LITHUANIA UNDER THE RUSSIAN CZARS


After 1792, by the latest Polish partition, whole Lithuania is part of the Russian tsaristic empire. Besides Vilnius, about which on an other place separated has been talked, also Kaunas was an important town: capital of the government of Kaunas.
The largest part of Lithuania fell under the governments of Kaunas and Vilnius. A little piece fell under the government Kurland, which further included a great part of the present Latvia.

  • Numeral dot cancels

  • Alytus
  • Anykščiai
  • Ariogala
  • Biržai
  • Joniškis
  • Jurbarkas
  • Kaišiadorys
  • Kalvarija
  • Kaunas, also Kaunas: frankfree
  • Kavarskas
  • Kėdainiai
  • Kibartai
  • Linkuva
  • Marijampolė
  • Mažeikiai
  • Mercinė (money transfer)
  • Naumiestis
  • Pagelažiai
  • Palanga
  • Panevėžys
  • Pašvintys
  • Raseiniai
  • Rokiškis
  • Šakiai
  • Siauliai
  • Skuodas
  • Švenčionys
  • Tauragė
  • Telsiai
  • Tryskiai
  • Ukmergė
  • Vilkaviškis (also money transfer)
  • Žagarė


  • Vilnius (in a separate chapter, the former page)



  • NUMERAL DOT CANCELS

    After the introduction of stamps in Russia, number cancellations came in use.
    The numbers "1" and "2" were introduced as number-cancellations for St. Petersburg and Moscow in circular no. 138 of 26 february 1858. Circular no. 1847 of 31May 1858 introduced these kind of cancellations for whole Russia. The circular no. 157 of 17 august 1858 gives more details.
    The Russian Empire used the old Julian calender to February 1918 and when mentioning dates in association with this period-as above- I do also this. More about the calendar >>.

    a number (3 to 60) surrounded by points in the form of three concentric circles belongs to capitals of "guberniya", centers of districts, centers of militar districts, S.Petersburg and Moscow.

    #5 belongs to Wilno as a capital of Wilno gub.
    And #19 - to Kovno, as capital of Kovno gub


    Alongside you see the stamp with number "5", the number indicating Vilnius. The stamp is Mi. 2x (10. kop.)
    The number-cancellations were used a short period, 1857-1860, so we find them only on the first stamps of Russia (Mi. 1-7). For the backside also the old postmarks were still used. Postage stamps were used for mail to foreign countries not until 1864.

    Original print size of this image: 1,973 x 2,633 cm (is something more as the postal item)
    This picture and all pictures below on this page, if not mentioned otherwise: scanned about 300 dpi. Then set right and cut out - noted the actual print size-, resized 25 % of this image and saved as jpg. The image of the stamp above is not resized 25 %, but 50 %.
    With circular 123 of 11 December came the end for the numeral cancellations in most postoffices. Only railway and post stations and ROPIT offices used the triangular numeral cancellations until 2 June 1877.

    Number cancellation of Riga: see about Tsarist Latvia, my other side/site:
    http://latvia.jkaptein.nl
    A dotted cancellation in the form of a hexagonal, but with points vertical. Belongs to Rail Road Post Officies. ##12-17 are from S.Petersburg - Warsaw Rail Road Post Officies (branches).

    Border-post offices get a dotted cancel with the number within three ovals of points. Tauroggen "9" , in Lithuanian Tauragė, was the only in the Baltic states. This border-post office changed post with the post office in Tilsit in East-Prussia.

    Here the oval numeral cancel -number 9- of Tauragė.

    For comparison and to see the difference: on the right here the oval numeral cancel
    number 6: Odessa

    The image of the stamps above is not resized 25 %, but 50 %.

