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For those of you who are new to genealogical research we hope that the following responses to frequently asked questions, and additional information, help and tips will get you started in your research:

Do you have a staff that can do a search for me?
Yes and No: We are a completely Internet/Web based society that is run by a group of volunteers and so we do not have a regular full-time staff to conduct research. However, we have a FREE Yahoo group called LithuanianGenealogy with over 1600+ members that help one another with research. We recommend you join our free group and post your request to the group. [TOP]

How can I join your FREE Yahoo Groups?
We have two free email/discussion groups on Yahoo called LithuanianGenealogy and All_Things_Lithuanian. Both Yahoo groups are free to join and are supported and directed by the Society. LithuanianGenealogy is a group specifically tuned for Lithuanian genealogical research and allows members of the group to assist each other in research, posts request for help, share their experiences, tips for locating records, connecting with other members in their area and/or researching the same surname and in some cases, even discover new family members. All_Things_Lithuanian is a companion group to post questions or hold general discussion of anything partaining to Lithuania, history, culture, music, upcoming events, news, etc. Additional information for joining each group can be found HERE. [TOP]

Do you have access to church records found in your databanks?
No - the majority of information related to the church records in our database where compiled by volunteers and those that may have access to the previous information. We do not have ANY paper records related to churches. However, in most cases, contacting the church directly (or the repository if closed) is the best way to obtain church documents. In most cases, if contact information is available, it is listed on the webpage. [TOP]

Do you have access to funeral home records?
No. Funeral home records are considered PRIVATE. There is no obligation by the funeral home to provide information to those requesting information on a family and family members may often share information with the funeral home that could be sensitive. Most funeral homes will at least provide a date of death, internment date and burial location. Additional information may be provided if you can prove relationship to the family and for sensitive information, can be provided as long as they have received approval from the member of the family that provided it. But again, this information is considered PRIVATE and they are under no obligation to provide this information. There are expections in which some fineral homes provided records to the state and can be accessed online, through a local library or historical society. Either way, we follow the moto of..."Leave no stone unturned". [TOP]

Can you verify my family is buried in this cemetery?
Unless otherwise noted, our cemetery listings are typically PARTIAL listings of those of Lithuanian descent that have been interred at that particular cemetery. Since the majority of the cemetery surveys are conducted by volunteers and provided to us, it is possible that a family member has been missed (even if Lithuania). In most cases, if there is an office for the cemetery, that information is provided on the webpage and you can contact them directly to confirm if a family member is buried there, plot location, etc. We do NOT have access to these records. If you would like to add a family member to our online database listing, please send the First Name, Given Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Inscription and your contact information to us via email. [TOP]

What records are in your databanks?
We have a wide variety of records in our databases from churches (membership lists), cemeteries, vital records, city directories, obituaries, historial records and other sources. Most of the information has been collected over many years by various volunteers and provided to us for inclusion on our website. Many times, the information on our website is all we have. However, these listings will at least confirm that a family member was living in that area at a certain point in time. This is not only one of our biggest missions, but one of our biggest resources to assist genealogists. We are thankful for those volunteers who have taken time to assist in putting these databases together. [TOP]

How do I become a paid member of LGGS?
Update: 9/12/2011 We are currently in the process of redoing the membership tiers and will have membership information back up shortly! Thank you for your patience! Information regarding paid membership in our society can be found on our membership page. There are different membership levels with different benefits. We do encourage becoming a paid member of LGGS as it helps us maintain this website, maintain our subscription to Ancestry.com for research, and support our records acquisition fund; which will allow us to work with various societies and authorities to help preserve records, and acquire records for transcribing and making the information avaliable online. [TOP]

I just found some records, where do I begin?
T alk to relatives - We cannot stress this enough. Some of the greatest clues can be unlocked by talking to your older relatives. They can help provide an oral history of your family members. Write down everything they have to offer; names, dates, places, travels, etc. Don't overlook these living relatives by concerning yourself with old documents. Rekindle those family relationships that may have been forgotten. Some of them have exciting stories to tell. You might even think about videotaping these talks in order to preserve the information for years to come. As you gather this information, use it to put a timeline together of family names, where they lived, whether they were married, baptised, died, went to school, etc. By creating this timeline, it will directly help you decide where you might need to search next.

