Lithuania-Unique Aspects of Family Tree Documentation


  • Overview
  • Forms/ Spelling of Surnames of Lithuanians in "Lithuania"
  • Forms/ Spelling of Given Names of Lithuanians in "Lithuania"
  • Forms/ Spelling of Names of Lithuanians in the US
  • Use of Non-English Characters of Foreign Alphabets
  • Use of Present-Day Lithuania Place Names
  • Wording of Family Tree Source Citations for Lithuania RC Parish Registers
  • Genealogy Software
  • Genealogy Websites


Overview


The family tree preparation activity consists of putting the results of your ancestor search into a form that can be used by your family, descendants, and others.  There are so many ways to do this that one is inevitably forced to choose among various options available.  Some choices are easy, but some others are not.  This web page addresses the Lithuania-unique aspects of family tree documentation. In this section I describe the choices that I myself have made and why I made those particular choices; many of these choices would fall into the category of "opinion".  Below is a list of topics and a very short synopsis for each.  When I have more time, I'll add more topics and also expand my explanations. In the descriptions below, I use the term "Lithuania" within quotation marks to refer to the lands inhabited by the Lithuanian people during the times of the Lithuanian ancestor events.



Forms/ Spelling of Surnames of Lithuanians in "Lithuania"


For all of my Lithuanian ancestors and relatives except those who lived and died in the US, I use the present-day Lithuanian form of the surname as spelled in present-day Lithuania. This means that I use the "non-English" characters of the Lithuanian alphabet, and that I also use the male surname forms for males and the female surname forms for females (as described on the web page About Forms of Lithuanian Surnames).


I do not use the antiquated (possibly misspelled?) or Polonized or Russified spellings of the surname found in non-Lithuanian-language records, except in transcripts of those records.


​I have a few ancestors who were considered "nobility", and I know that such people typically spoke Polish (in addition to Lithuanian) and typically used the Polish forms of their names. For such ancestors, I use the Lithuanian version of the name, but typically add some sort of reference that he/ she was "also known as" (Polish name).



Forms/ Spelling of Given Names of Lithuanians in "Lithuania"


For all of my Lithuanian ancestors and relatives except those who lived and died in the US, I use the present-day Lithuanian form of the given name that is the equivalent of the Latin or Polonized or Russified given name that is in the birth, marriage or death record.  For example, I use the Lithuanian name Jonas instead of Polish Jan or of Russified Янъ [Jan] or of Russian Иванъ [Ivan].


I typically use the Lithuanian spelling as identified in the Polish or Russian volumes of the "In Their Words" books (References 1 and 2).  Each of these references has essentially the same inventory of equivalent names. I find the Polish version easier to use because using the Russian version requires a greater involvement with the unfamiliar non-English (Cyrillic) alphabet.  I use the Russian version when I need to find some of the more-esoteric Russian names.  The lists are very lengthy, but once in a while a name isn't on the list (e.g., Grasilda).  In such cases, I usually go to one of the websites that specializes in Lithuanian first names, such as thelithuanians.com (http://www.thelithuanians.com/names/name.html).


The Lithuanian name "Motiejus":  The Polish names "Maciej" and "Mateusz" are the equivalent of English "Matthias" and "Matthew", respectively.  Current standard practice would be to translate either of these Polish names into the same modern Lithuanian given name "Motiejus".  To avoid losing in translation the distinction between the two names, I use a non-standard practice of translating "Mateusz" into the (now-antiquated) Lithuanian name "Mateušas". 


I do not use the antiquated (possibly misspelled?) or Latin or Polonized or Russified spellings of the given name found in non-Lithuanian-language records, except in transcripts of those records.


​I have a few ancestors who were considered "nobility", and I know that such people typically spoke Polish (in addition to Lithuanian) and typically used the Polish forms of their names. For such ancestors, I use the Lithuanian version of the given name, but typically add some sort of reference that he/ she was "also known as" [Polish name].



Forms/ Spelling of Names of Lithuanians in the US


For my Lithuanian ancestors and relatives who lived and died in the US, I use the Americanized names that were being used by those persons at the time of their deaths.


For my Lithuanian ancestors and relatives who were born in "Lithuania" and died in the US, I use the Americanized names that were being used by those persons at the time of their deaths. For such persons, I typically add some sort of reference that he/ she was "also known as" [Lithuanian name].


For my Lithuanian ancestors and relatives who were born in "Lithuania" and lived in the US but returned to Lithuania and died there, I use the Lithuanian forms of their names. For such persons, I typically add some sort of reference that he/ she was "also known as" [Americanized name].



Use of Non-English Characters of Foreign Alphabets


I use them (Lithuanian, Latin, Polish, and Russian).


I use a Windows 7 Language Bar for Lithuanian.  For Latin, Polish, and Russian, I use the "Insert Symbol" function of Microsoft Word.



Family Tree Place-Name Nomenclature for Ancestor Events in "Lithuania"


Refer to Use of Present-Day Lithuania Place Names



Family Tree Source Citations for Lithuania RC Parish Registers


Refer to Wording of Family Tree Source Citations for Lithuania RC Parish Registers



Genealogy Software


I use Family Tree Maker, primarily because it will accept my input of all of the foreign-language alphabetic characters.



Genealogy Websites


I am putting my family tree onto Ancestry.com, which accepts my input of all of the foreign-language alphabetic characters. My tree is currently designated as "Public", but it is still a work-in-progress.


My Ancestry tree is synchronized with Family Tree Maker (FTM).  I enter the information into my Ancestry tree and then let it synchronize with FTM (vs. first entering it into FTM). I use this sequence to avoid losing the foreign-language alphabetic characters, but I don't know if this sequence is really necessary.




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