LITHUANIA UNDER THE RUSSIAN CZARS


Jurbarkas is the Lithuanian name. The German name - Georgenburg- is first mentioned in 1259: the Teutonic Knights' Ordensburg casle of Georgenburg.
The Polish name is Jurbork and this name we recognize in the postmark: ЮРБУРГЪ [YURBURG].
Jurbarkas is located in the west of Lithuania, near the border and is now a city in Tauragė County.
After the third partition of Poland -1795- the city becomes a part of the Russian Empire, first in the government of Wilna (Vilnius), later (1843-1915) the place changed to the government Kowno (Kaunas).
In 'the handbook' - Pašto Antspaudai = Poststempel in Litauen = P.O. Cancels in Lithuania / V. Fugalevicius. - second ed. 1990 are old postmarks of YURBURG/Jurbarkas reported: a pre-philatelic box cancel (1823) and a 2-line cancel (11 june 1856).

Also a numeral dot cancel is used in Jurbarkas, for the district-postoffices -so also YURBURG/Jurbarkas-, range under the governmentoffices, a second kind of these number-cancellations was used: a number in an rectangle of points: number 185 for YURBURG/Jurbarkas.



Original print size of this image: 14,639 x 8,416 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50%.

Here we see an early circular date-stamp with date in 3 lines: a single circle with ornament below. The EESTI book of Hurt/Ojaste gives a good overview and division of the circular postmarks 1860-1918 (p. 449-451).
The division:
- 3 Fleuron types (this postmark with the ornament)
- 4 Posthorn types
- 5 Gubernia below
- 6 Gubernia at top
A Date in 3 lines, month in letters, see below: Kalvarija
B Date in 3 lines, month in letters, gubernia not included
C Moth in numerals, with Gubernia. This is the 'cross-date'postmark
D the same, but gubernia not included
-7 Double circle date-stamps: see here below



This 'fleuron-type of Jurbarkas is the only one. After this type follows the cross-date postmarks (type 6 C). In YURBURG/Jurbarkas are two postmarks reported of this type: serial number 1 and 2.
After this cross-date postmarks: double circle date-stamps (type 7).




On the backside the sender has used a German indication: Georgenstadt.


Original print size of this image: 14,334 x 9,025 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50%.


In YURBURG/Jurbarkas are two double circle date-stamps reported: this one and a greater one.
In this postmark is the Gubernia (government) indicated: КОВ., the abbreviation of КОВНО (KOVNO). Kaunas -in Russian КОВНО -was the capital of this government: see
Kaunas





The sender has written in 'Georgenburg'. The written date 10 II 1905 is of course our Gregorian calender: the postmark is 30 January 1905. For our calendar, which most countries also used in that period, 12 days must be added in the period after 28 February 1800 through 28 February 1900, and 13 days through 28 February 2100.



The present Kaišiadorys in Lithuania had in the Russian Empire another name: КОШЕДАРЫ [KOSHEDARY]. The Russian name is almost the same as the Polish name: Koszedary.

This card is sent from РЕВЕЛЬ [REVEL], the present Tallinn, to КОШЕДАРЫ [KOSHEDARY].


In the postmark -resized 50 %- is indicated the Government Wilna: ВИЛ. [VIL.], short for ВИЛЬНА [VILNA or WILNA].

This postmark is a double-ring postmark with serial-letter a.
In the classification of the
EESTI-handbook :
Type 7: Double circle postmarks

  • Type 7A: with gubernia incated
    The subtype: 7A1: * * a etc..

According the handbook of Fugalevičius the reported postmarks of КОШЕДАРЫ [KOSHEDARY], present Kaišiadorys:

  • For КОШЕДАРЫ [KOSHEDARY] is reported a 'cross-date'-postmark, with serialnumber 3 (type 6C according EESTI). This postmark has at the bottom the indication ПОЧТ. ОТД. [POCHT. OTD.], a sub-postoffice.
    Probably there are also used postmarks with serial 1 and 2.
  • Type 7A1 the double-ring postmarks, large -incomplete- and a small with serial letter a, and a large with serial-letter Б[B], the second letter of the alphabet.


