One statement in the article “Immigration Records of the EWZ” by Steven W. Blodgett, A. G., copyrighted. Feefhs Quarterly Volume VI, Numbers 1-4 caught my attention as I had not read it anywhere else. It describes “An incomplete set of pedigree files dealing mainly with emigrants from Wartheland-Poland and Lithuania (69 rolls of film)” and are listed in the Family Search catalogue under Einwandererzentralstelle 1940-1941, FHL 1364501-1364568.
I thought that there might be additional information Germans in Lithuania so I used the Family Search catalogue
The catalogue listed 1961 as the acquisition date. (EWZ Einwanderer and Stammblätter state the acquisition date as 1992!) The key words are “resettled in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria.”
At the bottom of the page I found the three films listed under “Umsiedler aus Litauen.”
Considering the disclaimer at the top, I was amazed to have them available on my own laptop.
There were almost 3500 images on the third film. The two case numbers I was interested in were listed in the Family Search catalogue toward the end of the film, the last 1000 images. In a quick perusal I noted: the many -at names, the evangelische religion, and the place of birth or residence. Many were from Taureggen, a long time evangelische parish; several had been born in Kovno, now Kaunas, where evangelische had settled during the 1795 to 1807 Prussia Era at the northeast corner, where the Memel River turns west, of what would become known as the northern border of Suwalki Province. Others were from Mariampol and Pilwischki, (near Vilkaviskis). Some were born in Kreis Traki farther east, some in Riga. Some were very young, a girl born in 1925, barely 15, in December 1941. One was a boy born in 1927, a student. So young.
This film also may help the researcher understand the processing of some of these 2.1 million people. It seems as if the people in this collection declared in some official way that they desired to be re-settled in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria. That decision meant their EWZ registrations fell into a different category than many others. The 1998 Blodgett article referred to in the earlier post states that the FHL acquired these records “some time ago.”
Although the above information is not a scientific overview, this lesser known resource may help some researchers who cannot find their Lithuanian ancestors in the two more widely known FHL EWZ records.
I put in the case number of first person.
For example, I was looking for someone whose case number was 502510.
The film description went from 502487 to 502517, but there was no 502 510 on this film.
Then I looked for someone whose case number was 516540. These files went from 516398 to 516552, but there was no 516 540 on this film.]
Perhaps the reason that this partial collection came to the FHL 31 years earlier than the more widely known EWZ collection follows: the resettlement pattern for this group of people, the majority of them from Taureggen, was an early, cohesive decision to remain together, just as their ancestors had for generations.
If you are searching for Germans in Lithuania and are reasonably sure that there were some relatives there at the beginning of WWII and did not find them in the previous EWZ collections, this often-overlooked collection might be worth a look.