About This Example Entry
This page provides an example of how I would search today for the baptism record of my U.S. immigrant Lithuanian grandfather Julius Normant. From the information that I collected from U.S. sources, my best guess was that: (1) his birth parish was Lieplaukė near Telšiai; (2) he was born on February 8, 1883 (or possibly 1881); (3) his given name in Lithuania was Julijonas, and his surname was probably Normantas or Narmontas; (4) his father's name was Jonas and his mother's maiden name was Paulina Gudavičiūtė.
Establish the Search Parameters for Ancestor's Birth Date
It is necessary to establish an initial search range including a "best guess" about the birth date, so that the appropriate birth register(s) can be selected to search. In this case I had a specific birth date, but there are other cases [especially for female immigrants] where it can only be narrowed down to a range of several years. I expected that my grandfather was born on February 8, 1883 (or possibly 1881). [In that time, place and culture, children were typically baptized within a few days of their births, and in some families it was typical that they were baptized on the same day.]
Identify the RC Parish of Interest for This Search
From the information that I collected from U.S. sources, my best guess was that my grandfather's birth parish was Lieplaukė RC parish near Telšiai. Per the descriptions on this website, I would have already established that at least some of the registers of that parish are online.
Access the Online Registers of the RC Parish of Interest
I would first go to the epaveldas website (Reference 4). I prefer the older version of the website because of its image viewer, so I would go to http://www.epaveldas.lt/vbspi/. [If it's in Lithuanian, click on the button that changes it to English.] I would then un-check Libraries and Museums [that leaves only Archives checked]. My grandfather's birth parish was Lieplaukė, so I would then enter: Lieplaukės or Lieplaukes [the town name converted to Genitive Case] in the Subjects and Keywords box and then click on the Search button. That would bring up a list of the online registers of Lieplaukė parish.
Look for a Birth (Baptism) Index
There isn't one on the list.
Select the Birth Register That Includes Ancestor's Estimated Birth Date
There are several birth registers on the list. Each of them has the same title, followed by a different date range. The title is "Lieplaukės RKB gimimo metrikų knygą", which translates to "Lieplaukė RCC birth register" where "RCC" means "Roman Catholic church". My ancestor's birth year is 1883 (or possibly 1881), so I want to select the one with date range 1878-1896. I do this by clicking on the "Images" link under that register. That brings up the first image of the register pages, which is Image 1 of 198. Image 1 is actually a title page inserted by the archives; all remaining images are images of the register pages, which are in sequential order of baptism dates.
Contingency; Continuation of Search if There is No Online Birth Register
If the registers of this RC parish do not include the birth register(s) that you need to search, it is still possible that the register exists but is not online, which would mean that the search can only be continued at LVIA, which would mean that a researcher in Vilnius would need to continue the search if the register exists. The possibility that the register might still be found exists because, in addition to the original register, there was typically at least one contemporary transcribed copy of the original register. [One copy was kept by the parish and the other was typically kept by the deanery.]
Find the Desired Initial Search Page in the Birth Register
I want to find the first register page that has entries for February 1883. The register range is from 1878-1896 and this is spread over 198 images. This is about 10 Images per calendar year, so I first guess that 1883 might start around Image 50. I type the number 50 into the Go To box on the right side of the screen and then click on the Go To button. This brings up Image 50, which has entries 14 to 21 (numbers appear in the second column) of some year but there are no numbers on the page to identify the year. I could identify the year by translating the text, but in this case it is easier to go back two pages to find the first entry of the year, which often has the year written in numerals. I find the year 1884 on Image 48. I go back a few more pages to Image 39, which has entries 1 through 8 of 1883. If you aren't already there, here is a link to the web page that has Image 39:
Next I need to find where are the entries for the month of February. I can proceed from this point only by reading the handwritten Russian text. The prescribed practice was that the month should be written [across the columns] before the entry that has the first baptism of that month. Before entry 7, the underlined word Февраля [which means "of February"] is written in the 6th column.
Convert the Ancestor's Family Name Into the Form Expected in Register Column 1
In 1848-WWI Russian-language registers, the conventional practice was to write the family name of the baptized child sideways in the first register column, which makes it the easiest way to search in those registers. In those registers, the family names of ethnic Lithuanians are typically entered as pluralized Polonized forms of the Lithuanian family names, as transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet.
In this example, I expect that my Lithuanian ancestor's family name was either "Normantas" or "Narmontas". I would convert these family names in steps as follows:
[Note that both names convert into the same Polonized form]
Convert the Ancestor's Given Name Into the Form Expected in Register Column 5
In 1848-WWI Russian-language registers, the register structure requires that the given name of the baptized child appear in Column 5 (the first wide column), and I know from experience that the child's name always appears in the second half of the column, and that the only typical source of potential confusion is that the priest's given name (if entered) would also appear in that column. In those registers, the given name of the baptized child is typically entered as the Polish equivalent of the Lithuanian given name, as transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet. The given name of the baptized child will typically be entered in the Nominative case. For instance, the Lithuanian name "Jonas" is the equivalent of English "John" or Polish "Jan", and would typically be found as "Jan" in a Polish-language birth register, but would be transliterated to "Янъ" in a Russian-language birth register. Infrequently, the given name might be entered as the Russian equivalent (like "Ivan" (Иванъ) for "Jonas".
