INSTRUCTIONS FOR PERSONS WISHING TO LEGITIMIZE THEIR NOBLE ANCESTRY AND TO JOIN THE LITHUANIAN ROYAL UNION OF THE NOBILITY (LRUN)
Only legitimized nobles of Lithuania are eligible to become members of LRUN. Any citizen of the Republic of Lithuania or of any other country can be legitimized if he or she is at least 18 years of age and is a direct descendant (via the paternal or maternal line) of nobility of the Kingdom of Lithuania or of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or a descendant of the Lithuanian nobility residing in Lithuania up till the year of 1918.
Persons whose nobility was conferred after the 1773 partition of Lithuania for their merits to czar’s occupational regime do not possess the right to the inheritance of nobility. A legitimized noble man has the right to confer the nobility to his lawful wife and to his children born in the lawful wedlock. A noble mother has the right to transfer nobility to her children if her nobility was granted after her ancestors. When a marriage is dissolved, the former wife of the noble looses her right to pass the noble status to her children born in other wedlock.
With the documents submitted for legitimization, every person has to prove the nobility status of their ancestors, the coat of arms, submit brief family history and also has to prove the blood relationship with the last ancestor whose nobility is confirmed in the archival documents.
The proper sequence of the required documents included in the submitted nobility acknowledgement application file:
Request to be legitimized and to join the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility, prepared according to specific format, with photographs.
A list of documents in the File - the table of contents, showing page numbers.
A brief personal (autobiographic) and family’s history or a statement from the archives.
A chart of the family’s genealogy.
A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate.
A copy of the applicant's marriage certificate (for ladies).
Any other certificates of birth, of marriage, of death proving the applicant’s relationship with the last ancestor whose nobility and coat of arms are confirmed by the archival documents.
The family’s archival documents of noble descent, compiled by social rank societies, confirming the nobility and the coat of arms.
A copy of the family’s coat of arms in color and its description.
Any other documents in applicant’s possession demonstrating the nobility, provided at applicant’s discretion.
A copy of diplomas of higher education and/or of academic degrees (for applicants with highter education and advanced degrees).
A written consent to make use of the archival that were obtained not in the name of the person being legitimized.
A copy of a retiree’s or a student’s identity document for the purpose of obtaining discounted fees and dues.
Nobility is inheritable; therefore, children and grandchildren are not eligible for legitimization if their parents or grandparents are still alive but are not legitimized. If they are deceased, their death certificates must be included in the File. Also not eligible for legitimization are the descendants of persons who became commoners before the year of 1917. Ladies who were born to a noble family but married a commoner are not eligible for legitimization.
When a wife is legitimized after her husband, her File should include her husband’s documents #5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and her personal documents #1,2,3,4,6,7,12,13 as numbered in the table above.
All submitted documents should be photocopies. The originals should be retained by the person being legitimized. The File should be presented in two copies bound in a folder with a transparent front cover. All separate sheets of documents should be numbered with led pencil according to submitted document list and should not be placed in clear enclosures.
One may be legitimized only if his/her ancestors were nobles. Exception could be made if the noble status was revoked by the czar for participation in the revolts or for political actions against the czar's occupational regime. To confirm these facts, an appropriate certificate from the Historical Archive should be furnished.
SEARCHING FOR DOCUMENTS
Many documents safeguarded by families were lost or destroyed during the war and the occupational period; therefore it is advisable to start the search with the birth certificates of known grandparents, great grandparents, or parents born before the year of 1917, because up until that time the social rank was noted in the certificates. If the names, last names, dates of birth, and churches where they were baptized are known, the best place to start inquiring is:
Certain fees are required for the services of the archives. It is possible to make arrangements to work personally in the reading room of the State Historical Archive.
Not all documents have been saved in the archives of Lithuania. A significant portion of the documents is kept in the archives of the former Russian Empire:
- Russia’s Central State Archive of Old Acts, Russia’s Federation State Archive (GARF), the documents of the highest departments of state from the year of 1917. 119817 Moskva GSP, B.Pirogovskaya, 17.
- Belarus’ State Archive of History, 220038 Minsk, Kozlova 26.
- Belarus’ State Archive of History, 230023 Belarus, Grodno, pl. Tizengauza, 2.
It is also advisable to use the following literature compiled in various libraries:
1. Lietuvos Metrika (The Chronicle of Lithuania) edited by A.Baliulis and R.Firkovičius, published in six volumes, a set at the Lithuania’s State History Archive.
2. Borkowski Dunin , Jerzy Sewer "Spis nazwisk szlachty polskiej 1887 r." ("The list of family names of Polish nobility of year 1887").
3. Kojalowicz Wojciech Wijuk "Herbarz rycerstwa" ("Heraldry of the knights").
4. Gorczynski Slawomir "Herby szlachty polskiej" ("Heraldry of the Polish nobility").
5. Boniecki Adam "Herbarz polski" ("Polish Heraldry").
6. Boniecki Adam "Poczet rodów w Wielkiem Księstwie Litewskiem" ("A list of the lineages in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania").
7. Niesiecki Kaspar"Herbarz polski" ("Polish Heraldry"). Ten volumes. New edition of 1979. Warsaw.
8. A more recent publication "Polskie Rody Szlacheckie i ich Herby" ("Polish Nobility lieages and their Coats of Arms"). Białystok 2000.
The above mentioned publications may be found at Kaunas Regional Public Library’s rare publications department, Donelaičio g. 2; at the Library of Kaunas University of Technology, Donelaičio g. 20; at the Library of Vilnius University.
A person in process of legitimization could be invited to a nobility meeting of a District for an introduction. The legitimization File after the review by the Council of Legitimation is presented to the LRUN Senate for confirmation.
The fees and the dues may be paid by transferring directly into the account of LRUN region division with a note of purpose such as: “Annual membership dues”, ”Joining fees”, and similar. The account number is indicated on the first page of Vilnius division website.
According to the decisions of the Senate of November 22, 2014, the total contribution for legitimization and for joining the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility (LRUN) is a sum of:
- General fees:145 €.
- Reduced to seniors and students - general fess 90 €.
The nobility certificates to the newly legitimized nobles are presented at a festive celebration on the State Holidays of February 16th, March 11th, July 6th, July 15th, September 8th, and on other special occasions.
Translated by Ms. Snieguolė Jurskytė and Dr. Robert Savickas.