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Newspapers for Genealogy

I’ve been mentioning Periodika, an online collection of historical Latvian newspapers, recently. I talked about it a few years ago, here, but it has been updated and upgraded since, so merits mentioning again. Newspaper articles can provide an idea on historical events as they happen, certainly, but do newspapers have other value in genealogy?

They most [...]

Ž is for Žandarmērija

So now we have come to the end of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge! I’m happy that I’ve been able to complete the whole challenge. What next, I wonder?

So, Ž is for Žandarmērija… “žandarmērija” is the Latvian word for “gendarmerie”. This is typically a branch of military that also provides policing functions. This [...]

R is for Raduraksti

But wait, what about Q? Well, the Latvian alphabet doesn’t have a Q, so R is the next letter of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge! This is only the first letter I’m skipping, and being as I’ve done a lot of extra ones for the extra letters in the Latvian alphabet, I think [...]

P is for Parish

Let’s continue the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

The important word of the day is “parish” – and in Latvian, it has a name with a P too – “pagasts”. Now, this refers to civil parishes, rather than religious ones. A religious parish or congregation in Latvian would be called a “draudze”.

There are hundreds of [...]

Family History Through the Alphabet - A is for Archives

I’ve decided to participate in the “Family History through the Alphabet” challenge. I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ll make up for it, don’t worry!

Just how will I do that? Well, I’m going to be using the Latvian alphabet. Which, while still being a Latin alphabet, has several significant differences from the English [...]

Latvia: Now on Google StreetView!

Google StreetView is now live for Latvia!

Now, after doing some poking around, there are some caveats to this. I would not agree that there is “almost 100% coverage”, as some news articles say. While their coverage of Rīga and other major cities appears to be amazing, once you leave the major population centres, it is [...]

Latvian Genealogy Primer - Part 2

Part 2 – Genealogical Sources

After reading Part 1 of this primer, and the historical context of Latvian emigration, now it is time to move to genealogical sources – the resources that you can use to trace your Latvian ancestry.

What You Need to Know About Latvian Genealogy

Most records are in Russian or German prior to the [...]

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 [...]