Convert the Ancestor's Parents' Names Into the Forms Expected in Register Column 6
In 1848-WWI Russian-language registers, the register structure requires that the names of the parents of the baptized child appear in Column 6 (the second wide column), and I know from experience that the parents' names usually appear (in the Genitive case) in the first few words of the column, and that they typically appear in the form of a short phrase that begins with the father's given name and ends with the pluralized family name, and that the remaining middle of that phrase is the mother's given name followed by some form of the mother's maiden name.
Conversion of Parents' Given Names. In those registers, the given names of the parents of the baptized child are typically entered as the Polish equivalents of the Lithuanian given names, as transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet. The given name of the parents of the baptized child will typically be entered in the Genitive case (which means they will have a different suffix ending).
Conversion of Mother's Maiden Name. In 1848-WWI Russian-language registers, the maiden name of the mother of the baptized child is typically entered in a Polonized form as transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet. The maiden name can be written in several forms, but all of the forms will have the same "stem" or "root".
Groom's Family Name. This would typically be in the same form as in Column 1. In this example: Н_рм_нтовъ, where the blank can be an "а" or an "о".
So the phrase I would be looking for in Column 6 would be something similar to: "Яна і Павлины _ Годович__ Н_рм_нтовъ", where the blank in the family name can be an "а" or an "о". [In this phrase, the Cyrillic letter "і" is the Russian word meaning "and"; in register entries this can instead be the Russian letter "и".]
Search Column 1 Entry-by-Entry for the Ancestor's Family Name
No matter how many register pages are to be searched, the method is the same: an entry-by-entry search for the family name of the ancestor. In the Russian-language register format, the conventional practice was to write the family name of the baptized child sideways in the first register column, which makes it the easiest way to search in those registers. [To read such sideways text, I find it easier to actually first download the pages to my computer so I can use my photo viewer software to rotate and magnify the images.] I want to search Column 1 of each entry to find a family name that that is something like "Н_рм_нтовъ", where the blank in the family name can be an "а" or an "о". I find such a name in Entry 7 on Image 39. The name in Column 1 of Entry 7 is: "Нармонтовъ". The next step will be to evaluate this particular entry more closely to see if it is the entry I'm looking for. If it isn't, I would then resume the entry-by-entry search for the family name.
Evaluate Each Candidate Register Entry Until the Ancestor's Birth Record is Found
During the search, if I find the ancestor's family name in the first column of an entry, then I would want to evaluate that candidate entry in greater detail. Specifically, I would want to know if the name of the baptized child in register Column 5 is something like "Юліянъ"; and if the names of the parents in Column 6 are something like "Яна і Павлины _ Годович__ Н_рм_нтовъ", where the blank in the family name can be an "а" or an "о". [If the parents' names matched but the child's name didn't match, it's probably a sibling of my ancestor.]
The phrase in Column 6 of Entry 7 is: "Яна и Повлины изъ Гудовичей Нармонтовъ". This appears to be the parents' names that I was looking for.
The name in Column 5 of Entry 7 is: "Юліянъ". This is the birth record of my U.S. immigrant Lithuanian ancestor! [If I hadn't previously had a good estimate of the birth date, there would be yet another consideration: in some families, it is possible to find more than one birth record that has the same name of the child. This apparently could happen if the earlier child had died before the later child was born.]
Contingency; Continuation of Search If Ancestor's Birth Record is Not Found in This RC Parish
If you searched the birth registers of this RC parish looking for the birth record of a specific ancestor, and did not find it within the expected time frame of the birth registers, this brings up at least the following possibilities:
Each situation has its unique circumstances, so only you can decide what to do next. It may be that this particular ancestor was born in an adjoining parish.
Download a Copy of the Register Page that Has the Ancestor's Birth Entry
When I found my ancestor's birth record, I would download (if I hadn't already done so), a copy of Image 173 by right-clicking anywhere on the image which produces a menu, and then left-clicking on the "Save image as ..." on the menu. [You can also download any of the other images by this process.]
Copy the Web Address of the Register Page that Has the Ancestor's Birth Entry
For future reference, including for use in family tree software programs and web sites, I would then copy the link from the top of the web page on www.epaveldas.lt. To insure that the link is to the correct Image, first refresh the image by typing the Image number into the Go To box and then click on the Go To button.
Translate the Remaining Genealogical Data in the Register Entry
The next step would be to translate the register entry. The typical translation would consist of translating only the key words or phrases in the entry. The typical summary translation of this record would be:
"Julijonas; the son of Jonas Narmontas and his wife Paulina née Gudavičiūtė, [peasants] of Gadūnavas district and community; was born on February 8, 1883 in the village Abokai of Lieplaukė RC parish, and was baptized on the same day in Lieplaukė Roman Catholic church".
A longer summary translation would add the following: "The priest was pastor Rev. A. Pranckevičius. The godparents were Antanas Daukintis and Marijona Danikauskaitė".
For a full transcription and translation of this example entry, refer to the Lieplaukė RCC 1883-02-08 Baptism Record on the Lieplaukė Example Entries page of this website.
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