Time for Week 14 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 Dārta Andersone, born c. 1825 and died after 1884. She is my great-great-great-grandmother, by way of my maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother, Doroteja Matilde PlÅ«me.

Dārta was probably born on Nabe estate in northern Latvia, just south of Limbaži, but since there are no revision lists prior to 1858 or birth records prior to 1834 for the local LÄ“durga church, I can’t be certain. At the time of her marriage to my great-great-great-grandfather Mārtiņš PlÅ«me on December 9, 1845, she was living on Putniņi farm on Nabe estate, and was listed as “farm manager’s daughter”. Thus it is likely that her family had lived there for some time – if they were newcomers, they’d be more likely to be farmhands instead. It is possible that her parents were Jānis and Dārta – a “Dārta Andersone, widow of Janis, age 72” is listed in the 1858 revision list record for Putniņi, but I can’t confirm that she is the mother of my Dārta. It is possible that her parents were both already deceased by this point and that the people listed are aunts, uncles and cousins.

Dārta and her husband Mārtiņš would go on to have a number of children – Marija (c. 1846), Anna (c. 1850), Jānis (c. 1857) and Doroteja Matilde (my great-great-grandmother, 1865). These are only the children I know about, there could be more as well. Also interesting to note that Dārta and Doroteja are names that are sometimes used interchangeably in Latvian records, meaning that mother and daughter technically had the same name. However, I have not seen Doroteja Matilde referred to as Dārta – always Doroteja, or, more commonly, by her middle name Matilde. Dārta was still living at the time of her daughter’s marriage in 1884.

Even though Dārta moved to neighbouring Kroņi farm upon her marriage, it would seem that Putniņi also stayed in her branch of the family, since by the early 1920s, when her son-in-law Roberts Francis died, he was the owner of both Kroņi and Putniņi. He willed Kroņi to his daughters and Putniņi to his sons. The fact that Roberts Francis was from outside of Nabe (see my post about his father JÄ“kabs Francis), combined with the fact that Doroteja’s father Mārtiņš PlÅ«me had bought Kroņi in 1871, leads me to believe that both Kroņi and Putniņi were inherited by Doroteja, and then passed to her husband after her death in 1918. This means three generations of daughters inheriting – Dārta from her parents, and then Doroteja from hers – in both cases over siblings who were male – and then finally Roberts’ and Doroteja’s daughters. I know in many countries inheritances were typically only granted to male descendants, and sometimes even only the firstborn male, but in Latvian territory this was not the case, even before the fall of the Russian Empire. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, three out of four of my great-grandmothers were the property owners of the family, not their husbands. I haven’t found any scholarly references to this, but given how prevalent female inheritance and property ownership is in my own family, I believe that it has to be pretty widespread in late 19th and early 20th century Latvia in general.

Do you have female Latvian ancestors who also inherited the family properties? Share your stories in comments!

52 Ancestors #14: Dārta Andersone
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