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Venta’s Voice – February 22, 1940

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles that I find in the old Latvian newspapers available through Periodika. Most of the articles I post are in some way related to migration, wars or other events that are of particular genealogical note.

Source: Ventas Balss (Venta’s Voice), February 22, 1940

Surname changes without well-founded reasons

The [...]

Surname Saturday – Curiosities of Patkule Parish

Welcome back to Surname Saturday at Discovering Latvian Roots!

Where did our surnames come from? That is always a question that we wonder. Since most ethnic Latvians got their surnames relatively recently (in terms of the entire scope of human history), a number of these stories have survived, so I’m going to share some with you!

These [...]

Free Country - January 29, 1940

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles that I find in the old Latvian newspapers available through Periodika. Most of the articles I post are in some way related to migration, wars or other events that are of particular genealogical note.

Source: Brīvā Zeme (Free Country), January 29, 1940

A 90-Year Old Rīga resident [...]

The New Latvian Surname Project is Live!

After six months of hard work and fiddling around with the new software, I’m proud to present the all-new version of the Latvian Surname Project!

What’s new…

… you can browse surnames by parish!
… you can see old spellings of the surnames!
… you can see how the surnames would appear in Cyrillic!
… you can look at surnames [...]

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 [...]

Ū is for Ūdens and Ūdrs

Once again we have some Latvian surnames for a more obscure Latvian letter of the alphabet for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge. “Ū” is a long U sound.

ŪDENS means “water”. In old orthography, it would have been written as Uhden or Uhdens. In Cyrillic, it would be Уденс. I have seen this name [...]

O is for Orthography

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I updated on the Family History through the Alphabet challenge. I was already behind when I joined, now I’m even further behind! But no matter. I will catch up by the end of it!

So, without further ado, Here we have O is for Orthography!

When [...]

Three Years!

This blog is three years old today!

As I’ve said in previous blog anniversaries, when I first started this blog, I never imagined that I would get the response that I have. I’ve had people contact me from all over the world to share their stories, ask questions and solve the riddles of their family trees.

It [...]

Surname Saturday – Olympic Victors

Time to celebrate the Latvian medalists of the 2012 Olympics! This can fit in nicely with Surname Saturday – let’s take a look at their names, shall we?

The first Latvian medalists of 2012 were bronze medalists Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Jānis Smēdiņš in mens’ beach volleyball!

PĻAVIŅŠ is the diminutive form of “pļava”, which means “meadow”. This [...]

Ļ is for Ļaudis

We’ve stumbled onto a particularly difficult letter for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge… Ļ. “Ļ” is an odd letter – sort of like the “ll” in “million”, with more of a “y” added to it.

The only word that I could come up with for this letter is a surname, “Ļaudis”. It means “people” [...]