18 February 2018
VilNews has its own Google archive! Type a word in the above search box to find any article.

You can also follow us on Facebook. We have two different pages. Click to open and join.
VilNews Notes & Photos
For messages, pictures, news & information
VilNews Forum
For opinions and discussions
Click on the buttons to open and read each of VilNews' 18 sub-sections


- Posted by - (6) Comment

Help us make VilNews
even more successful!

Dear VilNews Readers,

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind words, suggestions, comments and support for VilNews.   We have always felt very strongly about the wonderful potential of Lithuania in the world.  It is a country of much beauty and fascinating multicultural history – a nation now represented in all corners of the world.  We have been very pleased to provide a forum for a free, open and respectful dialogue about the past, present and future of Lithuania.  The Staff and I have taken your advice to heart and decided to continue publishing VilNews and possibly also publishing a Lithuanian version of it.  For this to occur we will need additional financial support.

We cannot continue to carry the full financial cost of publishing and disseminating VilNews on our own.  We feel that all of us have a vested interest in the success of VilNews.  In order to continue and expand this great publication we need your help.    

If you can, please make a financial contribution to VilNews.  At the present time we can only accept checks or money orders made out to UAB VilNews. Please write me if you consider contributing.

If you know of any business that should or could advertise in VilNews, please contact them.  We are looking for sponsors and advertisers.

Please check your e-mail contact lists and suggest to all your friends who are interested in Lithuania.  You would be surprised, how many of them have not heard of us.  VilNews has also two different pages on Facebook, so go in and "like" us and participate in our ongoing debates.

I am sure that all of us working together can make VilNews even more successful than it already is. 

Kestutis J. Eidukonis
CEO VilNews

Category : News / Relatives

- Posted by - (5) Comment

Would a ‘Genealogy Section’ in VilNews be of interest for you?

Please contact our Associate Editor, Vin Karnila, as soon as
possible if you think a ‘Genealogy Section’ in VilNews would
be of interest for our readers around the world.

Text: Vin Karnila, Associate Editor

We at VilNews have received numerous inquiries from our readers regarding locating relatives in Lithuania or more specific information about their Lithuanian ancestors. Since we know that tracing your Lithuanian Roots is a very important issue for many of you, we are considering a special section, “Genealogy Lithuania”, to assist you in finding information about your ancestors in Lithuania.

Please respond to us if you think such a section would be of interest for our readers around the globe.

The On Line Lithuanian Telephone Book
Once you have an idea as to what the names of your immigrant ancestors were the best place to start and probably the most recommended is the On Line Lithuanian Telephone Book This can help you find people currently living in Lithuania with the family name you are searching for. This was in fact how I first found members of the Karnila family so this is what I always first recommend for people to use.

It is however in the Lithuanian language so here are some instructions for using it.

Pavardė = family name/last name
Vietovė =  location – In the pull down menu you will see “Didieji miestai”. These are the large cities in Lithuania. “Kiti miestai” are other cities in the country. If you want to search a specific city, click the city of your choice. If you want to search all of Lithuania, do not select a city.

Then click “Ieškoti” and the next page will show any matches to the name you entered.

Some helpful advice for finding a place on a map
The online Lithuanian Telephone Book web site will show you the location on a map however if you want to find the location again on a mapping web site you will need to enter the name correctly. If you try to copy the address that the phone book gave you it will not work. This is because the place names are displayed with Lithuanian grammar.

As an example, the listing could show an address like this:
Sodų g. 2, Rumšiškių mstl., Rumšiškių sen., Kėdainių raj.

The street address, Sodų g. 2 will work on a mapping web site but the rest will not.

“Rumšiškių mstl.” is actually Rumšiškės so you would need to enter Rumšiškės in the mapping web site. The “mstl.” is the abreviation for miestelis which means town. Don‘t enter the word “miestelis” or “mstl” in the mapping web site. You may also find a listing such as “Bajoriškių k”. The “k” means Kaimas or village so this would be the village of Bajoriškiai. A listing such as “Švenčionėlių m.”. The “m” means miestas or city so this would be the city of Švenčionėliai. Don‘t enter the words “village” or “city  and don’t enter or “k” or “m” in the mapping web site.

“Rumšiškių sen.” is Rumšiškių seniūnija. Seniūnija is the local government administration office so this means that Rumšiškės is under the jusidiction of this office. You wont need Rumšiškių sen. For the mapping web site. Only enter this if you do not know the name of the village but know what administrative office serves it.

“Kėdainių raj.” is Kadainiai region. Again, you won’t need this for the mapping web site. About the only time you would need to enter the seniūnija or region is if there are more than one town or village with that name. is a very good mapping web site you may want to check out.

Even with the number of mapping web sites out there it is a good idea to get a map. The problem with the mapping web sites is that as you zoom in, the area you are viewing gets smaller and you lose the relationship of where you are in relation to other areas. When you zoom out you lose details. When you get a map you will want the scale to be at least 1:400 000. Even at this scale it will not show some of the smaller villages. As an example my family’s village of Garonys is not shown on a map of this scale. To get a map that shows my village I bought what is called an “apylinkės” (district) map which is at a scale of 1:130 000. Another good tool is the Lithuanian Road Atlas in 1:120 000 scale. All of these maps and atlases are available at They have about the largest assortment of Lithuanian maps and road atlases on the Internet.

