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This project is dedicated to tracing ancestors in Lithuania at its present territories, as well as Lithuania Propria historical lands.

This portal provides the list of online genealogy sources, such as registries and archives of Lithuanian documents.

If you have Lithuanian ancestors, or if you study ancestral lines deriving from Lithuania Propria, please follow and participate in this project.

Lithuanian Last Names

Lithuanian first and last names have meaning in Lithuanian language. Oldest known pagan Lithuanian name meanings are associative to personality traits or a life mission assigned to the child. Some are nicknames given to the person during his/her life. In the Lithuanian language male and female first names and surnames vary in ending which is typical to the each gender.

800-1413

Major spoken language in Lithuanian territories is Lithuanian. Documents are recorded in Latin and Ruthenian languages.

During 9-14 centuries Lithuanian nobility was formed. Nobility used crests (heraldry symbols) as their last names. Earliest known noble Lithuanian, Curonian and Old Prussian last names are runic symbols. They were used to mark property ownership, signs engraved in stones marked limits of territory, family symbols were used on military shields, guns and banners. Some Lithuanian noble families retained their runic symbols as crests during later centuries, although they were renamed per their association to various clans in early 15 century. Examples: Abdank, Boreyko, Odyniec, Columns of Gediminas, Prus, and others. Families descending of western European nobility used their own crests as a last name, one such example is a Swan - according to the legend, in the 9 c. Danish knight with Swan on his shield came to live into Baltic lands, he was nicknamed "Dunczyk" or "Dunin" (Dane), his descendant was known as Włost.

11-12th c. Lithuanian dukes who had dominions in Slavic territories accepted Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Slavic Christian names. The influence of Orthodox Christianity on pagan Lithuanian culture is evidenced in about one-third of present-day Lithuanian surnames which are constructed from baptismal names are Old Church Slavonic in origin. During this period Patronymic name usage became common for males and females, in addition to family crest.

Noble families from Crimea 1390-1441

Based on the Crimean Karaites history, at approx. 1390-1396 Vytautas the Great played a historic role in resolution of Crimean coup - a conflict among ruling political forces. Vytautas rescued and gave asylum to a pregnant wife of Crimean ruler. A boy was raised and educated as Vytautas' true son and later he became a founder of Giray dynasty. The asylum was also given to approx. 200 Crimean noble families - political supporters of that future ruler. In 1441 Hacı I Giray ascended to the Crimean throne and some of his political supporters followed him back to Crimea; although other families, mostly Crimean Karaites and Qırımçaq Jews, remained in Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Some of these families accepted Christianity and were given GDL nobility. Symbols in their family crests contain Crescent and Star, or a Star of David. Examples of such descending Lithuanian noble family coats of arms are: Leliwa coat of arms, Ostrogski coat of arms (it also contains old Lithuanian runic symbol), and many other Lithuanian noble families, who intermarried to Crimean families contain both: Crescent, Star and parts of Lithuanian runic heraldry symbols.

1413-1795

First records of last names in Lithuanian culture appear during the 15th century. Documents are recorded in Latin and Polish languages.

After year 1413 Union of Horodło Lithuanian nobility was united into Polish nobility system. New family crests were assigned to Lithuanian nobles, only politically influential Lithuanian nobles remained with their old crests. Lithuanian nobles accepted Roman Catholic Christening and new last names assigned to them - usually derivatives of their pagan patronymic names. Family crests were named based on Polish nobility standards, per their association to known clans. Large clans were separated and different crests were given to branching families. During this time dominating given first names are Catholic or Russian Orthodox.

During 15 - beginning of 16 century some Lithuanian noble dynasties with large land ownership or strong political positions among several brothers split into branches adopting new last names: either Christian Patronymic name or estate name was added, in some cases previous last name was completely dropped. Nevertheless in most cases noble crest of the family remained the same.

During 15-16 c. not noble residents of the cities were documented with last names. Last names were firstly acquired by people who owned real estate, participated in a trade and handicraft business, city management and city workers. During this period patronymic last names, or derivatives of profession, of nickname were given to the citizens. Example: Urbonas, Urbanavičius, Urbonaitis - last name typically assigned to city residents. Also during this period peasants and farmers were registered within their parish records. Families who worked in service to nobles often received same or similar last names (without a crest). Some farmers received last names of the land owner where they farmed of resided. Some last names were derivatives of the settlement or locality name.

In 1563 the Church instructed priests to keep the records of birth, marriage and death. The first book of baptismal records in the world was found in Krakow in 1578. The oldest church book found in Lithuania dates back to 1599.

