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Debra Leigh Zielis (View posts)
Posted: 936619200000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1267107220000
looking for relatives in Lithuania

Re: Zilius

Klaus Mittmann (View posts)
Posted: 1061501269000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Zilius
My grandgrandfather came from Dagutschen, Eastern Prussia, todays Lithunia. His name was Erwin Friedrich Zilius, born 20.10.1852. His father was landowner Friedrich Zilius. I am searching for his birthdate and relatives. Any further idea or help from your side??

Re: Zilius

Posted: 1170483817000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Zilus, Zilius
Are you from Wisconsin? If so, we most likely are related. I found out from relatives in Wisconsin that Ziius was actually Zilus...for my relatives from Lithuania that is. I hope to hear from you!

Re: East Prussia / Lithuanian names

Posted: 1198127821000
Classification: Query
Try this web site for East Prussia and Lithuanian names and genealogy. ortsfamilienbuch memelland This is not an address but the name of the site.
Posted: 1242178766000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1243270843000
Surnames: Zilus, Zielis
My Name is Debra Zielis, and I live in Wisconsin. My Grandfather's name was Frank Zielis. He told me that when he came from Lithuania and attended Catholic school the nuns told him the correct spelling of Zilus here in America was Zielis. His was that ever since. I am curious to find out if I have any other relatives and other information about my heritage. Are there any other Zilus' in america?
Posted: 1242221016000
Classification: Query
The surname spelled "Zielis" is not found in the current online phone book for Lithuania. There is one listing for a "Zielis^" (a very unusual ending for a Lithuanian name that is pronounced something like ZiAI-lish or ZEH-lish).

However, there are 321 listings for the surname spelled "Z^ilius" (pronounced ZHI-loos) including the women's endings "-ute" and "-iene" used for unmarried women and married women respectively. So the odds seem tilted very much towards the much more common "Z^ilius" since there are no listings for "Zilius."

The Lithuanian alphabet includes two letters "z" (as well as two letters "c" and "s"): one has a little birdie over it (typed "z^" on non-Baltic keyboards) and is pronounced "zh" as in the English word "azure"; the other does not have any mark over it and is pronounced "z" as in the English word "zoo."

The "s" with a birdie over it is pronounced in Lithuanian "sh" as in the English word "shout." But without that birdie, it is pronounced as in the English word "state."

The surnames for women have a different ending than their husbands or fathers. For names ending in "-is", the ending for unmarried girls or women is "-yte". All unmarried women's names end in "-iene" regardless of the ending on their husbands' names.

The "correct" spelling of anyone's name is what he or she says it is, not what nuns or teachers say. Immigrants to America (and other countries) usually modified the Lithuanian spelling and pronunciation of their names to suit the new environment they lived in, where English was the dominant language. So Lithuanians might change the "z^" to plain "z" because, when English speakers saw a "z" whether it had a mark over it or not, they usually pronounced it as it most commonly appears, as in "zoo". So Frank's parents might well accept that pronunciation to save explaining what I've just explained. Some immigrants with this surname might spell their name "Zhilius" to indicate that "z^" sound and keep the phonetics close to Lithuanian. I could easily see a Lithuanian immigrant with this surname simplifying it to "Zilus" or "Zilis". The Lithuanian "-ius" is pronounced with just the barest hint of the "i" sound before the "u", so to the American ear it would sound simply like "oos".

There is no way to determine how many people carry the surname Zilius in America. But I did a search of of all people with this surname in the 1930 U.S. Census and came up with the following list:

Ranked Search Results - 1930 United States Federal Census
You searched for Zilius
Name; Home in 1930 (town, state); Birth Year; Birthplace (if given)
Edward Zilius; Penn, PA; abt 1874; Germany
Ignas Zilius; Peru, ME; abt 1876; Lithuania
John Zilius; Huntingdon, PA; abt 1876; Pennsylvania
Anna Zilius; Chicago, IL; abt 1882; Lithuania
Joseph Zilius; Lima, OH; abt 1882; Lithuania
Grace E Zilius; Huntingdon, PA; abt 1885
George Zilius; Kenosha, WI; abt 1893l; Lithuania
Jonas Zilius; Boston, MA; abt 1894; Lithuania
Joseph Zilius; Paterson, NJ; abt 1894; Lithuania
Veronica Zilius; Paterson, NJ; abt 1896
Charles E Zilius; Huntingdon, PA; abt 1908
Blanche B Zilius; Huntingdon, PA; abt 1911
Bruno Zilius; Chicago, IL; abt 1911
Florence Zilius; Paterson, NJ; abt 1928

My guess is that there is a fair chance that some of these folks were related to your grandfather, however distantly.

John Peters
Posted: 1242430185000
Classification: Query
Wow, that is interesting.
I really am not 100% sure on the exact change of my last name but the nun story is what I remember from my grandfather.
George Zilius (Kenosha WI) is my great great uncle who served in WWI. I still have some of his honors he received from the war.
So in knowing what my name originated from, how do you think it was changed?
Posted: 1242437250000
Classification: Query
No way to know. English is wildly variable in how various vowels and vowel combinations are pronounced. The "i" after the "z" could be pronounced "ih" or "ee" and somewhere in between. If more towards the latter, many immigrants tended to used phonetic spellings, i.e., spelling that corresponded to the sounds. The vowel combination "ie" can easily sound like "ee" as in "believe". The combination "ei" also can sound the same as in "receive". Likewise the letter "y" in English often is pronounced "ee" as in "fully".

So I could see the first part of the name ending up being spelled Ziel-, Zyl-, Zeil-, Zeel-, or just plain Zil-. My maternal grandfather's surname was Kuckailis, pronounced KOOTS-kai-lis (because the "c" has no birdie over it). In America, he changed it by dropping the ending and spelling the rest phonetically: KOOTS-kel. But wouldn't you know it, one of his children changed that to KOOT-sel, dropping second "k" sound altogether. So now I have relatives named both Kutskel and Kutsel. Can't explain how human beings deal with their names sometimes.

John Peters
Posted: 1266978781000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1267107269000
Surnames: Zielus, Zilus
My father-in-law was Frank Zielis and He said the original spelling of the name was Zilus. We also have the purple heart George Zielis received and a formal documentation with the name spelled Zilus.
Frank said the name was change because the nun at St Rose in Kenosha said this is how the name should be spelled,Joesph his father said if that is what they said they would do it.
Frank was born Jan. 8, 1908. He was the only son and had a sister Mary and Stella. Stella passed at a younger age and Mary passed in the late 80's early 90's. Frank passed in May 1988. Frank always told the same story over with no variation what so ever.
Posted: 1266978925000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1267107297000
Sorry Frank passed 1996. He lived with us for the first 13yrs of marriage.
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