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What Are You Looking For?

This blog has been going for over three and a half years! Over the years, I’ve made a number of different posts, and I’ve decided to put this post together to highlight some key posts that are particularly useful for helping you find your Latvian ancestors. This is intended to help new visitors to this site find past posts I’ve made that they might have missed otherwise.

First off, you should look to the sidebar to visit my Latvian Genealogy Primers – they will give you a good background on the context of Latvian records, and then you’ll be ready to dive in. Also check out Myths about Latvian Research to dispel popular myths.

Where to find the records

  • A is for Archives – a visit to the Latvian State Historical Archives is a must to put any meat on the bones of your family tree.
  • I is for International Tracing Service – if your ancestors left Latvia in the aftermath of the Second World War, this is the place to start.
  • Newspapers for Genealogy – the Latvian National Library has scanned thousands of issues of Latvian newspapers, many from the pre-war era. Their Optical Character Recognition even makes searches possible (though not completely foolproof, mistakes still happen).
  • R is for Raduraksti – the main online resource for Latvian records.
  • Where Could They Be From? – How to figure out where in Latvia your ancestors were from.

How to read the records

Specific types of records

  • C is for Census – a variety of Latvian census records are available, though most are not online.
  • Getting Out of Rīga – if your ethnic Latvian ancestors list their place of origin as “Rīga”, it likely wasn’t their home for more than a few generations. This post will give you an idea as to how to find their original place of origin.
  • Records after 1905 – what types of records are there for 20th century research?
  • Tracking World War One Refugees – Did your ancestors leave their homes during the First World War? If they lived in Kurland (modern day Kurzeme and Zemgale, the western and southern parts of Latvia), the answer is “almost certainly”. Others moved around as well, especially if they lived in Rīga or along the Daugava river. Refugee documents can help you find what they did, where they went, and where in Latvia they were from.
  • Tuesday’s Tip: Look Randomly – if you’re planning a visit to the archives in Rīga, you might be surprised what you find in some document fonds (collections) – the title of the fonds might not give any indication of the treasures inside!
  • Tuesday’s Tip: House Books – if your ancestors lived in Rīga in the late 19th or early 20th century, house books can help you. Pre-First World War house books are now being digitized and becoming available on Raduraksti.

Is there a post you think should be on this list? Let me know!

3 comments to What Are You Looking For?

  • vicki hitzfeld

    Looking for the ZAHM Family – Andrew, Julia, Lucy Alvina, EDWARD, Vladimar (Walter) and Victor. Migrated from Riga in late 1800 via Hawaii then Crockett, CA,USA. Andrew was hired on by C&H Sugar in Russia. Thank you.
    Vicki, San Francisco Bay Area, CA

  • AusmaRudite Buckingham nee Ozolins

    tryung to trace any family of Mazeiks two brothers Oswald and Bruno and tw0 sisters, Elfrida and Aline who are both deceased {in UK} Elfida was married to Arnolds JakobsF Ozolins. my parents. Any help I could receive to trace myrelativeswould be appreciated. My mother was born in Jalgava but after marriage lived in Capel Stret Riga.
    Thank you very much. Ausma Ridute Buckingham.9

  • Mark Libeck

    Looking for anything on the LIBEKS Family – Rudolph, Fritz, Anne from Vainode. My father, Rudolph Migrated to England between 1920-1925 to study violin. He later was ordained as a minister and migrated to USA in 1949. Thank you for any assistance. Mark, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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