The country we call Lithuania today was not a country at all from 1795 to 1918, but was part of a kind of province called a gubernia or governate of Czarist Russia.The Czar ruled lands with people not only of Russian ethnicity, but also of various other ethnic backgrounds: Lithuanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, etc.So people who lived in these lands would all be subjects of (citizens is too strong a word since they had few rights) the Czar of Russia until the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.So when they were asked what country they were from they would naturally say Russia even though they were ethnic Lithuanians.
Since your (half) great-uncle considered himself ethnically Lithuanian (more on that later), we would have to agree that he was Lithuanian by nationality but a "citizen" or subject of Russia.This was true for all ethnic Lithuanians living in that area we now call Lithuania.There were also ethnic Russians, Poles, and Jews living in that area as well, but the bulk of the population outside the larger cities and towns were ethnic Lithuanians.
So odd are that your ancestors on that side of the family were fully Lithuanian.
The writing on the draft card is indeed very clear, butLithuanian uses the letter "y" to sound like "ee", so he may have used a kind of phonetic spelling for the village name.
Just as he used the initial letter "y" to begin his surname, when ordinary Lithuanian would use "j".For instance, my name, John, in Lithuanian is "Jonas", pronounced "YO-nas".So "Yermala" would be spelled properly "Jermala" or even "Jermale.
In the current online phone book for Lithuania (http://telefonai.zebra.lt/index.php?action=result&language=english) there are these listings for names similar to this:
20-53 Isrutiai Street
City of Vilnius
6-5 Rudausiai Village
Eldership of Nemenc^ine
District of Vilnius
25 Putinai Street
City of Alytus
Villiage of Varliai
Eldership of Onus^kis
District of Trakai
Frantis^ka-Danute Jermaliene (this is the married woman's form of the name Jermala, Jermalas, or Jermalis)
Village of S^akalis^kes
Eldership of Kaltanenai
District of S^venc^ioniai
3a-11 Z^irgai Street
City of Vilnius
12 Kaltanenai Street
Eldership of the Town of S^venc^ioneliai
Town of S^venc^ioneliai
So the name of the town on today's map of Lithuanian (http://www.maps.lt/beta/Default.aspx?lang=en) might be one of these:
Maleikenai in the S^venc^ioniai district
Maleikoniai in the Kedainiai district
Malakonys in the S^alc^ininkai district
You will need some other confirming record to settle the question of the town or village name.Marriage records (from the church) often have such information as do naturalization records.There are old but very detailed maps of Lithuanian part of the Russian Empire at http://igrek.amzp.pl/mapindex.php?cat=WIG100http://igrek.amzp.pl/mapindex.php?cat=WIG100, but the names are in Polish or German and you would have to have an idea about where to look, since it is not indexed as is the current online map of Lithuania.
I found some other records for Thomas and his family (names are spelled as they are indexed on ancestry.com):
1.The 1910 U.S. Census for Brooklyn, NY, lists Thomas Yermala, age 33, living at 215 Berry St, with his wife, Annie E., age 24, and their children:
Mildred, age 5
Florence, age 3
Thomas E., age 1 year
The elder Thomas was born in "Lithuania" (Russia) and told the census taker he arrived in the U.S. in 1900, while Annie was born in New York as were all the children.
2.There is 1918 WWI Draft Registration for Thomas Yermale, age 40, born on January 24, 1878.He was a tailor and living at 57 Union Ave., Brooklyn.His nearest relative was his wife, Anna Yermale.
3.In the 1920 U.S. Census, there is Thomas Yermal, a tailor, age 41, living at 57 Union Ave., Brooklyn, with his wife, Anna, age 33, and children:
The elder Thomas said that he arrived in the U.S. in 1896 and was naturalized a citizen in 1911.He gave his place of birth as Russia and mother tongue Lithuanian.
4.In the 1930 U.S. Census, Thomas Yermal, age 52, a widower, employed as a "cutter" in a clothing store, was living at 57 Union Ave., in Brooklyn, with his children:
Florence, age 21, employed as a clerk at a publishing co.
Thomas, age 20, employed as an elevator operator
He gave his place of birth as Lithuania, which by this time was completely free from Russian domination and had been an independent state since 1918.A Mary Shimkus, age 23, was a boarder there as well.
So perhaps you can find Thomas' passenger manifest, even though he gave arrival dates ranging from 1890 to 1900, and his marriage record from around 1902 or so.