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.