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It’s That Time Again!

I will be heading to Latvia again in the fall, so I am available to help you in a variety of different ways.

The different services I can offer are outlined in this post from last winter. All prices in Canadian dollars. Send email to: (Note: this is an image to prevent spam. You will [...]

Tombstone Tuesday - Refugees from Kurzeme

This week’s Tombstone Tuesday is a bit different – this tombstone in Meža kapi (“Forest Cemetery”) in Rīga commemorates thousands of people – in this case, the roughly 3560 World War One refugees from Kurzeme (at the time, western and southern Latvia) who died between 1914 and 1919. I’m not sure if this figure refers [...]

Ķ is for Ķimene and Ķiploks

So I have finally ran out of regular genealogy-related words for the more unusual letters of the Latvian alphabet for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, so we’re off to surnames… so today for Ķ we have Ķimene and Ķiploks!

Both of these surnames are food-related. This is not unusual for Latvian surnames, as you [...]

WW1 Diary – July 27, 1915

Fifth installment from the diary of my great-grandfather’s sister Alise, written during the First World War, just a few miles from the front lines of the Eastern Front. For the background, see here.

July 27, 1915

Days go by, waiting for the terrible times to come. We have packed most of our belongings. Refugees from Kurzeme’s parishes [...]

Tombstone Tuesday - Ivars Steimars, 1938-1943

In this series, I am providing pictures of tombstones from Latvian cemeteries, all with death dates prior to 1945. I do not have any further information on the people mentioned.

Top Inscription: “Še dus Dieva mierā mūsu mīļais dēliņš” (Here rests our dear son in God’s peace)

Name: Ivars Steimars, born March 31, 1938, died April 29, [...]

K is for Kurland

For centuries, what we now know as Latvia was a part of larger empires. In these larger empires, Latvia was not a province by itself, but rather divided into a number of different provinces. In this edition of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, we’ll discuss one of these old provinces – Kurland.

Kurland was [...]

J is for Jaunlatvieši and Jaunā Strāva

So, what are we serving up for J in the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge? Jaunlatvieši and Jaunā Strāva – two related movements in Latvia in the 19th century.

The nineteenth century is when the Latvian nation started to “awaken” and gain a national consciousness. Prior to this time, Latvians who managed to make it [...]

Ī is for Īrija

Okay, this one is a stretch. But for this tricky letter of the Latvian alphabet and the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, it’s all I’ve got.

“Īrija” is Latvian for “Ireland”. In this series, I have already mentioned a number of Irish connections to Latvian history, in terms of Irish-Russian military commanders. But today, I [...]

Tombstone Tuesday – Voldemārs Bērziņš, 1914-1925

In this series, I am providing pictures of tombstones from Latvian cemeteries, all with death dates prior to 1945. I do not have any further information on the people mentioned.

Top Inscription: “Še dus” (Here rests)

Name: Voldemārs Bērziņš, born May 7, 1914, died August 3, 1925.

Bottom Inscription: “Ja mīlestība spētu darīt brīnumus, un asaras mirušos modināt, [...]

I is for International Tracing Service

This is a key letter for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge. Not for the letter itself, but for the subject matter. The International Tracing Service can be the key to unlocking one’s family history – if your family emigrated from Latvia in the post-Second World War period.

I’ve already talked about the ITS on [...]