  • Of course we see the indication КОШЕДАРЫ [KOSHEDARY] in this postmark, but we see this indication also in the -handwritten- address on the first line:
    handwritten Ст[St], short for СТАНЦIЯ [STANTSIYA] (railway)station and then the indication КОШЕДАРЫ. The second line of the address: Libavo-Romni railwayline. On the third line: the name of the addressee.

    КОШЕДАЩЫ (KOSHEDARY), the Lithuanian Kaišiadorys is located on the main railwayline from ВЕРЖБОЛОВО (Werzbolowo, the Lithuanian Virbalis) -the western border-city- via КОВНА [KOVNA] to ВИЛЬНА (WILNA), the Lithuanian Vilnius.

    In КОШЕДАЩЫ (KOSHEDARY) this line was connected with the line to the northwest: the line from ЛИБАВА [LIBAVA], Liepāja in present Latvia, to ВИЛЬНО [WILNO].

    Coming from ЛИБАВА [LIBAVA] via РАДЗИВИЛИШКИ (RADZIVILISHKI), the Lithuanian Radviliškis, it was necessary to turned in КОШЕДАЩЫ (KOSHEDARY), the Lithuanian Kaišiadorys, to reach КОВНА [KOVNA], the Lithuanian Kaunas.
    This was not easy, because Kaunas became more important, also as military fortress. During the German occupation in World War I
    the Germans constructed very soon a little cutting section (between Gaižiūnai and Palemonas), by which Kaunas was connected also direct with the line to ЛИБАВА (LIBAVA), the Latvian Liepaja.
    See Railway post, page 2.



This card is sent from КАЛЬВАРIЯ [KALVARIYA], the Russian indication for the Lithuanian place Kalvarija
In the postmark we see also an indication of the government Suwalki: СУВАЛКСКАЯ [SUVALKSKAYA]
ГУБЕРНIЯ [GUBERNIYA], government.
With the construction of the railway St.Peterburg-Warsaw, the city becomes more important: and in 1914 the city has over 10.000 inhabitants. Now it has about 5000 Inhabitants (Wikipedia).

Original print size of this image: 14,402 x 9,187 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50%.

This circular postmark -single ring- is type 6A (see above): Gubernia at top, date in three lines.


In 'the handbook' - Pašto Antspaudai = Poststempel in Litauen = P.O. Cancels in Lithuania / V. Fugalevičius. - second ed. 1990 is reported:
1 postmark type fleuron (only placename above, date in three lines), Type 3
1 cross-date postmark, Type 6C
4 double circle date-stamps, Type 7

This is also clearly - not reported, up to now, Type 6A: Gubernia at top, date in three lines, third line with the year 1888.



The written date in the message is 7 June 1888. In two days the card arrived in Bremen: date-stamp 9 June.
In the postmark of Kalvarija -Julian calendar- we see 26 and the month must be May: for our -Gregorian- calendar, which most countries also used in that period, 12 days must be added in the period after 28 February 1800 through 28 February 1900


Kalvarija is located in the south-western part of present Lithuania, near the border, 140 km west of Vilnius. The place belongs to Marijampolė County.
Here a map of the Suwalki Government (Suwalki Gubernia). The capital of this government Suwalki has also a Lithuanian indication Suvalkai and is now to find in the north-east corner of Poland.
Kalvarija is located between Suvalki and Kowno (Kaunas).

After the uprising of January 1863 followed an admistration reform: in 1866 the Gubernia of Augustów -too Polish, I think- is renamed to Suwalki Gubernia.













Part of the map, not resized, 'Westrussland' (Western Russia) from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909.

