Lithuania Emigration and Immigration

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Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Offices and Archives to Contact[edit | edit source]

Naujoji Uosto 16, LT-92122
Klaipėda, Lithuania

Telephone: +370 46 31 45 65

Has some records of the port of Klaipėda, 1924-1931, 1938, 1940-1990

Finding the Town of Origin in Lithuania[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Lithuania, see Lithuania Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Lithuania Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were all lands of the Grand Duchy.

  • With the Union of Lublin of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries dismantled it in 1772–1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.
  • As World War I ended, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, founding the modern Republic of Lithuania.
  • In World War II, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany.
  • Towards the end of the war in 1944, when the Germans were retreating, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. Lithuanian armed resistance to the Soviet occupation lasted until the early 1950s.
  • On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania passed the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, becoming the first Soviet republic to proclaim its independence.[1]

Emigration From Lithuania[edit | edit source]

  • Lithuanian diaspora: the majority of post-WWII Lithuanians live in North America (Canada and the United States) and across Europe (France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands and England), but are scattered across Russia and the former USSR, and smaller numbers in Mexico and Brazil.
  • Between 1880 and 1910, over 40,000 Lithuanian Jews immigrated to South Africa to avoid persecution. To date around 80% of the 75,000 Jews in South Africa (around 60,000) are of Lithuanian descent.
  • The Litvins in northern Belarus and westernmost Russia are of ethnic Lithuanian and Baltic origin.
  • Large numbers of Lithuanians went to the United States in 1867–1868 after a famine.
  • On 14–18 June 1941, less than a week before the Nazi invasion, some 17,000 Lithuanians were deported to Siberia, where many perished due to inhumane living conditions.
  • After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets reestablished their control of Lithuania in July–October 1944. The massive deportations to Siberia were resumed and lasted until the death of Stalin in 1953. Under the pretext of Lithuania's economic recovery, the Moscow authorities encouraged the migration of workers and other specialists to Lithuania with the intention to further integrate Lithuania into the Soviet Union and to develop the country's industry. At the same time, Lithuanians were lured to work in the USSR by promising them all the privileges of settling in a new place.


Records of Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Lithuania", in Wikipedia,, accessed 28 July 2021.
  2. "List of diasporas", in Wikipedia,, accessed 28 July 2021.
  3. "Lithuania", in Wikipedia,, accessed 28 July 2021.