I am working on the posts about the All-Russia Census and farm names, but as a warm-up to get in the spirit of the blogging world again, I’m also going to participate in The Accidental Genealogist‘s “Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month”.

I’ve realized that on this blog I talk a lot about my male ancestors, so I hope that by participating in this blogging prompt month that I can highlight some of the women in my family tree, as well as educate about Latvian women throughout history, both “big event” history and home and community life.

Today’s prompt: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I can’t say I have a favourite female ancestor, but the one I want to learn more about right now is Ieva LÄ«cÄ«te, one of my great-great-grandmothers. All I know of her so far is that she was living on the LÄ«cÄ«Å¡i farm in SÄ“renes parish in 1866, when she had my great-grandfather, Brencis, out of wedlock. She may have had a second son, KriÅ¡jānis – my great-aunt remembers meeting her uncle KriÅ¡jānis when she was a little girl, but it is unknown whether he was Brencis’ full brother or half-brother, and if half-brother, then through which parent, since while Brencis’ father might not have been officially recognized on the birth record, they probably did know who it was.

My great-aunt and grandmother do not recall meeting Ieva, their paternal grandmother, so it is possible that she passed away before they were born. I have searched the marriage records for both Seces congregation and Jaunjelgavas congregation (the congregations where people in SÄ“rene parish were most likely to have their life events recorded), but have yet to find any trace of a marriage or death record for Ieva. There are several other nearby congregations that I could check as well, such as Zalve and Sunākste. I will also begin searching for her birth record – chances are good that she was born in SÄ“renes parish as well, since she lived in “LÄ«cÄ«Å¡i”, which is the farm name version of her surname. I would like to learn more about her and her family, since this branch of the family is the one that I know the least about.

Having children out of wedlock was not uncommon in 19th century Latvia – in the records I’ve looked at, there are at least four or five every year, sometimes more. Often there were times when children were conceived out of wedlock, but quick marriages would take place before the child was born. In the time period when German barons and lords still owned most of the land, it was not uncommon for these barons and lords to involve themselves with the young women who lived on their estate. If a pregnancy resulted, the baron or lord would quietly ask one of the young men on the estate to marry the girl, and if he did so, he would receive his own land, and sometimes a position of prestige.

Tomorrow: Photographs!

“Fearless Females” – March 1
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One thought on ““Fearless Females” – March 1

  • March 13, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Very interesting, Antra .. thank you. From the parallel research I’m doing on my Highland Scots ancestors, out-of-wedlock children were rather a common occurrence (and probably at least four or five a year!). I’m thinking this could have been the same throughout Europe.

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