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Wordless Wednesday – Smiltene Revolutionary Memorial

(Click picture to enlarge)

Memorial to revolutionary Jānis Palkavnieks, killed here by a governmental punitive expedition in 1906, just outside of Smiltene. Photo taken by me, August 2014.

Mappy Monday – Both Sides of the Daugava

Daugav’ abas malas, mūžam nesadalās, ir Kurzeme, ir Vidzeme, ir Latgale mūsu…
(Daugava and both its shores, never divided, here we have Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale ours…)
-“Daugav’ abas malas” (composer J. Norvilis)

There are many iconic images and ideas in Latvian history and mythology, but none have the endurance of the Daugava River. It has been there from […]

Mappy Monday - Road to the East

Since the Second World War, Siberia and the Russian Far East are associated with deportations and prison camps. It is difficult to imagine that in decades past, thousands of Latvians and other Balts traveled there willingly to make new homes. But that is precisely what happened – in the late 19th century, with land in […]

Finnic Influences in Latvia: Place Names

This is the first in a series of posts regarding Finnic influences in Latvia, which will discuss places, names, language and population, as well as the relevance that this will have on your genealogical adventures. Since Finnic peoples were never an occupying force in Latvia, as much attention isn’t paid to their influence when compared […]

Mappy Monday – The Many Names of Freedom Street

We’re starting off the Mappy Monday series on Discovering Latvian Roots with the most famous and iconic of Latvian streets – Brīvības iela, in English – Freedom Street. This is also one of the streets that has undergone the most name changes, especially in the 20th century, so it makes a good starting point for […]

The Dreaded Corner House of Rīga

During the Soviet era, there were few buildings so feared and dreaded in Latvia as the “Corner House” – an otherwise nondescript building on the corner of Brīvības and Stabu streets (though of course Brīvības street – meaning Freedom Street – was called Lenin Street during the Soviet era, couldn’t have any references to freedom). […]

52 Ancestors #27: Bruno Maximillian Francis

Time for Week 27 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.

Though I am cheating a bit this week. I will not be talking about a direct ancestor, but rather, the brother of a great-grandfather. With all […]

Happy Halloween!

No new puzzle today, Aila is taking the day off for every Goth’s favourite holiday – Halloween!

Now, Latvia doesn’t strictly speaking celebrate Halloween, but there are a number of Latvian pagan traditions that do mimic this holiday – most notably the practice of “ķekatas”. Now, in Latvian tradition, this going around to people’s homes dressed […]

The Spanish Flu Epidemic in Latvia

Most of you are probably familiar with the Spanish flu epidemic that ravaged the world from the beginning of 1918 to the end of 1920 and killed somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of the world’s population. But do you know how the epidemic took place in Latvia?

Since my great-great-grandmother Dorotea Matilde Francis (maiden name […]

Research on Second World War Displaced Persons

I am posting this on behalf of a member of the FEEFHS (Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies) Facebook group, since I know a number of readers here are descendants of Second World War Displaced Persons, and could thus help in the research.

She says:

As part of my master’s thesis on the legacy of WWII […]