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March 25: Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist Terror

March 25 is one of several days in the Latvian calendar designated as a day of remembrance for victims of Communist terror. The others are June 14 and the first Sunday in December. As of today, I have now been in the Baltic countries for all three of these days (The December one in 2009, [...]

Surname Saturday – Different Kinds of Hills

As many of you probably know, the Latvian word for hill, “kalns”, is a fairly common Latvian surname, particularly in its diminutive form Kalniņš.

But there are many different kind of “kalns” as well, as evidenced by my journeys through old church records. These names are particularly common in western Latvia, especially in communities such as [...]

Tuesday’s Tip: Look Randomly

Generally speaking, genealogy is a calm and focused pursuit. However, sometimes you need to be random – this is particularly true when trying to find something at the archives.

There is a reason for this – the Central Fond Register really only names the fonds – and usually they are named after the creator of the [...]