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Old Newspapers Online at the Latvian National Library

Through the website Periodika, the Latvian National Library offers digital scans of newspapers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most newspaper editions available are from the 1920s and 1930s.

The user interface is available in Latvian and in English, though, obviously, the newspapers themselves are in Latvian (with the exception of one German-language and two Russian-language newspapers). They are also searchable – but with a few things to note:

  • They have been digitized for search purposes by OCR (optical character recognition) – this means that it isn’t perfect. If you rely only on searches, you might not find everything you are looking for. If you know what you are looking for and when, it is also a good idea to scan through the paper yourself to see if the OCR didn’t pick it up.
  • Diacritic marks matter. When I looked up the surname of one of my great-grandfathers: “Lukins” gave me different results than “Lūkins” did (but both search results included him, since sometimes the diacritic was used and sometimes it wasn’t). So if the name you are looking for uses diacritics, search for the name both with and without them.
  • If the name you’re searching for resembles another Latvian word, put it in quotation marks. When I just searched for Francis (a family surname), without quotation marks, it also modified that to include Francija (France) as a result. But if I put “Francis” with quotation marks, I got closer to results I was looking for without having to wade through articles about France. However, this also runs the risk of leaving out the name when it is declined into various cases, so use this with caution, and run some more searches with the name in its declined forms.

I found articles that referred to three of my great-grandparents, and I’m still looking through all of the Saeima (Parliament) meeting notes that include my great-grandfather Augusts Lūkins, who was a member of the 3rd and 4th Saeima. A great find to learn more about these family members!

Have you found any interesting articles about your ancestors? Do you need help determining diacritic marks or case declensions of your Latvian surnames? Let me know and I can help!

7 comments to Old Newspapers Online at the Latvian National Library

  • John Lukins

    Interested in the “Lukins” family.
    I trace my roots back to the U.K. – records of the LUKINS name go back to the 1500’s.

    I’m interested in the Latvian connection.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    John Lukins
    Newfoundland, Canada

  • Chelli

    Wow great site Antra!
    I have gotten many hits on my family names!!

  • Antra

    John,

    I’m not sure if there is a connection between the Lukins name in the UK and the Lukins name in Latvia. I’ve also seen the name in Russian and Serbian, where it appears to be a patronymic form, “of Lukas”. It is likely that the Latvian Lukins is a borrowing from Russian. It is not an uncommon name and occurs in a number of parishes across Latvia. I don’t know what the origins of the British Lukins is for certain, but I’ve read that is derived from “Lovekin”, which seems to imply different origins that the Eastern European one. But you never know!

    Thanks for reading!

    -Antra.

  • Gunta Harrison

    I am doing research on Millers and have seen the Lukins family in Vecate – Rujen. Gunta Harrison

  • Gunta Harrison

    I am doing research on Millers and have seen the Lukins family in Vecate – Rujen. I forgot to mention they lived in Jaunmelluzi Vecate my grandfathers home when they were deported to Siberia. Gunta Harrison

  • Jo Foreman nee Lukins

    My Father was John Lukins, born in the UK, Somerset, in 1891, I think ,or possibly 1892. He was 50 when I was born, and I am now almost 70.. do the maths!
    We have researched the Lukins in Somerset back to 1720. Any info welcome.

  • Jon Henderson

    I have been hunting tirelessly for an edition of any Latvian national newspaper (preferably Diena) from December 7th 1993.. it will form part of a birthday gift for my partner. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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