Early 17 c. first female last names based on marital status are recorded in church record (prior to that women were recorded only with their first and patronymic names). Starting this period women's various last name endings began to indicate their marital status. (Only one 16 c. record is found where woman carries her marital last name). During this time more often Slavic (Russian and Polish) name recording style was applied to Lithuanian names, with ending -owa added to women marital last names, and endings -ewna, -owna added to women maiden names. Nevertheless at the same period there are records of Lithuanian endings indicating female marital status: -ienė indicates women's marital last name, and -aitė, -ytė or -ūtė (-ūčia) ending indicates women's maiden name.

During 1710-1711 the Great Plague epidemics raged in Lithuania. This also affected priests, in many parishes there were no church records kept during this time.

1795-1918

Documents are recorded in Polish and Russian languages.

1795 - third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forever destroyed this state. The largest part of ethnic Lithuanian lands and the Duchy of Courland were annexed by Russian Empire. An order to legitimize with Imperial Russian state was issued to nobility of annexed lands. Some Lithuanian last names in records are changed by typical to Russian language pronunciation and writing alterations. Descendants from same family, who lived in different parishes, might have different spelling of their last name during this time.

At the end of 19 c.- beginning of 20 c. many Lithuanians emigrated to the Western countries, most to USA. Young men were escaping draft to Imperial Russian army. Some Lithuanian families were persecuted for participating in national resistance, distribution of Lithuanian press. Also economical possibilities in Western countries influenced emigration. Most US immigrants spent close to 20 years working in Pennsylvania coal mines before returning back to Lithuania. At this time many emigrants still planned after saving earned money on coming back to Lithuania, purchasing land and home, establishing their future family in Lithuania. Many of these emigrants returned to Lithuania after it declared independence in 1918. Back in their homeland these emigrants were called "Amerikonai".

Litvak names and surnames (source: http://ldiena.lt/straipsnis/777/)

Lithuanian Jews, similarly as other Mediterranean cultures, up to 17 c. did not have surnames. In records they were listed with first names and patronymic names. The word "ben" (son) or "bat" (daughter) was added to the name. Although Jewish tradition required respectable person to recite names of the ancestors of at least seven prior generations.

Since the names within one family descendants were often repeated, the geographical labels were often used next to the first names. Examples: cha Romi - from Rome, Ierusalmi - from Jerusalem. Also professions were listed next to names: Sandalar, Sandler - Shoemaker, Sofer - Clerk. Nickname usage was popular in Jewish culture and nicknames were often recorded next to names: Shapiro - decent, Yoffe - handsome.

Only at the end of 18 c. last names were assigned to Jews in Europe. In 1787, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II issued a law requiring all Jews to receive hereditary surnames. This process instantly was consumed by corruption: for nice, nobly sounding surname Jews were demanded to contribute large payment, and who refused - was given the most unpleasant surname. Such as, for example, Krautkopf - cabbage head, or Ochsenschwanz - oxtail.

In Imperial Russia Gavrila Derzhavin suggested the system of surnames for Jews. The proposed system demanded that the Jewish surnames had to be created based on "Ruthenian Style" and had to reflect the person's character and the attitude of the government towards that person. Introverted people received surname Zamyslowaty or Zamysliuk, perky and smart - Shwydkiy. The "Jewish Law", which obliged Jews to receive surnames, was approved in 1804. In 1850, Jews were banned from changing their surnames, even after converting to another faith.

The first known and today most widespread Jewish surnames are Kohen and Levi. Kohen is a cast of Jewish clergy, and Levi is a helper of a clergyman. These statuses were inherited by the Jews according to the lineage of the father, which made the other nations gradually consider them as surnames.

While Jews settled in various countries, a variety of surnames was created from Kohen and Levi - Kogan, Kona, Kana, Kaganovich, Levin, Levitan, Levia, etc. In addition, even if the surname is not similar to the original "koen", it may be related to it: Katz (abbreviation of kohen-cedek - a true koen).

Many Jewish surnames have toponymic origins and this is not surprising given the fact that the Jews are widely spread around the world. Suppose a person came from Austria to receive the name Oistrach (in Yiddish - Austria). Coming from Lithuania - Litvin, Litvak, Litvinov. There are surnames derived from the names of cities - Liwschitz, Landau, Berliner.

There are also ethnonymic Jewish surnames, such as Deutsch and Nemtsov (German), Polak and Polansky (Polish) and others.

Many Jewish surnames originated from the names of the professions. Suppose Portnov, Chayat, Schnayder, or Schnädermann derived from the same word - "taylor". Shuster, Sandler, Schwechat derived of the shoemaker profession. The surname of the Melamed is translated as "the teacher of religion", Mogel is "the master of circumcision", and Shadchan is a host.

Jewish surnames that originated of first names are not as numerous as "professional". The simplest form of generating such a surname is the use of a personal name. Examples: David, Israel, Adam and others.

