The “Destination Lithuanian America” interactive map of Lithuanian heritage in the USA 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 2019 expedition to Canada (who then created the map) and the volunteers/sponsors who helped them. 2017 East Coast list is here and 2018 Mid-West is here.
||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 100 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 “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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
||Aistė is an attorney who works with the cases of Lithuanian citizenship restoration.
“Destination Lithuanian America” volunteer, she drove the car for more than 5000 km 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: email@example.com .
“Litas” Lithuanian credit union of Montreal
Lithuanian Heritage Society of Rochester
|Detroit (Southfield) Divine Providence Lithuanian parish||Toronto Lithuanian House||London (Ontario) Our Lady of Šiluva parish||Lithuanian-American Community Michigan District||Philip Shapiro|
|Lithuanian-American Community Detroit Chapter||Vismantas Vidugiris||Daniel Morris||Lithuanian-American Community Maine Chapter “Atlantas”||Anne Tubinis Audette|
“Destination Lithuanian America 2019” was also supported by Jonas Butkus, Zita Bersėnaitė, Danguolė Jurgutienė, Jim Zavist, Algirdas and Amanda Muliolis, Mary Agnes Mikalauskas, Michelina and Algirdas Beniušis, Arūnas Eigirdas, Vaiva Vitkutė, Zigmas Skučas, Dalia Armstrong, Darius Savolskis, Teresė Vaitkūnaitė, Linas Mikulionis, Raminta Vilkienė, Rūta Poškienė, Aušra Karkienė, Vida Bumbulytė-White, Birutė Samson, Irena Punkris, Birutė Lapinskas, Tomas and Elena Šiurna, Joana Adomonytė, Zina Urbonas, Mary Anne Kuslikis, Birutė Degutis, Vida Verbickienė, Aldona Stanaitienė, Ilona Stanaitis, Marytė Mikelėnas McLoughlin, Marius, Aloyzas Stankevičius.
“Destination Lithuanian America 2019” thanks for lodging provided to our volunteers by Jolanta Stasiulevičienė (Toronto), Kazimieras Deksnys (Hamilton), “Romuva” camp, Our Lady of Dawn parish (Montreal), Pat Hopkins (Rumford), Lithuanian Franciscan Monastery (Kennebunk), Andris Dunduras (Cleveland), Almantas Galvanauskas (Ann Arbor), Aldona Valaškevičienė (London).
These media outlets have published 10+ articles or TV shows on the project: Lithuanian-American newspaper “Draugas” and Lithuanian diaspora-oriented TV show “Pasaulio lietuvių žinios” (Global Lithuanian news).
Numerous additional newspapers, radio, and TV stations in both Lithuania and USA have published 1-9 articles or shows.
Thank you for all the coverage!
Local helpers in Canada and the USA
“Destination Lithuanian America 2019” volunteers have met some 400 people who helped in one way or another or came to our project presentations. Below is the list of people who helped us organize the visits to various “Lithuanian” US and Canadian cities, who led us or helped us to find the Lithuanian sites there, opened particular closed sites, told us the stories of such sites. In addition to them, we have met many other people, some of whom are also mentioned. We are sorry if someone is left unmentioned. We also apologize for the quality of some pictures, as we concentrated on imaging the Lithuanian sites.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org .
| Edmond J. Putrimas
||Edmond J. Putrimas is the Monsignor, Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference Delegate for the Apostolate of Lithuanian Catholics Living Outside of Lithuania. Monsignor eventually became interested in “Destination Lithuanian America” project, told the volunteers many stories and lent a helping hand. Although born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Edmond J. Putrimas speaks Lithuanian fluently.|
| Aurelijus Kasparavičius
||Aurelijus Kasparavičius is a Lithuanian priest at Toronto Ressurection parish. Born in Lithuania and dispatched to Toronto for the priesthood by the Franciscans, he is nevertheless very interested in Lithuanian heritage there, having researched Lithuanian graves and other sites. He was the one who invited us to Toronto the first time. He acted as our manager in Toronto, helping us to find the necessary contacts to discover the Lithuanian sites there. He also joined us for a significant time in order to learn more about these sites himself.|
| Genovaitė Kobelskis
||Genovaitė Kobelskis moved to Canada just after the restoration of the Independence of Lithuania. Now she is a member of Toronto Lithuanian house board. Genovaitė was very welcoming for “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers, showed them around Toronto Lithuanian house and was a great source of information.|
| Diana Jasiukaitienė
||Diana Jasukaitienė is a young president of Toronto Lithuanian house. She moved to Canada 7 years ago and joined Lithuanians here. Diana was kind to show “Destination Lithuanian America” team members Toronto Lithuanian house and Lithuanian pub LOKYS.|
| George Valaitis
||George Valaitis is a head of “Vilnius Manor” senior apartments in Toronto who arranged “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers an excursion around. George has been to Lithuania thrice and, although born and raised in Canada, speaks Lithuanian fluently.|
| Antanas Šileika
||Antanas Šileika – a famous Canadian Lithuanian author who became interested in project “Global TrueLithuania” long before expeditions “Destination Lithuanian America” took place. He was one of those who gave the volunteers moral support from the very beginning. He said he himself chose to write books about Lithuania since it is so little known in Canada. He also chose Augustinas drawn map of the interwar Lithuania from truelithuania.com to illustrate his sixth book and gave this book as a present for Augustinas and Aistė in Canada.|
| Algimantas Žilinskas
Algimantas Žilinskas served as a Lithuanian Lutheran priest in Toronto for 57 years. As he confessed, he was retired thrice ever since. The last Lutheran mass he held was in 2017, during Christmas Eve, and the church was full, despite the fact there was a major storm then.
