May 2018
110 years ago a young couple left Lithuania for the United States
Stanley and Mary Alianskas Paukstis (Paukstys) were my grandparents
They settled in Browndale, PA, joining other Lithuanian immigrant farmers who found work in the coal mines.
They and other immigrant groups built separate Catholic churches to fulfill their spiritual needs.
It also was necessary to bring priests from the "old country" who could speak their languages.

By 1910 the nearby little town of Forest City had separate Catholic churches for the Irish (English speakers),
Polish, Slovaks, Slovenians and Lithuanians as well as the Ruthenian Catholics who followed the Byzantine Roman Catholic Rite
This is the 1926 First Communion Class of St Anthony's Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church
My Dad Frank Paukstis is in the 1st row, 6th from the left
His certificate below lists his Lithuanian name - Pranas
I took this picture in 1999 when I learned that St. Anthony's was going to be demolished
along with several other Catholic churches in Forest City.
I remember the church from my childhood in the 1950s & 60s where the homily was still in Lithuanian as well as several hyms
and the prayers recited during the rosary, novenas etc. I still remember the Lithuanian prayers my Dad taught me.
I do not have a photo of the church from those days, but
the news article below provides insight into the vision and determination of the immigrants.
The town in which 5 Roman Catholic churches once served separate immigrant populations now has one parish
The children of the immigrant generation grew up bilingual
while many in my generation are seeking their heritage through
and joining ethnic societies to reconnect with their roots.
Traveling to Lithuania was important to me as I continue to learn "who do I think I am?"

My grandmother's family all stayed in Lithuania
I believe these pictures below are of her parents and her sister's family
Her father was Pranas (Frank) Alianskas and we think her sister was Rose. We do not know her married name.

Considering life under the Soviets and the Nazis,
I wonder what became of them.

My grandfather had 1 brother (Vincent) who also emigrated to America, 2 other brothers remained in Lithuania
This is the only correspondence left between the families
The English translation helped me located their village outside of Kaunas
I do not have any photos of my grandparents when they were young immigrants. Those below are from 1938.
Grandpa is reading a Lithuanian newspaper. Life in the mines did not allow time to learn English.