So, you want to work on a genealogy project?
Email: gfmray at aol dot com (spam protection format)
MY LITHUANIAN HERITAGE
My short-term maternal heritage is Lithuanian. My mother, Lila Lee (Packard) Woodworth, was born in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Her mother, Amelia Julia Rose Preskins, was the second child of six, and the first of the children born in the United States, also in Boston. Her older brother, Vincas was born in Lithuania. Amelia married Merle Everett Packard. She worked in the shoe trade and moved around to different shoe factories and towns. eventually settling in Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Because of this, Amelia became separated from her Lithuanian family and heritage, so I do not know as much about this side of the family that I probably would have if all had stayed put in one place. After becoming interested in genealogy, I tried to make up for some of my lack of Lithuanian knowledge by gathering as many vital statistics that I could come across. I am a member of Ancestry.com and have a "Woodworth Family Tree" with more detail about the Lithuanians in my heritage.
1. Harry George Joseph Woodworth, born 13 December, 1943, Brockton.
2. Harry George Woodworth, born 01 Jun 1924, Brockton, died 25 December, 1944, WWII, Battle of the Bulge, married Lila Lee Packard, born 30 Sep 1924, Boston, died 07 Mar 1998, Stoughton, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
3. Merle Everett Packard, born 19 Jul 1895, Holbrook, Norfolk, Massachusetts, died 10 Sep 1972, Stoughton, married Amelia Julia Rose Preskins/Preskenis, b 20 September, 1903, Boston, d 13 May 1999, Brockton.
4. Vincas/William Preskenis/Preskins, born about 1859, Druskininkai, Lithuania, Russia, died 23 August 1928, Boston, married Louise Martha/Ludwika Kulesus, born about 1874, Lithuania, Russia, died 13 November, 1946, Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
5. Paul Kulesus/Kuleish, born say 1845, Lithuania, Russia, died say 1935, ae 90, probably Lithuania, Russia, married Martha Sidlauskas, born say 1850, probably Lithuania, Russia, d prbly Lithuania, Russia.
LITHUANIAN VOLUNTEER WORK
I became a member of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago, Illinois (1), and started gathering any information I could find about Lithuanians, starting when I was living in Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, from 1980 until 1994 moving to and currently living in Willingboro, Burlington County, New Jersey. Because of the amount of information I mailed to the Balzekas, they published a biography on me in 1993. In 1995, they asked me to submit an article about what a person who wants to volunteer for the Balzekas, might do. The following is the published article in the Spring 1995 issue, Lithuanians in New Jersey (Vol Vi, No. 1) :
Harry Woodworth of Willingboro, New Jersey, has been an Archivist-at-Large for the Immigration History & Genealogy Department of the Balzekas Museum for several years. His biography was featured in the Fall 1993 issue of Genealogija. Thanks to Harry, our collection on the Lithuanian immigrant community of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is probably the largest after the Chicago collection. Not only has he compiled records at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, but he is now copying death notices from old copies of Elizabeth Daily Journal newspapers. We have established a special collection, New Jersey Death Notices, where we deposit his work. Because so many of you have inquired about a Lithuanian genealogy project that could be done away from the Chicago area, we asked Harry to write an article about his work.
Jessie Daraska (2) brought to my attention that people often express a desire to do some type of genealogical volunteer work, but are not sure what is needed, or exactly what they can do. If you are tracking your own family, it might be difficult to imagine that you could have time to do any extra work at all. Is there anything easy to do?
When I first became familiar with the Balzekas Museum, it was through Jessie's work on the Lithuanian Pioneer Project, the gathering of Lithuanians who immigrated to the USA, WWI and before. I had been doing the simple chore of checking the daily newspaper obituaries for specific family names such as Packard and Reynolds, and for people who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. It was very easy to add articles on Lithuania(ns) to my list, and my mother started keeping her eyes open in the newspaper of my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts. I eventually became aware of the Lithuanian community in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and visited Sts. Peter & Paul Church, where I was treated most kindly, and whose early vital records are now protected at the Balzekas.
Since the early Lithuanian immigrants tended to settle together, I began to think that any local newspapers would yield much information on our Pioneers. I decided to check the microfilm records of the Elizabeth Daily Journal, starting in the mid 1950's and working backwards, since obituaries closer to the present would probably contain more information and be fairly well formatted. Indeed, our Pioneers are revealing themselves! I am using public records, the newspapers, and am able to contribute to a specific project, the Pioneer Project. I moved from the Elizabeth area to southern New Jersey last year, and thought my research might have ended. However, I am able to obtain the Elizabeth Daily Journal through the Interlibrary loan program from Rutgers University, and I have just finished 1945.
