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52 Ancestors #6: Jēkabs Francis

Time for Week 6 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.

This week’s ancestor is Jēkabs Francis, born March 25, 1825, and died sometime after 1884. He is my great-great-great-grandfather, by way of my maternal grandfather’s paternal grandfather, Roberts Jūlijs Francis.

Jēkabs Francis was born on March 25, 1825 (according to his marriage record), to parents Kārlis and Anna, at Liel-Mārkundas farm on Milīte estate, near lake Burtnieki in northern Latvia (not far from last week’s ancestor Marcis Šīrs). In fact, it is quite probable that the Francis and Šīrs families – one from my maternal side, one from my paternal side – knew each other. They attended the same church in Matīši, and Jēkabs’ marriage record follows the marriage record of Marcis’ son Jānis in the church books for 1851.

Jēkabs married Jūlija Wilhelmine Roop (daughter of 52 Ancestors #2 Walter (Rudzītis) Roop) in 1851. They had at least four children: Emma (c. 1852), Rudolfs (c. 1854), Arnolds (c. 1856) and my great-great-grandfather Roberts Jūlijs (1859). I have not had the opportunity to examine Matīši death records in detail yet, but according to Roberts’ marriage record in 1884, both of his parents (Jēkabs and Jūlija) were still living, so my first step will be to look after that marriage date for the death of Jēkabs. He would have been 59 years old when his son married.

Since Milīte estate does not have any revision lists prior to 1857, it is difficult to find more on any family – siblings, parents, and so on. I will have to spend more time going through the Matīši records to see if I can find more. The only other Francis in the Milīte revision list for 1857 is the family of Mārtiņš Francis, son of Jēkabs, who was around the same age as my Jēkabs – Mārtiņš was 40 years old, Jēkabs was 32. Consequently, their closest possible relation could be first cousins, and that would be assuming that Jēkabs’ father Kārlis and Mārtiņš’ father Jēkabs were brothers. They could be more distant relatives, or not relatives at all. But the lack of any siblings of Jēkabs does raise the question – was he actually born in Liel-Mārkundas? His marriage record says he was, but the lack of any immediate family does seem suspicious. My next step will be to consult the other local estates – of which there are many – to see if they happen to be found on any of them.

So that’s it for Week 6 – Week 7 to come!

1 comment to 52 Ancestors #6: Jēkabs Francis

  • Ilga Ridley

    Hello Antra,
    I have been trying to locate records of my Latvian ancestors and was amazed to read your blog re Jekabs Francis because he is my great, great, grandfather! My father, Leonids Aleksandrs Francis (1913-1998) wrote a very brief family history. He had no information about Karlis Francis and his wife, which is what I was trying to find when I came across your site.
    According to my Dad’s records Kekabs was born in Matisi district 1826 and died in November 1911. Julija Roop was Estonian, born in Limbazi 1830 and died 1903. Jekabs was a farmer, mainly dairy, and rented a farm Cukuri (Chukuri) in Valmiera district from “Baltic Barons-Germans)
    Later he bought the farm Markundas.
    He had 4 children: Emils Aleksandrs ( my Dad’s grandfather)
    Roberts, Arnolds and Emma. Dad makes no mention of a Rudolphs.
    Roberts owned Kroni farm near Limbazi. His son Janis was not married and was “an easy going fellow”. His son Arvids was in the Latvian Secret Service and when the Russians occupied Latvia in 1940 he was arrested and murdered. (Dad’s words) Arvids son Alexander studied Agriculture. He also had a daughter Mary.
    I have photos of Jekabs and Julija which I can scan if you would like copies.
    I hope this info is useful to you. I look forward to reading more about the Francis gimene on your blog and congratulations on “Discovering Latvian Roots”. It’s a brilliant site.
    Cheers from another Francis descendent ,
    Ilga Ridley neeFrancis

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