Time for Week 37 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 Marcis Graumanis, born June 1, 1823 and died December 15, 1873. He is my great-great-great-grandfather by way of my maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother Līze Graumane.

Marcis Graumanis was born on June 1, 1823 on Dikļi estate, Grotūzi farm, in northern Latvia. He is the son of Jānis and Grieta. How do I have a precise birthdate for someone born prior to 1834? Not the usual source (parish registers), if that’s what you’re thinking. No, in this case his birthdate comes from confirmation records – which don’t always survive in this parish, but when they do, they can be invaluable (especially if a family moved from elsewhere – then they can provide a place of birth). He was confirmed in 1841, while living on Skrīveļi farm.

The following year, their great wanderings began – which may or may not have had something to do with Jānis’ work as a schoolmaster. They moved to Pociems in 1842 and Sigulda in 1849, and somewhere in the interim Marcis married Trīne (probably Krastiņa) and had a son Pēteris (born c. 1848). Either before or after his death that same year, Marcis and his wife and son moved to Stalbe, where my great-great-grandmother Līze was born in 1855. They left Stalbe in 1857 and moved to Lāde estate, where they would then stay for generations. There are no records of any other children, and while the family appears in the Lāde 1858 revision list on the Gaiļi farm (down the street from where they would eventually come to settle on Lejas-Samši farm), Pēteris all but disappears after this point.

Wanderings having come to an end, Marcis remained on Lāde estate until the end of his life at the age of 50 of “brain inflammation” on December 15, 1873. He was buried in the Limbaži cemetery, and his place marked with one of the iron crosses that was typical of the time period – and which have a good survival rate into the present day. His burial site is shared by several members of his extended family, most specifically his grandson Vilhelms (the only other family member who is named), but also probably his wife Trīne, daughter Līze and son-in-law Ansis.

I have visited this gravesite, and I think it is one of the only ancient family gravesites that I have been to. I have been to some more recent ones, of people who died in the 20th century, but this is the only one from the 19th century. And considering Marcis died 141 years ago, it is pretty remarkable that his grave marker still survives. It may be that this is because the gravesite has still been used in more modern times, for other family members, I’m not sure.

I hope to eventually track down other familial burial sites as well, but this is the oldest one I have so far. Here’s to more in the future!

52 Ancestors #37: Marcis Graumanis
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