Algimantas has a wife Rūta (from Tauragė, Lithuania), and they both raised two daughters.
Algimantas and Rūta met “Destination Lithuanian America” team members at their home in Toronto and told a lot about Lithuanian Lutherans abroad.
| Jolanta Stasiulevičienė
||Jolanta Stasiulevičienė hosted both “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers as they visited Toronto and Missisauga. Home of family Stasiulevičiai is greatly appreciated by many Lithuanians from Lithuania who stayed here while visiting Toronto, including famous singers Gytis Paškevičius, Virgis Stakėnas, to mention just a few. As Jolanta explained, she and her husband left Lithuania in 1995 for a brighter future of their sons, however, as a matter of fact, now one of their sons lives in London, whereas the other – in Lithuania. Jolanta also served Canadian Lithuanian community for many years.|
| Nerijus Šmerauskas
||Nerijus Šmerauskas is originally from Kaunas and was appointed to Canada in 2017. Priest Nerijus helped “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers a lot – from helping arrange meetings with locals to bringing them to the Lithuanian related places while in there.|
| Vytautas Pečiulis
Vytautas Pečiulis is a president of the Board of Saint John Lithuanian cemetery in Missisauga.
Vytautas and his wife Irena raised four children. Now they teach their grandchild Lithuanian as well.
Vytautas takes care of the cemetery very sincerely and is dedicated to them. He did a lot for the Lithuanian National Guard in Exile (Šauliai) to be commemorated there as well as did many other important jobs there.
| Danguolė Juozapavičiūtė
||Danguolė Juozapavičiūtė dedicated her spare time to Canadian Lithuanian Archives after she retired. Now she is the head of the Archives and also is responsible for the other volunteers in there. Danguolė helped “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers not to get lost in the Archives and find all the information about the Canadian Lithuanian places there.|
| Sigina Katkauskaitė
||Sigina Katkauskaitė interviewed “Destination Lithuanian America” representative Augustinas Žemaitis for the Canadian Lithuanian newspaper “Tėviškės žiburiai” before the expedition leg to Canada, during it and after that as well as showed him around the publishing house in “Anapilis”.|
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
| Audra Stončiūtė
||Audra’s four out of four Lithuanian grandparents moved to Canada due to Soviet Occupation. Now Audra is a member of Canadian Lithuanian youth community and keeps her heritage alive.|
| Juozas Šileika
||Juozas Šileika is a teacher who retired at 55 and moved to Wassaga Beach after that. Now he works as a replacement teacher when the teacher of his area’s school becomes ill and he is invited to replace him. Juozas met “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers in Wassaga Beach and told them about previous Lithuanian youth camp near Good Sheepherd Lithuanian church, Petrulis restaurant and others.|
| Kazimieras Deksnys
||Kazimieras Deksnys – the president of Lithuanian community of Canada, who, although born and raised in Canada, dedicated lots of his time for Lithuanian heritage and culture. Kazimieras and his wife Klara both hosted “Destination Lithuanian America” team members at their home in Burlington, which allowed them to visit Lithuanian heritage sites of Hamilton (and others) more easily.|
| Silvija Stonkutė Johnston
||Silvija serves for the customers of Hamilton Lithuanian credit union TALKA. She met Aiste and Augustinas at the credit union and told its story.|
| Daiva Leleikaitė
||Daiva serves for the customers of Hamilton Lithuanian credit union TALKA. She met Aiste and Augustinas at the credit union and told its story.|
| Aldona Stanaitienė
||Aldona Stanaitienė met “Destination Lithuanian America” team members during the Lithuanian Mass in Hamilton Lithuanian church and showed them around, as well as pounted out other areas of interest in Hamilton, such as senior residency RAMBYNAS and such.|
St. Catherines, Ontario
| Vincent Gircys
||When Vincent Gircys was a little child, he, differently than his two sisters, refused to go to Lithuanian school and was a Canadian nationalist, he said. He spent all his career as a policeman who specialised in forensics. It was until very recent when he became very interested in Lithuanian politics and this helped him come back to his roots. Vincent has two sons whom Aistė help to have their citizenship of Lithuania restored. Vincent met Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitises in St. Catherines where they all visited former Lithuanian Our Lady of Angels Lithuanian church, although, as he said, he was unaware of the presence of this ex Lithuanian church in here despite the fact he lives in the area for quite a while.|