    For the district-postoffices, range under the governmentoffices, a second kind of these number-cancellations was used: a number in an rectangle of points.
    Belongs to "Uezd" towns (county? towns). #36-Vileika, #37-Disna, #38-Lida, #39-Osmiany, #40-Svenciany, #41-Troki (all Wilno gub.); #179-Vilkomir, #180-Novoaleksandrovsk, #181-Ponevez, #182-Rossieny, #183-Telszy, #184-Shavli and #185-Jurburg (all Kovno gub.). Part of these towns in Wilno gub. are not a part of original Lithuania. You can add #106- Volkovysk (Vilkaviskis) from Grodno gub.





    Under these came the ordinary post-offices: a number in a lying hexagon (with points horizontal). In Lithuania two post-offices: "21" Pakrazentis and "5" Druskininkai.
    Belongs to Post Officies in small towns. #5-Druskeniki (Grodno gub.), #21-Tsaritsino (Kovno gub.)

    The last kind: a number in triangular cancellation with truncated corner for the sub-post offices. In Lithuania numbers 20, 177-186, 695, 698, 820 and 846 and 1202. Belongs to Post Officies on "highways" and for Officies of ROPiT. #28-Solechniki, #30-Schuchin (all Wilno gub.);
    #177-Lukniki (after Nov.1862-Vorneny), #178-Meshkutsy, #179-Smilgi, #180-Sredniki, #181-Utsiany, #182-Shadov, #183-Shensilskaia, #184-Sheislivy (till Aug.1862), #185-Janiski, #186-Janovo (all Kovno gub.).
    Later given numbers: #695-Keidany, #698-Nemokshtany, #820-Siady, #846-Skudy, #1425-Pogeloza (all Kovno gub.); #1201-Seiny, #1202-Serei (Suvalki gub.); 1330-Landvarovo, #1444-Glubokoie (Wilno gub.)

    See here below: Pagelažiai

    Number cancellation of Riga-station: see about Tsarist Latvia, my other side/site:
    http://latvia.jkaptein.nl

    With circular 123 of 11 December came the end for the numeral cancellations in most postoffices. Only railway and post stations and ROPIT offices used the triangular numeral cancellations until 2 June 1877.

    A list of the Russian numeral cancels is published in orders of the Postal Department 147 of 31 May 1858 and 157 of 17 August 1858.



    Alytus is the Lithuanian name for ОЛИТА [OLITA] and this Russian indication we see in the postmark.
    The postmark is resized 50 %.

    This picture and all pictures below on this page, if not mentioned otherwise: scanned about 300 dpi. Then set right and cut out - sometimes noted the actual print size-, resized 25 % of this image and saved as jpg.

    In the postmark is indicated the government ВИЛ, short for ВИЛЬНА [VILNA] or [WILNA] (Wilna, in Lithuanian Vilnius). It is a double-ring postmark. This type postmarks is introduced by the circular no 9 of 3 february 1903. When the old one-ring postmarks wore out, they must be replaced by the double-ring type.
    In the circular are also detailed intructions about the new postmarks. The place names of guberniya (government-capital), oblast (regio) and uezd (district) towns were not followed by the abbreviation of the government of region, except when it should be confusing. Small towns and villages get -as here- the abbreviation for the government or region in the postmark.

    The
    EESTI-handbook of Hurt and Ojaste is the handbook about Estonia, but the classification of circular date-stamps is also useful for Lithuania in tsarist times.
    In this classification this postmark of Alytus is type 7A1. Type 7a: double circle, with gubernia indication. In the subdivion of type 7A: 7A1: * * a etc.
    Part of the map, not resized, 'Westrussland' (Western Russia) from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909.

    Alytus is located in the western part of the government Wilno (Vilnius), near the administrative border with government Suwalki. There is also a postmark ОЛИТА ВОКЗАЛ [OLITA VOKZAL], Olita railway station, but as addition in this postmark СУВАЛК. Г. [SUVALK. G.], short for Suvalki Gubernia, Suvalki Government.