Also information about Kalvarija on the site about the history of the Jews in Lithuania
http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kalvarija/kalvarija.html: history, old postcards, map 1883 and more.




JPG-scan (60%), sent by M. Lam.
By the postmarks is to recognize the Polish influence: the place names are mostly transcriptions of the Polish names.
As many Lithuanian places Kaunas has a Lithuanian form of the name (Kaunas), a Russian (КОВНО [KOWNO or KOVNO]), a German (Kowno or Kauen), and a Polish (Kowno).



1869: postmark of Kaunas: at the top the place name, under it the month (december) in cyrillic letters, underneath that the year. At the bottom an ornament.

The other postmark:
(V)=In = Joniskis (place)
= accepted in Joniskis
20 (Dekabr) = December 1869 y(ear).
I suppose that this is a receiving postmark. According the postal regulations of 22 October 1830, mail must have a postmark with place and date of dispatch and arrival.

Other side of the letter.
(place)





After the introduction of stamps in Russia, number cancellations came in use.
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.
Kaunas had, as Vilnius, a number-cancellation: a number surrounded by points in the form of three concentric circles belongs to capitals of "guberniya",
For Kaunas this was number #19 - as capital of Kovno gub.



Letter, sent to Klingenthal, with the after 1860 introduced one-ring-postmark:

Original print size of this image: 15,071 x 8,086 cm (is something more as the postal item)


Postmark (resized 50 %).
Cover, sent 1879, from Kaunas, with the postmark of КОВНО (KOVNO, the Russian indication for the Lithuanian Kaunas). Kaunas was also the capital of the government КОВНО [KOVNO], and so the postmark has no indication of the government, but an ornament, here fleurons.



There is also a type with post-horns: Kovno has two post-horns with thunderbolts as ornament at the bottom: a post and telegraph office.


In 'the handbook' - Pašto Antspaudai = Poststempel in Litauen = P.O. Cancels in Lithuania / V. Fugalevičius. - second ed. 1990 an overview is given of the circular cancels in Kaunas (p. 272). An old double circle stamp is reported from 1853 with the indication KOWNO. Then follow the 'standard' single circle date-stamps, all with the indication KOWNO. With the introduction of the double circle data-stamps it becomes KOWNA.

The postmark of this cover - written 27-11-1888, so the unclear postmark must be 16-11-1888 (Julian date). The postmark is unclear, but it has the date in three lines and must have a fleuron or posthorns at the bottom. I think it is the type with fleuron: more space between the letters of KOWNO. From Kowno the only reported -Fugalevicius- postmark type with posthorns: less space between the letters.

After this type follow the single circle date-stamps with month in numerals, the cross-date stamps (see below) .

Original print size of this image: 14,334 x 9,076 cm (is something more as the postal item)


On this card is used a 'cross-date' postmark of Kaunas: In circular 13 of 5 April 1890 the instruction arrived to use Roman numerals for new stamps. This happened on suggestion of the U.P.U., the Universal Postal Union.
Also the postmarks in Russia change in the 'crossed date'-type. In the middle the day stays first, under it the month (in Roman numerals), left of the whole the century and right the rest of the year::

Original print size of this image: 14,283 x 9,229 cm (is something more as the postal item)


Part of the map, not resized, 'Westrussland' (Western Russia) from the encyclopedia 'Meyers Konversations-Lexicon', 6e Aufl., 1905-1909. In this time the railway from Kaunas.Kowno was running via Wirballen (or Werzbolowo, or -in Lithuanian- Virbalis) to Eydkuhnen and further in Germany.


In Baedeker (1914) we read: "Kovno (110 ft.), the capital of a government of the same name, is prettily situated on a tongue of land between the Viliyâ(ВИЛIЯ) and the Niemen, the banks of which are about 200 ft. in hight." According Baedeker Kaunas had at that time 88.000 inhabitants, of whom one-half were Jews.
To have some indication: from Wirballen via Kovno to Vilna (Vilnius) the express train need in that time 3 hours, a distance of 179 Verst or 119 Mile. Then you could travel further to St. Petersburg.

