Authors of the map (2023)

The “Destination Lithuanian America” interactive map of Lithuanian heritage in the USA and Canada has been created by the team of the “Global True Lithuania” website, with tremendous help from Lithuanian Americans, Lithuanian institutions, and others.

Hereunder is the list of the participants of the 2023 expeditions to the USA and Canada and the volunteers/sponsors who helped them. The lists from previous expeditions:
2017 East Coast
2018 Mid-West
2019 Canada and nearby areas.
2020-2021 West and South
2022 USA East, Alberta, Alaska

The team

Augustinas Žemaitis
Augustinas is the owner of “Global True Lithuania” website about the Lithuanian heritage and sites beyond Lithuania. His research on the Lithuanian heritage abroad has been published in “Vytis” and “Draugas” Lithuanian-American newspapers as well as the top Lithuanian media. He also has the True Lithuania website which is a massive introduction to Lithuania in the English language. He is an avid traveler who visited over 110 countries. He is interested in cultures and has authored a Lithuanian book on the Writing systems of the world, also owns a Lithuanian website on national anthems and many other websites.

He is the leader in the “Destination Lithuanian America” project. He contacted the local Lithuanians, took pictures, wrote the site descriptions, filmed, controlled the social media of the project, and created this interactive map.

E-mail: .

Aistė Žemaitienė
Aistė is an attorney who works with the cases of Lithuanian citizenship restoration. “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteer, she drove the car and interviewed the locals as well as filmed them. She did the legal support for the project and kept contact with the media.

E-mail: .


Primary sponsors

Republic of Lithuanian Department of Culture

Sponsored the “Destination Lithuanian America 2023” expedition

Press, radio, and Television support foundation of the Republic of Lithuania

Sponsored articles and Youtube videos.

Lithuanian Foundation, Inc.

The largest Lithuanian-American sponsoring institution, located in Chicago, has sponsored the post-production of the expedition materials.

Major sponsors

Daniel M. Zelionis Foundation
(Nashua, NH)

Amerikos lietuvių tautinė sąjunga
(Boston, MA)

Sidabriniai rėmėjai

Vismantas Vidugiris (Chicago, IL) Maironis (Worcester, MA) Mary Agnes Mikalauskas (Dayton, OH) Vida/Lucius Strazdis (Worcester, MA)
Algis Glodas (Worcester, MA) Mark ir Sara Zelionis (Nashua, NH) Roberta Woitkowski (Nashua, NH) Frank ir Candance Ulcickas (Nashua, NH)
Broderick Dana Norkus (Grand Rapids, MI) Valentinas Varnelis (Chicago, IL) Brighton Park Lithuanian Parish (Chicago, IL) Detroit Divine Providence Lithuanian Parish

Other sponsors

“Destination Lithuanian America 2023” was also supported by Diana Norkienė, Asta Nenortienė, Rasa Kapeckienė, Deb Pileikienė, Edita Kizevičienė, Rasa Naujalis, Rimantas Samis, Jolanta Melninkaitis, Peter E. Verseckas, Jonas Žemaitaitis, Vytenis, Birutė and Paulius Nenortai, Gloria and Algis Adomkaičiai, Bronius and Birutė Banaičiai, Paula Lyons, Renata Špakevičienė, Vida Penikienė, Rima Aukštikalnis-Cibas, Vytautas and Danutė Dilbos, Gintaras and Valentina Čepai, Dan and Vilija Bonda, Charlotte McGowan, Brenda Dzierzeski, Charles Trečiokas, Birutė Šležas, Romas Jokūbauskas, Edward Baumil, George Sirusas, Sandra Colbert, Lynell E Cannell, Valentine Gailius Senkus, Kęstutis Pocius, Char Czarnecki, Brian Maitner, Elga Butkevičienė, Allen and Karen Krulek, Jerry Uzas, Sonja Andrews, David and Gražina Dainelis, Alec McGuire, George Masck, Charles Butler, Anne Tubinis Audette, Augustinas Tijūnėlis, Pawl Kisiel and some anonymous others.

Lodging sponsors

“Destination Lithuanian America 2023” thanks for lodging provided to our volunteers by Emilia Sodonis (New Jersey, 1 night), Linas Balsys (Naugatuck, Conecticut – 4 nights), Erikas Bartkus (New York – 1 naktis), Pawel Kisiel (Chicago – 1 night), Gražina Paegle (Alexander, Maine – 1 night), Vaida Labžintytė (Kenebunkport, Maine – 1 night), Almantas Galvanauskas (Ann Arbor, Michigan – 4 nights), Elaine and Alvin Luschas (Pennsylvanian Lithuanian days – 2 nights), Matulaitis Mission (Lemont, Ililnois – 4 nights), Egidijus Bugailiškis (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – 1 night), Birutė Šležas (Boston, Massachusetts – 1 night), Ilja Goldovt (Boston, Massachusetts – 4 nights).