Niagara Falls, New York
| Peter Goodrich
||Father Peter Goodrich is the leader of the Independent Anglican church (Canada synod) that purchased former Lithuanian church in Niagara Falls, NY, United States of America. Not only everything in the church remained as it was, but he also soon became friends with whole Lithuanian community and every Sunday can be seen in Lithuanian Mass in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Father Peter Goodrich met Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitises in the former Lithuanian St. George church in Niagara Falls, NY, and told them stories about the church and its purchase.|
Romuva camp, Ontario
| Viktoras Šimkus
||Viktoras Šimkus is a father of two. Although born and raised in Canada, he speaks Lithuanian fluently and is also a Lithuanian scout leader. A former fire fighter, he met Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitises in Romuva scout camp and showed them around.|
| Julijus Rakitskis
||Julijus Rakitskis is the Minister Counsellor at the embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Canada. He met “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers at the embassy and told them more about Lithuanians in Canada.|
| Paulius Mališka
||Priest Paulius Mališka was born and raised in Montreal, but despite this fact speaks Lithuanian fluently and knows about Lithuania more than most Lithuanians living there. As a matter of fact, he helped “Destination Lithuanian America” team members a lot as he took care of their expedition leg to Montreal and also allowed them to stay in the rectory. He himself does not live there, but in the apartment he and his brother inherited after their father’s death. Because of this reason he allows to stay in the rectory for many Lithuanians, especially those who need help – he could not even sleep by knowing there is at least one Lithuanian suffering in the streets of Montreal.|
| Joana Adamonis
||Joana Adamonis was born in Montreal into the family of two displaced persons from Lithuania. Very generous and kind person, she brought each of lonely ladies to their homes after “Destination Lithuanian America” expedition presentation in Monreal. She also put many efforts “Destination Lithuanian America” leg in Montreal to be as smooth as possible.|
| Arūnas Staškevičius
||Arūnas Staškevičius is the honorary consul of Lithuania in Canada, living in Montreal. He let the “Destination Lithuanian America” team members learn more about Lithuanian heritage in Montreal and also shared good news with the members of the expedition that Lithuanian credit union from Montreal decided to become a major sponsor of this project.|
| Antanas Mickus
Antanas Mickus is a member of Montreal men choir. Borns and raised in Montreal, he speaks Lithuanian fluently. A father of a couple of children, he is very proud of the fact his son has Lithuanian tatoos and Coat of Arms all over his hand. Antanas remarried three years ago and his wife Lina from Radviliškis joined him in Montreal thus becoming one of the very few Lithuanians who move to Montreal these days – as a matter of fact, emmigration to Montreal is very low as the main language in all the Quebec province is French rather than English.
Antanas and Lina told “Destination Lithuanian America” team the history of the Our Lady Gate of Dawn church and how it used to be here – that it was fully crowded during the Mass those days, and now even the baptistry is held as a small museum as there are no babies to be baptised.
| Patricia Hopkins
||Patricia Hopkins is one of the leader of the Rumford Lithuanians and their annual Lithuanian picnic. Patricia was very kind to share her home with “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers as they visited Rumford.|
| Connie Cassidy
||Connie Cassidy helped “Destination Lithuanian America” volunteers to explore National Lithuanian cemetery in Rumford and also did a deeper search on that and was even able to get the deeds of the cemetery.|
| Charlene Burgi
||Charlene is a Rumford local Lithuanian descendant, but she has already been to Lithuania and even speaks Lithuanian. She told stories about Rumford Lithuanians.|
| Vaida Lowell
Vaida Lowell – the president of the Maine Lithuanian community. Having heard that “Destination Lithuanian America’ this year will come to Canada and United States as well, she invited team members to also make a presentation of the results in Lithuanian Kenebunkport men monastery.