Most of the Pioneers I've found fit the profile of the Pioneer Project: they typically were hardworking people, Some fell by the wayside, dying alone, no family, and might never have been recognized for the Pioneer that they were. Others bubbled to the top. Joseph J. Borris of Linden, NJ, b Lithuania, c 1890, was the first president of the Knights of Lithuania of Kearny, NJ. During WWI he presented a Lithuanian flag to Fort Dix, Lithuania being the only Allied nation not being represented in flags flown at the camp at the time.
Some Pioneers teach you things when they are discovered. Newark, NJ, was established in 1666. Hillside is a suburb of Newark, and you would think it would have been established around then. Not so. Adam Masionis was one of the early settlers of Hillside, and Mr. Masionis was b Lithuania, c. 1867, and emigrated to the U.S. c. 1888. His article also presents the potential problem that today's researchers face. Mr. Masionis left survivors ranging from New Jersey to Bangor, Maine, and Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania. I'm having trouble finding the name of my g-grandfather's brother, and they at least remained in Boston!
The first and second generations of Lithuanian Pioneers began their contributions to this country. Edward Kidzus, b. Newark, c. 1925, was a commander of the Lithuanian American Veterans 1947 of Newark. He designed the logo for the veterans that is inscribed on the plaque of the unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. And, as I begin to work backwards, entering the WWII years, the names of those in the military of Lithuanian descent who gave the ultimate sacrifice, a very special group, are becoming known again - as, eventually, those in WWI will be, as I continue my search. So, back to the question what can you do, should you desire to do some type of volunteer work?
Volunteer work can be as simple as just keeping your eyes open when you read your local newspaper, clipping and sending articles to Balzekas Museum. For people located in an area which had a large Lithuanian immigrant community, perhaps a project such as mine might appeal to you. Are you interested in a certain name? Perhaps you might check the oldest Street Directories at your library for that name, and copy that page for the Balzekus Museum. Remember Mr. Masionis? The name you find in Allentown might be important to someone in Kansas City. Blessed are they who decide to research, and contribute exact immigration dates for the Pioneers. You might think that spending only a few hours a week will not be very productive. However, as time goes by you will be very surprised at what you have uncovered. And, when combined with what others are doing, the information you uncover could be most helpful to other researchers and to a general understanding of the Lithuanian experience and culture, both here and in the old country. For those living near the Balzekas Museum, drop in and see what you might do to help organize all the material that is being sent to them. I'm sure they could use it.
Notes, not printed in above article:
(1) Balzekas Museum of Lithuania Culture
[Immigration History & Genealogy Department]
[Lithuanian American Genealogy Society]
6500 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
(2) Jessie Daraska, chairperson of the Immigration History & Genealogy (IHG) Departtment and director of the Lithuanian Pioneer Project; Jessie Daraska and John Daraska, board member, Lithuanian American Genealogy Society and chairman, Lithuanian Genealogy Tour '95; Julie Daraska Balzekas, Editor-in-Chief, Genealogija Editorial Board
(3) The Lithuanian Pioneers - A Study of Lithuanian Immigration To The United States Before World War 1
Copyright 2000 by John R. Darask. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted , in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without permission of John R. Daraska. Design and typography by Harvey Retzloff.
MY DNA LITHUANIAN-ASIAN HERITAGE
The analysis of a person's dna is becoming a very important tool in genealogy. I decided to have my dna analyzed, first starting with my paternal dna (YDNA). The results should show a Woodworth line, father to father to father, etc, extending back tens of thousands of years. In my case, the results did match a majority of Woodworth men who were tested. I then decided to have my mitochondrial dna (mtDNA) test. This maternal dna is passed down mother to mother to mother, etc, also extending back tens of thousands of years. I could get both test done because a man receives both paternal and maternal dna, but can only pass down the paternal. A woman does not receive the male dna, only the female. I was expecting a result which would probably match the mtDNA of a typical Lithuanian woman. I received a big surprise instead, my mtDNA is Asian!!
Asian haplogroups, a term used to distinquish various dna mutation lines, are given letters mostly from the top of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, with an X given as a minority Asian mtDNA line. My result was a D. This created a little excitement, like, "Did you see what your results came back as!?" thinking that I was Native American. These haplogroups are shared my most Native Americans! Since Lithuania is not known for its abundance of Native Americans, one would have to look East into the Orient for a possible solution. There are different levels of testing, a more detailed mutation study eliminating many of the "cousin" hits that the testing company sends you. Because of my unusual results, a decided to get the deepest test possible. The results of this test can also give you the percentage chances of getting a particular disease, but the company itself will not tell you, and I am not interested in finding that out. The results of this deepest test gave me a result of D4.
Haplogroups are determined by headquarters in the Netherlands. I decided to do my dna because I was over 60, had had a heart attack, had other health problems, was an only child (although my mother's sister had 3 sons, all hopefully sharing the same results if tested!!), and with no assurance on how long I am to remain in this plane of existence. With the help of a few Ph.D.'s, I uploaded my maternal dna results into the world-wide dna data base. At this point in time, the Netherlands also decided that a particular D4 mutation was an important mutation and should be designated with a "j." I had that mutation, thus I became a D4j. Shortly thereafter, Dr Logan, an expert in the D haplogroup, suggested I contact Dr Vanoven of the Netherlands headquarters to see if I can get a number to add to my D4j, since I was currently unique with no other "hits" from the data base. He was very receptive, and I now have a haplogroup of D4j2! Now that the mechanics are done, the fun begins. How does a man with a maternal Lithuanian lineage end up being pre-Russia Siberian?
The possibilities are almost endless, since the D haplogroup formed over 40,000 years ago. Travel routes for the various haplogroups are determined as they split off the original haplogroups in Africa and began the migration to different parts of the world, per the Out Of Africa theory. The D migration crossed the current Middle East countries, up into Tibet and China, of which some of the ladies then crossed the "Bridge" connecting Siberia and North American during a low-ocean period, and established Native American heritage. Native Americans mostly share one particular D mutation called 16325. I do not have this mutation, so this points to my mtDNA heritage as being strictly Siberian. So, the question now is, how and when did my ladies end up in Lithuania? Did they migrate north then west following the receding glaciers of the last Ice Age? Were they part of the over 100 year occupation of present day Lithuania by Attila the Hun's people? A time period of this length hints at the establishment of East Asian families into the region, with European/Asian mixing likely.
Perhaps a particular lady remain in Siberia, but a Lithuanian man came to them and brought her back to his home. When I was a child, I overheard my mother and her mother talking about grandmother's father, my g-grandfather. Being a child, I paid no attention to the conversation (kicking myself now!), but always remembered grandma saying that her father had something to do with being in the Russian army and in a war with Japan. Later in life, I thought it might have been the Russo/Japanese War (1904-1905), but this was too late as he was too old and in the USA already. If this is the correct scenario, he would probably have been part of the Russian forces expanding across Siberia, as we here were expanding westward across North America, and brought back a Siberian wife to Lithuania (with the Czar's approval, of course!). Perhaps the lady, my g-grandmother, was of a family descended from Attila's horde; but this family, a long-term Lithuanian family, was exiled to Siberia in one of Russia's numerous expulsions of non-Russian peoples into the depths of Siberia. Predominantly Lithuanian towns did spring up in Siberia, and it would be logical that a Lithuanian/Russian soldier would visit them if they were in the local area where the troops were. Even today, groups of Lithuanians go to tend the cemeteries of Lithuanians who died in Siberia.
I had both my paternal and maternal dna tested with the company FamilyTreeDNA. The results of my test are coded in 3 areas, the first called HVR1, the second called HVR2, and the third called the Coding Region. A person's dna is compared to a person used as a standard reference, and the company certifies that the results of the test "differs from the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS-the accepted mtDNA standard) at the numbered positions indicated, by the presence of the bases designated A, C, G or T" and "The letters designate the base that occurs at each of those positions in place of the entire CRS. These are distinctive of this sample and may be compared to other people to confirm or rule out common descent, providing genetic evidence of genealogical relationships. The following are my test results:
HVR1 - 16223T, 16261T, 16291T, 16362C, 16519C
HVR2 - 73G, 152C, 263G, 309.1C, 315.1C, 489C
Coding Region - 750G, 1438G, 2706G, 3010A, 4769G, 4883T, 5178A, 5563A, 5824A, 7028T, 8414T, 8701G, 8860G, 9540C, 10398G, 10400T, 10873C, 11696A, 11719A, 12501A, 12705T, 14668T, 14766T, 14783C, 15043A, 15301A, 15326G
As mentioned before, I do not have an exact match in the world-wide mtDNA data base. I do have some relatively "close hits" where a close hit might be an individual sharing a common ancestor with me many generations back. The closest matches that have appeared to date are a Mansi and a Ket, both natives of Siberian tribes, and a Chumash Native American of Monterey, California, USA. Some other individuals in my D4j "twig" hail from Japan, China, Yukaghir, Kazakh, Buriat, Evenki, Nganasan, and Tubalar [ref-Dr. Logan], with a D4 "bullseye" centered on Korea.
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