In places not mentioned here, the lodging costs were covered by the donations of monetary sponsors listed in other lists above and personal money of Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitis.

Media partners

Lithuanian-American newspaper “Draugas”.

Thank you for all the coverage!

Local helpers in Canada and the USA

“Destination Lithuanian America 2023” volunteers have met some 200 people who helped in one way or another or came to our project presentations/lectures. Below is the list of people who helped us organize the visits to various “Lithuanian” cities, who led us or helped us to find the Lithuanian sites there, opened particular closed sites, told us the stories of such sites, or helped spread the word about our visits. In addition to them, we have met many other people, some of whom are also mentioned. Please note that sponsors (including lodging sponsors) are listed separately above.

If you are one of these people and You would like to get your picture changed or additional Lithuania-related details to be mentioned, please contact us by

New York

Povilas (Pablo) Debesis
Povilas (Pablo) Debesis was born in Uruguay. It was his grandparents who left Lithuania and came over to this country. He still speaks perfect Lithuanian, though. Pablo came to Lithuania, as the political regime in Uruguay changed, he was not able to come back to the country he was born in, so he went to the USA where he worked in the bookshop of Spanish books in New York. Now he is the administrator of “Tautos fondas” in New York and he showed around its premises for the expedition “Tikslas – Amerika 2023” volunteers in the same building where “Lithuanian Alliance in America” is located.

New Jersey

Bruce Kauffmann
Bruce Kauffmann is the board member of “Schuyler Savings Bank” in Kearny, New Jersey. It was his grandparents who came over to the USA, and he was already born in the USA, still, he has a deep interest in the current politics of Lithuania as well as its culture and history. Bruce was born into the family of a Lithuanian mother and German father, he later on joined the “Schuyler Savings Bank” incorporated by Lithuanians in New Jersey.
You may watch the interview with Bruce Kauffmann on “TrueLithuania” YouTube channel here:


Linas Balsys
Linas Balsys is a descendant of second and third Lithuanian generations in the USA. His father fled Lithuania escaping from the Soviet genocide in Lithuania (as a member of the second generation of Lithuanians in the USA) and married his mother who was already born in the USA (a member of the first Lithuanian generation in the USA). Linas speaks fluent Lithuanian, he is also a member of “Knights of Lithuania” in his area. Linas welcomed expedition volunteers at his home and also showed around in Waterbury and Naugatuck in Connecticut.
Erik Bartkus
Erik Bartkus is a Lithuanian of New York, who shares his life between New York city and Waterbury, Connecticut. Having purchased a house in the Lithuanian district in Waterbury, he created a Lithuanian tradition there to celebrate “Joninės” – “St. John’s eve”, a very famous Lithuanian festival. He spread the word, and now not only the Lithuanians, but also the Americans come here each year to celebrate. Erik uses a nickname of a former Lithuanian partisan “Alkupėnas Žadgaila”. Erik helped expedition “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers with transport in New York and also allowed them to stay at his house.
Christian Allyn
Christian Allyn is a selectman of North Canaan, Connecticut, however, he spends much of his time in Waterbury, Connecticut, trying to keep Lithuanian flame alive here. He joined many Lithuanian organisations in the area, also rented an apartment in a house, built by Lithuanians hundred years ago, and now has both Lithuanian and USA flags there. Christian is only 28, however, he is one of the key persons leading the fight against the archidiocese that is willing to close the Lithuanian St. Joseph church in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Peter Verseckas
Peter Verseckas’ grandparents left what was then the Russian Empire as Lithuania was a part of it, and moved to the USA. Peter told the “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers about the history of Lithuanian neighbourhood in Connecticut.


