I have had a bit of time now to look at some of the Latvian records for the 1895 All-Russia Census, though I am still on holiday. Just can’t keep away from the genealogy!
The form format is predictable, even if the languages in the headers seem to change – the Krustpils headers are solely in Russian, but in some Riga areas, the headers are in German, Russian and Latvian (pre-spelling reform, so sometimes difficult to puzzle out).
For the most part, my work has been with the records for Krustpils, to try and place ages/birthplaces for some of my maternal great-grandparents.
While browsing these records, I have encountered many surnames that I had not yet encountered in this region. This is due to the fact that the majority of people in this region at this time were Jewish, and my previous experience with records of this area has only been with Lutheran church records. While I am used to how Latvian names are usually written in Russian, this is my first experience working with Jewish names, so I am not entirely certain as to how well they translate or transliterate into Russian. I am given to understand that many Jews of this time period spoke Russian, so perhaps it is a question more of how well the names translate or transliterate into English, but I will need to study this history a bit more to be able to comment on the accuracy of Jewish names in this census.
Like many other census records, these start with the usual fields: name, gender, relationship to head of household, age, marital status (columns one to five). Column six is a bit more unique to this census – estate and condition. Since most people lived on manorial estates – even if still nominally free – these were still important identifying characteristics. Column seven asks whether or not the person was born there (that is, the place of census), and if not, where they were born.
Column eight is a bit of a puzzle – neither the German, Russian or Latvian text is particularly clear – I can’t find the key German or Russian words in my dictionaries, and the Latvian, being in pre-standardized spelling, is difficult to decipher – I think it may mean either “previous places of residence” or “place of parents’ residence”. Googling seems to give indications that this could be a “registration place” for an event of some sort, probably the birth. But this doesn’t resemble what I can draw from the Latvian text, so I’m not sure. Column nine is clearer – is this the person’s permanent residence?
I *think* column ten asks for the ages of people not currently there, and of people staying there for a time. What this means, I’m note entirely certain, but this column is most often left blank. Does anyone else have any input on this?
Columns eleven and twelve are again familiar – religion and mother tongue. Column thirteen asks about literacy and education, and column fourteen asks about occupations.
I’ll have my hands full with this census for awhile – it appears that they had one sheet per family – unlike other censuses I have worked with, where families were listed one after another on one sheet of paper until there was no more space. But I have patience. Hopefully this census, and then the 1935 and 1941 ones that I will view in Latvia, will be keys to unlocking some more mysterious parts of my family history!
Have you had any luck finding your ancestors in this census? Share your stories in comments!