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Depth of Records

So you have found the parish in Latvia where your ancestors would have attended church. Now comes the question – what kind of information, and how much, will you be able to glean from it?

I’ve found that the amount of information provided in Latvian parish registers is not consistent, sometimes not even within the same parish. Formats of parish registers changed, usually with language changes, but sometimes independently of them as well.

Birth/Christening Records

Christening records will, at a minimum, typically include: Full name and gender of the child, birth and christening dates, first names of the parents, names of godparents, and where the christening took place.

Other information that is sometimes recorded: occupation of the father, mother’s maiden name and where the parents are from, if they were not originally from the parish where this christening has taken place.

Death/Burial Records

At minimum: Full name of deceased, death and burial dates.

Other information: Cause of death, age, marital status, names of familly members (parents, spouse, etc.).

Marriage Records

Marriage records are the most inconsistent when it comes to amount of information. Many simply provide the date, and the full names of the couple getting married.

But sometimes you will get lucky. This is what happened to me when finding the marriage record for Jēkabs Lūkins and Karoline Matilde Baburs – their record also included where they were from, the groom’s occupation, the names of their parents (and that one of them happened to be deceased), even the birthdate of the groom! It also mentioned that the groom was a widower and this was his second marriage.

So it really can be luck of the draw – some records will have lots of useful information, other records will have the barest of essentials.

Have you had luck in finding detailed records, even when most records of that type in your research area do not usually have detailed records? Share your experiences!

1 comment to Depth of Records

  • My research for my husband’s mother’s line takes me to Latvia. She came to Canada in the 1950’s.
    The names from her family are:
    Brieger, Kariton, Lindwurm, Goeschel & Ahrens.
    They were in Riga.
    I find the documents we have to be pretty good with the amount of information they have on them. Very fancy too, but these ones were from the late 1800’s. I don’t have any earlier facts, just names.

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