There are advantages to having your family roots lying in a small country – less area to cover in genealogical searches, for instance, as well as a smaller population and ease of travel to visit cemeteries and ancestral towns.

However, actually finding the sources of information available can sometimes be difficult in these cases, especially if you do not speak the language.

This is where I hope to help. At least for one small country in the world.

My family roots lie in Latvia, a small country on the east coast of the Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe, bordered by Estonia to the north, Russia to the east and Lithuania and Belarus to the south. Latvia has a present-day population of 2.2 million people, and there are tens of thousands of Latvians living around the world.

I live in Canada, home to approximately 27,000 people of Latvian descent. I was born in Canada, as were my parents. My grandparents came to Canada after the Second World War, as did most of the Latvians living in countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia. I will elaborate more on history and historical migrations in future posts.

I have been searching for my family history since I was a teenager. Now, shortly after graduating from university, I have started to work towards becoming a professional genealogist, specializing in Latvian research, so that I can help others find the family roots they may have been brick-walled on for years.

Information on the best way to research Latvian genealogy is hard to come by. Most of it that does exist is in Latvian, which may be a stumbling block for many researchers who do not speak Latvian. Since I grew up speaking Latvian, this is not a problem for me, and I am open to helping others on their journeys to discovering their Latvian ancestors.

This blog will chronicle my journey in discovering my Latvian ancestors, which is always a work in progress, as well as providing general information for other researchers about Latvian research, history, surnames, geography, techniques and languages involved.

It may not be as difficult as it first appears to be.

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7 thoughts on “Welcome!

  • October 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    My husband’s mother is from Latvia.
    The names we have on her side are:
    Kariton, Brieger, Goeschel, Ahrens & Lindwurm.
    Any connections there?

  • October 14, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I’m afraid not. Do you know where in Latvia they are from?

  • October 18, 2009 at 4:51 am

    I’m so delighted to see your blog, and welcome to the genealogy blogging world! My maternal grandparents were Latvians who came to Canada separately before the First World War. One of them was from Lade parish in Limbazi region! Some of their stories are on my blog (Jurikas and Freibergs). I seem to have reached a dead end in research although a hired researcher in Riga was some help. I’m leaving the country on holiday in two days but I hope to contact you after I return 2nd week of November. Keep up the great information!

  • October 19, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Thank you 🙂 My maternal grandfather grew up on a farm on Lade ezers (Lade lake), so I’ve been looking through the records for the region. I haven’t come across the name Jurikas, but I have seen Freibergs numerous times. I’m about to start traveling again myself (been living in Scotland the past eight months – just a few hours north of Inverness, which also appears to be a region of interest for you!), but I will be traveling with my laptop, so you can contact me. I’ll be in Latvia for two weeks in December conducting research. Enjoy your holiday!

  • November 16, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Hi Antra:
    I think you didn’t find the name Jurikas in Limbazi area because they were Russian Orthodox! There’s a family story behind that. I do have some baptisms and marriages but the translations of archaic words are not totally satisfying. Interesting that you found Freibergs there, because mine were from Kastran village/estate, Riga District, Vidzeme (I am still flailing around with the place names in different languages, Vatrane also appears as an estate name). Malpils Lutheran Church confirms much of my grandfather’s generation.

    I’m following your travels on your blog with great interest now that I’m home and feeling up to scratch again. We could correspond by email (rather than take up blog space) … whatever you prefer. This is the only way I have of reaching you for now. You have my email address.

    Best wishes,

  • December 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    contact me about jurikas

  • July 6, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Sveiki Antra. I have been looking at your website and you have encouraged me to find my grandparents and their parents birth. On my mother’s side they are from Vecate. My father from Riga and Cesis. I want to say what a wonderful website you have. I am flying to Riga next month and doing some research. Best wishes to you and your wonderful site. Gunta

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