Duke Mykolas Oginskis

Dukes Oginskiai

Dukes Oginskiai originated from a Russian family which lived in the Smolensk territory. It settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. One of the hypotheses set forth in genealogical encyclopaedia claims that the name of Oginskiai originated from the possessions of Uogintai (not far from present-day Kaunas) assigned to the representative of this family Dimitrij Ivanovich Hlushonok by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander. During its life cycle this family left a pronounced footprint in Lithuania’s history. From the 16th century to the end of the state’s existence (1795), the members of this family held the following official titles: a chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a Grand Marshal and a treasurer, there were three hetmans, nine governors of districts (voivodes), ten castellans, five chairmen of the Lithuanian Supreme Tribunal, and two composers in the family. Later, the representatives of this family were known as sponsors of music, science and the implementers of technical innovations.

Although the family of Oginskiai had some landholdings in Samogitia (Žemaitija) and the central territories of the present-day Lithuania as early as in the 16th century, the largest complexes of their possessions were formed in the eastern part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (the districts of Vilnius, Minsk and Vitebsk) by the end of the 18th century only. At the beginning of the 19th century, the most important representatives of the noble branch of Oginskiai moved their residence to Rietavas. After Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis, who was disappointed with the tsarist policy, moved to Italy, his wife Marija Oginskienė (de Neri) saw the Manor of Rietavas legitimised as a private possession of Oginskiai. Soon afterwards their son Irenėjus Kleopas Oginskis (1808–1963) established a modern residential manor which was inherited by his eldest son Bogdanas Mykolas Juozapas Pranciškus (1848–1909). His youngest brother Mykolas Mikalojus Severinas Markas (1949–1902) refused to live in the inherited manor of the grandfather, namely, the composer M. K. Oginskis, in Zalese (Ašmena county). Having purchased landholdings in Plungė, he married a countess of Drogosław II from Chernyaev (the then Prussian territory) Marija Teresa Kaspara Skórzewska (1857–1945) in 1876  and soon had a residence built here which was no less luxurious and supplied with artistic and cultural valuables as well as technical developments than his native Rietavas. Unfortunately, the two brothers had no children, for this reason, the continuity of the Oginskiai family faded with them. The duke M. M. Oginskis died in a resort of South France, Nice, and was buried in Rietavas, in Aušros Vartai chapel-mausoleum of the Oginskiai family. The duchess M. Oginskienė died in Poznan (Poland), her grave is unknown.