The Vambutas family tree, as we know it today, begins with the XVI century. However it is quite possible that it is much, much older. Now we do know from the books of history that the Vambutas name was already known in the XIII century 1, 2, 3. These references are to the chronicles of Hipatius which describe a peace treaty of 1219. The treaty was signed, not only by Mindaugas (who soon became the first king of Lithuania), but also by other Lithuanian and Samogitian leaders. The list included a name of Vambutas. Centuries later and due to the historical events, the attempts were made to make Lithuanian names to sound Polish or Russian. Thus there was a time when Vambutas was also known as Vambutavičius Vambutas, other name variants also apeared: Vambut, Vambutt, Wambutt and Vembūtas. A well-known Lithuanian writer Žemaitė writes about a name change from Vambutas to Vembūtas and atributes it to the XIX century Russian czar administration 4.

     In the vicinity of Telšiai and near to Viešvėnai, today we find a Vembūtai village (with some 505 voters) and close to Varniai the Vembūtai castle hill. This hill is within the Varniai Regional Park and is only a few kilometers west of Varniai. Stasys Kasparavičius, the director of the Samogitian ALKA museum describes this castle hill in detail 5. Recently historians Adomas Butrimas and Kazys Misius write that Vambutas of the XIII century is in all likelihood related to the Vambutas families who in the XV century owned their estates and lands in the vicinity of Viešvėnai 6.

     Historian Sigita Gasparavičienė has exhaustively researched the Vambutas family history and traced the beginnings of the family to Jonas (John) Vambutas (also then known as Vambutavičius) and his son Jokūbas (Jacob). She has also discovered a number of other documents showing the Vambutas family noble roots and their ties with the Pogonia IV Coat of Arms. The oldest document discovered so far is a land purchase record dated May 29, 1617. The document was reported by the Raseiniai Land Court (record #253) 7, 8. It is quite interesting to notice that these parcels of land were also located near Viešvėnai.

     The detailed information about the Vambutas family from the XVI to XIX century is scant. However, this time period (common to most of the family tree branches) is described well by Audronė Musteikienė, our magnificent website designer and manager 9. Please see the whole Vambutas family tree, which was also designed by her.

     In 2003 the village of Viešvėnai celebrated the 750-year anniversary. For this occasion, a local craftsman Adolfas Gedvilas has carved a wood statue (“stogastulpis”). According to the reporters, the statue was dedicated to “kunigaikštis (duke) Vambutas” 10, 11.

1. Gudavičius E. Mindaugas, Istorijos institutas, Vilnius, 1998, p. 118
2. Baranauskas T. Lietuvos valstybės ištakos, Vaga, Vilnius, 2000, p. 185
3. Butkevičienė B., Gricius V. Mindaugas – Lietuvos karalius, Mokslas ir Gyvenimas 2003, Nr. 7, p. 4.
4. Normantas J, Iš Viešveniškių atsiminimų Vambutai //Viešvėnai: istorija ir dailė's paminklai, Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai, Vilnius. p. 112,
5. Kasparavičius S. Kunigaikščio Vykinto pilies beieškant, Žemaičių žemė, 2001/1, p.11.
6. Butrimas A., Misius K. Viešvė, Viešvėnų žemė, valsčius, tijūnija ir seniūnija, //Viešvėnai: istorija ir dailė's paminklai, Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai, Vilnius. p. 22-43.
7, Russian State Historical Archives, St. Petersburg, F, 1343, Ap.8.B,239, L.18-18v (translation by Gasparavičienė S.).
8. Russian State Historical Archives, St. Petersburg, F, 1343, Ap.8.B.239, L.97-99 (translation by Gasparavičienė S.).
9. Musteikienė A. Vambutų giminės istorija,
10. Jackutė D. Prisiminta praeitis, dabartis ir pasidžiaugta darbais
11. Katutytė L. Ant Viešvės upelio kranto… , Telšių Žinios, 2003-09-19

The above was compiled by Edmundas Vambutas


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