    In his article about forerunner cancellation Walter E. Norton gives some information about Olita (Alytus). Within Congress Kingdom of Poland Olita was a postal relay stationon the Kalwarya-Olita Post Road, about 50 km east of Kalwarya.
    There is a postmark OLITA, used in 1842-1843, only town name, single line, unboxed. After the opening of the station, December 1 1865, probably is used the single line frames box postmark, two-line, Olita in OLITA in Russian and Polish.

    Circular postmarks of Alytus or ОЛИТА [OLITA] according the handbook of Fugalevičius:

    • 2 'cross-date'-postmarks (different size, large with serial 1 and small with serial 2)
    • 4 postmarks type 7A1, diffent serial letter: the first 4 letters of the cyrillic alphabet.
      The 'written' letters in the postmarks.

      On this picture the first 7 'written' letters. The reported postmark with the second serial-letter -2th letter = Б [B]- is a larger postmark.
      According circular no. 9 of 3 February 1903, the introduction of the double-ring postmarks, every post offce must have postmarks of two sized, a large for cancelling mail and the smaller for receipts.



    This postal stationary is a 'card-letter', now it is opened by removing the border.
    In Rossica is published an article of Yu Myakota about these "closed letters" or "sekretka": "a sheet of thick postal paper, folded in half, measuring 140 x 168 mm. It was perforated 7 mm. from the edge. A layer of gum was applied to the upper or lower selvedge separated by perforation." In the lower detachable part was the explanation: 'To open the edge along the perforations.'
    The first cards of this type had perforation on three sides, issued 1890, according Michel K1 (5 kop. , for local use), K2 (7 kop., intercity), K3 (international 10 kop.) and K4 (also 10 kop., but also with explanation in French in the lower detachable part). The perforation lines intersected at right angles: with six tearing points it was too easy damaged. Therefore one decided to change this in a second issue: the perforations did not intersect, and rounded in the lower part. So K5, K6 and K7 had two tearing points.







    According the Michel Ganzsachen Katalog here is used postal stationary K6, issued 1890, value indication 7 kopecks, blue.





    The card-letters K5 upto and including K7 are issued in 1890: the corners of the perforation are not right-angled. (K1 upto and including K4 have the corners right-angled).




    Here the card inside: the text is German, but difficult to read: written in the Sütterlin, the old (1920-1941) German handwriting. An overview of the letters is in Wikipedia.

    The text: 24.11.1909 My dearest children. Since a week I am in Olita by the children of...

    Left here a picture of Michel K7, a card-letter for abroad. This card K7 is for abroad (value indication 10 kopecks an with the text 'Carte-Lettre').

    The card from ОЛИТА [OLITA] is issued for inland: only the indication ЗАКРЫТОЕ [ZAKRYTOE], =closed, ПИСЬМО [PISMO], = letter.

    The card-letter above from ОЛИТА [OLITA] - in the Michel K6- is send to Germany, and the value indication is 7 kopecks: the inland rate for a letter in the period. In the period 20 March 1879 - 21 September 1914 the inland rate for a letter was 7 kopecks. This card is sent to Germany: additional postage stamp needed, 3 kopecks.
    There is also issued a card-letter with denomination 5 kopecks (in Michel K5): local rate.
    K5, K6 and K7 have perforation 12.

    There are separated printings of these cards, distinguished by the presence or absence of a dotted backgroun in the center of the stamp.

    This card has - with some resizing on the computer- clearly dots.



    Original print size of this image: 14,232 x 9,254 cm (is something more as the postal item)


    It is a postcard with imprinted 4 kopeke to Germany, 12-4-1914.
    Due to the bad financial situation and the devaluating of the Rubel, 8 March 1889 new rates were introduced for mail abroad (in the Asiatic parts of Russia 1 April 1889):
    Postcards abroad 4 k.



    Anykščiai is the Lithuanian name for ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty) in the government КОВНО (Kovno, in Lithuanian Kaunas). The Russian name is very much like the German indication Onikschten, or the Polish name, Onykszty.