Search the Web - Search the Internet for your surname and variations of your surname including our surname database on this website. Many experienced researchers will tell you that surnames have often changed over time, sometimes significantly. This may give you clues as to geographical areas to research as well as connect you with either distant relatives or those researching the same surname. There are several search engines you can use and we recommend trying all of them since they may not all have the same pages in their directories.

Lithuanian surnames have certain distinct endings. -as or -us is a masculine ending, -iene is a feminine married name, -iute or -yte is a feminine unmarried name, while -iu is the ending of the whole family. For example, Mr. Gilius and his wife Mrs. Giliene have one daughter Ona Giliute or Giliutyte. That is the composition of the Giliu familija.

For additional assistance, SUBSCRIBE to one of our Yahoo Groups. [TOP]

How can census records benefit me?
Census records define the household make-up of ancestors and can be a great starting point. These early records may tell the year of immigration, years of birth, and names of every household member, to name a few. Plus census records can help track a family that may have moved around a lot over the years and thus will help focus your search for specific records. In the United States these records can be obtained from your local library (microfilm), the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, which operates many Family History Centers, at your nearest NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) Ancestry.com. In some cases, it may be difficult for an individual to find access through one of the above options and thus we recommend joining on of our Yahoo groups (it's FREE!). Many members of this group have access to the above sources and will often help those with a search request. Additionally, check with your local library as they may have a subscrption to Ancestry.com which will allow you to search at your local library for free![TOP]

How can Social Security Records help in my search?
In 1935, the Social Security Act established the Social Security Board which later became the Social Security Administration. For many immigrants that worked after 1937, they were required to obtain a Social Security Number and had to fill out a Social Security Application. This application contained such information as: Name, date of birth, current address (at the time of application), name of parents, place of work and place of birth (typically listed by country) ans Social Security Number. Online is the Social Security Death Index and it is FREE for search. The online database typically includes listings after the year 1941. So if a family member was working after this time, this is a good place to start a search to confirm date of birth, date of death, last residence and state of issue (which is not always the same). Then should you decide that you would like to request a copy of the original social security application to get the additional information listed above, you can fill out and SS-5 form (click on the link for the individual). Please note, if you were not successful in finding a lost relative, this could be due to a different spelling of the last name so try different spellings. Additionally, if you already have a SSN for the individual, you may request a copy of the actual application from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Copies of these applications are $27 (if you know the SSN) and $29 (if you do not know the SSN). The cost is per person.

What kind of information is found in WWI or WWII Draft cards?
O n May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed which allowed the President to temporarily increase the number of personnel in the military. The Selective Service System included 52 states (or territories) and 4,648 local boards. The organizations were responsible for registering men, classifying them, taking into consideration needs for manpower in certain industries and in agriculture, as well as certain special family situations of the registrants; handling any appeals of these classifications; determining the medical fitness of individual registrants; determining the order in which registrants would be called; calling registrants; and placing them on trains to training centers.

During World War I there were three registration periods. The first period occurred on June 5, 1917, and was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. The second period occurred on June 5, 1918, and registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918, for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918. This was included in the second registration.) The third registration period was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45.

The information included on each registration differs somewhat but the general information shown includes order and serial numbers (assigned by the Selective Service System), full name, date and place of birth, race, citizenship, occupation, personal description, and signature.

The registration cards consist of approximately 24,000,000 cards of men who registered for the draft and are located at the NARA Regional Center in East Point, Georgia (outside of Atlanta). PLEASE note that not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military and not all men who served in the military registered for the draft. Also, these are not military service records. They end when an individual reports to the army training camp. They contain no information about an individual's military service.

The records are arranged alphabetically by state, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia; thereunder, alphabetically by county or city (except for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island which are arranged by divisions and counties); thereunder alphabetically by the name of the registrant.

