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Latvian Genealogy Primer - Part 1

Ready to move on to genealogical sources? See Part 2 of this primer here.

Part 1 – Historical Context

What You Need to Know about Latvia

Latvia is a country in northeastern Europe, bordered by Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania. The official language is Latvian, an Indo-European language of the Baltic branch, related to Lithuanian. Latvia has a [...]

Tuesday’s Tip: Look Randomly

Generally speaking, genealogy is a calm and focused pursuit. However, sometimes you need to be random – this is particularly true when trying to find something at the archives.

There is a reason for this – the Central Fond Register really only names the fonds – and usually they are named after the creator of the [...]

Tuesday’s Tip: House Books

A wonderful resource for researching Latvian genealogy is the house book collection at the Latvian State Historical Archives. They are available in fond 2942 for Rīga and in fond 2110 for the rest of Latvia.

During the Czarist era, as well as during the interwar period, every residential building in Latvia had to keep a record [...]

Search for Anna Liepa: Update

So last month I posted a “Plan of Attack” for finding more about the origins of my great-grandmother Anna Liepa. So, how has it gone?

Not all that well, I’m afraid.

The house book for Romanova iela 62/64 did not yield any results for anyone in her family, nor did any books for 62/66.
The tax lists of [...]

Birth Record of Karolīne Matilde Baburs - December 31, 1867 (O.S.)

Caroline Mathilde, daughter of worker Martin Babbur and his wife Edde born Jansohn. Baptized by Pastor Getter(?) in the church [Church of Jesus, an evangelican Lutheran church south of the Old City of Rīga]. Godparents maiden Caroline Wendt, worker Martin Lasmann and Jann(?) Krasting.

Usually I post records on the day of the event based on [...]

Death Record of Jēkabs Šīrs – October 4, 1923

Click for full image. Image courtesy of a cousin from my Lūkins family line.

Fishing manager JĒKABS ŠĪRS, 61 1/2 years old, born in Aloja, divorced.

Died on October 4, 1923, at 10 o’clock in the evening in Rīnuži.

Buried October 14, 1923 at the Baltās Baznīcas (White Church) cemetery.

Daugavgrīva church book, 1923 deaths, #53.

Jēkabs Šīrs was my [...]

Birth Record of Anna Liepa - September 22, 1895

This post is the first in a series that I’ll be making about events in my ancestors’ lives, on the days that the events took place.

My reasons for this series are twofold – first of all, it helps me organize my own family documents and files, which is something that has been severely lacking, especially [...]

Getting Out of Riga

Rīga is the capital city of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltics. Since Latvian records are largely unindexed, this means that locating an ancestor in Rīga is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

If your ancestors were ethnic Latvians, however, you might find yourself lucky – most ethnic Latvians in the capital [...]

Paying Attention to Details

It is too easy, especially when reading records that require interpretation of handwriting in an unfamiliar language, to pick out the main details – date of birth and parents – but ignore the details that are “not strictly necessary” – godparents, occupations, and so on. It is also easy to just scan for the surnames [...]

Working With Revision Lists

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Kurland revision lists are up on Raduraksti. Good news – the Livland (Vidzeme) revision lists are up too!

Now here is your guide to making sense of these documents!

I’m going to start with just the revision lists themselves – many of them come with all sorts of [...]