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Citizenship and Passport Lists

Prior to World War I in the Russian Empire, individuals were required to have an internal passport in order to travel within the boundaries of Russia. Local municipalities, town dwellers administrations, or the police issued these internal passports. They varied in their permissions. Some were valid to travel only within the Guberniya, others "within the Pale of Settlement and to the towns of the Russian Empire where Jews were permitted to reside", etc. The terms of these passports also varied - half a year, a year, two years, etc. All categories of the population, including the nobility, needed internal passports for traveling.

In 1919, Lithuania became an independent country. An individual wanting to become a citizen of Lithuania had to produce evidence that they, or members of their family, had resided in the territory of Lithuania prior to World War I. They had to apply for an internal passport within 30 days or be subject to a fine or expulsion. The internal passports were not designed for travel but were for identification purposes. Everyone over the age of 16 had to have one. Lithuanian internal passports were issued between 1919 and 1940.

There are a number of different types of Citizenship and Passport files made by the different authorities for these different purposes. Some examples of records in the ALD follow along with a brief summary.

Lithuanian Internal Passports

These Internal Passport Application files from the Interwar Period (1919-1940) can be very valuable because they often contain information such as places of birth and maiden names as well as familial relationships and may contain other supporting documentation for citizenship applications. Occasionally, some of these records in the ALD are actually for Lithuanian Foreign Passport Applications that required Internal Passport information to obtain.

Passport Issuance Books

These were books maintained by the police or municipal clerk regarding the issuance of internal passports in the locality during the Russian Empire period. They exist only for a few Jewish communities and for a few years.

Passport Issuance Records

These are records of correspondence about Internal Passports during the Russian Empire period. They may contain the application for the passport, the previous passport and always contain a certificate issued by the tax collector, in which the information is in the same form as in the passport.

Passport Registration Books

While these are also books maintained by a clerk, they are not lists of passports issued in a locality. Rather, they are lists of those people who arrived at a destination and produced the passport they had from the community they belonged to and had it registered in the destination locality’s book. These records only exist for a few Jewish communities for a few years.

Additional passport information exists in the records of the Governor’s Office, the Guberniya Administration and its departments, the Kaunas Guberniya Treasury, and the Adminsitration of State Property of Kaunas. And, among the records of the Governor’s Office and the Guberniya’s Administration are files on the renunciations of Russian Citizenship and illegal boarder crossings.

Please be aware that the spellings of names -- both first and last -- may be different from the ones you are familiar with and accustomed to. In addition, some information on these lists that do not fit into our database template are noted in the Comments Field. For more information, see our Translation, Transliteration, and Database Standards for the ALD.

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