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Wordless Wednesday – Abandoned Estonian Church in Lincoln County, Wisconsin

I know this is a blog about Latvian genealogy, but I’ve decided to make this post about our friends and neighbours, the Estonians.

At the end of April and beginning of May, I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Lincoln County, Wisconsin, in the United States, to do some research about the early Latvian settlers in Lincoln [...]

Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus from Discovering Latvian Roots!

Merry Christmas, or, as you would say in Latvian, Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!

Hope you and yours have a good holiday!

And what would be a Latvian Christmas without pīrāgi (bacon buns)?

Here is my dad, making pīrāgi yesterday…

And here is (some of) the finished product! I helped. We made both the traditional bacon-filled ones, as well as mushroom-filled ones, [...]

Where Could They Be From?

What do you do if you have little to go on when it comes to researching your Latvian ancestors? What if they emigrated in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and the only information that passenger lists or naturalization records provide is that they came from “Latvia” or “Russia”? What do you do then?

First, do [...]

Ē is for Ērģeles

So what does the third Latvian letter of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge get us? Ērģeles!

I’ll admit, this one is a bit of a stretch. But there aren’t many Latvian words that start with Ē (a long E sound – not like the “ee” in “feet”, but rather an elongation of the “e” [...]

B is for Baptists and Brazil

Now up on the Family History through the Alphabet challenge…

B is for Baptists and Brazil

Now, you may be wondering what Baptists have to do with Brazil, and what either have to do with Latvia. Quite a lot actually!

Towards the end of the 19th century, while there were still lots of people emigrating from Europe to [...]

“Who Do You Think You Are?” – Rashida Jones Episode Review

I never thought that this was something I’d end up doing on this blog – reviewing a Who Do You Think You Are? episode. But it has happened – last weekend’s episode took place partially in Latvia!

The celebrity in question was Rashida Jones, an American actress, daughter of music mogul Quincy Jones and actress Peggy [...]

Day of Remembrance – Jewish Victims of the Holocaust

This post should have been up yesterday, but I was out of town for most of the day and returned with a splitting headache, so I hope you’ll accept the post today instead.

On July 4, 1941, numerous synagogues across Latvia were burned to the ground, some of them with people inside. One of the most [...]

Sorting Out Ethnicity

So you have established that your ancestors lived on Latvian territory. But what were their ethnic origins? Latvia has been a multi-ethnic territory for centuries, so the distinctions between ethnic groups might not always be so clear in the old records.

There are, however, numerous ways in which to establish someone’s ethnic identity. They are not [...]

Britons in 1870s Latvia?

I’ve been looking through the church records for the Sece Lutheran congregation, in southern Latvia. South of the Daugava river, between the towns of Jaunjelgava and Jēkabpils. My great-grandfather Brencis Līcītis is allegedly from around this area, born in the neighbouring Sērene parish. Many Sērene baptisms took place in Sece, so hence my reason for [...]

Merry Christmas! Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!

A very happy holiday to one and all!

The Latvian Ziemassvētki is an ancient celebration, a pre-Christian solstice celebration as in many European cultures. The Latvian name of the holiday never changed to reflect the new religion, however – “Ziemassvētki” means “Winter Holiday” or “Winter Celebration”.

Perhaps this is because Christianity came relatively late to the Baltics [...]