    On this map Anykščiai, here Onikschty, is located on the railway line between Panevėžys (here Ponewjesh) and Švenčionys (here Swenzjany, in the government Wilna/Vilnius).
    Dünaburg (Dwinsk) on this map is now the Latvian place Daugavpils.
    The place Uzjany on this map is now the Lithuanian Utena and Wilkomir is the Lithuanian Ukmergė. The arrival postmark of ВИЛКМИРЪ (Vilkomir) you see on the next cover here below.

    Detail of the map, not resized, 'Russische Ostsee-Provinzen' from from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909


    Another letter -1915- from Anykščiai.
    Original print size of this image: 19,313 x 13,013 cm (is something more as the postal item)

    We see again the Russian postmark of Oniksty, with the same serial letter.
    In the double-circle postmarks were used serial letters, but in the order of the cyrillic alphabet:
    1th letter = А [A]
    2th letter = Б [B]
    3th letter = В [V or W]
    4th letter = Г [G]
    5th letter = Д [D]
    6th letter = Е [E]
    7th letter = Ж [ZH]

    Many times are -as here- used the 'written' letters in the postmarks.

    On this picture the first 7 'written' letters.





    The letter is registered. This you can see of course from the registry label, but also right above on the cover is handwritten:
    ЗАКАЗНАЯ / ЗАКАЗНОЕ / ЗАК. (ZAKAZNAYA, ZAKAZNOE) 'registered'.
    The first -reported- registration label in Russia is used 3 January 1899 and almost all are in Cyrillic script. Later, from 1900, for internal mail are used labels with Cyrillic З, short for ЗАКАЗНАЯ. For mail going abroad are used labeld with the latin R, short for the French indication Recommandée. Only in Moscow this kind of labels with R were already used in 1899.


    The backside with the stamp and cancellation of Onikšty. Alse we see the arrival-stamp of
    ВИЛКМИРЪ (Vilkomir) = Litouws: Ukmergė.

    The stamp: 20 kop.
    This letter is sent 15-5-1915 (arrival 17-5-1915.
    In 1914, 21 September, due to World War I the rates were put up:
    Letters inland 10 k. per 15 gramme and register 10 k.
    So this registered letter, together: 20 kop. (In 1917, 15 August the rates were again up).

    In the classification of the
    EESTI-handbook :
    Type 7: Double circle postmarks

    • Type 7A: with gubernia incated
    • Type 7B: without gubernia

    For the later double circle postmarks is for ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty) only reported is this postmark with serial letter b, the 2th letter of the cyrillic alphabet. Probably there are postmarks of this type with the first serial letter a.
    The subtype: 7A1: * * a etc..

    In 'the handbook' - Pašto Antspaudai = Poststempel in Litauen = P.O. Cancels in Lithuania / V. Fugalevičius. - second ed. 1990: an illustration -not complete(?)- of a double circle postmark, something bigger.


    The first reported postmark of ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty), the Lithuanian Anykščiai, is one-circle postmark with date in three lines. In the classification of the EESTI-Handbook type 6A: gubernia at top and the type post office below, date in three lines, month in letters (type 6A).
    The type post office is below in this postmark: ПОЧТ. ТЕЛЕГР. , the abbrevation for ПОЧТОВО-ТЕЛЕГРАФНАЯ (POCHTOVO-TELEGRAFNAYA Post-Telegraph)
    and with the addition ОТД [OTD], short for ОТДЬЛЕНIЕ [OTDLENIE], branch, a sub-postoffice.
    In june 1884 the postal and telegraph departments were united. In the beginning of the telegraph (since 1866) there were scarcely connections between the post and telegraph, but it was too expensive to let it separated.
    From june 1884 there were also two new types of offices: the Post-telegraph Office (Pochtovo-Telegrafnaya Kontora), as we have seen, for a greater city as Vilnius was, and a Post-Telegrapyh Sub-Office (Pochtovo-Telegrafnoe Otdelenie) as ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty). These offices combined both services: post and telegraph.

