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Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 26 Sep 2010 7:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Roba, Dedowicz, Czernicki, Bodziak
I am searching for information concerning the family origins of Paulina ( Roba ) Dedowicz, who was born in Motiawcy, Kowno, in what is now Kaunas, Lithuania. She was born there in 1892, the daughter of Felix Roba and Frances Czernicki. Paulina also had a sister, Mary Roba, born there in 1896. Paulina and Mary had 4 brothers as well. When Paulina and Mary immigrated to the United States in 1913, it was stated on the ship's manifest that Paulina's nearest relative in the country where she left was her father in the town mentioned above. Paulina went to her husband, Charles Dedowicz, in Plymouth, N.H., USA with her 11 month old baby, Jan ( John ) Dedowicz. Paulina Dedowicz arrived on Aug. 13, 1913 at age 21 yrs. in Boston, MA., USA from Liverpool, England on the ship, " Lanconia ".

Paulina ( Roba ) Dedowicz was the wife of Kasimir ( a.k.a. Charles ) Dedowicz, who arrived in the port of New York on June 3, 1912 aboard the ship " Kursk " sailing from Libau. He was 27 yrs. old; his nationality was Russia; and his race was Polish. His last residence was Haumowitz, Russia. His nearest relative was his wife, Paulina Dedowicz, in Haumowitz, Wiln gov. He was going to his brother-in-law, W. Bodziak, in Plymouth, N.H., USA. He was born on Sept. 5, 1880 in Lithuania, according to his draft card dated Sept. 12, 1918. According to his death record, he was the son of " Mike " Dedowicz, farmer.

Any information concerning the persons named above and their family origins in Lithuania would be very much appreciated.
Jean Mayo

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 27 Sep 2010 12:43AM GMT
Classification: Query
Jean,

These are tough names to figure out nowadays. The best I can do is this. Motiawcy is, like all the names in your posting, written using Polish (or at least Slavic) spelling -- not unusual, but not helpful in trying to figure out where a place might be today. Converted to something like a Lithuanian spelling would make it maybe Motijavc^ai or even Matiejovaciai. But perhaps the family was indeed Polish or considered itself such -- not that unusual. I'll assume that they were ethnic Lithuanians who used Polish spellings because that's what they knew and accepted when so many of the educated priests and landowners were either Polish or educated in Polish schools; and many Poles lived among the ethnic Lithuanians even in areas now populated mostly by Lithuanians.

The name of the city and province or gubernia is Kaunas among the Lithuanians (as it always has been called by them). Other nationalities of course used their own language to spell and pronounce the names of Lithuanian places. Kowno is the Polish spelling; Kovno, Russian; and Kauen, German. Likewise, the city and province or gubernia of Vilnius (as it was and is called by Lithuanians is called Vilna in Russian, Wilno in Polish and Wilna in German. So when you see a spelling other than either Vilnius or Kaunas, know that you are seeing it written probably by someone other than a Lithuanian. "Wiln gov" means Vilnius governate or gubernia, i.e., the province with that name, rather than the city. Just as "Motiawcy" is in the Kaunas gubernia rather than the city of that name. Since what we know as Lithunania did not exist until after WWI, emigrants from there were classed a Russian subjects and many beleived that they were still part of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth prior to 1795 and thus beleived they were "Polish" subjects. By the end of WWI, when it was clear that Lithuania would become an independent nation, many immigrants in the U.S. no longer said they they were Russian subjects but Lithuanian because they were so proud from their own nation. But the fact is that if they were born prior to 1917, they were subjects of the Russian Empire.

The village of "Haumowitz" is even more problematic since the letter "h" is not used in Lithuanian and again the ending is a variant on the Slavic or Polish "-wicz", which in Lithuanian usually becomes "-vic^ius" and I've only seen it used on family names, not place names. So perhaps it really ought to be rendered in today's Lithuanian by "-c^ai" (pronounced like "chai"), which is a very common ending for place names.

The letter "h" is really just a way of representing a breathed "a" or "i" or whatever. Consider the English name Harvard. The "h" merely indicates that the "a" is to be preceded by that exhaled "hah" sound followed immediately by the "a". This "h" sound is called an aspirated sound. There are no such aspirated sounds in Lithuanian. Perhaps the writer was trying to capture the Lithuanian "j" which is pronounced like the Enlgish "y" in "yours."

As I look at the writing, I'm not at all sure it begins with "H...", but rather "St..." If I'm right, then the name is more like Staumowitz or, as written in one place, Staicznowitz. Again, making a stab at converting this to a Lithuanian place name, it might be something like "Jaumovic^ius" or "Staumavic^ius" or perhaps it is Jamovic^iai or "Staic^novic^iai".

I mention all this in the hopes that others might be stimulated to consider just what the actual current names might be and thus where they are.

While I'm at it, it might be helpful to convert the names you have into their modern Lithuanian equivalents. Dedowicz would be Dedavic^ius or Dedovic^ius. Czernicki would be C^ernickas (pronounced cher-NIHTS-kas) Roba shows only one listing in the online phone book for Lithuania. The unmarried daughter of man named Roba wouild be Miss Robaite; his wife would be Mrs. Robiene. Felix is Feliksas; Frances is Prancis^ka; Mary is Marija; Casimir is Kazimieras (very often changed to Charles in the U.S.); Mike is most likely Mykolas.

John Peters

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 27 Sep 2010 1:18AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you very much for this excellent explanation. It has helped me to better understand the entire situation connected to the early Lithuanian immigrants.
Jean

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 27 Sep 2010 1:25AM GMT
Classification: Query
One further note, Charles Dedowicz could not read nor write so the authorities only wrote down what they heard him say.

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 27 Sep 2010 12:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
Have you tried looking at the Ellis Island data base for other passengers with similar last names? Not sure if this helps but there is an Ossip Dedowicz arrived 4/7/1912 from town Naumowitzi, but it says the town is in the region of Grodno. The town spelling is close to what you had posted, but it's always possible that it's a coincidence, just like the person he was going to, a cousin in Brooklyn NY, had a last name of Czerniowks. Just something to consider, which I hope doesn't add to the mystery.

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 27 Sep 2010 10:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you. I will try that.
Jean

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 7:46AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Dedowicz
Hi, new to ancestry, just found your post, my grandfather is John Charles Dedowicz from Poland, would love to exchange information.
jmdnurse@sbcglobal.net
Thanks
Joanne Dedowicz

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 11:48AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Dedowicz
Not sure I can help you without more information about your Dedowicz ancestor and your line of descent from him. I need more information to work with.
Jean

Re: Dedowicz, Roba and Czernicki families of Kaunas, Lithuania

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 4:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi
I don't need help, thought you might based on some of your old postings. Did you research the Dedowicz line for yourself or someone else?
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