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paullucas01

Lithuanians sent from Scotland to Russia

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paullucas01

My great-grandparents were Lithuanian and they emigrated to Scotland in 1901 - Vincas and Magdalena Lukosevicius.

Their elder son, Jonas Lukosevicius and his sister travelled with them and started work in the Lanarkshire coal mines. In 1908, my great-grandmother, Magdalena returned to Lithuania to fetch their younger son Antanas and his sister. he started work in the coal mines as well.

In 1917, the Anglo-Russian Military Convention came into force. All Lithuanians in Scotland had to choose between fighting for the British or the Russians (as the Tsar still ruled Lithuania). My great-uncle Jonas chose to fight for Russia. However, we are led to believe that he wanted to fight for Lithuanian Independence. We have pictures of him as a Lieutenant in the Lithuanian Army from 1920.

My grandfather, Antanas, joined the British Army and was awarded a Miltary Medal serving with the Royal Field Artillery in WWI, In WWII, he was treated as an alien and had to report to the police station every day. He would have been interned however he was a coal miner and was needed for the war effort. Eventually, he was allowed to become a British citizen in 1956.

My great-uncle Jonas was executed by the KGB in 1941 as he was a border policeman, after he was in the army.

What I would like help is to find the list of the 1,100 Lithuanians sent to fight for the Russians in 1917. This act devastated the Lithuanian community in Scotland. The community was about 20,00 strong until this time. Another member of my extended family lost two of her great uncles in Archangel or Murmansk in the "railway wars" - Juozas and Petrus Sabailauskas.

To find the list of the 1,100 Lithuanians who "volunteered" to fight for the Russians would be fantastic as I know so many people like myself who are trying to find out what happened to their grand-fathers or great-grandfathers.

Thanks to John Duncan who I have had some correspondence and help from. I hope someone somewhere can help me.

Paul Lucas

(Paulius Lukosevicius)

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Alan Tucker

From a History Today article on the Lithuanians in Scotland many years ago...

By Murdocvh Rodgers

Further Reading:

J. White, 'Scottish Lithuanians and the Russia Revolution', Journal of Baltic Studies, Vol. 6 ' (1975); Kenneth Lunn, 'Reactions to Lithuanian and Polish Immigrants in the Lanarkshire Coalfield 1880-1914' in Kenneth Lunn (ed), Hosts Immigrants and Minorities (Folkestone, 1980); Murdoch Rodgers, 'The Anglo-Russian Military Convention and the Lithuanian Immigrant Community in Lanarkshire, Scotland 1914-20', Immigrants and Minorities, Vol 1 (1982); M. Rodgers, 'Political Developments in the Lithuanian Community in Scotland 18901923', J. Slatter (ed.), From the Other Shore Russian Political Emigrants in Britain, 1880-1917, (London, 1984).

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paullucas01

Thank you Alan. I have some of these articles. What I am trying to find is the list of 1,100 Lithuanians sent back. I quote from an article from Murdoch Rodgers

Under the terms of the Convention all Russian males resident in Britain between the ages of 18 and 41 years faced the choice of conscription into the British Army or deportation for military service in Russia. It was a difficult decision to make and opinions varied as to the best course of action to follow. The Lithuanian priests advocated enlistment into the British Army while the Socialists were recommending that those called up should elect to return to Russia. An added complication was the British government's decision not to make provision either for the transport of dependents or for their maintenance in Britain. The intention of course was to force as many Russians as possible into the British Army as this would avoid the logistical, administrative and political problems of arranging their return en masse to Russia.

In Scotland the majority decision of the Lithuanian conscripts was to return to Russia. In Lanarkshire, for example, of the 1800 Lithuanian called up, 700 joined the British Army and 1100 chose deportation to Russia.

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corisande

Paul

Have you tried the Lithuanian Archives in Vilnius. You can email them on

lcva@archyvai.lt

I just happened to be in Vilnius last month and they are very helpful, but suffer from post Soviet compartmentalisation of records. Up to 1918 is in one building post 1918 in anothr

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John Gilinsky

Try the Foregin Office records at the National Archives in Kew especially the relevant British diplomatic and/or military attache files for the area/state(even if post-1920). There is an excellent published 1920 to 1970's paper index of the general correspondence of the Foregin Office. It might have some slight references or even better than slight for post-Independence complications for some of these immigrants such as re-re-immigration/emigration!

John

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Broznitsky

Paul, I wish you good luck on your quest.

In Canada, the Anglo-Russian Convention was not applied.

