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Working With The 1895 Census

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!

14 comments to Working With The 1895 Census

  • How nice to find someone interested in Latvian genealogy.
    My husbands maternal side is from Riga. The surnames in her line are Kariton, Brieger, Goeschel,Ahrens and Lindwurm.I have almost nothing on these families.
    I know Alexandre Kariton’s (occupation was “graveurs” ?? his son, Alexandre Edouard Kariton (1893-1951)had a baby buggy factory at one point. and Louis Christoph Brieger was a farmer. (1852-1908)
    I don’t know if you have ever come across any of these surnames in your research but would love to hear from you if you do. Good luck on your trip to Latvia and thanks for the information you have collected here. I am off to look at the census now.
    Lori E
    http://www.storiesofmyancestors.blogspot.com
    http://www.familytreesmaycontainnuts.com

  • chelli

    How nice to find 2 people interested in Latvian genealogy!
    My Latvian family is mostly from Nikrace, near Saldus, Tukums and Talsi. Names are Akerfelds, Ziverts, Vinakmens and Ozols-Ozolins.
    I’ve been able to trace them back to my great-great grandparents, but still want to keep digging further!
    Can the 1895 census be viewed online anywhere?? I’ve seen 1935 and 1941, but not 1895…

  • Antra

    Chelli, the 1895 Census can be viewed on LVVA’s “Raduraksti” website (http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv). Where have you seen the 1935 and 1941 censuses? I’m assuming you mean Latvian ones. I haven’t seen them anywhere.

  • chelli

    Antra,
    I’ve been lucky enough to have a friend in Riga who visits the archives to fill me in on the 1935 and 1941 censuses (sorry, didn’t mean to get you excited that they were online!)
    Checking out the 1895 census…. very hard to read :( It’s not easy, since I’m not 100% sure what parish/district my family’s home would have been categorized in either…

    From one Latvian genealogy seeker to another, have you checked out these databases (that are online!)

    Here’s a link to a list of people deported in 1941 by the Soviets…
    http://www.latvietislatvija.com/These_Names_Accuse/These_Names_Accuse.htm

    And a key to the numerical case number codes
    http://www.latvians.com/en/Reading/TheseNamesAccuse/ThNA-23-ListofNames.php

    And here’s a large document that contains a list of Latvian National Partisans from the 1940′s (of which my great grandfather was one :)

    http://www.president.lv/images/modules/items/PDF/item_1676_Vesturnieku_komisijas_raksti_21_sejums.pdf

    I don’t know your family’s whole story (maybe I’ll find it on this site somewhere :)) but if they fled Latvia in the midst of WWII, have you tried contacting the Internation Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany? They’re the Red Cross (refugee services) They provided me with 300+ pages of WWII-era information about my family and a LOT of answers.

  • Antra

    Ahh, okay. I thought maybe you’d seen the 1935 and 1941 censuses online. Oh well, I’m going to be in Latvia in a few weeks and researching in the archives there, so no worries.

    Good to see These Names Accuse online! My family won’t be in them though, since most managed to escape deportation/execution. The only one who didn’t (one of my great-grandfathers), he isn’t in there because names had to be submitted by family members, and my family didn’t because they feared for reprisals against family still in Latvia (who had to live in hiding for awhile after the war).

    I had read about ITS, but hadn’t seen that they do WW2-era research requests. Could be useful – I found some document collections that might have some information for me in them. How much did it cost for you? How much information could you provide to help them?

  • Chelli

    None of my direct family members are in “These Names Accuse”, but brothers of great-grandfathers are, and it bring it quite close to home! Also I’m attempting to trace all auxiliary relatives as well as direct ancestors :)
    The ITS is free :) it is paid for by the German government to help put back together some of the families that WWII tore apart.
    I definitely recommend contacting the ITS though, I didn’t know they did anything EXCEPT WWII research! They have archived all Identity Cards that have pictures of the people attached, Displaced Persons cards (tracks families and persons through displaced persons camps), booklets that your family would have filled out in order to be sponsored to come to Canada… I was even sent a few questionnaires that were filled out by my family regarding their personal persecution and treatment in Latvia. It brought it all very close to home!
    What you provide them with is a person’s full surname and given name, maiden name for women, parents names, if known, relation to yourself, last known residence/camp, last-known news… you fill these forms out online as well. It takes them time to respond to you, but it is well worth it :)

  • Antra

    When I first read about the ITS, it seemed like they were doing either tracing for people in modern war zones, or for people who were (or whose families were) in Nazi concentration camps/labour camps/death camps (which my family wasn’t). But it seems like they do it for all DPs, regardless of origin/previous circumstances? And as to “last known residence/camp” or “last known news” – does that mean that if I want information on my grandparents’ time in DP camps, that I give them the information I know about them in Canada (that is, recent information), or does “last known” in this case refer to “last known before displacement from original home occurred”?

