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Č is for Čigāns

Continuing with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, we’ve come upon our second Latvian letter…. Č!

This was a tough letter! There are not many Latvian words that start with “č” (pronounced “ch”), and even fewer that could relate to genealogy in some way. But I’ve found one – “čigāns”. This is Latvian for Gypsy [...]

Importance of Farm Names

Before I went to the Latvian State Historical Archives for the first time, I didn’t pay much attention to farm names. Sure, I knew the name of the farm where one of my grandfathers grew up, but I didn’t attach a significance to it beyond an address.

My work in the archives showed me just how [...]

“Fearless Females” – March 2

Today’s prompt:Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

I’m cheating, and posting two. While looking through my photos, I realized that I have very few of female ancestors by themselves. There were a couple, but not [...]

Surname Saturday – Kukurs

This edition of Surname Saturday is about the surname Kukurs.

I have chosen this surname for two reasons – a person with this surname in my family tree is currently giving me trouble, and I happened across the definition of this word in my Latvian etymological dictionary while looking for something else.

The root of the word [...]

Navigating Raduraksti

I make many references to LVVA’s Raduraksti. It is the best resource for people researching their Latvian family history if they’re not able to go to the LVVA itself. The collection of documents available there is growing – recently they also added revision lists for some towns and cities.

But the website can be a bit [...]

Families Unknown

When doing your research, have you ever come across a family – not your own – that appears to have a story to tell, and you want to find out what that story is?

This has happened to me while looking at the Limbaži parish registers.

While looking at the christening records, the records where no father [...]


My maternal grandfather was from Limbaži, in northern Latvia. All I know about his family comes from my mother and my grandfather’s sister. I have not yet been able to find any official record of the family.

However, since I know where they lived (and have in fact visited the farm), I have begun combing the [...]