And after Brest Litovsk, the vast majority of Russians (including Lithuanians)in the CEF were pulled from front-line combat duty and sent to behind-the-line units like the Canadian Forestry Corps.

Peter, grandson of Grasilda Kizas

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paullucas01

John Thank you fdor the post. I assume I have to go to Kew ? Paul

Try the Foregin Office records at the National Archives in Kew especially the relevant British diplomatic and/or military attache files for the area/state(even if post-1920). There is an excellent published 1920 to 1970's paper index of the general correspondence of the Foregin Office. It might have some slight references or even better than slight for post-Independence complications for some of these immigrants such as re-re-immigration/emigration!

John

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paullucas01

Thank you. I have been to the archives in Vilnius. The records are likely to be kept in Britain as this was a "deportation" from Britain.

I have done some research in Vilnius as this is where we found my great-uncle's KGB file.

The other problem is that my family come from the Suvalkija region of Lithuania, so the archives for this region are held in Warsaw, Poland.

Paul

Have you tried the Lithuanian Archives in Vilnius. You can email them on

lcva@archyvai.lt

I just happened to be in Vilnius last month and they are very helpful, but suffer from post Soviet compartmentalisation of records. Up to 1918 is in one building post 1918 in anothr

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silvestris

Hi. I am descended from one of those 1,100 Lithuanians sent back to "Russia" in 1917. My great-grandfather (Kazimiras Kisielius) lived in Glasgow for about 10 or 15 years before the 1917 Convention. He survived that period, but the family was again displaced at WWII - I grew up in the United States. Your grandfather made the right decision staying in Britain. It was recently suggested to me that I visit the archive in Kew to find the list of deportees and confirm my understanding of my family history. Did you go there? Did you find a list? Can you tell me where to look?

On a separate note, can you tell us how to access the KGB files you found in Vilnius? My great-uncle was also in the Lithuanian military at the start of WWII. My grandmother recalls him being taken away by the Russians. They got one letter from him and then he was never heard from again. He was almost certainly executed. It would be incredible to find records confirming what happened!

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paullucas01

Hi. I am descended from one of those 1,100 Lithuanians sent back to "Russia" in 1917. My great-grandfather (Kazimiras Kisielius) lived in Glasgow for about 10 or 15 years before the 1917 Convention. He survived that period, but the family was again displaced at WWII - I grew up in the United States. Your grandfather made the right decision staying in Britain. It was recently suggested to me that I visit the archive in Kew to find the list of deportees and confirm my understanding of my family history. Did you go there? Did you find a list? Can you tell me where to look?

On a separate note, can you tell us how to access the KGB files you found in Vilnius? My great-uncle was also in the Lithuanian military at the start of WWII. My grandmother recalls him being taken away by the Russians. They got one letter from him and then he was never heard from again. He was almost certainly executed. It would be incredible to find records confirming what happened!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_and_Resistance_Research_Centre_of_Lithuania

The records are held here in the Genocide and Research Centre, close to the Museum of Genocide. There is a book of records of those who were deported / executed that can be bought from the Museum. This is where I found my great-uncle's records together with his wife and 2 of his 3 children. I found the son of the first child last year and we have reunited the families now after 70 years. She was not deported as she was married but she was dragged off the train by her friends as she was desperate to stay with mother, sister and brother.

The book records are not 100% accurate as they are mainly based on verbal records. However, it would be a starting point before contacting the Centre

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silvestris

Cheers! What is the book called? I found the publications page (http://www.genocid.l...ntras/en/599/c/) but there are hundreds listed there.

Also, did you ever visit the archive in Kew? Did you find a list of deportees from Britain to back to "Russia" under the 1917 Convention?

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paullucas01

Cheers! What is the book called? I found the publications page (http://www.genocid.l...ntras/en/599/c/) but there are hundreds listed there.

Also, did you ever visit the archive in Kew? Did you find a list of deportees from Britain to back to "Russia" under the 1917 Convention?

LIETUVOS GYVENTOJU GENOCIDAS (Genocide of Residents of Lithuania). Volume I contains data of mass deportations in 1939-1941. Volume II names victims in 1944-1947. They are adding to the books each year.

As for Kew, no time to search through the archives - maybe when I retire !

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tishpage10

I believe my grand-father Jurgis Seniunas, was also deported to Russia in 1917 leaving my grandmother and my mother (just a few months old) in London. Nothing was ever heard of him again. I have tried searching the archives at Kew on-line but with no success so far.

