Time for Week 29 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 Lūkins, born November 15, 1862 and died June 28, 1929. He is my great-great-grandfather, my paternal grandmother’s paternal grandfather.

Like so many of the Lūkins clan, Jēkabs was born on Jaunate estate in northern Latvia. He was born on the Tauži farm, just south of the town of Mazsalaca. His parents were Līberts Lūkins and Līze Mildere. He had a plethora of siblings, most older, believed to include Meļķis (1845), Jānis (1847, died age 5), Anna (1849), Ēde (1851, died in infancy), Indriķis (1852), Jānis (1854, died age 13), Marija (1857, died in infancy), Tenis (1860), Marija (1864, died in infancy) and Ieva (1866). You’ll note several names repeat, due to the death of the child at a young age. Also, I say “believed to include” because I have not yet verified all of these myself, so there could be mistakes.

I don’t know much about Jēkabs’ early life, only that he was married (to a woman named Kate?) prior to 1892, and that she died, for the next news I have of him is his marriage to my great-great-grandmother Karoline Matilde Baburs in Daugavgrīva, near Rīga, on October 11, 1892, where he is listed as a widower.

In this marriage record, it states that he is a “worker” in Daugavgrīva. Other professions attributed to him throughout his life include “farmer” (1920 passport), “vendor” (a 1938 family overview written by his son Augusts) and “meat vendor” (another document by his son). He also lived in the district of Bolderāja, near Daugavgrīva.

The family attaches three children – Jānis, Vera and Antons – to Jēkabs’ first marriage to this Kate. The children I know the most about are those from his second marriage, including my great-grandfather Augusts Roberts (1894). Augusts’ full siblings were Olga Paulīne (1896), Vilhelms Eduards (1903) and Ernests (date unknown).

Jēkabs died on June 28, 1929. I have this photo of the family taken at the funeral. His widow Karoline is in the middle of the row of seated women (third from the right). On her left is her daughter-in-law, my great-grandmother Lilija Šīre, and right below them, the little blonde girl with a bow in her hair is my grandmother Zenta. My great-grandfather Augusts (Lilija’s husband and Zenta’s father) is fourth from the left in the third row (well, really, in a row of his own in the dark jacket between cousin Natālija and nephew Alfrēds).

Photo provided by a relative. Click to enlarge.

The Lūkins family of the Mazsalaca area is absolutely massive, as I mentioned in Liberts’ post, and I haven’t had the opportunity to sort them all out myself – but thankfully, a lot of the work has been done for me. The Mazsalaca area has been very active in the gathering of genealogical data, both pre-Internet and in the Internet age. There is a “Family Tree Room” at the Mazsalaca district museum (that reminds me, I should get up there sometime this summer…) which contains trees compiled by a genealogist several decades ago. Now in the Internet age, the regional family tree is the largest Latvian tree on MyHeritage, and includes over 34,000 names. This is where I learned that I am distantly related by marriage to interwar Latvian president Kārlis Ulmanis. This family tree also helped me sort out my precise relationship to Augusts Kirhenšteins, the first leader of the Latvian SSR, after Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union. After I saw in a museum exhibition that Augusts Kirhenšteins’ mother was a Babe Lūkina from the Mazsalaca area, I knew we had to be related, but I didn’t know precisely how. Now I have the answer – Babe Lūkina was a third cousin to my ancestor Jēkabs Lūkins.

This massive family tree does have some mistakes, but we’re working on it. But I find this to be a bit of a novelty – this is the first family tree that I’ve been involved in researching that has already been “done” and now just needs to be corrected! This isn’t something that happens often in my line of work, since genealogy is still a developing field here, but in time, I think we’ll have things pretty well sorted out – not just in this tree, but for all of Latvia! It isn’t a huge country, after all. Maybe in my lifetime, we’ll have the whole country’s genealogy “done”, as much as one can say it is “done”!

52 Ancestors #29: Jēkabs Lūkins
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