Some websites
We have compiled a list of some good web sites to get information from. Please keep in mind that no one web site will usually give you all the information you are looking for so it is good to check as many as you can.

Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society. LGGS

GenoPro - Genealogy ressources in Lithuania
Good site with useful links for searching for people of the Jewish Faith.
Included are The JewishGen Yizkor Book, JewishGen ShtetlSeeker, Litvak SIG and JewishGen Lithuania Database

Lithuanian State Historical Archives

Vilnius church provincial archives documents and metadata information system – Lithuanian language

Archives of Belarus

Polish Virtual Archives

Polish genealogy and coats of arms

Polish genealogy

Lithuanian estates Database. Very interesting web site – Lithuanian language

Lithuanian military volunteers - Lithuanian language

The Statue of Liberty- Ellis Island Foundation

LitvakSIG – Lithuanian Jewish Special Interest Group

Genealogy Links Lithuania


Lithuania Professional Research

Lithuanian Place Name Changes

As stated before, no one web site will usually give you all the information you are looking for so dear readers if you know of any web sites that are helpful in providing information for tracing some ones Lithuanian Roots please tell us about them so that we can share them with our fellow readers.

A word about some of the genealogy pay sites. As you search the web for sites that offer genealogical information you will come across many sites that require you to pay a fee to use them. Are they worth it??? Good question. Let’s face it, if they help you find your family they are worth it but the chances of finding your family on one of these sites is kind of hit or miss. This is because of how most of them work. Most of them do two things. They provide a program to organize your data or in other words create your family tree. What they also do is give you access to the data from the other people that use this site. So if some one that has a connection to your family has also paid to use this site then it is possible to view their information – maybe. The person has to authorize the web site to display their information. They can also instruct the web site to limit the information for privacy purposes. I have found that this “limited” information is not much help. Of course if no one with a connection to your family has used the specific pay site then it won’t be of much help to you.

As you start to gather information it is highly advisable to organize it. The best way to do this is to use genealogy software. There are quite a few genealogy software programs out there. I have tried a few and have not been very satisfied with them. The reason being that the reports they generate are limited. There is only one software program that I can personally recommend and I can tell you that I highly recommend this software. It is easy to use, easy to input data and easy to find data and it provides a very wide variety of report formats. The program is called “Brother’s Keeper” and it is considered one of the best genealogy software programs available.

You can get more information from their web site
at the bottom of the page you will find the link to their online store

Contact the people that you possibly are related to
Now let us talk about what you can do once you finally find information about a person or some people that you are possibly related to. There is only one thing to do – You need to contact them. If you have both an Email address and a mailing address I would recommend that you send both an Email and a letter. This is because you don’t know if one or the other is still current.

In the message KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE. Tell them who you are. Tell them the information you know. This would be the information about the people in your family that do not live in Lithuania. If you have information about your family in Lithuania of course include this. What you are trying to provide is a line from you back to Lithuania. The information that is helpful is names, dates and places. Adding brothers, sisters and cousins will not be of much help and could confuse things unless any of these people were born in Lithuania or can trace themselves back to Lithuania.

If you are going to write a letter to Lithuania and don’t speak Lithuanian I really wouldn’t worry about it. In this day and age in Lithuania finding some one to translate a letter written in English is not much of a problem. However when I recommend KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE, you will want to be very careful in regards to grammar and phrases. I am an English language trainer here in Vilnius and I can tell you that only my advanced level students can fully understand (sometimes) all the nuances of English grammar. When you write your letter try to use only the “simple tense” and limit the use of the “continuous tense”. Try to write nothing in the “perfect tense” as the perfect tense is VERY difficult to understand because this form of grammar does not exist in the Lithuanian language. Writing a letter all in the simple tense is easy to do and easy to translate and understand. I also operate an editing service here and I can tell you that most of the letters I edit related to genealogy end up being reduced by about 50% so that only the key information remains - KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE.

The next question is when should I send the letter???
The answer is – As soon as you get a name and address to send a letter to!!!
I have edited some letters more than a year ago for some people and they still have not sent the letter. The usual reason is that they are still trying to get more information. Until you send the letter you probably won’t get any useful information so just send the letter. Some one may respond to your letter in effect saying that your information is too general to show a direct link. If that’s the case, at least you have established a contact. I have found that the people here in Lithuania are more than happy to try to help people find their families even if they are not sure they are directly related to you.

Searching for your roots can be interesting, rewarding and frustrating. So much of it is hit or miss and in some cases just pure luck and good fortune. Although it took years for me to finally find and connect with my family here in Lithuania, I was lucky that the name of Karnila is a rather unique name. All of the Karnilas in Lithuania are traced back to the same family. My grandmother’s family of Petkevičius is a different matter in that it is more common. Eventually I learned that I had to address her family as Petkevičius of the Kaišiadorys region. When I enter the name of Petkevičius in the On Line Lithuanian Telephone Book there are 280 matches.  A dear friend of mine has the family name of Kazlauskas. When you enter this name in the On Line Lithuanian Telephone Book you get about 150 matches. Things like this can make matters much more of a challenge. In spite of some of these road blocks and detours the key to success is to just keep on searching.

Please let us know if you think a “Genealogy Section” in VilNews would be of interest

Category : Relatives


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.

مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان