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Project Update – June 2, 2010

The Latvian Surname Project has been updated!

The total name count is now 800, I added 200 new names including TRĪSTILTIŅŠ and PODNIEKS.

Today I am also launching a new project, the Latvian Farm Project. The goal of this project is to match old farm names to their pre-WW2 parishes, as well as begin a study on […]

Surname Saturday – Compound Surnames

Welcome back to Surname Saturday on Discovering Latvian Roots!

This week I’m going to talk about compound surnames – that is, a surname formed from two words, rather than one. These are a relative rarity in Latvian surnames when it comes to names of Latvian language origin (German language origin compound surnames are more common when […]

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 […]

Project Update - February 15, 2010

The Latvian Surname Project has been updated!

The Surname Project has 153 new names, including BĒRZLAPA and MIEŽUVĀRPA. That brings the total number of surnames in the project so far to 521!

I’m afraid I don’t have a Record Project update this time – life has gotten in the way. I’ve also had a bit of trouble […]

Surname Saturday – Time for Dinner!

When Latvian peasants were choosing surnames after emancipation from serfdom, they were strongly encouraged by the German and Russian rulers to choose names in their own language, and were forbidden to choose names of local nobles or famous people.

While not all obeyed this directive and chose German names (or had German names assigned to them […]

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 […]

Project Updates – January 21, 2010

The Latvian Record Project and the Latvian Surname Project have been updated!

The Surname Project has 61 new names, including LAPSA and DZĒRVE.

The Record Project has 1075 new records, including Limbaži baptisms 1900-1905, Lēdurga baptisms 1900, Limbaži marriages 1900-1905, Lēdurga marriages 1900 and Suntaži marriages 1900-1905. For all records, Limbaži is missing 1904 and Suntaži is […]

Latvian Surname Project

Squeaking in for Surname Saturday (in somebody else’s timezone…)…

Today, I bring you the launch of the Latvian Surname Project!

The most common search term that brings people to my blog is “Latvian surnames”. Therefore, I thought starting a resource on Latvian surnames and their meanings could be helpful to a lot of people.

So far, there are […]

Surname Saturday – Radziņš

Today I’m featuring one of the new surnames I’ve discovered in my family tree – Radziņš (feminine form Radziņa, the surname of one of my great-great-grandmothers.

Marija Radziņa was born on November 16, 1856. I am not sure yet where she was born, but she married Pēteris Celmiņš sometime before 1878, when their first child was […]

First Day at the Archives

So I have arrived in Latvia, and today I made my first trip to the Latvian State Historical Archives.

And I may have already found something!

Since it takes them a few days to find and bring out the requested documents, for the most part today was just filling out the forms to request the items I […]