Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic Church, Ziezmariai, Lithuania

Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic Church, Ziezmariai, Lithuania

Kevin Svoboda
Kevin Svoboda

November 17th, 2010, 11:05 pm #1

According to my grandfather's baptismal certificate, he was baptized in the Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic church on 7/31/1888. I understand that a new chuch was built on that site in about 1906. His baptismal name was Sigizmund Shrubshov, though is went through a number of changes and misspellings by the time he changed it legally in the U.S. to Zigg Shoop. His family lived in Annakalnis (Antokoltsakh according to the baptismal certificate). At the moment I am trying to determine two things:

1) What is the name of the Catholic Church in Ziezmariai so that I can contact them for information about what happened to the old church.
2) My grandfather told a number of family members that around 1904 his parents along with a number of villagers in Anakalnis were executed (by "soldiers") and he had to bury his parents in a sort of mass grave. He then escaped the village and arrived in the U.S. in 1906. A relative who is no longer alive visited with family members there and verified that there is no gravestone for my grandparents in the village cememtery. I am trying to verify the event and understand the surrounding circumstances, why it happened and what group might have done it.

Any information that readers have would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance for your help.

Kevin Svoboda
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zemaitis
zemaitis

November 18th, 2010, 10:31 am #2

iemariai St. Jacobs the Apostle Church. Address: Vilniaus g. 1 / A. Aubalio g. 5 iemari m., iemari sen., Kaiiadori r. sav., LT-56239, Lithuania. Phone +370 346 58361.

First mentioned in 1502. Burnt curch is mentioned in 1621. Restored in another place. Burned again in 1655. Built new wooden in 1677. Burned again apr 1740. New one in 1744. Rebuilt in 1895-1896. New one, what we have today in 1924.

Not so far from Ziezmariai we have Antakalnis, guess is your misspeling places where your grandfathers family use to live. His realy surname l guess is SRIUBSA, with small tick on both ,,s" ( SHRIOOBSHA) russified in church metrics as SHRUBSHOV. Such surname ( Sriubsa ) still lives near Ziezmariai 10 km, from Antakalnis 35 km.

Dont know nothing about 1904 events in Antakalnis.
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Richard Lukminas
Richard Lukminas

November 18th, 2010, 9:36 pm #3

According to my grandfather's baptismal certificate, he was baptized in the Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic church on 7/31/1888. I understand that a new chuch was built on that site in about 1906. His baptismal name was Sigizmund Shrubshov, though is went through a number of changes and misspellings by the time he changed it legally in the U.S. to Zigg Shoop. His family lived in Annakalnis (Antokoltsakh according to the baptismal certificate). At the moment I am trying to determine two things:

1) What is the name of the Catholic Church in Ziezmariai so that I can contact them for information about what happened to the old church.
2) My grandfather told a number of family members that around 1904 his parents along with a number of villagers in Anakalnis were executed (by "soldiers") and he had to bury his parents in a sort of mass grave. He then escaped the village and arrived in the U.S. in 1906. A relative who is no longer alive visited with family members there and verified that there is no gravestone for my grandparents in the village cememtery. I am trying to verify the event and understand the surrounding circumstances, why it happened and what group might have done it.

Any information that readers have would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance for your help.

Kevin Svoboda
Dear Kevin,
I did some reseach on-line and found the name and address of the pastor of Ziezmariai Roman Catholic Church. They are: Kun. Rokas Puzonas, A. Azubalio g. 5, Ziezmariai, LT-56239 Kaisdoriu r. sav., LITHUANIA (LITUANIE)
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Kevin Svoboda
Kevin Svoboda

November 18th, 2010, 9:54 pm #4

According to my grandfather's baptismal certificate, he was baptized in the Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic church on 7/31/1888. I understand that a new chuch was built on that site in about 1906. His baptismal name was Sigizmund Shrubshov, though is went through a number of changes and misspellings by the time he changed it legally in the U.S. to Zigg Shoop. His family lived in Annakalnis (Antokoltsakh according to the baptismal certificate). At the moment I am trying to determine two things:

1) What is the name of the Catholic Church in Ziezmariai so that I can contact them for information about what happened to the old church.
2) My grandfather told a number of family members that around 1904 his parents along with a number of villagers in Anakalnis were executed (by "soldiers") and he had to bury his parents in a sort of mass grave. He then escaped the village and arrived in the U.S. in 1906. A relative who is no longer alive visited with family members there and verified that there is no gravestone for my grandparents in the village cememtery. I am trying to verify the event and understand the surrounding circumstances, why it happened and what group might have done it.

Any information that readers have would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance for your help.

Kevin Svoboda
Thanks to both of you for your help. I will contact the church. Does anyone have suggestions about people or groups that I can contact about the history of Antakalnis around 1904 - 1906? My grandfather was largely unwilling to discuss much about what happened there and I'm on a mission to bring that part of our family history to light.