A large group of Jewish surnames derived from the so-called "kin" - household names. For example, Marx or Marks surname is the German form of the name Markus, used as a household variant of the Mordecai name. The name Lobroz is a household variant of Uriah's name.

In addition, surnames can be formed based on the names of close relatives from the father or mother, and also according to the name of the wife. The patronymic surnames could have been formed by the addition of the ending "-stam" (strain) or "-bein" (bone). For example, names such as Mandelshtam or Fishbein.

As far as the purely Jewish traditions of surnames are concerned, the abbreviations should be distinguished. They have a certain principle of encrypting information about surname owners.

For example the surname Zak is deciphered as "zera kadoshim" - a holy family. Marshall's surname is an abbreviation of "Morena Rabbi Schlomo Kluger", which can be translated as "our teacher, our lord Solomon the Wise." The surname Roshal is an abbreviation of "Rabbi Schlomo Luria".

Not all Jewish surnames relate to the place of residence, profession or kinship. There are many so-called decorative Jewish surnames. Usually they are formed of German or Yiddish words roots. Many Jewish surnames contain word "gold" - Goldbaum (golden tree), Goldstein (golden stone) and the like. From the word "rose" - Rosenbaum (rose tree), Rosenblum (rose flower).

Many Jewish surnames had originated from precious stones and jewelry material names. Finkelstein is a luminous stone, Bernstein - amber. Perelstein is a pearl, Edelstein is a precious stone.

Not everyone could afford to get such a prominent sounding surname, beautiful surnames in most cases were obtained for a great amount of money.

Parish registers and lists of parishioners online

  • Epaveldas Roman Catholic Church (RCC) parish registers and lists of parishioners
  • Guide to Epaveldas in English
  • Epaveldas List of RCC parish registers on Epaveldas
  • Genmetrika Independent virtual archive: various RCC parish registers, lists of parishioners, inventories
  • Vikiteka various RCC parish registers
  • FamilySearch unindexed registers of various confessions (search by place name, requires registration, free website)
  • Digital archives of Poland RCC parish registers of Užnemunė (Suwalki governorate) (search by entering placename in Polish)
  • Pasvalia Pasvalys region RCC parish registers and lists of parishioners
  • Biržai musuem Biržai region registers of various confessions
  • Zarasai library Zarasai region RCC parish registers and lists of parishioners
  • Krekenava Basilica Krekenava RCC parish registers
  • Raduraksti Virtual archives of Latvia: registers of all confessions, census, lists of students (requires registration, free website)
  • St Petersburg archives Fund of catholic churches (fee ~6€ 14 days)
  • Archives of Lithuania Iventory of Lithuanian Archives (search by surname, placename, it has lists of parishioners that are not on Epaveldas)
  • Lithuanian Catholic Ancestor Search Chicago Lithuanian RC Parish Registers Online (pre-1926)

Databases:

Dictionaries and encyclopedias online.

Maps online:

Other useful sources:

Dicussion groups.

Portalas skirtas paieškai protėvių, kurių kilmė susijusi su dabartine ar istorine Lietuvos teritorija.

Šiame portale pateikiami įvairūs internetiniai genealoginės paieškos šaltiniai, bažnyčių metrikų ir Lietuvos archyvinių dokumentų sąrašai.

Jei turite su Lietuva susijusių protėvių, arba jei tiriate iš Lietuvos teritorijų kilusių protėvių genealogines šakas, prašome prisijungti ir dalyvauti šiame projekte.

Metrikai ir parapijiečių sąrašai internete:

Duomenų bazės:

Žodynai ir enciklopedijos internete.

Žemėlapiai internete.

Įvairios naudingos svetainės:

Pokalbių grupės.

Danny portal służy do wyszukiwania przodków, korzenie których są związane z Litwą - z obecnych obszarów oraz z historycznych ziem Litewskich.

Tu się znajduje lista źródeł internetowych z dziedziny genealogii, takich jak rejestry i archiwa dokumentów litewskich.

Jeżeli macie litewskich przodków lub studiujecie linie rodowe pochodzące z Litwy, zachęcamy do przyłączenia się i udziału w tym projekcie.

Źródła do wyszukiwania w Internecie.

3. Słowniki i encyklopedie online.

Mapy online.

Grupy dyskusyjne.

Этот портал служит для поиска предков, которых происхождение связано с Литвой - нынешней територией государства и с историческими Литвоскими землями.

Здесь предоставляется список интернет-источников по генеалогии, таких как реестры и архивы литовских документов.

Если у вас есть литовские предки или если вы изучаете родовые линии, вытекающие из Литвы, присоединяйтесь и учавствуйте в этом проекте.

Источники для поиска в интернете.

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Карты в интернете.

Обсуждение в группах.