More about Kaunas in Baedeker 1914::
Baedeker's Russia 1914 / Karl Baedeker. - London : Charles Newton Abbot : George Allen & Unwin, 1971. - Repr. of the first English edition published in 1914. - p. 35-36



On this cover a postmark type 6D is used with the indication ГУБ. ПОЧТ. ТЕЛ. КОНТ. [GUB. POCHT. TEL. KONT.]. Not in the handbook EESTI as type: we name it type 6D3, in the handbook of Fugalevičius recorded with serial 9 and 10.

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 registry label.
In 'the handbook' - Pašto Antspaudai = Poststempel in Litauen = P.O. Cancels in Lithuania / V. Fugalevičius. - second ed. 1990. - p. 292- an overview is given of registry labels of Lithuanian places in Imperial Russia, often with date.

From 1903 double-ring-postmarks are used:
circular nr. 9 of 3 February 1903 introduced the double-ring-postmarks. The old postmarks are replaced when they are worn out. Also a detailed description is given of the new postmarks.
The postmarks consist of two rings, with the name of place in between. Day-month-year now stood on one line (in the year "19" has been omitted. There came two sorts of postmarks: bigger for the mail and smaller for receipts.


Card, sent to Kaunas.
Postmark of Kaunas: КОВНА [KOVNA]
According the EESTI-handbook here is used Type 7: double circle date-stamps 1901-1918
The subdivion of type 7:

  • 7A: with gubernia indication

  • 7B: without gubernia.

Kaunas -as capital of the government- had not an indication of gubernia: type 7B.
In the handbook of Fugalevičius are recorded 13 'normal' postmarks type 7B1 - * * a etc. - of Kaunas. Also are recorded 2 double-ring postmarks with points: the killer postmarks. On 16 October 1908 circular nr. 75 of the Post and Telegraph Department came out with the announcement of special postmarks. These postmarks really punctured the stamps and they were intended to be used for moneytransfer-forms and pakket-labels. For letters and cards these postmarks were not suited, because then the contents would be damaged. In the great cities double-ring-postmarks provided with pins were used for this. The intention was of course opposing of re-use of postage stamps with high values. As time goes on points were used instead of pins for the possibilty to use them also for letters and cards.

Original print size of this image: 14,207 x 9,229 cm (is something more as the postal item).
On the card you see the railway-cancel of route 46, ЛИБАВА-МИНСКЪ(LIBAVA-MINSK). About the railway-routes around Kaunas: see the chapter
about railway post.


A card with a picture of Kaunas























Original print size of this image: 14,029 x 9,228 cm (is something more as the postal item).

The postmark on the other side is of the 'Army in the field' -and more information about this is welcome.


The postmark (resized 50 %).



On the address-side the letter is partly pre-printed 'To His Reverend Father' with under it the name T. Kupfer.
Left under is also printed 'Dean (or Deanery) Vilensk. Distrikt' and an administration-number is filled in. As appears from the postmark 18-5-1910, -and also the letterhead inside-, the letter is clearly sent from KOVNA, the Lithuanian Kaunas.

Original print size of this image: 18,042 x 11,082 cm (is something more as the postal item).











In Russia also the religious institutions has not to pay for their letters: franking-freedom. These letters are good to recognize by the 'church-postmark' . This letter from КОВНА (KOVNA), Kaunas, has a church-postmark on the backside (resized 50 %).

The letter unfolded, inside:






As many of this kind of letters this letter is also as a whole folded, so we have inside the text. Here is a sender-indication printed: M.D.J. Wilnascher Propst Kowna. The letter is directed to 'An Seine Hochwohlehrwürden den Hernn Pastor Kupffer in Sawnary.'
Probably in the place Savnary was not a post-office. On the address-side of the letter you see at the bottom also the places Okmjany, nu Akmenė, en Shavelsky (Shavli), now Siauliai. With this knowledge the arrival-postmark can be read: ОКМЯНЫ КОВ (OKMJANY KOV), 19-5-1910

For the translations from the Russian Olav Petri and Eric Schoenmaker have helped. I can read German, but handwritten is too difficuld: I get help of Gijs Hamoen.

