Lithuanian Roman Catholic (RC) Ancestor Search Information

Search Aids for My Ancestral Parishes in Lithuania

Tverečius RC Parish

Tverečius RC Parish Villages

​List of Villages in Tverečius RC Parish

My maternal grandmother immigrated to the United States in 1913.  I eventually found that she had emigrated from the Tverečius area of Lithuania. When I began searching the Tverečius parish records for information about her and her ancestors, I found that I needed to know more about the names and locations of the villages that were named in the records. I created and maintained an ongoing list of villages to use as an aid when searching the Tverečius parish birth, marriage, and death registers. I've found this list to be a very helpful search aid, but it involved a quite a bit of preparation work along the way. I'm making it available to others so that they won't have to "re-invent the wheel" if they're searching the Tverečius records.  The link to my current version of the list of villages is: Tverečius RC Parish; List of Villages in Parish (GDocs) [This list is on Google Docs; it opens in a new window.] 

Approximate Pre-WWI Boundary of Tverečius RC Parish

I have marked up a modern map (shown below) to reflect what appears to have been the historical boundary of the parish. I obtained much of this information from the book "Tverečiaus Kraštas" (Tverečius Area) that was published by the parish in 2001 on the occasion of its 500-year anniversary. Although the parish was founded in 1501, the earliest parish register seems to be the 1755-1778 baptism (birth) register, so for search purposes there's no current need to know the boundaries before 1755. Because my ancestor emigrated from the Tverečius area in 1913, my interest has been in the pre-WWI situation, and that is what is addressed here. In general, the were several RC parishes established in this area in the 17th century or earlier, and new parishes weren't established until after WWI when Lithuania declared its independence. It is interesting to note that Tverečius parish included the territory that is the eastern-most part of present-day Lithuania. The parish northern boundary was / is the Dysna River, which is now the boundary with Belarus. The eastern part of the parish southern boundary is also the border between the Ignalina municipality of Utena county of Lithuania on the north and the Švenčionys municipality of Vilnius county of Lithuania on the south.

Approximate Pre-WWI Boundary of Tverečius Parish
(for Genealogical Searches of Tverečius RCC Records)

(indicated by highlighted yellow line added to portions of maps on pages 84 and 85

of 2004 "Lietuvos Kelių Atlasas" (Road Atlas of Lithuania), published by Briedis)

(The whited-out areas of the map to the north and east of the parish boundary are in present-day Belarus.)

List of Nearby Villages Outside Tverečius Parish

I also have a similar list of nearby villages and towns that were outside the parish boundary. [I plan to include this list here soon.] These village names are typically associated with baptismal godparents or marriage spouses, but in Tverečius church there were also many baptisms of infants from Vidžiai RC parish. This situation apparently occurred because many villages in Vidžiai RC parish on the north side of the Dysna River were actually much closer to Tverečius RC church than to Vidžiai RC church. [Some Vidžiai RC parish families probably typically attended Mass every Sunday at Tverečius RC church.] [The Vidžiai RC parish area north of the Dysna River is in present-day Belarus, but in the 1700s and 1800s the Dysna River was a less important boundary.]

Benefits of Using the List of Villages as a Search Aid 

Lithuanian Village / Town Names in Lithuanian Language. For place names in family tree reports of events (births / marriages / deaths) that occurred in places that are in present-day Lithuania, it is typical to use the name of the place as spelled in modern Lithuanian. These names can be found on Lithuanian road maps (especially road atlases because they show all the villages) and online maps, except for "disappeared" villages. The names of some "disappeared" villages can be found on older maps, but such maps are typically not in the Lithuanian language, so there is typically a question about what is the Lithuanian-language name of the village. I also obtained some historical names from the book "Tverečiaus Kraštas" mentioned above.

Lithuanian Village / Town Names in Polish Language. The existing 1755-1827 Tverečius parish records were handwritten in the Latin language, but village / town names were typically written in Polish. The 1827-1848 Tverečius parish records were handwritten in the Polish language. [All of this was apparently a carryover from the times when the Polish language was used by Lithuanian nobles in proceedings of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.] In many cases, it is relatively easy to associate the Polish name with the present-day Lithuanian name (e.g., Polish "Bukliszki" → Lithuanian "Bukliškė"; Polish "Twerecz" → Lithuanian "Tverečius"). In some cases, it is more difficult because the Polish name was actually different from the Lithuaniane name (e.g., Polish "Koncypole" → Lithuanian "Galalaukiai"; Polish "Wielka Wieś" → Lithuanian "Didžiasalis"; Polish "Pastuszki" → Lithuanian "Piemenys"; Polish "Wasiewicze" → Lithuanian "Vosiūnai").  It is helpful to have a list of the Polonized names of the Lithuanian villages.

Lithuanian Village / Town Names in Russian Language. The 1848-WWI Tverečius parish records were handwritten in the Russian language ("Old Russian"). In almost all cases (the exception is the Lithuanian village of Didžiasalis), the names of villages and towns are a transliteration of the Polish name. [Transliteration is the letter(s)-by-letter(s) substitution of a Polish letter (or letters) by a Russian Cyrillic letter (or letters) that has the same matching sound. The result is that the name in the Russian-language record would sound like the Polish name.] It is helpful to have a list of the Polonized names of the Lithuanian villages as transliterated into Old Russian.

The Unique Case of the Village Name "Didžiasalis".  The name of this village was written in many ways. The Polish name for this village was "Wielka Wieś", which can translate to "Big Village", "Large Village", or "Grand Village", depending on one's translation preference.  Because the name was an adjective (big, large, grand), this also leads to confusion in the entries about whether the name of the village was "Big" (vs. "Big Village").  Also, because the name was an adjective rather than a proper name, the adjective would often be translated into the language of the record. In Latin-language records, it is usually written as "Magna Villa" and sometimes as "Villa Magna" and infrequently as something like "the village called 'Magna' ".  The problem becomes compounded by the fact that the Lithuanian name "Didžiasalis" of this village translates to "Big Island" (or "Large Island", or "Grand Island").

Grammatical Cases of Village / Town Names in Tverečius Parish Records. It is typical to identify the names of villages and towns in the nominative (subjective) case in family tree reports, but in the Latin, Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian languages the endings of the names change with grammatical case, and various grammatical cases are used in the records. The list shows the names of places in the nominative (subjective) case.

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