O is for Orthography

Ozol

Ozols

Leepin, Leepiņ, Leepiņsch

Лѣпин*, Лѣпиньш*, Лиепиньш

Liepiņ

Liepiņš

Kruhmin, Kruhmiņ, Kruhmiņsch

Крумин, Круминьш

Krūmiņ

Krūmiņš

Balod, Ballohd

Балод, Балодис

Balods, Balodis

Balodis

Egliht, Eglit

Еглит, Еглитис

Eglīts

Eglītis

Sarin, Sariņ, Sariņsch

Зарин, Зариньш

Zariņ

Zariņš

*These variations use the old Russian letter “ѣ” which is no longer in use, but is commonly found in old records. It corresponds to the Latvian “ie”.

So, some rough sound conversions, representing modern Latvian letters/diphthongs… I’ve omitted letters that don’t significantly change.

German

Russian

Early Latvian

Modern Latvian

ah

а

ah, ā

ā

z, ts

ц

c, ts, tz

c

eh

е, э

eh, ē

ē

h, ch

х

h, ch

h

ih

и

ih, ī

ī

ee

ѣ, ие

ee, ie

ie

ja, ya

я

ja

ja

sch, sh

ш

sh, š

š

uh

у

uh, ū

ū

w

в

v, w

v

s, z

з

z

z

zh

ж

zh, ž

ž

So there you have it! If you have any questions on surnames, don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re not sure from which era your family’s name is from, I can also try to help there!

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Gould Genealogy:

    Wow, what a fabulous post. Oh boy your names look complicated. English is bad enough with it variants, I’m not sure I could cope with these variants as well. But no doub’t it’s all part of learning, and get easier as you go.

  2. Dan Zahlis:

    Thank you for all your work. I have tried to research my Latvian roots and given up. I am going to give it another try. All I know is that my Great Grandfather was born 24 Mar 1880 and he immigrated to the US in 1902. His name was Wilhelm Otto Zahlis. I found a reference to him at the following link:

    http://www.jzb.lv/index.php?1&152&command=detail&recid=916

    He was a Lutheran Pastor, and I believe he had a masters degree in seminary. The link above seems to suggest that he grew up and went to school in Jelgava. His birth date is found next to “Mikus Manor Kurland,” a possible clue (?).

    I would love to trace our family back further, but I don’t even know his parent’s names. Nobody in my family can help. Do you have any advice about where I might begin?

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