  • Chelli

    I would state last known news as “immigrated to Canada in 19..” Whatever year it was. Since the IRO shouldnt have much from after that…
    I can’t stress enough how amazing these records were. They show each displaced persons camp my great grandfather and family were in, what he did for a living, who he worked for (US Army, IRO) which is especially nice for me to know, since much of my Latvian family is no longer around to answer for themselves…

    Feel free to email me any questions about it if you like, maybe we can help each other as we find more and more information :) It’s not common to find another girl my age (I’m 23) as interested in Latvian genealogy as myself!!! I’ve been researching for almost 2 years now.

    chelli11@hotmail.com

  • Inta

    ITS gives back alot of good information, all for free. Up until I received their papers, I didn’t even know the names of my father’s parents. This information was huge in my geneology quest.

  • Robert Karath

    Hi, I don’t know if the is the correct place to post this, but I am looking for help in tracking down my grandfather’s family in Libau. I have read through the Evangelical Lutheran records for St Annens parish and have several names and dates, but the records are both in German and Russian, which I don’t understand. He was born Waldemar Johann Korath in Libau, September 26, 1889 (p291 of 465 of the parish records). It looks like his parents were Johann Julius Korath and Ilsa Kalnins. They were married in January 1886 in Libau (marriages p.295). There are several other names and places listed in the records which I can’t read or understand the relationship. Also Amalie Lisbeth Korath born October 1886 (p 119 of 465) and Dorothea Elisabeth Korath born 1893 (p 177 of Libau Births for that year, in Russian). As far as I know, my grandfather was the only one who emigrated to the US, he may have had another brother and sister and he was confirmed at St Katherine’s Church in St Petersburgh, Russia in 1905.
    Any help or guidance you could possibly give is greatly appreciated.

  • G

    Here you can contact about interpretation of Libau records:

    http://www.expertgenealogy.com/?x=genlatvia

  • Margret McPharlin

    Hello from Australia,

    I am searching for any info on my fathers family. GRASIS.. my father is Juluis Grasis and his father was Janis, his mother Alliccia(maybe spelt wrong) both divorced? and remarried? my grandmother became Bruveris..and my grandfather had a new wife who had already 2 or 3 sons. they lived on a farm. He was carpenter by trade and served in the Russian army. My Aunt Veronica died in childbirth and had 2-3 childre 3 boys are Dainis and Janis…Dainis has a daughter and 2 marriages again names unknown the daughter is Zentina Veronica..I do not know my Aunts married name but her husband could be Milo Delin of similar. My father was born in Bauska and my Grandmother lived in Riga all her life and cleaned a school. Dainis and his daughter lived with her possibly till she died..can anyone help?
    cheers Margret

  • Margret McPharlin

    Hello from Australia,

    I am searching for any info on my fathers family. GRASIS.. my father is Juluis Grasis and his father was Janis, his mother Alliccia(maybe spelt wrong) both divorced? and remarried? my grandmother became Bruveris..and my grandfather had a new wife who had already 2 or 3 sons. they lived on a farm. He was carpenter by trade and served in the Russian army. My Aunt Veronica died in childbirth and had 2-3 childre 3 boys are Dainis and Janis…Dainis has a daughter and 2 marriages again names unknown the daughter is Zentina Veronica..I do not know my Aunts married name but her husband could be Milo Delin of similar. My father was born in Bauska and my Grandmother lived in Riga all her life and cleaned a school. Dainis and his daughter lived with her possibly till she died..can anyone help?
    cheers Margret

  • Hi Im trying to find any LEITT family references in Latvia
    My relative Johann Leitt born 11 May 1890 Windau Ventspils
    Cant seem to find much the name could also be Laith Lutt etc
    does anyone have any info?
    is Leitt the same as Leitis
    am having trouble with Raduraksti
    Best Regards
    Roger christian Lett

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