Jonas Stundžia
Jonas Srundžia is a historian in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and knows a lot about the history of this city, as well as Lithuanian life in America. He was the key person to build a memorial for the famous 1912 strike victims in Lawrence as one victim was also a Lithuanian, named Jonas Smolskas. Jonas Stundžia also organized a movement to collect many books and donate them to those in need in Lithuania when it restored its independence. At that time he also lobbied Lawrence municipality to recognise the independence of Lithuania, which was done. Jonas Stundžia is also a follower of traditional Lithuanian religion, Paganism, and he even already has his tombstone erected in the local Lithuanian cemetery. The expedition “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers are thankful to Jonas Stundžia for the enormous amount of information he shared with them about Lithuanian history in Lowel, Lawrence, Haverhil, and other cities in Massachusetts.
Birutė Šležas
Birutė Šležas is very much familiar with the history of Lithuanian neighbourhood in South Boston, Massachusetts. She showed the places of the second chapel of Lithuanian parish, “Lithuanian Alliance in America” branch, “Tautininkų namai”, although no markers are left in those places. Birutė also has many pictures of the interior of these houses that, unfortunately, did not survive. It was her who actually helped expedition volunteers to finally reveal what was left behind the story of the former printhouse for the “Boston encyclopaedia” since first expedition to Boston in 2017. The “Boston encyclopaedia” was actually printed in several places, all of which Birutė was able to show. She is also a professional translator who translated famous Lithuanian novel written by Lithuanian writer Marius Katiliškis “Miškais ateina ruduo” into English.
Gita Kupčinskas
Gita Kupčinskas is the former director of “Sodauto”, a Lithuanian folklore singing and dancing group in the USA. She is also a former parishioner of Norwood former Lithuanian church, where the famous priest Vincas Valkavičius used to celebrate Masses for the parishioners. She showed “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers how the church looks nowadays, and nowadays it serves as an apartment building only, unfortunately.
Marius Žiaugra
Marius Žiaugra is one of the Lithuanian Citizens Club of South Boston board members. He welcomed
‘Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers to his home in Cape Cod, and told about the club’s past and present.
Gloria Adomkaitienė
Gloria is a descendant of the first waivers to the USA, meaning, a descendant of those Lithuanians, who came over to the USA before WWI. Gloria was a key person leading a successful fight against the diocese that wanted to close down Lithuanian St. Peter’s church in South Boston back in 2004. Thanks to Gloria, the church is alive even today, and she agreed to tell more why this battle was successful to Lithuanians.
Ilja Goldovt
Ilja Goldovt’s grandfather was a Rabbi in Merkinė, Lithuania. Ilja was born in Belarus, but he loves travelling to Lithuania where he takes care of the Litvaks’ museum collection in Simnas. He also takes care of the translation of book about the Lithuanians who helped the Jews during WWII into English. Ilja was a key person in finding and locating the exact place of Meretz Jewish cemetery near Boston. Ilja also welcomed expedition “Destination Lithuanian America” leaders to his home and allowed them to stay there for almost a week.
Vida Strazdis
Vida Strazdis is is one of the dire ctors of “Maironis” park in Worcester, she especially takes care of Lithuanian traditions and Lithuanian culture in this Lithuanian club, organises Lithuanian activities here and welcomes everyone who is eager to join.
Romas Jokūbauskas
Romas Jokūbauskas is a former chairman of “Maironis” club in Worcester, Massachusetts, also a former parishioner of St. Casimir’s Lithuanian church in the city. He explained “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers how this church and this club operated in the past, and how the “Maironis” club operates today.

New Hampshire

Frank Ulčickas
Frank Ulčickas was born into the family of Lithuanian immigrants of the first waive into America. He used his skills to learn speaking Lithuanian from a scratch, and does that fluently. He told expedition volunteers what it was like to be a Lithuanian in New Hampshire and what the remains of the former Lithuanian sites there are.
Roberta Woitkowski
Roberta Woitkowski is among the more Lithuanian-minded people of Nashua. Despite having been born in the USA, she still likes to listen to music from modern-day Lithuania, such as “El Fuego,” “Vairas”, and are especially happy when these musicians come to visit Nashua. She has also helped to ensure that a Lithuanian sculptor would be able to create a sculpture in Nashua and have been interested in the local history.

Rhode Island

Regina Jagminas
Regina Jagminas is a Rhode Island Lithuanian. Her family helped to keep up Lithuanian flame alive in Rhode Island as much as they could, they especially took care of the Lithuanian church in the area which, unfortunately, was closed at the beginning of the XXI century. Regina told the expedition volunteers how Rhode Island Lithuanians put so much effort into achieving that the Independence Day of Lithuania would be included officially among the memorable days in Rhode Island. Interestingly enough, the Independence Day of Lithuania as a memorable day is celebrated only in this particular state.


Ignė Marijošius
A daughter of World War 2 era refugees, she received a religious vocation to join the Lithuanian nuns in Putnam, becoming one of the most important and active ones. During the Soviet occupation, she helped to organize anti-Soviet activities in Putnam. After Lithuanian independence, she helped to re-launch the Lithuanian chapter of their convent and is regularly in Lithuania helping to run that. Her secular name is Gražina, although she barely uses it now, after she spent a life dedicated to her religious vocation.
Ignė Marijošius was an especially good host for Destination America in Putnam, where she effectively runs the Putnam monastery now after many older nuns have left or died.
Vydas Marijošius
Vydas Marijošius is a general manager of the Lithuanian camp “Neringa” in Vermont. He told “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers about the past and present of this camp.
Jonas Jankauskas
Jonas Jankauskas is Community Engagement manager of Lithuanian camp “Neringa” in Vermont. He explained the “Destination Lithuanian America” expedition volunteers about the types of camps that take place in “Neringa” every year.
Jack McGowan
Jack McGowan is a Lithuanian from Massachusetts, and every Thursday volunteers in ALKA in Putnam. He showed “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers around this museum as well as archives.

Quebec (Canada)

Diana Gentemann
Diana was born into a family of a Lithuanian mother and a German father, and she speaks Lithuanian fluently. It was Diana’s parents who developed a Lithuanian resort next to Montreal, and now Diana with her family, as well as her son Gabrielius takes care of it. Some of the cabins in the resort are even named Lithuanian, such as “Žiema” (“The winter”). There is even a street named after Diana herself.
Sylvain Alvydas Bulota
Sylvain Alvydas Bulota was born in Lithuania, into a family of a French mother and a Lithuanian father, who was in a Lithuanian military. Family had to flee Lithuania during WWII, and they chose Canada as their destination. Having grown up in French-spoken Montreal, Sylvain Alvydas Bulota speaks perfect Lithuanian and he even achieved that the street that leads to his home would officially get a Lithuanian name “Neris”. “Neris” is also a name of the particular house he lives in, and even the wine he makes is named after it and has a label of “Villa Neris” on the bottle. Sylvain told expedition leaders a lot about the local history of Lithuanians.
Rimas Rudinskas
Rimas Rudinskas is a Montreal Lithuanian who lives next to the lake called Lac Sylvaire. Thanks to him “Destination Lithuanian America” leaders had a chance to go on a lake cruise and see the Lithuanian flags in one side of the lake as well as on the other.


Daina Čyvas
Although Daina Čyvas has 5 children, one can easily find her at Sisters’ of St. Casimir. She helps the sisters with all kind of works. Daina Čyvas is an “Ateitininkė” (belongs to the Lithuanian Catholic movement “Ateitininkai”), she kindly invited “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers to the Ateitininkai camp “Dainava” in Michigan to give a lecture there as well as to organize a quiz about Lithuanian heritage abroad.
Sandra Colbert
Sandra Colbert was born in the US as her great-grandparents came to the US for a better life and all the family worked in the stockyards in Chicago, including even her 12-year-old grandmother. Sandra was born and raised in Chicago, but later on in life she left Chicago and now ended up living in Rockford, where she became the caretaker of a Lithuanian room at the local Ethnic Heritage Museum – a caretaker local volunteers especially sought for, as Rockford itself had no Lithuanians interested in their roots and wishing to volunteer at the time. Sandra still remembers her childhood at the Back of the Yards neighbourhood in Chicago as well, having written a book of short stories based in the stockyards-era Back of the Yards. Sandra invited “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers to give a lecture in Ethnic Heritage Museum in Rockford, Illinois.


Marius Kasniūnas
Marius Kasniūnas is the head of many Lithuanian organisations in the USA (“Lithuanian foundation”, Lithuanian camp “Dainava”, Balzekas Lithuanian museum etc.) He also keeps Lithuanian flame alive in Beverly Shores, Indiana. Marius Kasniūnas showed expedition “Destination Lithuanian America” leaders Lithuanian heritage in Beverly Shores and told the story behind each Lithuanian location there.

Manitoba (Canada)

Egidijus (Giles) Bugailiškis
Egidijus (Giles) Bugališkis grew up in Toronto, Canada, however, he came for his studies to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and stayed there for the rest of his life. Giles Bugailiškis has an enormous amount of Lithuanian artifacts related to Lithuanians in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at his home, so he had a lot of information to share with the “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers.

Ontario (Canada)

Valentine Gailius Senkus
Valentine Gailius Senkus is a Lithuanian from Hamilton, Canada, who always took care of Lithuanian traditions there. He met “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when he visited his son Matthew who lives and works there. They both showed expedition leaders around.
Matas Senkus
Matas Senkus is born and raised in Hamilton, however, it is now more than ten years as he is a resident of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was deeply touched when he learned that there is a Lithuanian memorial in Thunder Bay, Canada, and agreed to show it around to the expedition volunteers.


Amelia C Jayne
Amelia C Jayne told expedition volunteers how her grandparents purchased a land lot in Custer, Michigan, how they built Puodžiūnas farm on it and how Amelia and her sister achieved to include this farm into the list of most important and protected real estate objects in the whole USA.
Mick Balanda
“Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers met Mick Balanda at the Vytautas Aid Society in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As Mick Balanda participated at the lecture, hosted by the “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers, at this Lithuanian club, he also gave additional information on other Lithuanian sites in the area, as well as told more about his family story explaining that one of the most famous Lithuanian generals, Mr. Povilas Plechavičius, who had to flee Lithuania because of the Soviet genocide, was Mick’s close relative.
Rita Žukauskaitė Venclovienė
Rita Žukauskaitė Venclovienė is a cousin of the world-famous artist, founder of the “Fluxus” movement Jurgis Mačiūnas, and she explained more about this artist’s life, his ups and downs.
John Radzilowski
John Radzilowski is the director of the Polish Institute of Culture and Research in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He explained expedition volunteers how this institute operates, and also about its history, related to Lithuanians – back in the beginning of the XX century there was even a chapter of Lithuanian priests there.
Frank Passic
Frank Passic is a passionate collector, especially interested in Lithuanian artifacts, such as Lithuanian coins and banknotes. Frank is also very interested in the Lithuanian burials in the local cemetery of Albion, Michigan, and even leads the excursions there. He was also the key person to achieve the cemetery would get a memorial plaque.


Priest Andrius Morkūnas
Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitises participated in the Holy Mass, consecrated by father Andrius Morkūnas, in Cleveland, Ohio, Lithuanian church. Interestingly, the priest’s family history is very much intertwingled with the history of the president of Lithuania Antanas Smetona. It was the priest’s father who helped Mr. President escape and leave Lithuania before its occupation. Later on, before the second Soviet occupation of Lithuania, President Smetona helped the priest’s parents come over to Cleveland, the USA. Priest Morkūnas told a detailed story of this to the “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers.


Joseph Dowkus
There is barely a single place on Joseph Dowkus’ body without a tattoo, however, his heart is devoted to Lithuania. He is the key person in the Lithuanian Club in Mount Carmel and keeps the Lithuanian flame alive there – it is just fascinating taking into consideration the fact that in the area there are only the descendants of the first waivers into the USA – descendants whose only one or two of their great grandparents came to the USA to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.
George Zvirblis George Zvirblis is a director of Lithuanian Club “Tauras” in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He welcomed expedition leaders to this club and showed them around.
John Urban
John Urban is probably the last remaining Lithuanian in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, who speaks Lithuanian fluently. He met “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers at the Lithuanian Club of East Vandergrift and told them how Lithuanians settled there, as well as how Lithuanians, Polish and Slovak lived together in this small town.
Frances Oliver
Frances Oliver is a Lithuanian from Pittsburgh who kindly agreed to help “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers visit Lithuanian Club in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, and arranged meeting with the board of directors there.
Father Walter Placek
Father Walter Placek is of Polish descent, yet, he is the one who takes care of the Lithuanian National Catholic Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and celebrates Masses there. He welcomed “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers at the church and told them more about the history of this unique church, as well as its differences and similarities from Roman Catholic church.


Gražina Paegle
Gražina Paegle was a key person to achieve that that Simas Kudirka, the famous refugee from Lithuania seeking for the asylum in the USA having defected from the Soviet ship, would be finally admitted to the USA. Simas lived at Gražina’s in NY for about 8 months, then he moved to live on his own. Gražina was married to now deceased Latvian doctor-artist with whom she purchased the “Baltic island” in one of the lakes in Maine. There they created a piece of Latvia and Lithuania with the flags of these countries, also a sculpture of “Medeina”, a Lithuanian goddesss of the forests. Gražina welcomed “Destination Lithuanian America” expedition volunteers to stay at hers and also showed around Lithuanian heritage trail in Alexander, Maine, a place she created after her and her husband’s visit to “Raganų kalnas” (a famous place of traditional Lithuanian wooden sculptures) in