Blinstrubs is the old Lithuanian noble family of Scandinavian origin, known in Lithuania since 1580’s.
Family’s origin and geographical expansion
An extract from “Heraldry of nobility of Grand Duchy of Lithuania” from 1658, written by historian Albert Vijukas-Kojelavicius describes Blinstrubs as following: Blinstrubs derives from Tautvilai, prospers in Duchy of Samogitia and province of Kaunas. Rich people. Possess family crest “Swan”. It is correct – Samogitia (Žemaitija) and Kaunas province are oldest known living places of Blinstrubs. The first and oldest Blinstrub’s patrimony was Alsia (Viduklė-Paalsė) estate, currently Blinstrubiškės (Viduklė parish). There, until 1736, lived sons and grandsons of family’s progenitors in Lithuania, Simon’s sons Peter and Caspar Blinstrubs. Later Blinstrub’s patrimonies were Pašaltuonis (Eržvilkas parish), Vizgirdiškės (Viduklė parish), Raulai (Viduklė parish), Kulva (Kulva parish), Pužai (Nemakščiai parish), Gabšiai-Gabšiškiai-Pakluonė (Raseiniai parish), Ugionys (Betygala parish), Czechov (Ariogala parish). In the XVII-XVIII centuries, Blinstrub’s habitats geographically slightly expanded. In Samogitia’s Viduklė, Nemakščiai, Raseiniai, Varniai, Adakavas parishes, new patrimonies has appeared – Macaliai, Pabalčiai, Daujotėliai. In Aukštaitija’s Pagiriai, Siesikiai, Dapšioniai parishes – Karpiai, Šiliūnai, Dapšioniai estates. A little bit later appeared Urnieziai estate(Labunava par.). In 19th. century Blinstrubs began to move away from their patrimonies. The branch of Aukštaitija spread in Jonava, Labūnava, Siesikiai, Vepriai directions. The branch of Samogitia has been expanding towards Taurage, Telšiai and Šiauliai. However, knowing that in 17th.-19th. centuries Blinstrubs had large families, geographical expansion has remained relatively low. In 1888 began another Blinstrubs migration trend, which over time formed the second largest Blinstrubs community – emigration to the United States. According to 1930 US Census data, the first immigrants to the US in 1888 became Vytautas (Withold) Blinstrubas and Teklė (Tecla) Blinstrubienė.
If rely on a legend, our family to Lithuania arrived from Denmark. For this to be true tells one small Danish town name – Blenstrup. In Denmark many towns or villages have such endings as -trup or -trop, and even some Danish have family names ending -trup, so chances that Blinstrubs came from Denmark are really considerable. A progenitor of the family was probably a person who derived from some place in Scandinavia and used in his surname a name of his patrimony or village (see photo below).
There is also a legend that Blinstrubs before moving to Lithuania, for a time lived in Poland, from which they were expelled, because of they became active Calvinism followers. This may be true, as in the oldest historical documents mentioned Blinstrubs inhabited places, such as Kulva, Viduklė, Deltuva or Kedainiai, at that time was strong Lithuanian Reformation centers and the oldest Blinstrubs were activists of Calvin church. . That there were Blinstrubs living in Poland, also confirms in 1934 released Braunsberg (now Braniewo) gymnasium student handbook, writen by the German professor Georg Luhr, which states that in 1715 in Braunsberg leadership and grammar studied the 23 year-old student from Poland Bartholomew Blinstrub from Nakla city in Poland.
Until 19th. century Blinstrubs presented themselves as Blinstrubs from Tautvilai, so it is possible that family has family relations with noble dukes family Tautvilai. Tautvilas (died 1263) was Duke of Polatsk and nephew of King of Lithuania Mindaugas. What is connection between Blinstrubs and Tautvilai is unknown.
After 1918, when Lithuania declared an independence from Russian empire, family name has transformed from Blinstrub to Blinstrubas. Some got their family names converted to Blinstrubis, but it is people of the same family.
Family status in the state and society
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Blinstrubs belonged to the royal elite. The son of Adam, George Blinstrub of Tautvilai, has graduated from evangelical universities of Marburg and Frankfurt. Thanks to his education and supported by the Samogitian nobleman, he became the secretary of the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Wladyslaw IV Vasa and after his death, George became nobleman of King John Casimir Vasa. His brother John (d. 1669) was the secretary of two Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania – Wladyslaw IV Vasa and John Casimir Vasa. He was also the deputy of Samogitia tribunal in 1640 and 1655. Other Blinstrubs took ranks of rittmeisters, judges, deputies, marshals of Kaunas county and Samogitia, as well as many honorary duties of nobility.
It can be assumed that the kings of the Swedish origin, Vasas, have chosen George and John as their secretaries, because of the Scandinavian origin of Blinstrubs. In the seventeenth century Blinstrubes not only enjoyed the privileges of being members of the royal elite but also had diplomatic skills. According to historian Adolfas Šapoka, George Blinstrub, during Swedish Deluge, was the only nobleman who had a document issued by the Swedish general, Magnus Gabriel de la Garde, which prohibited the Swedish army from plundering George’s estates and lands in Lithuania (A. Šapoka “Kėdainių sutartis” 1990).
In 17th.-19th. centuries Blinstrubs were landlords, but already in the beginning nineteenth century many Blinstrubs became farmers, and some began to move to the cities and towns.
In April 10th of 1798, the family confirmed its status of nobility in the Vilnius Gpvernorate’s noblemen’s deputies’ council (LVIA F391, ap6, b7)
In various periods Blinstrubs owned Blinstrubiškiai (Viduklė-Paalsė), Pužai, Kulva, Deltuva, Utena, Pajuostis, Gabšiai-Gabšiškai-Paklonė, Macaliai, Ugioniai, Urboniškiai, Raulai and Dapšioniai estates. Blinstrubs were related and had friendly relationship with counts Zabiellos, Pliaters, noble families Kulviečiai (Kulwinski), Kossakovski, Meištavičiai, Bilevičiai, Urniežiai, Pilsudski.
In early 2000s, in Lithuania lived over 130 Blinstrubs (males). If we add females Blinstrubaitės and Blinstrubienės and people with changed Blinstrubis name, we get about 250 Blinstrubs. Approximately the same number of Blinstrubs live in the United States – under 2016 telephone and address directories in the United States live 170 adults with name Blinstrub, 55 people with the surname Blinstrubas (male and female) and several females with the surname Blinstrubienė and Blinstrubaitė. Plus 33 adults with the changed surname Blinstrup. In 2015 in Poland lived 37 Blinstrubs, in Germany 16 Blinstrubs. Several Blinstrubs resides in the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Brazil. In 2016 in Facebook you can find over 200 Blinstrubs account. Based on these numbers, it can be assumed that the current population Blinstrubs is about 650-700 people.