Time for Week 4 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge! As noted in my first post of this challenge, I am starting with my most ancient known ancestors. Like last week, however, this week’s ancestor is more recent.
My great-grandmother Anna Liepa (born September 22, 1895, and died June 20, 1987) is the only great-grandparent of mine for whom I do not have a confirmed birth record. I have talked about my difficulties in tracking her down repeatedly, here, here and here. I know her father’s name was Fricis, she was born in Rīga and started working for the co-operative association “Konzums” when she was 17, but that’s about all in terms of her life before she married my great-grandfather Pēteris Eduards Celmiņš on September 17, 1919, a few days before her 24th birthday. I would like to confirm the record mentioned in the first link as her birth record, but the trouble is, no other document that I have about her or her family lists a middle name, so I’m reluctant to take that option until I have eliminated others.
Some new avenues to consider – maybe she wasn’t actually born in 1895. I have encountered this in the past, where all records produced later in life state the wrong birth year – whether it is by accident, design or a mistake due to a calendar change. Or perhaps she was actually born outside of Rīga – in which case I may have no hope of finding her, since she has an extremely common name that could be from anywhere in the country. But this could explain what has always vexed me – how does a born-and-bred city girl end up marrying some guy from the countryside 150km away? While a war is still on, no less? Though their marriage record in Rīga does state that she was from Rīga…
Now that I think of it, my grandfather Juris was born a week ahead of Anna’s and Pēteris’ nine-month wedding anniversary. Of course, babies can be born early, but it makes me wonder – did they marry in the middle of all the chaos going on because they knew that Anna was already pregnant? There’s no doubt that Pēteris was the father – there is a definite family resemblance between him and my grandfather. But it does make me wonder about the exact circumstances of their marriage.
Anna has the distinction of being the only great-grandparent of mine who was still living when I was born, though I never met her since I was born in Canada, she was living in Soviet-occupied Latvia, and died when I was three years old. I did however meet her granddaughter (my grandfather’s sister’s daughter) Rita once when she came to Canada to visit, though both she and her mother Skaidrīte have since passed away.
New mysteries to contemplate! Hopefully I will have a breakthrough in researching Anna’s family, but it may be a long way off. I’m hoping for the best!