Any other ideas for finding the information about the deportees?? I have been unable to find any members of his family in Lithuania because I don't know which part of the country he came from? Any ideas how to find others in his family - I know his year of birth, and his father's name but that's all

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silvestris

As far as searching for anybody in Lithuania, I'm not sure. But you could possibly find more people in the British family history archives. If he lived in Scotland and any of the family may have remained there, check the birth, marriage, death, and census records at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/, or better visit the place where the records are kept in Edinburgh: http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/. Census records may show family members you didn't know about who may have been too young or old to have been affected by the treaty. They, or their descendants, could still be here in Britain. Birth, marriage, and death records can also help because they will list parents and mother's maiden name, which helps to link up other records. That's how I was able to track down my "missing" family. I'm sure England has an equivalent record system, but I've never used it.

Have you been in contact with anybody at Kew? Have they said if anything exists? I'm still interested to know if they have those records.

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paullucas01

Can you post what information you have ? or go to the Little Lithuania site and post there http://www.network54.com/Forum/5317/.

Any scrap of information will be useful, father's name, date of marriage, date of birth. Did your grand-father live in Scotland or England. I see you mention London.

I will visit Kew when I get the chance. There are many people looking for their grandparents or great-grandparents as a result of these deportations.

I believe my grand-father Jurgis Seniunas, was also deported to Russia in 1917 leaving my grandmother and my mother (just a few months old) in London. Nothing was ever heard of him again. I have tried searching the archives at Kew on-line but with no success so far.

Any other ideas for finding the information about the deportees?? I have been unable to find any members of his family in Lithuania because I don't know which part of the country he came from? Any ideas how to find others in his family - I know his year of birth, and his father's name but that's all

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paullucas01

Seniūnas (with the accent over the u) is not a very common name in Lithuania. There are 10 entries in the Lithuanian White Pages. I will check Scotland's People website later.

I believe my grand-father Jurgis Seniunas, was also deported to Russia in 1917 leaving my grandmother and my mother (just a few months old) in London. Nothing was ever heard of him again. I have tried searching the archives at Kew on-line but with no success so far.

Any other ideas for finding the information about the deportees?? I have been unable to find any members of his family in Lithuania because I don't know which part of the country he came from? Any ideas how to find others in his family - I know his year of birth, and his father's name but that's all

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tishpage10

Jurgis Seniunas was born in 1893 in Lithuania and married my grandmother Ursula Abraitis in Bethnal Green, London on August 1st 1915. Jurgis's father was called Petrus. Ursula was also born in Lithuania in a small village near Vilkaviskis in 1898.

I can find no records of when either of them travelled to England, but I assume it was in 1914 or 1915. I have a photo of Jurgis as a young man, taken in Lithuania before he left for England. He was obviously educated as he was able to sign his name on his marriage certificate, and his occupation was stated as a journeyman tailor. That's about as much as I know about him.

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paullucas01

Thank you. I agree he must have been educated as his name is spelt correctly. Most names are spelt incorrectly in the Scottish and English registries, Most Lithuanians were farmers in those times, so if he was a tailor he came from a town.

Do you know which village your grandmother came from? My family come from near Vilkaviskis also.

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tishpage10

Hello again

I don't know the Lithuanian name of the village my grandmother came from originally, though I believe the name translated into something like 'meeting of 4 roads' or 'crossroads'. Ursula's early life was very disrupted as her parents died of smallpox within three days of each other, leaving 4 children under 5 years old. The children were then farmed out to various relatives and I believe made to work to earn their keep. Not surprising then that she left for London while still very young. I visit a lady in Vidgiriu near Mariampole, whose father grew up with my grandmother, and I have a cousin in Alvitas

Although my grandmothe,r Ursula,lived in London till she died in 1970, she never learned to speak English so it was very difficult to ask her lots of questions. I haven't been able to find out whether she and Jurgis knew each other in Lithuania, or whether they didn't meet until they arrived in London or perhaps on the journey.

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paullucas01

My family's church was in Alvitas. It was destroyed in WW1 and again in WW2 so no records exist. Do you mean Vidgirai near Marijampole ? This is very close to where the Scottish Lithuanians came from.

I found this information.

The deportees were taken by ship to Arkhangelsk, then by rail to Vologda and on to Omsk. By the time the Lithuanian returnees arrived at Omsk, the Provisional Government had fallen and the Bolsheviks were in power. 140 of the group enrolled themselves on the local people's militia. Then, when Germany invaded Russia, 200 formed 2 companies of the the Second International Omsk Partisan detachment. They were first sent through Novonikolaevsk to Chita to fight against the forces of Ataman Semenov, forcing them back to the Manchurian frontier. From here, they went west to Irkutsk, to fight against the Czechoslovak Legion. Here, they were forced to retreat to Blagoveshchensk on the River Amur, where many Lithuanians fell into Japanese hands.

