Paolono/Paolona and Lita, Russia? #belarus #russia


Hi All!

Does anyone know of towns possibly named Paolona (Russia) and Lita (Russia)?  One of my relatives listed Paolono as his birth town on his Declaration of Intent, and Lita as that of his wife.  I'm guessing that Lita, Russia could be Lida, Belarus; but I am not certain.  

Document is attached. Thanks in advance!!
Amy Mitchell

Alan Shuchat

There is a town in Ukraine called Polonne. Lita is Lithuania.
Alan Shuchat
Newton, MA

SHUKHAT (Talnoe, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Odessa, Balta (Abazovka), Pogrebishche)
VINOKUR (Talnoe), KURIS (Mogilev-Podolskiy, Ataki, Berdichev)
ZILBERMAN (Soroki, Kremenets), BIRNBAUM (Kamenets-Podolskiy)
KITAIGORODSKI (Zvenigorodka)


Hi Amy, 

According to his declaration, Joseph sailed from Trieste and arrived in may 1908.  His real surname was given as Gorenzivit.
There is a Josef Gorencziwitt  (b.1885) that sailed from Trieste in May1909 (not 1908). His destination was nyc to a friend named Sorin and his contact in Russia was his father Aron.

The problem is that this man was born in Zhitomir and not Paolona (maybe he meant Poland?), and his last residence was a place called Solomios/Solomiec/Soloniec(?). Perhaps it was this place

Regarding Lita (Sadie's birthplace) it may be Lida, as you write,  or perhaps Litin, a place close to Zhitomir.

Giannis Daropoulos 


Jill Whitehead

Lita is in a border area. It is now part of Belarus (since 1945) but has also been part of Lithuania (1918-1945) and also Suwalki gubernia in Poland in the19th century and up to WW1. My late cousin's middle name was Lita, as some of the family came from there when it was part of Suwalki.  

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

Michele Lock

There is a clue on the naturalization form about where this person is from. He swears off allegiance to both Russia and the Republic of Poland. There was no independent Republic of Poland until after World War I. I think this naturalization form was from 1922, but it is hard to make the date out. If it is 1922, then the petitioner knew that where he lived prior to coming to the US was now within the borders of Interwar Poland. At that time, Lida was part of Poland, though now it is in Western Belarus. [The borders of modern Poland are not quite the same as those for Interwar Poland]

So possibly Lida is meant for the town name, though 'Lita' is also the Yiddish name for Lithuania. And prior to World War I, the town Lida was within the borders of the Vilna Gubernia, most of which is now within the borders of modern Lithuania.

When I've been confronted with these difficult-to-interpret town names, I've found it more useful to research every other US document I can find on a person, including census records, draft cards, and even obituaries. And even more useful was searching out documents on siblings, first cousins, uncles, even children of first cousins, especially for relatives who came to the US after 1910 or so. Their documents may be more clear about where the extended family was from.

Also, I would research the person 'Sorin' who your relative was going to when he arrived in the US. That would be a person he knew from the old country.

I also notice there are 2-3 sentences written in the left had margin of the naturalization form, though they are hard to read. Those might prove useful, too.

Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus

Jeannette Tsoulos

I would say that the applicant has nominated Poland and Lithuania as the birthplaces required, rather than towns. Lita was the Hebrew name of Lithuania, Lite was the Yiddish and Litwa the Polish. As for Paolono, the final letter looks more like a d than an o. This would make Paolond. The applicant would have spoken with an accent and the clerk was writing down what he heard, which could easily have sounded like Paolond. Both Poland and Lithuania were part of the Russian Empire when the applicant was born.

Jeannette TSOULOS