Genealogy

The mission of the Balzekas Museum Genealogy Department is to collect, catalog and preserve vital records and documents pertaining to the immigration history of Lithuanian Americans. The origins of this department, one of the Museum’s most dynamic, can be traced to the vision of exceptionally talented volunteers and the energy of dedicated staff members working together to organize voluminous materials. Over the years, this core of devoted individuals took dispersed and remote information from a variety of sources and labored to make it all accessible. Scholars can now utilize these materials to research a number of fields: sociology, demography, and immigration. Most frequently, however, the resources gathered within the department are used by people researching their family histories. The resources include archives, death notice files, cross-indexed searches, ancestral town information, translations, and a host of other genealogical references. By combining these resources with the guidance of a capable and knowledgeable staff, hundreds of people have discovered the rewards of genealogy – exploring, connecting, appreciating, and identifying with a very personal past.

Genealogy Services – Staff Consulations

Many people of Lithuanian ancestry request assistance from the Museum when they begin to research their own Lithuanian family names or ancestral places of origin. Sometimes the expertise the Museum’s Genealogy Department provides is linguistic in nature. The Museum staff can assist in deciphering historical immigration documents, particularly handwritten records, such as passports and immigration papers. These written materials are not always legible because handwriting styles and the spelling of Lithuanian words have changed significantly over time. For example, prior to World War I, Lithuania was part of the Russian Empire and documents were issued in the Cyrillic script. In such instances, the staff can assist with the translation of these records. If names have been shortened and “Americanized” over time or in circumstances where spelling was altered through transliteration, the Museum staff can help ascertain what the original Lithuanian surnames or place names might have been. “While we cannot always guarantee that we will find the information you are seeking, we can at least give you enough information to help you focus your genealogical research and avoid some common pitfalls,” says Karilė Vaitkutė, who heads the Genealogy Department at the

Genealogy Membership Levels

Each of the three Genealogy Membership levels below entitles a member to all the privileges of the Balzekas Museum’s Family Membership, including free admission to the Museum, invitations to all programs, gift and program discounts, a 10% discount on translation service, and a subscription to the Lithuanian Museum Review plus the respective level-specific services below:

I.

BASIC GENEALOGY
$125/yr

One Basic Surname Search
A search of the indicated name in the following sources:

  • Obituary Collection “Naujienos” newspaper;
  • Master File;
  • Minor File;
  • Identification of spelling variants of the indicated name;
  • Etymology of the indicated name;
  • List of addresses of people with the same last name in Lithuania today;
  • Search through available internet resources, such as Ancestry.com, etc.

One Basic Ancestral Town Search
Includes location indication on the map and photocopies of the location description from the following sources:

  • Encyclopedia Lituanica (in English)
  • Lietuvių Enciklopedija (in Lithuanian)
  • Lietuviškoji Tarybinė Enciklopedija (in Lithuanian)
  • Mažoji Lietuviškoji Tarybinė Enciklopedija (in Lithuanian)
  • Lietuvos Baznyčios (“Churches in Lithuania” – in Lithuanian)
  • Mūsų Lietuva (Our Lithuania – in Lithuanian)

II.

Patron Genealogy
$350/yr

The Patron Genealogy-level includes all the privileges of a Basic Genealogy-level membership, plus:

  • Up to four Basic Surname Searches
  • Up to four Basic Ancestral Town Searches
  • A Search of the following additional sources:
    • Lietuviškoji Tarybinė Enciklopedija (in Lithuanian)
    • Mažoji Lietuviškoji Tarybinė Enciklopedija (in Lithuanian)
    • Lietuvos Baznyčios (“Churches in Lithuania” – in Lithuanian)
    • Mūsų Lietuva (Our Lithuania – in Lithuanian)

This membership level is highly recommended for those who want to research more than one family member: e.g., a husband and wife, or a grandfather and his parents, etc.

III.

Benefactor Genealogy
$1,000/Life

A one-time payment of $1,000 includes all benefits of the Basic and Patron Genealogy Memberships for life, plus a search of the following additional sources:

  • Digitized birth, marriage, and death records from Lithuania (if available);
  • Library Publications and Articles (Authors)
  • Nobility File
  • Heraldic & Coat of Arms Research
  • Artist File
  • Photo Archives
  • Jurgis Gimbutas Collection (Photos of towns and cities in Lithuania)
  • Individuals decorated with Medals by the Lithuanian Government
  • List of exiles deported to Siberia
  • List of Lithuanian military men

*NOTE: Online searches for digitized birth, marriage, and death records in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives are available based on accessibility. The records are in Old Russian, Polish, and Latin. A search and translation of one record is an additional $100.

For additional information, please contact Karile Vaitkute, Director of Genealogy Department, at info@balzekasmuseum.org or call 773-582-6500 during regular business hours.

Sign me up:

Please select your Genealogy membership level by clicking on the PayPal menu below.



Additional Services for Non-Members:

Non-member genealogy services are available à la carte:

  • Obituary check: $25
  • Obituary translation: $40
  • Determining the right spelling of a name: $25
  • Determining the right spelling of a location: $25
  • Location indication on the map: $25
  • Online search for digitized birth, marriage, or death records in Lithuania: $150 (based upon availability)

Sign up for a non-member genealogy service

Select the service by clicking on the menu below: