First time int'l researcher and need direction - Lithuania & Ellis Island
- Anton (Anthony) Davidaitis Kowno (Kaunas) Lithuania
Our grandfather was named Anton (Anthony) Davidaitis, born about 1876 in Lithuania. He indicated on the 7/6/1914 arrival papers at Ellis Island that he and wife and oldest son (our dad) had been in the USA several times prior to this "last" trip, but we have not located any arrival papers proving this. He indicates they were from Kowno (renamed Kaunas). They arrived through Rotterdam on the New Amsterdam ship. The papers indicate his nationality was Russian, and race Lithuanian.
Wife - Benadikta (Benedicta) Morris born in Lithuania 1886
Son - Fransisck (Frank) born in Lithuania 1905
Son - Constantin - born in Pittsburg 1908
Son - Anton - born in Pittsburg 1912
Son - Benedikt - born in Lithuania 1916
His wife's maiden name is listed as Morris which sounds very Americanized.
In all these years of researching, this is my FIRST experience researching someone internationally and am stumped.
His wife/widow and two children changed spelling to Daviditis once naturalized, and our dad changed his spelling to David. Anton was on the 1920 census papers in USA and the last name appears to be Daviditis but poorly written. He either died or "left" because we can't track him later. They settled this time in Athol, MA where most of the family stayed. Dad was in merchant marines and once he left home in his teens, did not return to the family so we do not know anything about this huge part of our family.
One time Dad said that Anton went back and forth to Lithuania because he had property he was selling, but this would have been during the war and we feel that might not be the time to try that.
We know Benedicta, son Constantin (John), and his wife Evelyn lived and died in Athol, MA. We cannot find an obit or cemetery listing.
Is there a way to access someone's naturalization first papers in the US? They should have more detailed information one would think. Someone just suggested trying to locate their Catholic records in Lithuania because the church recorded births and there is not a master list held by the country itself. Is this right? Is there a list of the old churches in late 1800, early 1900's in that area so we could see if they have old records?
Were they accurate in spelling names at Ellis? Did they refer to travel papers when confirming the spelling or were they interpreting the spelling based on what being told by the person/people entering the country?
Is this name common in Lithuania, and possibly spelled slightly differently? Since Lithuania was a part of Russia at that time, does that matter? Lots of questions, lost as a goose, and would appreciate some direction or help, please. Where do I start and get to the Lithuanian documents or cemeteries there, etc.? Definitely need some help. Thank you.