Some of those who were not caught joined Lithuianian companies and joined a Lithuanian Battalion, known as the ‘Vytautas the Great Battalion’, which was formed in Omsk as part of Kolchak’s anti-Bolshevik forces. In November 1919, they were sent to Cherepanov station, which was where the Red partisan group of Ivan Gromov operated. Some of the Lithuanians sent from Britain organised a mutiny, arrested the officers and took charge of the battalion, which they then put at the disposal of Gromov’s partisans. Along with the battalion, Steponaitis and his friends delivered into the hands of the Reds a large quantity of arms, ammunition and supplies, which were then utilised in campaigns against Kolchak. For the rest of the civil war the Lithuanian battalion fought as one of the three regiments comprising the First Soviet Chumysh Division'.

What this does not explain is how my great-uncle ended up in the 'free' Lithuanian Army fighting for independence in 1919/1920. His wife and daughter travelled in about 1920 back to Lithuania to be reunited,

My great-aunt's husband - Andreas Sabaliauskas lost his two brothers in Siberia in what he called the "railway wars". She was Anele Lukoseviciute.

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paullucas01

From "The evacuation of North Russia 1919, there are the following two entries for the evacuation

Braermar Castle 5.6.19 - 12 Lithuanians

Cap Verde 4.9.19 - 82 Lithuanians

There may have been others registered as Poles, Russians or the Slavo-British Legion.

Would anyone know ho wto obtain these shipping lists ? and where they were evacuated to ?

94 out approx. 1,1100 were evacuated-

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frances togneri

I have been following this thread with interest. My grandfather, Kazimeras Papilauskas, and his cousin, Juozas Papilauskas, were both sent to Archangel in October 1917. Kazimeras lived in Edinburgh, Juozas in Carfin, Lanarkshire. Juozas certainly sailed from Newcastle and I am told Kazimeras was with him. I have not been able to find the name of the ship - the only one I traced picked up men at London then broke down. All the men were transferred to other ships and I found nothing to indicate which ship stopped at Newcastle.

I have been looking for information on what happened to these men between October 1917 and the formation of the Slavo-British Legion in April/May 1918. (source War Office Records: Eastern Report, no XIII April 26 1917 and XIVMay 3 1917). Were they all taken to Omsk? The only information I have is from an elderly relative who was told that Kazimeras was put in charge of a baggage car travelling from Pertograd to Siberia. The car got as far as Omsk or Tomsk (further east) then got lost. I am also told that Juozas seemed to have a good working knowledge of the railway junctions around Pertograd and Zvanka. Does anyone know why they were on this railway or can verify that the Slavo-British Legion may have been moving rolling stock?

I believe some of the men dug fortifications around Murmansk or worked in coalmines nearby. I don't have any other information in relation to this.

For anyone making enquiries in Lithuania, pre 1922, please be aware the records (excluding Vilnius and Kaunas districts) are available in local churches only. The archive staff will carry out a search by hand but ask for 'precise data; the place, religion, church, dates of birth, marriage, death, surnames, names of brothers or sisters etc.' The search (there is a waiting list) takes about 1 to 1.5 years. Initial payment for a single family search is 300 Litas - aprox £69(sterling) at the present time.

I used scotlandspeople.gov.uk and recommend it to anyone with Scottish connections. There are BMDs for England and Wales but they only provide basic information. You need to note the location of the details and go to the office where it is stored.

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silvestris

Very interesting, Frances! How did you know they were sent to Archangel from Newcastle? And how did you find out it was in Oct 1917? Did you find that information somewhere? Or was it passed through family? Do you know how many of the other 1100 men went from Newcastle?

What is the Slavo-British Legion? Was it made up of deportees? Where did they fight? Were they able to return to Britain after the war?

Also, can you tell us more about the archives in Lithuania - is there one central holding? Specifically, I want to find record of a marriage that took place on 26 Feb 1900 in Vilnius. Would this be in an archive? Or just a church? If the wait is over a year, I might just go there myself.

