It is time for me to do a bit of an introduction to my own family – the mysterious entity that inspired my interest in genealogy and the pursuit of it as an eventual professional career.
My family history, as I currently know it, only extends as far as my great-grandparents – with two exceptions, this one being one of them. I know this will change in the future, as my research continues, but for now, it is what I have.
Over time, I will introduce you to my great-grandparents, and the information I have on them and their families, if I have been able to find more.
I will start with Augusts Roberts Lūkins – whose birth record appears in the header image of this blog. He was born on August 26, 1898 in Daugavgrīva, Latvia (Dünamünde in German) and baptized in that parish on October 4 (his birthday is sometimes reported as September 11, but the parish register says August 26). Daugavgrīva is now one of the northernmost neighbourhoods of Rīga, the capital city of Latvia. Augusts is the only one of my great-grandparents for whom I have found a birth record in parish registers, as he is one of three great-grandparents of mine for whom I have concrete birth location and approximate birthdate information about (the other two were both born in Rīga proper, which has many parishes, and I have not had the opportunity to examine all of their records yet – thus far, only one possible lead).
Augusts was born to Jēkabs Lūkins (child of Libbis and Līze Lūkins of Jaunate) and Karoline Matilde Baburs (child of Mārtiņš and Ēde Baburs of Rīga). He had a brother named Vilhelms. Jēkabs and Karoline were married in Daugavgrīva in 1892.
Augusts qualified as a judge, and married Lilija Šīrs (date unknown), and they had a daughter Zenta in 1923. At this time, they were living in Krustpils, in the eastern province of Latgale, where Augusts was the district judge. Zenta is my paternal grandmother, but my maternal grandmother, who is also from Krustpils, recalls the family, since they were prominent in the community, and remembers Zenta as a pretty girl with blond braids.
Augusts was a member of the 3rd and 4th Saeima (Latvian Parliament) as a representative of the “Zemnieku savienība” party (Union of Farmers). After the Saeima was dismissed in 1934 following the coup by Kārlis Ulmanis, Augusts returned to Krustpils.
During the Second World War, following the gruesome murder of his secretary at the hands of the Communists, Augusts, Lilija and Zenta fled west, living in a Displaced Persons camp in northern Germany until the late 1940s, when they set sail for Canada.
In Canada, Zenta married and had three children, but died of leukemia several years after the birth of her last child. This had a devastating effect on Augusts and Lilija. Several years later, Lilija also passed away, and Augusts died soon afterwards in Toronto in 1968.
What is the origin of the Lūkins surname? I am currently unsure. It does not have a resemblance to any Latvian word I know, which leads me to believe it is a borrowing from another language. Within Latvia, I have only seen it in parish registers in Vidzeme, the northern province. Outside of Latvia, the name without the “s” (due to Latvian spelling rules, almost all Latvian surnames in their masculine form end in “s” or “š”), “Lukin”, appears as a surname of locally-born inhabitants in places as far apart as England, Russia, Germany and Serbia, with a whole host of meanings from “patronymic of Lukas” to “corruption of Lovekin”. So the origin of the surname of my Lūkins family is still up for interpretation.
Further research to be done on this family: Continue to utilize parish registers to track the Lūkins and Baburs families. Find revision lists and manorial records, particularly for the Jaunate-based Lūkins family, since I have not been able to find parish records for Jaunate. Or Jaunate itself, really. Maps nebulously show it in the vicinity of Vecate (“Jaunate” means New Ate, “Vecate” means “Old Ate” in Latvian; I have not been able to locate a place just called “Ate”), which is in northern Latvia at the convergence of at least half a dozen different parishes that I could investigate.
The search continues!