This post is the first in a series that I’ll be making about events in my ancestors’ lives, on the days that the events took place.
My reasons for this series are twofold – first of all, it helps me organize my own family documents and files, which is something that has been severely lacking, especially in this past year when I’ve been so wrapped up in other activities that I’ve barely had time to touch my own family research. Secondly, it provides concrete examples to you, my readers, of the different kinds of documents that you may be able to consult in your own Latvian research.
Birth: 10th of September 1895, 10pm
Baptism: 6th (?) of October 1895
No. 289 – Anna Natalie, daughter of worker Fritz Leepa and his wife Mihle born Busch. Both Lutheran. Godparents: Miss Anna Busch, Mrs Kristine Balod, smith Alexander Busch. Baptized at St Paul’s Church, Pastor C. Walter.
This may be the birth record of my great-grandmother Anna Liepa. I’ll get back to the “may be” in a bit, first a bit on her.
Anna Liepa was born in Rīga on September 22, 1895, according to the Gregorian calendar. At the time of her birth in the Russian Empire, her birthday was September 10. Her tombstone cites her date of birth as September 23, but every document of hers that I have (internal passport, marriage record, numerous house book entries, etc.) all state September 22 (and in the early years of independent Latvia, both the Gregorian and Julian dates are cited together). She was a bookkeeper, and married Pēteris Eduards Celmiņš in Rīga on September 17, 1919.
Now back to the “may be” – Anna was born in Rīga, which was and is the biggest city in Latvia. This means there are lots of records to check, and both her first and last names are fairly common. I haven’t consulted all of the Rīga records yet, but this one certainly is the best candidate.
My reasoning, in favour of this being her birth record:
- Her precise birth date is mentioned here – September 10, 1895, according to the Julian calendar.
- Numerous other documents, such as her internal passport and her marriage record, mention that her father’s name is Fricis, which this record agrees with.
- This record is an extract from the Sv. Pāvila (St Paul’s) Lutheran Church. This church is the closest one to where Anna and her husband and children were known to live. While this doesn’t prove that she was born in that same area of town, her husband was from the country, and thus it was likely for him to join her family rather than the other way around. This happens numerous times throughout my family history, so could have happened here as well.
Points against this being her birth record:
- No other documents mention a middle name of “Natalie” or “Natālija” (a more Latvianized form of the name). Neither her passport nor her marriage record nor any house book records mention a middle name.
- There are numerous “Fricis Liepas” in Rīga around this time. The 1903 Rīga address book mentions two, the 1912 address book mentions three. Any of them could have had daughters named Anna around the same time.
So the search continues. Is this the right record? I won’t know until I check the rest of the churches. I could also obtain her death record and hope that it has her mother’s first name and maiden name on it. Until then, Anna remains one of my problem ancestors.