Tom Diaz <tomdiaz2010@...>
My maternal grandfather was Foma Osipovich Franko. He was born Nov.
1885 in the village of Budriany in Kovensk guberniia, Lithuania, then
part of Russia. This was probably the modern "Budruiani," in Kaunas,
which appears >from Google terrain map to now be just a wide place in
the road near (less than a kilometer) the hamlet of Johampolis.
This location is slightly northeast of Kelme in the general direction
Foma ended up in Harbin, serving in the Imperial Frontier Guards,from
which he deserted in 1910 and came to Hawaii.
"Franko" is obviously not a classical Lithuanian name. I know >from a
bit of research on JewishGen that there were Jewish "Frank" families
in Lithuania, including at least one in Siauliai. One might also
fairly speculate that "Franko" could be >from the Sephardic "Franco,"
since we know Sephardim migrated up as far as the Baltic >from the
I had concluded that, because there was no shtetl named Budriany
(Budruiani) in Lithuania, my grandfather Foma Franko was not Jewish.
Recently, however, I have learned that there were proportionally more
Jewish farmers in Lithuania than anywhere else in Eastern Europe, and
that estates were also "farmed out" to Jews by noble owners. Farming
would have been the probable occupation in Budriany/Budruiani.
Finally, A Lithuanian survivor told me that the given name "Foma" was
a common vernacular name for "Chaim."
Any help on any of this will be greatly appreciated.