FYI, I wish that I understood better how the names morphed as time passed and occupying forces changed. My great grandfather's name, Yuri Shrubshov, did change to Jurgi Sruipsa in later times as I can tell from correspondence between my late mother and family members in Lithuania. My grandfather's baptismal name, Sigizmund, similarly became Zigmas.

Kevin
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zemaitis
zemaitis

November 19th, 2010, 11:19 am #5

1.If you Ggrandfather was Lithuanian be sure he did not change his name to Jurgis Sriupsa after Yuri Srubsov. He always was Jurgis for his family and for himself as well. As your grandfather name always was Zigmas. Just acoording Russian russification politic names and surnames in metrics had to be written as similar as possible to russian names and surnames or changed at all into Russian name. Name Jurgis became Yuri or Georgi, Jonas Ivan, Vincentas Vikentij, Juozas Yosif or Osip. For example one of my Ggranfather in metrics was Yosif Veitov, his brothet was Ivan, but in real life they always where Juozapas Veitas and Jonas Veitas. Another Ggranfather in metrics was Frantz Skeiviov, but really Pranas Skeivys.
l can provide lot of examples because I looking for my ancestral roots in church archives myself and see how Lithuanian names are distorted because of Polonization and Russification in 16-20 century.
2. l will try to speak with one person who perhaps knows something about your mentioned 1904-1906 events. Will inform you if Ill be lucky.
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zemaitis
zemaitis

November 23rd, 2010, 9:54 am #6

Thanks to both of you for your help. I will contact the church. Does anyone have suggestions about people or groups that I can contact about the history of Antakalnis around 1904 - 1906? My grandfather was largely unwilling to discuss much about what happened there and I'm on a mission to bring that part of our family history to light.

FYI, I wish that I understood better how the names morphed as time passed and occupying forces changed. My great grandfather's name, Yuri Shrubshov, did change to Jurgi Sruipsa in later times as I can tell from correspondence between my late mother and family members in Lithuania. My grandfather's baptismal name, Sigizmund, similarly became Zigmas.

Kevin
l spoke with a teacher of history from Antakalnis school and she never heard about something in 1904-1906 in Antakalnis. Any military action was not there or in another part of Lithuania because there was no war around in that time.
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Kevin Svoboda
Kevin Svoboda

November 23rd, 2010, 4:57 pm #7

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I will try to track down my grandfather's (Zigmas Sriupsa)family who still live in the area, and the children of his nephew who visited there twice. I am having some issue with my grandfather's immigration dates: On a census form he listed it as 1902 and on other immigration papers it is listed as 1906. I'm also having problems being certain of the city in which he lived. On his baptismal certificate it says that he was born in Antakalnis. On his immigration papers it says that he was born in Zmoresk, Russia. On his brother's (Adomas Sriupsa) immigration papers ther are various birth places: Zazmore, Lithuania; Zazmore, Poland Russia; Zizmor, Russia; and Ziezmovi, Lithuania. I am unable to locate any of those city names and, as a result, I'm not even sure that I'm searching in the right city! Again, thank you very much for your help. Kevin Svoboda
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John Peters
John Peters

November 24th, 2010, 7:55 pm #8

Kevin,

There are several villages or towns named Antakalnis, but only one that is near a place called Z^iez^mariai, both in the Kais^iadorys district. Antakalnis is about 9.88km (a little over 6 miles) west-north-west from Z^ies^mariai, which is the larger of the two and probably has a church whereas this Antakalnis likely does not.

It is my best bet that these are the two locations you have mentioned. They are about mid-way between Kaunas and Vilnius and would have been outside the boundaries of the old Suwalki gubernia or province. Rather they would have been in the Trakai (Troki in Polish) uyezd of the gubernia or province of Vilnius. A uyezd was a subdivision of a gubernia or province.

Here is a map showing the boundaries of the various gubernias governing the lands occupied pre-dominantly by ethnic Lithuanians prior to WWI (the Russian Empire controlled these lands as well as those now part of Poland from 1795 to 1917):

You can find both places on google maps or other quality online maps such ashttp://www.maps.lt/en.

Prior to 1795, all these lands were part of what was called the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, so many folks continued to consider their land part of such an entity. But it was partitioned a couple of times, and finally in 1795 both areas were "made part of" Czarist Russia, although the "Kingdom of Poland" continued to be used, but it was still controlled by the Russian Empire. Only the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 ended the Russian Empire and opened the prospect of independent nationhood for both "Lithuania" and "Poland". So anyone born in these areas was a subject of the Czars from 1795 to WWI whether they knew it or not.

