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Ī is for Īrija

Okay, this one is a stretch. But for this tricky letter of the Latvian alphabet and the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, it’s all I’ve got.

“Īrija” is Latvian for “Ireland”. In this series, I have already mentioned a number of Irish connections to Latvian history, in terms of Irish-Russian military commanders. But today, I [...]

D is for Denmark

It is time for the letter “D” in the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

D is for Denmark

After the Second World War, there were thousands of Displaced Persons (DPs) across Western Europe, having escaped the Soviet takeovers of their homes. A large number of these DP camps were in Germany, and they get the most [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Birthday Gift for Aleksandrs Francis – September 24, 1945

My grandfather Aleksandrs Francis was born on September 24th, 1920. The first twenty years of his life were, by all accounts, relatively normal for a middle-class Latvian youth growing up in the 20s and 30s. He attended an agricultural high school, followed by a degree in agronomy from the Jelgava Academy of Agriculture.

Then in 1940, [...]

Wordless Wednesday - Where is This?

Can anyone help identify the building in this photograph? I’m pretty sure it is in Denmark, since it is a photo of my grandmother from her collection of Displaced Persons camp photographs, c. 1945-1949. However, I haven’t been able to turn up any results. Also possible that it could be in northern Germany around Hamburg [...]

Importance of the ITS

I’ve mentioned the International Tracing Service (ITS) numerous times, as a key resource to finding out information about WW2-era Latvian emigrants who spent the post-war years in Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Western Europe. Despite their important activities, I rarely see them get a mention anywhere.

Until now! This news article, which I first saw in [...]

Latvians Abroad Museum and Research Centre

I came across this initiative awhile ago, though I can’t remember where: “Latvieši Pasaulē – Muzejs un Pētniecības Centrs” (Latvians Abroad – Museum and Research Centre in English, LaPa-MPC for short).

Their goal is to create a museum in Latvia about the Latvian diaspora – Latvians who have left Latvia and settled elsewhere in the world, [...]