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frances togneri

Silvestris

First the Slavo-British Legion. This was formed in 1918 by General Poole. Russia was an ally in WW1. See the War Office records I refer to in my previous post for the background. Briefly, the British Government had concerns about the number of ‘Russians’ now in the UK and not serving in the British army. They wished to deport them but did not have sufficient ships. They then proposed that every male ‘Russian’ between the age of 18 and 41 should either fight on the western front or in Russia. This proposal was agreed by the Provisional Russian Government and became the Anglo-British Convention of July 1917. ‘Russian’ men had one month to comply. Therefore the ‘Russians’ were returned to Russia between August and October. My grandfather, Kazimeras, and his cousin, Juozas, were among the 1100 from Scotland who chose to return to Russia. Once they arrived, it was up to the men to contact the Russian Army.

I had two strokes of good luck! A cousin showed me a family photo. The reverse had a stamp in Russian which translated as ‘The Board of the Fire Fighters Union Archangelsk’ so I know Kazimeras was in Archangel at some point. A second photo showed Kazimeras in uniform with his children, now older. The uniform was that of the Slavo-British Legion. See Churchhill’s Crusade, The British Invasion of Russia 1918-1919, Clifford Kinvig. Part of the book can be viewed online. I then traced Juozas’ son, now elderly but still with a good memory. He showed me his father’s Alien’s Registration Book. One page is stamped by the Alien’s Officer at Newcastle-on-Tyne 17 October 1917 and states he has applied to go to Russia. Other ports would be used. I don’t know why my relatives did not depart from Leith which was closer to home. Maybe Newcastle was used for all men living in Scotland and North of England? The date of return is 12 October 1919 but no port is given. It is also recorded that he was in the Slavo-British Legion. This was his ticket home. All the men had to prove they had served in the Legion or assisted the British in some other way to be allowed back into the UK.

The dates don’t make sense until you realise that accounts on the Internet ignore this missing period. In October 1917, the October Revolution put the Bolsheviks in power. The Tsar’s army (white army) became scattered throughout Russia but continued fighting. When the men landed at Murmansk or Archangel there was no organised army to join. Many men headed south or east and joined up with other white army units. This is probably why it is so difficult to identify where they fought. Others stayed where they had landed and found work to see them through the winter.

During this time the British Government no longer had an ally in Russia and the new Russian Government was making noises about an agreement with Germany to cease fighting. This would have given Germany access to Russian Minerals and fighting units. There was a possibility that Germany would win the war. This and the threat of the spread of Communism prompted the British Government to send General Poole to Murmansk and Archangel in April 1918. Some of the fighting was in the Dvina Valley during 1918-19 but I found a reference to the fact that the ‘Russians’ were not ideal soldiers and could not be fully trusted due to the number of prisoners now joining. Often ‘Russians’ were given labouring jobs and worked with other nationalities.

I think Kazimeras and Juozas had remained near to the ports and this is how they became part of the Legion. I suspect that many who had moved away did not make it back for the evacuation and this could be the reason why so many Lithuanians did not return to their families. Look up Paul Lucas’s reference to the evacuation (above). The last two pages provide information on all the ships and men evacuated. Remember, they could be listed under Poles, Lithuanians, Civilians, Russians or Slavo-British Legion!

Regarding Vilnius and the marriage you want to trace. Contact the Lithuanian State Historical Archives (lcva@takas.lt). They maintain registry books of churches and religious communities up to 1939. However, this is where they tell you what they don’t have! Most records are not computerised. Also bear in mind that Vilnius was occupied by Poland in a subsequent war and Kaunas was the capital during this time. The Lithuanians seem eager to assist people searching for lost family history. I visited and found people friendly.

Frances

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silvestris

This is really great information. My great-grandfather (Kazimiras Kisielius) must have been one of the ones who did not remain in Archangel. He wasn't allowed back to Scotland after the war. My great-grandmother and their infant son eventually left Glasgow and they reunited in Lithuania (Kaunas, I believe). My grandmother was born there soon after.

I would really love to know what happened to him from late 1917 to 1920. Do you think those who left Archangel would have gone to join the Tsar's White Army? Or might they have joined the Bolshevik Red Army? There were a lot of socialists in Lithuanian community in Glasgow (being that they were largely exploited miners!). My great-aunt recently told me that several of my great-grand-uncles fled to the United States in 1917 "because they didn't want to fight against their brothers". I suspect that she might be translating it as "brothers" but actually they didn't want to fight against their "comrades". If they were sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, they certainly wouldn't want to go join the White Army. Do you think this is possible? I'm not sure why they wouldn't have chosen to go to the Western Front instead though (other than just trying to avoid fighting altogether, of course!). Any suggestions for how I might confirm this?

Perhaps those of us who are in Scotland (I'm in Edinburgh) should get together to compare notes. Maybe we can come up with a plan for tracking down some of this information.

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