To complicate matters, the areas of the Russian Empire predominantly populated by ethnic Lithuanians had sizable populations of Poles, Jews, Germans, Russians, Belarusians, etc. In addition, Polish was a high prestige language and culture in Russia during the 18th century and many of the priests and large landowners there were either Polish themselves or had been educated in and largely spoke Polish over Lithuanian. As a result, there was a significant Polish influence over Lithuanian language and maybe in other ways, too. Finally, many areas of present day Lithuania included populations of ethnic Poles and their interaction served as yet another influence. It should be remembered, too, that the Lithuanian language was banned officially by the Czar.

"In 1864, in an effort to suppress Lithuanian nationalism, Russia banned the printing of books in Lithuanian, requiring any publications to be printed in Russian, Polish, Belorussian or Latin. The ban was lifted in 1904." (source:http://www.mahalo.com/lithuanian. It didn't work, of course -- therein lies a different and interesting story -- but it sure made things more difficult for the largely agricultural and uneducated ethnic Lithuanians.

John Peters


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Kevin Svoboda
Kevin Svoboda

November 30th, 2010, 5:59 pm #9

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I will try to track down my grandfather's (Zigmas Sriupsa)family who still live in the area, and the children of his nephew who visited there twice. I am having some issue with my grandfather's immigration dates: On a census form he listed it as 1902 and on other immigration papers it is listed as 1906. I'm also having problems being certain of the city in which he lived. On his baptismal certificate it says that he was born in Antakalnis. On his immigration papers it says that he was born in Zmoresk, Russia. On his brother's (Adomas Sriupsa) immigration papers ther are various birth places: Zazmore, Lithuania; Zazmore, Poland Russia; Zizmor, Russia; and Ziezmovi, Lithuania. I am unable to locate any of those city names and, as a result, I'm not even sure that I'm searching in the right city! Again, thank you very much for your help. Kevin Svoboda
John,

Thanks so much for your help and knowledge. The more that I learn about my family's history, the more facinated I am with the region's history!

I'm sure that the Antakalnis near Ziezmariai is the one that my grandfather lived in because both city names are mentioned in the copy of his baptismal certificate. (He was baptized in Ziezmariai at the Zhizhmorsky Roman Catholic church.) Is it possible that Antakalnis also went by the name of Zmoresk, Russia? That is the city he lists on his immigration papers and I can't find it in searches.

Also, do you have any information that would help me figure out the basis for my grandfather saying that his parent's, along with other adults in the village (I assume, Antakalnis.) were executed (when he was about 14)and that he was made to bury his parent's in what sounds like a mass grave? It would have happened around 1902 - 1904. He went on to tell how "soldiers" on horses searched for him, that he wandered around "Russia" for about two years and finally boarded a ship out of Hamburg for America in 1906. The only corroborating information I have is that a family member visited the village twice and, with the help of a guide, found the gravestones of some family members, but there were none for my great grandparents. Oddly, the cemetary pictures that I have don't look much like the Antakalnis cemetary pictures on the internet - they look more like pictures of the Jewish cemetary in Ziezmariai!

Thanks again for your help. Kevin
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John Peters
John Peters

December 10th, 2010, 2:36 pm #10

Kevin,

The town name is Z^iez^mariai in the Kais^iadorys district. The letter "z^" is pronounced "zh" as in the English word "azure." The "s^" letter is pronounced "sh" as in the English word "shout." So the town is pronounced ZHEEZH-mah-rai. I believe the Russian or Slavic spelling of this place might well be Zmoresk. Antakalnis is the smaller of the two places, and since it does not have its own church we call it a village or settlement. Whereas Z^iez^mariai is a town with its own church and thus its own Catholic cemetery. Antakalnis is unlikely to be the location of that cemetery since these burial places were usually withing a 1/2 mile or at most a mile from the church itself, sometimes even in the church grounds.

There was a revolution of sorts in Russia in 1905. "The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included terrorism, worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies. It led to the establishment of limited constitutional monarchy, the State Duma of the Russian Empire, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1905_Russian_Revolution)

However, the vast majority of ethnic Lithuanians were agricultural people, rural, not big landowners or employees except as servants to the wealthier or as hired help on other farms. They were not very likely to be involved in such uprisings. Their former large landowners and priests may, however, have been. It strikes me as unlikely that a mass execution took place in such a small settlement during that time. During WWI perhaps, but earlier, I don't think so. Like so many memories, they are often embellished and mixed with later events in recollection. My father, born and raised in Lithuania in 1908 described how partisans of various stripe would come to his village after WWI as there was scrambling for power among White Russians (Belarusians, or aristocratic Russians), Bolsheviks, and former German soldiers and officers with grand ides for civilizing the rustic Balts, and Lithuanian nationalists. During these raids, they would -- he reported -- seize animals and vegetables from the peasant farmers or else execute them on the spot. But no mass executions even though there is plenty of documentation of such raids and such groups at that time. But in 1905, probably not.

John Peters
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