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52 Ancestors #8: Pēteris Celmiņš

Time for Week 8 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 Pēteris Celmiņš. Now, the first question to answer here is – which one? I have five in my paternal line. Evidently this was a popular family name – nowhere else in my family lines do I have a name repeat that often. I’m certain that if I go down collateral lines I’ll see names repeat with more frequency, but to have five people with the same name in one direct line in only eight generations must be pretty remarkable, especially given that there was no strict order in the naming of sons (that is, birth order was irrelevant in terms of when the Pēteris showed up, but most of them appear in my direct line). One might wonder how I didn’t end up with the name Petra. But moving on.

We’ll start with the furthest back Pēteris Celmiņš that I have any amount of information on, who was born c. 1755 and died 1828. He was my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, by way of my paternal grandfather’s paternal grandfather, whose name was also Pēteris Celmiņš (surprise surprise). This furthest back Pēteris’ father’s name was Pēteris as well (again, big surprise). He was married to a woman named Anna. He had four sons that I’m aware of, Jēkabs (c. 1784-1819), Jānis (c. 1785-1813), Dāvis (c. 1790-1839, my great-great-great-great-grandfather) and Kārlis (c. 1796-after 1858). Even the earliest revision lists show no sign of a daughter, and no son named Pēteris, though the name would reappear in later generations.

Pēteris died in 1828, according to the 1834 revision list. It is likely that his wife Anna also died between 1826 and 1834, since she does not appear in the 1834 revision list either.

Pēteris spent most of his life on Stampvēveri farm on Vijciems estate in northern Latvia, south of Valka, but the earliest revision lists (1795) show that he was originally from the nearby Paukulītes farm. This means he would have attended religious services and celebrated life events at the Trikāta Lutheran Church, as his descendants did, who would remain on Stampvēveri farm until well into the 20th century. His great-great-grandson, my great-grandfather Pēteris Eduards, moved to Rīga in the early 20th century, but at least one brother of Pēteris Eduards remained on the Stampvēveri farm into the 1940s. I wonder if Celmiņš descendants still own the farm today – I attempted to visit it a year and a half ago when I was in the area, but a freak snowstorm made the minor roads around Stampvēveri impassable, so that is something I will need to do some other time.

Next week we will pursue more of my paternal grandfather’s line. Stay tuned!

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