Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful / Those Places Thursday: Lithuanian Payoff to Blogging

Birth/baptism record from St. George Catholic Church, Smilgiai, Lithuania,
for my great-grandfather Charles (Kazimieras) Guokas, born 27 February 1863

A couple days ago, I was contacted by Osvaldas Guokas in Lithuania.  He'd read this blog and used the contact button at the end of a post to send me an e-mail.  He said, "Our Lithuanian last name Guokas is not usual in Lithuania.  My father Vytautas Guokas (RIP) was born near [the] small town [of] Smilgiai.  It is only one place in Lithuania w[h]e[r]e we can find [a] few tombstones with last name Guokas."

Smilgiai caught my eye, because an obituary my mother had for her great uncle Anton Guokas (1875-1947) said he was from this parish in Lithuania - so I assume his older brother, my great-grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Sr. (1863-1939), was from there, too.

Osvaldas, who is about 17 years younger than me, offered to help.  I gave him the birthdates of Charles and Anton and their brother Joseph (1869-1963), and their names in Lithuanian (Kazimieras, Juozas, and Antanas - the obituary for Anton was in Lithuanian; Mom had it translated).

Next thing I know, Osvaldas sent me the birth/baptism record pictured above, from St. George Catholic Church in Smilgiai.  Osvaldas says:

"Text in Russian means that parents of Kazimieras (Charlie) were:
Peasants Jonas and Marija Šukyte,Guokas in lawful marriage.
[He] was born 1863 year February 27 day, in Smilgiai parish, village Celkiai. [This is my great-grandfather's date of birth, and I can clearly read the 1863 and 27 in the record picture above.]

In Russian it was written: 'krist. Yana i Mariany iz Shukov Gokov...'
Original Lithuanian names are Jonas (Yan), Marija (Mariana), last names Šukytė (Shukov), Guokas (Gokov).
Čelkiai (Chelkiai in english), [is a] village near Smilgiai (~10km to north from Smilgiai). Godfather was Antanas Guokas. I think that Antanas is [the] father of my grandfather Justinas (I'm so thinking, I need to prove it)."

Stay tuned - I am hoping to find out more!  Just wanted to show you blogging about your family history pays off.  I now have the name of my great-great-grandfather, Jonas Guokas - before, all I had was his first initial.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Wow! This is so awesome! Congratulations!

  2. What a thrill to receive this record from a reader in Lithuania! I've also gotten into contact with a few kind strangers in my ancestral home towns, and it is one of the true joys of blogging: to find a personal connection to the place where your ancestors spent their lives. I'm so happy you found this connection, Amanda.

  3. I just discovered photos of my gg-grandparents from a cemetery in Smilgiai and would love to be in contact with you an perhaps your point of contact in Lithuania. I am new to genealogy so it is all a bit overwhelming, but quite exciting!!

    1. Sure Julie! I hope you write about it on your blog, which I am now following!