Lithuanian RC Ancestor Search Process

​4. Options: Who Will Search the Registers of Lithuanian RC Parishes?​


Outline
  • Overview
  • Search by LVIA (The Lithuanian State Historical Archives)
  • Search by Private Professional Researchers
  • Do-It-Yourself Search


Overview


The next step is to use the data you collected about the immigrant Lithuanian ancestor to find the ancestor's birth record in the birth (baptism) registers of the ancestor's birth parish in Lithuania. In general, you have the following choices about who will look for your ancestor's birth record:

  • LVIA  (i.e., a professional researcher employee of the archives)
  • one of several private professional researchers in Lithuania who have experience doing searches at LVIA
  • you (consider this option only if your ancestor's birth record happens to be in an online database) 

These options are discussed below.

In general, if you are paying LVIA or a private professional researcher to search, you may continue on that path or at some point, for various reasons, change to a different researcher. 


[In any event, if you haven't already joined the online LGGS Yahoo discussion group on Lithuanian Genealogy (Reference 5), you would probably want to do that now to see how others are faring.]



Search by LVIA (The Lithuanian State Historical Archives)


The website of LVIA is http://www.archyvai.lt/en/archives/historicalarchives.html. There you will find descriptions of their holdings, services and prices.  


A key section of this page, with the heading "Information on archives services", reads currently (Nov 2016) as follows:

"The Lithuanian State Historical Archives maintain vital records books (birth, marriage and death) of the different religious communities and churches of today's Lithuania dating up to 1940 and civil registration records up to 2008 year; documents about the nobility of different families from Vilnius (Vilno), Kaunas (Kovno) and Augustavas gubernias.  There is no computer data-base in our archives.  The whole search is being done through the vital records by hand page to page.

"Therefore for the search we must to have precise information:  name, surname, names of parents, brothers, sisters, confession (religion), dates of birth, marriage or death, place, church (parish), etc.  Copies of old documents would be helpful in our search.

"Archives provide paid services relating to the search of documents, according the pricelist that was confirmed by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania on June 8, 2011."


[This is followed by a link to the current price list.  On that price list, document searches for genealogy purposes would generally fall under items 15.14.1 and 15.14.2, but I can imagine situations that might fall under items 15.15 or 16.] 


Their contact information is:

Lithuanian State Historical Archives
Gerosios Vilties g. 10
LT-03134  Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: +370 5 213 7482
Fax: + 370 5 278 43 69
E-mail: istorijos.archyvas@lvia.lt

In general, you could send a letter or an an e-mail to LVIA saying that you are trying to trace your family history and want them to search for the birth record of your Lithuanian ancestor (and stating how you are related to your ancestor), and then stating what you know about your ancestor's "Lithuanian name", town (or village), approximate date and place of birth, religion, names of the ancestor's parents, and anything else that might be of help to the researcher [search time costs money, so try to be as specific as possible].  

My comments:  In the early 1990's, I found the birth records of all four of my Lithuanian grandparents via LVIA, and then more records of their families and ancestors. I don't have current experience with LVIA responses to requests; for that you can go to the online LGGS Yahoo discussion group on Lithuanian Genealogy (Reference 5) and find out how others are doing.  I have heard that it can sometimes be very long before they start your search, but that they might begin sooner if you supply detailed information that makes it relatively easier to find your ancestor's record.  [I sent an e-mail in early 2005 asking LVIA to resume their search for the marriage record of a specific set of great-grandparents, and I haven't yet received a response [I'm sure it has been lost].  However, in their defense, at that time there was known to be a 3-year backlog because priority was being given to searching for certain records of Lithuanian citizens.  That is when I first decided to hire a private researcher (who found the record, and more records).]



Search by Private Professional Researchers

I have used three different researchers, and have had good experiences with them.  The only place I know to find out information about Lithuanian private professional researchers is through the online LGGS Yahoo discussion group on Lithuanian Genealogy (Reference 5).   I know that LGGS has compiled a list of researchers; the list is on their website at http://lithuaniangenealogy.org/files/LTResearch.pdf.  In general, you contact each researcher by e-mail to find out their prices and services.  The prices are not discussed publicly on the LGGS website. 



Do-It-Yourself Search

In theory, you could travel to the LVIA (the Lithuanian State Historical Archives) in Vilnius and perform the search on your own.  In practice, that would be extremely difficult and time-consuming, and it is really not a viable option.  If the registers of your ancestor's Roman Catholic parish in Lithuania are available online at the epaveldas.lt website, you have the option of using "self-help" books (References 1, 2, 3) and other published and online materials to conduct the search on your own.  It's not easy, but for me it was/ is an interesting hobby.  Even if you find some ancestors on your own, you will almost certainly come to a point where the register that you need to search for an additional ancestor is not online, and will then need to consider the other options.  

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