    So, circular postmarks of ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty), the Lithuanian Anykščiai, according the handbook of Fugalevičius:

    • Type 6A: gubernia at top and the type post office below, date in three lines, month in letters, serialnumber 1
    • For ОНИКШТЫ (Onikšty) is also reported a 'cross-date'-postmark, with serialnumber 1 (type 6C according EESTI).
    • the double-ring postmarks, large -incomplete- and a small with serial letter b, type 7A1




    This cover has the postmark ЭЙРАГОЛА [EHIRAGOLA], now the Lithuanian place Ariagola in central Lithuania.
    The German indication of this place is Eroglen, the Polish indication is Ejragoła. There are more names for this place -
    www.jewishfamilyhistory.org/ariogala.htm -: Eragala (Yiddish), Ragala (Yiddish), mHoyragola (18th century Grand Duchy of Lithuania), Iragola, Ariogalos, Ragola, Ragole.

    The EESTI-handbook of Hurt and Ojaste is the handbook about Estonia, but the classification of circular date-stamps is also useful for Lithuania in tsarist times.
    In this classification this postmark of Ariogala is type 6: gubernia (when given) at top and the type post office below. Here we can distinguish date in three lines, month in letters, with gubernia (type 6A), same type but no indication of Gubernia (type 6B).
    So this is type 6A - we see the indication for the gubernia- : КОВЕН. Г. [KOVEN. G], short for КОВЕНСКОЙ ГУБЕРНIИ [KOVENSKOI GUBERNII].

    Circular postmarks of Ariogala or ЭЙРАГОЛА [EHIRAGOLA] according the handbook of Fugalevičius:

    • Two postmarks type 6A, serial number 1 (large, on this letter) and serialnumber 2 (smaller)
    • 1 postmark type 7A1, double circle date-stamp, 7A: with gubernia indication, 7A1: * * a etc.. The reported postmark has as serial letter the second script letter of the Cyrillic = Б [B]

      The reported double circle postmark is a 'small' one, so probably there is used also a 'large' double circle postmark with serialletter a.
      According circular no. 9 of 3 February 1903, the introduction of the double-ring postmarks, every post offce must have postmarks of two sized, a large for cancelling mail and the smaller for receipts.

    Here is showed a detail of the map 'Russische Ostsee-Provinzen' from from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909. Ariogala is located north of Kaunas (Kowno). On this map Ariogala is not indicated, but the river Dubissa (Polish name, in Lithuanian Dubysa) is indicated: this river flows through the town. Ariogala is located approximately the height of Kėdainiai (Keidany).





    Original print size of this image: 18,974 x 12,743 cm (is something more as the postal item)

    Joniškis is the Lithuanian name for ЯНИШКИ (Janiški) in the government КОВНО (Kovno, in Lithuanian Kaunas).
    The cover is sent 7-7-1910, registered, to ШАВЛИ (ŠAVLI)., the Lithuanian Šiauliai.


    The postmark and registering label (resized 50 %)


    From 1900 for internal mail are used labels with Cyrillic З, short for ЗАКАЗНАЯ, registered.
    The postage stamps: together 14 kopecks, the rate in for a registered inland letter in 1910. About rates in this time: see the site
    www.sijtzereurich.com/ postal_rates_Lithuania1.html. In the tabel on this site was for registered inland letter the rate 14 kopecks between March 15, 1909 and October 9, 1913.

    Here below is showed a detail of the map, not resized, 'Russische Ostsee-Provinzen' from from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909.
    Joniškis, here Janischki, near on the border of government Kowno.
    Something westward the railway-junction Mosheiki (Mažeikiai in Lithuanian) is located.








    The arrival-postmark on the backside (resized 50%) is the postmark of ШАВЛИ (ŠAVLI). The Lithuanian name is Šiauliai.