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Ģ is for Ģenerālgubernators

This next Family History Through the Alphabet challenge is a bit tricky, but I found something that works – Ģenerālgubernators. This means “governor general” in Latvian. Canadian readers will be familiar with this term as the Queen’s representative in Canada. In Imperial Russian parlance, the governor-general was the highest authority in a governorate (guberniya) of the Russian Empire, answering to the Czar. This was also a military post.

In the Baltic provinces, the governors-general were usually German or Russian. I have already mentioned two exceptions to this rule – Irishmen Peter de Lacy and George Browne. A third exception is Philip Osipovich Paulucci, an Italian marquis who also had military experience in the French and Piedmontese service in addition to Russian service. In the governorate of Estonia, we also have Gustaf Otto Douglas, a Swede of Scottish extraction. Gustaf’s grandfather, Robert Douglas, who was born in East Lothian, Scotland, was also a military governor in the Baltics during the Swedish period in the 17th century.

Next up in the Alphabet challenge… more German and Latvian words, as well as a variety of new Latvian surnames!

3 comments to Ģ is for Ģenerālgubernators

  • You’ve set me a challenge with this one, and that is working out just how to pronounce it.

  • Antra

    It’s not as scary as it looks! The “Ģ” makes a… hard to explain sound. Kind of like the “ñ” in “piñata”, except with a G instead of an N. “Gy” is the best I can transcribe it. After that, just sound it out a letter at a time (“ā” makes a long “a” sound). The nice thing about Latvian is that letters/diphthongs only have one sound, and there are no silent letters.

  • Ahh thanks for the explanation, I’m sure it all makes sense when someone says it.

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