I will be in Latvia in five weeks (currently in London, slowly making my way through northern Europe towards Latvia), and while there, I will be visiting the Latvian State Historical Archives (LVVA; the archives that sponsors “Raduraksti”, which I have mentioned before).
As such, it has come time that I establish my priorities in determining which sources to look at in my limited time there. Knowing what documents are available and where to find them is of utmost importance, and in this regard, I have found this blog post from Ciltskoks very valuable. It is only available in Latvian as far as I know, and is the only other blog out there that I’ve been able to find on the topic of Latvian genealogy. However, it does not appear to have been updated since February.
My main research priorities are locating with certainty the parishes that my great-grandparents were born in, because from there I can use the parish registers online to find out about those ancestral lines.
Of most use in this regard will be the 1935 census (2046. fonds in the LVVA), since in most cases my grandparents will still be living at home at this time, and hence I will be able to locate entire families. I know where all of them were living around this time.
Another record that can help here would be what that blog calls the “house books” – books that mention the composition of the family, birthdates/places and previous address. This could be particularly useful in helping track families that moved around (such as that of my paternal grandfather). These books are found in the 2942. fonds (RÄ«ga) and 2110. fonds (rest of Latvia). I have not heard of “house books” before, but I will investigate and see how they may aid research.
For families that I have details dating back to pre-1860 (thus far, only one family line reaches this far), I will also go to the revision lists – 199. fonds in this case, since that is the one that deals with the province of Vidzeme, which is the one where my known ancestors were living. If I can find the birth record of one of my maternal great-grandparents before I get to the archives, I will also look at the ones for the provinces of Kurzeme/Zemgale (630. fonds). The revision lists for Latgale are available in the 1881. fonds.
The blog post from Ciltskoks provides quite a bit of other information, but the fonds listed above are the ones that will be relevant to the research I’m doing. I also wish to familiarize myself with the LVVA and their resources in general, since when I become a professional genealogist, I expect that I will be visiting there frequently.
How have you established your research priorities when visiting an archives in a different country?