As many letters from our collecting area the text is in German.
The text:
"Von Karoline Witschke kann ich nur sagen, dasz sie einer Familie (Sack) entstammt, die hier stets die Unterstufe der "Herrschaften" in Anspruch genommen hat, das gehört also zum Familencharakter, den sie wohl bis an ihr Lebensende treu bleiben wird. Es käme nun darauf an zu ermitteln was sie denn etwa, da der Hauptberuf Bettelen ist, in Nebenberuf selbst er-wirbt und darauf hinzuwirken, dasz wenn irgend möglich, eine Umord-nung dieser verschiedenen Berufsarten eintrate.
Mit bestem Grusz
L.Dobbart (?) "


It is something private, but more than 100 years ago, the translation/adoption
About Karoline Witschke I can only say, that she descends from a family (Sack), which here always lowest strata of the " Herrschaften" (ironically for a certain type lords) has appealed,so it belongs to the family character that she will remain, however, to her end-of-life faithful. It best will be to investigate what kind of additional income (her head profession is begging) she herself has and make, if slightly possible, for a change of these different profession types.
With cordial greeting
L.Dobbart (?) "

An earlier letter of this Probst Dobbart, also to Father Kupffner in Sawnary is not complete on the backside- has no longer a church-postmark.
In the text inside we find more details: it is mail of the Curland Evangelical-Lutheran Church.
A list of parishes of this church is published in the "Rigascher kalender" 1863, and you can find this on internet:
www.roots-saknes.lv/Religions/Lutherans/LutheransBasic.htm
Under the 'Kurländischer Consistorial Bezirk', depends also : IX. Wilnasche Präpositur. The Wilnasche Präpositur is again subdivided and in this list we find Sawnari:
"105 Szawel, Kronskirche im Kownoschen Gouv.
Alexander Emanuel Diston, P. [=naam van de pastor in 1863] (Adr.: Ueber Schaulen, Pastorat Sawnary.) "

Original print size of this image: 17,941 x 10,702 cm (is something more as the postal item).










The backside, with partly an arrival postmark, resized 50 %, I suppose ОКМЯНЫ КОВ (OKMJANY KOV)











The letter is an invitation: 'According the decision of the Kurl. Luth.Ev.Consistorie [Highchurch institution, something like Synode] of 6 March a.c. [current year] Your Honour herewith informed that the Cons. has fixed his spring session from 11 to 25 May of this year"

Intersting is the handwritten additional text. The sender and the addressee must be on friendly terms, because one is using the very informal Du (you), not usual.
The German text:
"Hast Du in Betreff Noscheikys schon irgend eine Erklärung seitens der Anlaufskoste ? Wann denkst Du von meinem Projekt die Gaben aus der Diöcese einer besteimmten Theil der eueren Ausstellung zu konzentriren. Die Zeit is noch ungünstig, da der Hungerenden so viele sind. herzlichen Gruss".

Translation:
"Have you concerning Noscheikys [maybe a project to help hungry people] already somewhere a statement concerning the initial expenses?
When you think to transfer a distinct part of the gifts for my project from your diocese [a circle of parishes]? The time is still unfavourable, there are s many hungry.
Cordial greeting"

Apparently donations were collected for the poor.


The Evangelical-Lutheran Church is also now the most important church in Latvia. Lithuania remained Roman-Catholic for the most part, but the place ОКМЯНЫ КОВ (OKMJANY KOV) in the address, now the Lithuanian Akmenė, is near the Latvian border, and has also now partly a Latvian-speaking population. This group is still Lutheran as their ancestors.