My grandfather left Lithuania, actually Russia, in 1910. I am trying to locate his town on a map. a copy of his draft card states the town of Yobeneks, Russia. I cannot find this name. does anyone have any ideas regarding a different spelling? thanks I just saw a cpy of the draft card, it is a US draft card and the town is listed as Yoboneks. I have pdf copy but don't know how to add to this web page.

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    When I put the name into Google, the search results gave several websites with the word "yobenek" (no S) which were all written in Polish, including genealodzy.pl See the related question here "where do I find a 1910 map of Russia" and try other historical maps of the period. Names can be very conservative (note how many cities in the USA have names in Native American languages) so this may be a clue that the town was once part of Poland, and online tools for finding towns in Poland might help. Also see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitions_of_Poland
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 18, 2014 at 2:07
  • Another similar question is Where was Eiszuk, Russia? genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/4055/…
    – bgwiehle
    Jul 18, 2014 at 11:57
  • @Bill P, Could an image showing the placename line of the draft card be added? Looking at the handwriting might suggest some alternate spellings.
    – bgwiehle
    Jul 19, 2014 at 12:08
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    which full region is it, including region, and area? i mean not only region (gubernia), but and area (ujezd). It should be written in birth document of your mother Jul 22, 2014 at 10:36
  • @Малъ Скрылевъ, Many US records do not accurately (or fully) record foreign placenames. There are many reasons for this, both on the side of the informant to the record and the recorders of the record. It can be challenging to make a proper identification.
    – bgwiehle
    Jul 22, 2014 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


I checked my favorite town database for any appropriate towns in Eastern Europe starting with "Yob…" or "Job…" and came up blank. I also searched for any towns that ended in "…neks" or "…necks" and also had no hits. I think you should assume that the town was being written down phonetically on the draft card by an American who was dealing with an immigrant who spoke little English.

Based on that, I believe the town may be Vabalninkas, Lithuania. It is a very small town located at 55°58' N 24°45' E, and it is 91 miles NNW of Vilnius (formerly Vilna). Prior to WWI, the town was known as "Vobol'niki" in Russian.

The giveaway is that the Yiddish name for the town was "Vabolnik" or "Vobolnik", which kind of sounds like Yobolneks -- and it's even more of a match if what you thought was a "Y" at the start of the word on your draft card was actually a "V" with poor handwriting.

The town is being researched by many people at JewishGen: http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~community~-2620214

If you join the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) there, you can connect with them and see if you can find a match with another researcher.

It looks like the remains of the Jewish cemetery have been photographed and transcribed and are included in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR), if you want to search through them.

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