For purposes of this page I will use the example of how I would search today for the marriage record of the parents of my U.S. immigrant Lithuanian grandmother Stella Chepulis Miknis. I chose this particular example because I would only search online, and the marriage records of my other three U.S. immigrant Lithuanian grandparents are not yet online. Although this page describes the process for searching within an online marriage register, it is similar to the process that would be used by a Lithuanian genealogy researcher to search a contemporary marriage register that is not online.
It is necessary to establish an initial search range including a "best guess" about the marriage date, so that the appropriate marriage registers can be selected to search. I knew that my grandmother was born on November 2, 1895 and that her birth record contained the standard words about how her parents were a lawfully married couple. So at this point I could start at the marriage date and search backwards in time until I found the record or had searched through so many years of records that I had to start thinking that the marriage took place in another parish or that something else might be wrong. [Based on what I have now learned about Lithuanian genealogy, it seems that in this time and culture most couples had their first child sometime between 9 months and 3 years after marriage, and many couples had a large number of children.] As an alternative, I could first search for the birth records of the earliest-born sibling of my grandmother so that I could know that the marriage date was before the birth of that sibling. Normally, there are many more births than marriages in any given year, so that it is easier to search the marriage registers. However, in Tverečius parish there is an index of baptisms, so in this specific case it is easier to search for the earliest-born sibling by using the birth index. I searched the index and found that the earliest-born sibling of my grandmother was born on December 3, 1890. Based on this, I would plan to first search in the marriage register at least the first part of the year 1890, and then 1889, and then 1888, etc.
I would first go to the epaveldas website (Reference 4). I prefer the older version of the website, 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 grandmother's birth parish was Tverečius, so I would then enter: Tverečiaus or Tvereciaus [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 Tverečius parish.
I want to find the first register page that has entries for 1890. The register range is from 1874-1892 and this is spread over 205 images. This is about 10 Images per calendar year, so I first guess that 1890 might start around Image 175. I type the number 175 into the Go To box on the right side of the screen and then click on the Go To button. This brings up Image 175, which has entries 16 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 three pages to find the first entry of the year, which often has the year written in numerals. I find the year 1890 on Image 172. Image 172 has entries 1 through 3 of 1890.
Start Entry-by-Entry for the Family Name of the Groom
No matter how many candidate entries there are, the next step would be to find the groom's family name in the register, so I would need to convert the groom's Lithuanian surname into the form that I would expect to find in the register. In this example case, the groom's family name is "Čepulis". I would first convert the root of this surname in 2 steps:
convert root of surname to a Polonized form: "Čepul..." → "Czepul...".
transliterate the Polonized root of surname into the Cyrillic alphabet: Czepul... → Чепул...
Evaluate Each Register Entry That Has the Family Name of the Groom
I can proceed from this point only by reading the handwritten Russian text. In this register format, the groom's family name is written sideways in Column 1. [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 groom's name that begins with "Чепул...". I find such a name in Entry 6 on Image 173. If you aren't already there, here is the link to Image 173:
Next, if I hadn't already done so, I would download 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.]
Further details about this example entry can be obtained in a document that can be downloaded from Google Docs; refer to the Tverečius Example Entries page of this website .
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