A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Kurland revision lists are up on Raduraksti. Good news – the Livland (Vidzeme) revision lists are up too!

Now here is your guide to making sense of these documents!

I’m going to start with just the revision lists themselves – many of them come with all sorts of supplementary documentation as well, but with the exception of the incoming/outgoing registers, these can be highly individualized to each estate or parish.

It is important to note that revision lists are based on estate, not parish. There can be numerous estates within a parish. If you know what parish your ancestors lived in, but are not sure of the estate, consult their birth record in the religious records – the first line of the record should list the estate name and farm name. If you don’t have a birth record yet, consult this map to find the estates in your ancestral parish and start going through them to find your family.

The latest revision list is for 1858. The format of the records are as follows…

Left-side page:

  1. 9th revision list family number (that is, the previous list)
  2. 10th revision list family number (current list)
  3. Names of males in the household (often including father’s name as well – be careful you don’t mix up this and the surname), the name of the farm is also indicated in this column, also numbered (but usually with a Roman numeral so as to not confuse this with the family number)
  4. Age at previous revision list, or, if not dwelling at this address, previous place of residence (and sometimes year of arrival to this address)
  5. Changed circumstances since the last revision list – such as moving to a new address since the last list was written, death, etc.
  6. Current age

Right-side page:

  1. 9th revision list family number
  2. 10th revision list family number
  3. Names of females in the household, often prefixed by relationship to male in the household (wife-Frau or daughter-Tochter), or if single woman, as an unmarried woman (Magd) or a widow (Wittwe).
  4. Changed circumstances (this can sometimes be used sparingly for women)
  5. Current age

It is important to note that in the revision lists, an individual (especially a male) could appear twice if they had moved during the time between lists. They will appear in their current home, with a notation that they moved from location X, and they will appear in location X with the notation that they have moved to the new address. People moved about frequently, especially within an estate.

The formats for the 1834 and 1850 revision lists are identical to the 1858 one, with the exception of family numbers – the family numbers (should) stay consistent between the different lists, and only changed with the 10th revision, so there is only one family number column per page.

For 1826, the format changes a tiny bit – the farm name and number now has its own column, and it is the first column on each page – also note that farms are now numbered with regular numbers, while family numbers have become Roman numerals – the family name is also now listed in the same box as family number. Any other data in the name column can pertain to things such as status (Knecht – farmhand/servant, Wirts – landowner/manager – remember the purchasing of farms from barons and other large landowners only started in earnest in the latter half of the nineteenth century, so “Wirts” may not yet indicate ownership but rather the head of the farm household), or might include items that should be in the next box over (previous place of residence, etc.).

Prior to the 1826 revision list, things can get difficult, for 1826 is the first revision list with surnames for peasants. The 1816 list does not have surnames, so one must rely on relationship markers (wife, daughter, etc.) to determine family relationships. Men and women are no longer listed on separate pages, but rather one after another on the same page. Beware of assuming that just because your ancestors lived on a farm in 1826, and there is a family with the same given names on the farm in 1816, that they are the same family. I almost fell into that trap on one estate until I noticed the notation that they had moved from another estate in the early 1820s. There was not a large variation in given names, so there could be many families with the same names, with the same ages (I’m still angry at one of my ancestors for naming his daughter the same name as his brother’s daughter when these two girls were born a month apart on the same farm).

There are earlier lists for 1811 and 1795, which have even less information than the 1816 list – usually just ages (current and previous list age, with separate columns for men’s ages and women’s ages), and the 1811 list does not usually include women.

Hopefully this guide will help you work your way through the main portion of the revision lists. More to come soon on incoming and outgoing registers – peasants were much more mobile than we may think, and these registers are key to tracing their movements.

Have you found your family in the revision lists? Share your story below!

Working With Revision Lists
Tagged on:             

7 thoughts on “Working With Revision Lists

  • October 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve just come across your site, and I was wondering if you could help me. My name is Jared Davidson and I’m researching early anarchism in NZ (1890-1920).

    Philip Josephs was a Russian born Jew who started New Zealand’s first anarchist collective in Wellington, 1913. According to his naturalisation papers he was born in Libau, Russia (Latvia) about 1877. I have evidence that he was in Scotland in 1897, arrived in Australia in 1904 and continued on to New Zealand.

    I would love to know when he left Latvia for Scotland, or a little bit about Latvia at that time. I also wonder what made him embrace radical ideas and when.

    Any ideas? Feel free to email me! Also my thread can be seen on Rootschat: http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,490834.0.html



  • November 30, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Hi, my sister and I who are researching our family history have had such fun working with the country Revision lists after having read your blog. We have followed our ancestors around various farms and areas all the while following the “clues” left in each entry. However, we have reached a stage where our main relatives have left the country and moved to Riga. We are wanting to use the Revisions lists for Riga, but have found it very daunting after the country versions. Any suggestions?

  • January 9, 2011 at 4:51 am

    In the Bauska 1827-1911 revision list, p.263, family #543, I found distant relatives. However, I fail to parse the acronym after Abraham Lewin Salgaler — it’s something like ?.?. 44, is this the number of the farm? What are the two letters and what do they stand for?

    Also, the next line (family 544), is it his son? I am unable to read the first two words in the name — ?? ?? Mayer, as well as unable to read the word apparently indicating that he hadn’t been born during the previous revision in the next column.

  • Pingback: Document: Brinkenhof Revision List | A Latvian Canadian Story

  • December 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I am looking for Vecate, Bauenhof,Wilsenhof ect. I have looked in the revision lists and not near these places, Help Gunta

  • April 17, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Philip Josephs was my Grandfather.I am the son of his daughter rosie who married Stanley george Freeman .I changed ny name when I enlisted under age during the second world war
    .I visted him at his Bondi home where he operated his tailoring business and often had lucn at his rooms in Pitt St Sydney
    Some items that I remember are that his wife Sopkie(whom I called grannie) was born in Lithuania. I have always believed that the left Germany to go to Scotland My mother was 5 months old when they left Scotland for New Zealand. Edie was definitely the youngest in the family so it is obvious that she was not born in Scotland. I remember Edie worked at McDowells ( a large department store in Sydney and later at Proud’s the jeweller
    Albert the eldest son worked for James Hardie and later recived a 2 year leave of absence to wind up Howard auto cultivators,but he he somshow saved the company and was ofered 1000 shares and a directoe ship .James Hardie sued for his return to their company but it was thrown out of court
    I am 87 years old but still have a clear memory of my mother’s family.
    If you wish to contact me please do.
    Kind Regards
    Joe Stanley(Brisbane)

  • Pingback: What Are You Looking For? « Discovering Latvian Roots

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove that you\'re a human! *