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Source Information

JewishGen.org Volunteers, comp. Lithuania, Internal Passports, 1919-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: Original records held at the Lithuanian Central State Archives, Vilnius, Lithuania. Fond and other source information provided with individual record. This data is provided in partnership with JewishGen.org.

About Lithuania, Internal Passports, 1919-1940

Historical Background:

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. These internal passports were issued by local municipalities, town dwellers administration, or the police. They were of different categories and colors - 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. Not only Jews, but all the categories of population, including even nobility, needed internal passports for traveling, and these also might have been different.

For the period 1919-1940, every Lithuanian citizen age 17 or older was required to have an internal passport. These passports could only be used to travel within Lithuania. However, these internal passports were not issued for the purpose of traveling - these were personal identification documents every Lithuanian citizen was issued at the age of 17, even if one had no intention of traveling. In the beginning of the 1920s, all the adult citizens, regardless of age, had to obtain internal passports. They had to prove the right to Lithuanian citizenship by producing evidence that they were residents of the territory of Lithuania before World War I.

Contents of the Files:

Many of the Internal Passport files contain photographs as well as additional records — applications, affidavits, copies of birth and marriage certificates, etc. Sometimes, when vital records were missing, extracts from revision and family lists were produced to prove one's identity and right to Lithuanian citizenship. Even extracts from otherwise currently missing 1858 revision lists have been found in some files.

The Internal Passport itself consisted of four pages with the basic information; name, surname, date of birth, place of birth, address, nationality, religion, occupation, some special traits (if the person had any), family status, inscription about children, the passport numbers, issue date, photo, the registration stamp about where they lived, and some other short notes.

About the Database:

It is estimated that as many as 150,000 Jewish internal passport files are stored in the Lithuanian archives. This database currently contains 38,643 records from the following towns and regions:

    Town / RegionNumber of Records
    Kaunas (Kovno)27,656
    Kaunas district3,846
    Jonava (Yanove)840
    Naujamiestis (Nayshtot-Ponivezh)261
    Pumpenai (Pumpian)245
    Panevežys (Ponevez)4,331
    Rokiškis (Rakishok)187
    Rozalimas (Rozalye)67
    Seinai district (Synee)453
    Šiauliai district (Shavl)253
    Troškunai (Trashkon)504
    Vandžiogala area (Vendzigole)694

The fields included in this database are:

  • Passport Number: this is the Internal Passport number. Every family member will be listed in the database. However, only the passport number of the applicant will be listed. Example: The husband applies and receives an internal passport. His wife and their three children are also listed but only the passport number for the husband is included. As each child reaches the age of 17, they also had to apply for an internal passport and their passport number will be listed. The father, mother, and two siblings will also be listed. This passport application is in a separate file from the first file for the husband. In some cases, this creates duplication of the same family information. However, there could be some differences; the address may be different, the father may no longer be living, or some other family event may have occurred. As much as possible, the internal passport number will be included in the database. It is not critical however, as in contacting the archive for copies of documents, the full name of the applicant and the archive's File Number is sufficient.


  • Surname: in the original files, the surnames and given names are written in Lithuanian. The English transliteration is used in the database. Note that in the Lithuanian language, surnames have different suffixes, depending upon the sex and marital status of the individual.


  • Maiden Name: many maiden names of the wife are included in the database


  • Given Name: the given name(s) of the individual


  • Relationship to Head of Household: head of household, wife, son, daughter, mother, brother, etc.


  • Father: the given name(s) of the individual’s father


  • Age: the age, or date of birth, of the individual


  • Place of Birth: many towns, villages, and manors in Lithuania are included, as well as towns in Russia and elsewhere


  • Reason Left: After returning to Lithuania, not many left. However, some went to Palestine, America, South Africa, etc., some married and went elsewhere, some died. In those instances, the information is provided in the database.


  • Year Left: The year the person left Lithuania, for whatever reason


  • Marriage Status: Single, married, widow, or widower


  • Day, Month, Year: the date that the internal passport application was filed


  • Address: street address in Panevėžys where the applicant was living. In some cases, the application was filed in Panevėžys, but the applicant was living elsewhere, so the address is shown for the other town.


  • Town: Town of Residence = "Panevėžys", or elsewhere


  • Uyezd: District of Residence = Panevėžys. In some cases, the application was filed in Panevėžys, but the applicant was living elsewhere, so the address is shown for the other town.


  • Type of Record: "Internal Passport Application". Some duplicate internal passports are also listed. This indicates that the original internal passport was lost, the applicant got married and needed a new passport with her married name, or for some other reason.


  • Archive / Fond / Inventory / File Number: The original files are in the Lithuanian Central State Archives (LCVA). The Fond (record group), Inventory, and File numbers indicate the location of a particular file in the archive. In contacting the archive, this information enables the archivist to easily find the correct file.


  • Occupation: If the applicant's occupation was given, it is included in the database


  • Comments: This column includes information that does not fit into any of the other column headings. In many cases, details about various types of records that are included in the individual’s file are included in the comments.

For a copy of actual records contained in a file, contact the Lithuanian Central State Archives at:

Lietuvos Centrinis Valstybės Archyvas (Lithuanian Central State Archives)
O. Milašiaus 21
Vilnius, LT-10102
Lithuania

Mr. Dalius Žižys, Director
Tel: 370 - 5 - 247 - 7811
Fax: 370 - 5 - 276 - 5312
Email: lcva@archyvai.lt
Web: http://www.archyvai.lt

In order to find a record, as much basic information on the individual as possible, must be provided:

  • Full names (including maiden name) written in capital letters

  • Date and place of birth, marriage or death (though approximate)

  • Place of residence — town, village, region, district or other areas and addresses

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