Additional information can be viewed by visiting the NARA website at:
Information for the rolls of each individual state can be found here. A form request must be filled out and sent in to the NARA Regional Office in East Point, GA. A separate request must be filled out for each card that you are looking for. Access to draft cards can also be found online through Ancestry.com. For additional assistance, SUBSCRIBE to one of our Yahoo Groups.[TOP]

Can I find ship records online?
In the U.S., you can determine your ancestors' places of origin and original surnames by researching Naturalization papers [found at County/state level] through a local NARA facilivty and ship passenger records through the Ellis Island Foundation online immigration records available HERE, through a local FHC, loca library and Ancestry.com (remember - many local libraries now have access to Ancestry.com). For additional assistance, SUBSCRIBE to one of our Yahoo Groups. [TOP]

How do I obtain a birth, death or marriage certificate (vital records)?
Marriage records can be obtained by contacting the church where the family members were married. For death records, you can requests copies through the funeral home that handled the burial, but in most cases, States will have an individual vital records office where all these records can be requested for a few, which will vary by state. The quickest way to find the vital records office for your state is to do a search for "<INSERT STATE> vital records". Additionally manycountries have government agencies that keep these records. Contact them for application forms and a guide to costs. [TOP]

I have all the information on my family, how do I do research overseas?
Obtain Copies of European Vital Records - Currently, The Lithuanian National Archives i s no longer accepting broad genealogical research on family surnames that they currently have a very large backlog of requests (which are currently taking up to 3 years to process - in other words, they are now working on requests received back in 2004). They plan to reinitiate this kind of search once they have cleared the backlog. Thought broad searches are not being performed, the archives still performs research for individual records. However, for this request you MUST have the full name, date of birth/death and place of birth/death and/or parish (for marriage records). This topic, and current status of research of the archives, is discussed frequently in our Yahoo groups, We suggest joining one of these free groups for additional information and discussion. Besides using the archives (information below), there are private genealogists in Lithuania that are willing to perform a search for you. Again, they will need as much information as possible to begin their search. In terms of cost, it will vary by researcher and what type of information you are looking for. Typically, the cost will be higher and depending on how far you want to go back (or the depth of the search) can become expensive. However, we can provide you with contact names should you choose to go this route. [TOP]

The Lithuanian Archives
Lietuvos Valslybinis Istorijos Archyvas
Gerosios Vities 10,
Vilnius 2015,
Lithuania (Lietuva)

The Central Civil Register Archives contains the records of most 20th century as well as current records.

Centrinis Valstybinis Metrikacijos Archyvas
Kalinausko St. 21
Vilnius 2600
Lithuanian (Lietuva)

Records for the Suvalkija area at housed in Poland.

Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach
ul. Kosciuszki 69
16-400 Suwalki
Poland (Polska)

Records for Prussian Konigsburg (Lithuanian Minor) now Kaliningrad

Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Archivstrasse 12-14
Berlin, Germany

I have a record in Lithuanian - can you help me translate?
The following is a very small list of basic Lithuanian words that you may come across in records, pictures or documents during your research. Additionally, we try to work with volunteers willing to provide small translation services for records (for free) or you can always and/or request assistance from one of our Yahoo groups.

Monday: pirmadienis
Tuesady: antradienis
Wednesday: treciadienis
Thursday: ketvirtadienis
Friday: penktadienis
Sunday: sekmadienis

January: Sausis
February: Vasaris
March: Kovas
April: Balandis
May: Geguze
June: Birzelis
July: Liepa
August: Rugpjutis
September: Rugsejis
October: Spalis
November: Lapkritis
December: Gruodis
Mother: motina
Father: tevas
Child: vaikas
Son: sunus
Daughter: dukte
Family: seima
Christening: krikstynos
Grandfather: senelis
Grandmother: senele or mociute
Godmother: kriksto motina
Godfather: kriksto tevas
Date of Birth: gimimo data
Baptism: krikstas
Fathers Death: tevo mirtis
Sons Marriage: sunaus vestuves


Do you have a privacy policy?
Yes - and it is very simple. LGGS well never sell information collected our related to paid LGGS members. We do put together a membership directory so that other paid members can network with other Lithuanians in their area and to see what surnames other members are researching. However, paid members have the capability to OPT out of this directory if they do not want this information shared.