Vaida – young and energetic, a few years ago she and another Lithuanian Vaida Labzintyte decided to establish the community of the Lithuanians in Maine that did not exist previously. Vaida is also an author of the book about the Lithuanians in Titanic.
| Vaida Labzintyte
||Vaida Labzintyte together with Vaida Lowell are one of the most energetic Lithuanians in Maine. “Destination Lithuanian America'” team members met Vaida for the first time in 2017 during the first expedition leg, and now they met her for a second during the presentation of the results of previous expeditions in Kennebunkport.|
| Tomas Dundzila
||Tomas Dundzila has been one of most loyal fans of the project “Destination Lithuanian America” since he was first met by team members in 2017. Since that time he shared many thoughts and ideas about Lithuanian heritage.|
Utica, New York
| John Mikalajunas
||Father John Mikalajunas now serves in Polish church, although he himself has also Lithuanian, not only Polish blood. “Destination Lithuanian America” members were excited to meet him in Utica, New York, and to learn he knows so much about Lithuania. He also helped to pinpoint Lithuanian church in Utica, NY.|
Rochester, New York
| Raymond Liutkus
||Raymond J. Liutkus was the one who asked “Where is Rochester?” after having seen the map made during 2017 “Destination Lithuanian America” expedition. He was answered it will be included into the map in 2019, and so Raymond helped team members a lot for this come true this year.|
| Gene Vidmantas
||Gene Vidmantas met “Destination Lithuanian America” team members in Rochester and showed them Lithuanian heritage areas around.|
| Andris Dunduras
||Andris Dunduras is one of the most passionate and patriotic Lithuanians abroad. “I am married to Lithuania”, – he said once. After revisiting Cleveland, Ohio, in 2019 “Destination Lithuanian America” team members were hosted at Andris’.|
| Vik Stankus
||Vik Stankus was met by team members for a second year in a row in Cleveland, Ohio. This year he showed more Lithuanian related places and even told how Cleveland Rockńroll Hall of Fame is related to Lithuanians too.|
| Ruta Degutis
||Ruta is an open heart director of the Cleveland Lithuanian club in Cleveland, Ohio. She told many stories about Lithuanians in the area.|
| Remigijus Belzinskas
||Remigijus Belzinskas is a teacher in Lithuanian Saturday school in Cleveland, Ohio. He invited “Destination Lithuanian America” team members to make a presentation of the project at school as well as showed them around.|
| Almantas Galvanauskas
||Almantas Galvanauskas was kind enough to host “Destination Lithuanian America” team members two years in a row.|
| Janina Udrys
||Janina Udrys invited “Destination Lithuanian America” team members to make a presentation of the project in Detroit and helped them around.|
| Aldona Valaskeviciene
Aldona Valaškevičienė – a cousin of Aistė’s grandmother. Interestingly, Aistė met her for the first time in Canada and only because of “Destination Lithuanian America”. While still in Lithuania and trying to find the contacts of Lithuanians in London, Ontario, Aistė came up to Aldona’s name on the internet – suddenly it became clear this is the same Aldona Aistė’s grandmother used to tell her about.
Luckily Aistė and Augustinas Žemaitises visited London, Ontario, on the very same day the 70th anniversary of the London Lithuanian community took place there. Therefore they were happy to interview different guests and hear the stories how it looked like to be a Lithuanian in London.
Aldona hosted Aistė and Augustinas at her home and told them about London Lithuanian community in Canada and why the Lithuanian church in London finally had to be torn down.
| Edmundas Petrauskas
||Edmundas Petrauskas is a talking source of the history of Lithuanians in London, Ontario, and so he shared lots of memories of how it used to be in London long time ago.|
| Pranas Pargauskas
||It was a long time ago when Pranas’ father left Lithuania for Canada and Pranas’ mother, 8 month pregnant, stayed for a while in Lithuania to give birth and join her husband later. Suddenly WWII stroke down, the Soviets occupied Lithuania, and torn away family never met each other again – Pranas’ mother was killed in a car crash in Lithuania. Pranas, as a little boy was already deported to Siberia with his grandmother, never met his mother again, but did not want this to happen with his father so he, his wife Teresė and their children decided to join Pranas’ father and to help him in the tobbaco fields in Canada. They tried to leave Soviet Union for 7 years and it was only at the beginning of perestroika they succeeded. Pranas, Teresė and their children live in Canada ever after.|
| Terese Pargauskiene
||Pranas and Teresė met “Destination Lithuanian America” team members in Delhi, Ontario, told them about Lithuanian church and how it was to be a Lithuanian in Delhi, until very recently.|
New York City, New York
| Danius Glinskis
||Danius Glinskis met “Destination Lithuanian America” team members for a third year in a row thus becoming one of the most loyal fans of the project.|
We say “thank You”
|On behalf of “Destination Lithuanian America 2019” team we say “thank You” to everybody who helped us in any way and shared their knowledge as well – father Jonas Staškevičius, father Vytautas Staškevičius, Irene Ross, Juozas Balaišis, Angela Ferreira, Ray Sriubiskis, Mr. Bulota, Vic Navickas, Agnė Butkutė, Edward Brikis, Raymond Vilbikaitis, Loreta Gudynaite – Savitch, representatives of the embassy of Canada to Lithuania Eglė Jurkevičienė and Richard Martin – Nielsen.|