This site is about Keidan, where my grandfather was born. Known today by its Lithuanian name, Kėdainiai, it was for centuries an important regional center, a seat of dukes and counts, and a multicultural community long before that term was coined. Until the catastrophic events of the 20th century, Keidan’s Jews lived in relative harmony with their neighbors, including Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Germans, Belarusians and even Scots. Keidan’s scholars, merchants, and artisans were known far and wide, leaving a legacy – in Yiddish, a yikhes – that continues to inspire the community’s far-flung descendants.

Collected here are memoirs, histories and other material that illuminates the story of this community. The goal is to provide Keidan’s descendants and others with a resource for exploration, enlightenment and understanding.

— Andrew Cassel

Click here to read more.

Image Gallery

11 Responses to Introduction

  1. harvey sokolow says:

    I wish there were more notations were under the pictures. My ancestor Morris Charnas was from Keidan.

  2. Andrew says:

    Are you not seeing the notes beneath the pictures? If you hover your mouse over or tap on a photo (if you’re looking on a phone or tablet) the caption should be visible. You can also click on a photo and it will come up on your screen, and you can scroll or move among photos. Please let me know if this does not work for you. (You can also use the Search feature to find mentions of your Charnas family.)

  3. Greg says:

    Harvey — I also have Charnes relative from Keidan: Zalmen Charnes (born 1874). He was probably related to Morris. Do you have more info about your relative?

  4. Shane Charnas says:

    Hello Greg and Harvey.
    I am Shane Charnas, descended from Charnases of Keidan. I was in the town two days ago, visiting.
    How can I get hold of you? I would like to share any information we have.

  5. A Cassel says:

    Shane, you might consider sharing your experience and info on the Facebook site “Roots in Keidan”:

  6. Ada Green says:

    Harvey Sokolow,
    Morris Charnas had a brother named Mayer. He was married to Bessie Kaplan, who was a first cousin of my grandfather Oscar Greenblatt (their mothers were sisters). Mayer and Bessie and buried in Montefiore Cemetery’s Kedainer Association like your Morris and Pauline Charnas.

  7. Revital Gordin-Kaviani says:

    Thank you for including the article by my grandfather, Samuel Goldblatt. We had no idea that it was translated into English and published online!

  8. Andrew says:

    You are most welcome. Delighted you found the Keidan site; please send along any suggestions or corrections. All best, AC

  9. Michael says:

    Hello my Great Grandfather was born in this town in 1862.Is it hard to get his birth certificate?I only speak English and live in the United States.

  10. Michael, you can ask a researcher to look for your ggf’s birth record. I would recommend Regina Kopilevich; email me directly for her contact info.

  11. Kathleen Puciato says:

    My brother in law’s grandfather, Isaac Shapiro, Rafel Yitzchak was born in Keidan in April 1879 and immigrated to the USA in 1900. There are 5 Shapiro’s buried in Keidan’s Old Jewish Cemetery. I am wondering if they might be from this family?
    The Facebook site “Roots in Keidan” has been a wealth of information. So happy I found it.

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