All Lithuania Database
The All Lithuania Database (ALD) contains data from original records in a number of languages and alphabets including Old Cyrillic, modern Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Polish and Old German.
To search the ALD, click here.
For help finding document images in FHL films, click here.
LitvakSIG works with an agreed upon set of standards for translating, transliterating and databasing records that would satisfy the majority of our researchers, yet still remain as true as possible to the original documents. The best advice we can give researchers is to keep an open mind. Names of people and places present in different forms. Scribes made mistakes and translators do too. Old handwriting and changing languages are challenging. For more information, see Translation and Transliteration Standards
Some notes about these standards:
LitvakSIG subscribes to the generally accepted practice in citing geographic locations using their contemporary name and spelling. This allows us to tie our databases in uniformly with other searchable online databases. For most of our records, this means the current Lithuanian spelling of the place, e.g. Kaunas, not Kovne, Kovno, Kovna, etc. However, some places are now in other countries, like Belarus or Poland. For those we use their contemporary Belarussian or Polish name. Please keep in mind that this practice may cause a small problem for you. Many of you will know your ancestral shtetl by its Yiddish name, often garbled. Since the boundaries of districts (uyezds) and countries changed over time, you may have to determine the current location of the shtetl using other resources on this website or other websites, eg. jewishgen.org..
People, naturally, become very attached to their own spelling of their family name, but please keep in mind that the spellings of names -- both first and last -- may be different from the ones you are familiar with and accustomed to. It is important to remember that these documents were created during many different times, in different languages, and by many different people whose mother tongue was NOT Yiddish. Spellings vary in the originals and also in translation / transliteration.
LitvakSIG has dozens of people doing translation and transliteration work.We see names spelled differently and evolving over time. These are for the researcher to explore in more detail through the use of primary sources.
LitvakSIG has tried to stay as true as possible to the Library of Congress Standards for Transliterating Russian. However, that is only one of the languages of our records. A name which we first see in Polish will be transliterated from Russian differently.
Despite the wonders of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System, a researcher must vigilantly check all possible spellings of names, both given and family names because many will have different D-M Codes.
An example of variation in translation and transliteration of a surname is the name LURIE. It shows up in the ALD variously as LURIA, LUIRY, LUIRIY, LURIE, etc. Similarly, names beginning with "Y" or "J" can be particularly confusing in English when JACOB(SON) is rendered IAKOB(SON), YUDEL(SON) becomes IUDEL(SON) and JOFFE shows up as IOFFE, or YAFFE, etc.
The Lithuanian Language uses suffixes appended to the surname. This appears regularly in records originating during the Interwar Period., eg. Internal Passports. We show the Lithuanian spelling of the names as well as the root which is the version you are more likely to recognize. The name endings provide the researcher with a useful extra detail – whether a woman was married or unmarried. Males can have their surnames appended with: -as, -is, -ys, -us, -e or -a. Females with names ending in -iene (or –uviene) are married or widowed, while the endings: -aite, -yte, -ute and -iute denote unmarried women.
One place a researcher may want to start to explore variations of given names is the Lithuania Given Names Database.
LitvakSIG has a number of templates we use for gathering data from records. These are developed and adjusted over time, in conjunction with JewishGen so that we can standardize data in the ALD. Researchers who contribute to Projects and Data are able to access the data in Excel format which utilizes these templates and can combine data from many lists to do more extensive and complete research. Using Excel files is a great way to deal with the issue of variation in the spelling of names by finding all the various spellings on the records.