Lithuanian-American Genealogy Research
Most, although not all of our ancestors who left Lithuania around the turn of the century, left via Hamburg or Bremen, Germany. The departure records from Bremen were destroyed. Hamburg Departure Records are slowly being posted on the Internet.

Most, of our American ancestors who left Lithuania around the turn of the century entered the US via the Port of New York. Both the National Archives (NARA) and the LDS FHC have microfilm available of the NY arrivals. If your family left via Bremen, you can find them via the arrival lists.

It was common for the Germans to spell surnames using the German alphabet, so "v" became "w", i.e., Vaitkus became Waitkus. The endings of surnames in Lithuanian change according to the sex and marital status of the bearer. When searching the Lithuania White Pages, use just the first 3-6 letters of the surname (or the root of the name) to search, so as to capture a true listing of all possibilities.

There are a few letters in the Lithuanian alphabet which we do not have in English, so if your surname begins with or has the "sh-" or "ch-" or other specific sounds, you may have to "cut and paste" the Lithuanian letters to do your search.

At the turn of the century, Lithuania being occupied by Russia, immigration documents would often list the last place of residence as Russia, not Lithuania, so beware. The specific areas mentioned were "Kovno" (Kaunas), Vilno/Wilno (Vilnius), and Suwalki/ Suvalki. These were 3 gubernatorial areas and most probably do NOT represent the town of origin. [TOP]

Jewish-Lithuanian Research
In the middle ages persecuted European Jews and others were encouraged to make their home in Lithuania. They brought with them their culture, trades and skills. Vilnius became known as the Jerusalem of Europe. In the early 1900s there was a major emigration of Jewish folk to other countries, particularly South Africa.

The German occupation of Lithuania during WW II and the genocide that followed saw the population of Jewish Lithuanians practically disappear. If you are search for Jewish-Lithuanian ancestors, check out Litvak Sig and Jewish Gen. [TOP]

Lithuanian History
Below is a short history of Lithuania in chronological order:

  • 13th Century: Mindaugas, under threat of German aggression, unites Lithuania and is crowned as King
  • 1386: The Lithuanian Duke Jogaila married Polish princess Jadvyga and became King of Poland.
  • 13th-15th Centuries: Lithuanian Wars with the Teutonic Knights.
  • 15th Century: Under the leadership of Vytautas, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania extends from the Baltic to the Black Sea and to the very gates of Moscow. The borders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania include major parts of present day Byelorussia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
  • 16th Century: Wars with Moscow.
  • 1569: The Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth is formed.
  • 1772: First Partition of the Commonwealth of Lithuania - Poland by Prussia, Russia and Austria.
  • 1793: Second Partition of Lithuania and Poland
  • 1795: Third and final Partition, major part of Lithuanian lands are now divided between Prussia and Russia.
  • 1812: Hoping for Independence, Lithuania supports Napoleon in his war on Russia.
  • 1831: Uprising against Russian rule
  • 1863: Uprising against Russian rule (beginning of immigration to the US and other countries).
  • 1905: Uprising against Russian rule (immigration, particularly to the US continues).
  • 1918: Lithuania declares Independence.
  • 1920: Poland seizes Vilnius.
  • 1940: Russia occupies Lithuania (major immigration to the West begins).
  • 1941: Germany occupies Lithuania.
  • 1944: Russia re occupies Lithuania.
  • 1990: Uprising against Russia, Lithuania declares Independence.
  • 1998: Lithuanian immigrant and US citizen V. Adamkus elected President of Lithuania.
  • Want to know more about Lithuanian History? Visit The Lithuanian Page or RandburgRandburg.


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Last update: Monday, September 12, 2011