Monday, 30 November 2015

Arrivals from Scotland

Individuals have moved between Scotland and Lithuania since at least the sixteenth century. However it was only from the 1880s that significant numbers of Lithuanians began settling in Scotland. By the first decade of the 20th century there were several thousand Lithuanians living and working in Scottish coal mines and steel mills; the linked article from the BBC (click here) provides some background to their lives and communities. If you have a little more time, the linked educational video from (click here) may be entertaining.

Scottish Lithuanians migrating to Australia generally arrived either immediately before the First World War or during the 1920s. A feature of these migrants was that they tended to arrive in family groups; most had lived in Scotland for several years, in some cases for decades, and many arrived with spouses or children who had been born in Scotland.  Another feature is that many of these migrants had already anglicised or simplified their Lithuanian names. Here are a few examples of their stories.

Naturalisation records from the National Archives tell us about Antoni (Antanas) and Eva (Ieva) ALANSKAS who had arrived in Western Australia in 1912 with their three daughters. The parents had been born in Lithuania and lived in Scotland for 9 years, while the children (Annie Kathleen, Mary Cecelia and Maggie Veronica) had all been born in Glasgow. The family settled at Bellevue, near Perth.

The KAIRAITIS/PETRAITIS family had a somewhat different composition. Two brothers, Petras (Peter) and Vincas (William/Bill) Kairaitis had arrived in New South Wales from Scotland before World War One and settled at Blacktown, near Sydney, where they worked as dairymen. Anna Bauze's memoirs relate that by the 1930s they had been joined by their niece Nelly and her husband George Peters, their nephew Bronius and his wife and children, and their nephew Antanas (Tony) who was single. Bronius and Antanas used the surname PATRICK in Australia in place of the Lithuanian Petraitis.  Nelly, Bronius and Antanas had all arrived in 1928 from Scotland.

Another migration pattern is represented by the JESNER family. Isidor Jesner was a Lithuanian Jew who had left Tsarist Russia in 1904 at the age of 19, arriving in Hobart from Glasgow in 1911. Some time later he established himself in Lygon Street, Carlton (Melbourne) where his younger sister Lena joined him in 1928. Lena was aged 33, unmarried, had lived in Scotland for 17 years, and was initially employed by her brother as a domestic. Records at the National Archives suggest that Isidor also sought to sponsor the immigration of other Jesner family members.

William and Margaret DELADE (Vincas and Magdalena DAILIDE) arrived in Australia in the late 1920s with their daughter Natalie, settling at Dapto, New South Wales, where Vincas found work in the coal mines. As recounted in their published family history (click here for the earlier post), Vincas was born in Suvalkija (Lithuania) but left for Scotland in 1912 at the age of 19. Magdalena, on the other hand, had been born in Scotland to Lithuanian parents in 1898.

In Australia the Delade family were friends with another extended Scottish Lithuanian family - the AUGUSTUS/AUGUSTAITIS family. Pranas (Frank) Augustaitis had been born to Lithuanian parents in Scotland in 1892, reached Australia in 1924, and settled in Redfern, Sydney, with his wife Maggie and two sons. They were joined in Sydney by Frank's sister Bella who was married to Juozas PLAUSINIS/known as Joe MILLER; this family lived at Waterloo with their two sons (source: Anna Bauze's memoirs).      



  1. Hi great to read this. I am Joe Millers granddaughter

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. Here is a link to an earlier post which included a photo of a Sydney Lithuanians gathering in 1934:; Is there anyone you can identify in the photo? That would be a great help. And I'd welcome any comments, photos or stories about your grandfather's family that you are willing to share.

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