by: Stanley Mayersohn and Rabbi Michael Mayersohn
The City Archives for Kupiskis, Lithuania, contain the birth records for the period
1920-1940. These records include those from other nearby shtetlach that were within the
Kupiskis administrative district. A select number of records prior to 1920 can be
found in the Vilnius Archives. Additional records will be added as we received them from
individuals and the Archives.
The actual birth records are from 1920, 1921, and 1924-1940. The records for 1920 and
1921 are in German not Lithuanian. Apparently, all of 1920, except for one page, is
missing or was not copied and all of 1922 and 1923 are missing. These years following
World War I were in turmoil and many Kupiskis families had departed in 1915 for Russia and
safety and then only trickled back in the 1920's. Many births during these years probably
occurred away from Kupiskis and were registered in other localities outside Lithuania.
Due to space constraints, some information contained in the records is not included in
this database. For instance, the occupation of the father and the name of the mohel who
performed the circumcision are not given. Also, many times, the maiden name of the mother
is not provided in the actual record or, if a name is given, it is the same as the
fathers. Where the last name of the mother is the same as the father, other records can
provide the correct maiden name such as the marriage and/or death record.
Be aware of the variants in spelling from record to record and even in the same record.
The name of the child and the parent may vary. Examples of this are the child's name of
Lewin and the parent's name of Levin, the child's name of Eichenpoltz and the parent's
name of Eichenholtz or even the child's name of Musykant and the parent's name of Musikant
in one record and Muzikant in another. Also, the records in German do not have the
Lithuanian name endings and names such as David are spelled Dowyd as opposed to
These are common clerical errors which occurred regularly due to sloppiness on the part
of the clerk, inadequate education and lack of knowledge of the language(s) used in the
records and inaccuracy of the information given the clerk by either the parents or the
religious authorities. Also, there were no real consistent standards of spelling,
especially as the shtetl changed from Russian to German to Lithuanian.