu. Po tevu mirties jos visos isvyko is gimtosios Adelaides. Zinau tik ju mergautines pavardes, vienos is ju vyro pavarde (Hart) ir miesta, kur gyveno po vedybu su juo (~pries 15 m.) Ar imanoma kokia nors paieska?
    Is anksto dekoju uz atsakyma.

  24. Hello from the United States, Austin, Texas to be exact.

    I am eager to learn about my ancestry and may even pursue citizenship but find myself at a dead end due to the spelling of my great-grandfather’s name. Here in the states, his name was spelled Stanley Kwastovich. I know that spelling is very different from when he was born in 1884 or 1887 in what we believe was Miroslav.

    I’d be most grateful to learn more about my Lithuanian ancestor.

    Best regards,

    • We may offer heritage search services in the archives. We will send you our offer by e-mail.

      The town is likely modern-day Miroslavas. It is not a large town, so it may be possible to search the church birth registries of the respective years for similar-sounding surnames.

  25. Greetings!

    I have been trying for years to find out about the Lithuanian side of my family. According to census records Andro and Orshula Smilgetz came to the US sometime around 1890, but I have been unable to find either of them on any immigration records. The census records indicate they are from Russia, but it is our understanding that they actually came from Lithuania. Currently, our last name is spelled Smelgus. The family lived in Luzerne County/ Hazleton PA until the 1940s. I would love to have some idea about what our last name really is, and if we can trace our family back to Lithuania. Any help would be greatly appreciated…

    • I believe “Smilgevičius” is the most likely original variant of surname, then shortened for English pronouncability in the USA, as it was common. In the old Russian Imperial documents it may appear Russified “Smilgevich” or so (“Smilgetz” then could be misheard or purposefully shortened from “Smilgewitz”, which is another way to write it English without a Lithuanian ending). If you are interested, we may offer heritage search services in Lithuanian archives, although approximate dates and locations in Lithuania would be beneficial to know for the probability of success.


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