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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 […]

Z is for Zemnieki

What? No W, X or Y? Nope! Latvian does not have these letters, so we now have two left – Z and Ž. Now we have Z for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

“Zemnieki” is the Latvian word for “peasants”, or, in the modern era, “farmers”. I don’t have my etymology dictionary handy, but […]

V is for Vitebsk

So now the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge has the last Latvian province of the Russian Empire… Vitebsk!

Like Livland, Vitebsk is also divided between different countries in the modern day. Only the northwest portion of Vitebsk is a part of Latvia, now the province of Latgale. The rest of Vitebsk is divided between […]

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 […]

U is for Ultimatum

I know, the official ending of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge is this week, and I still have a few letters to go, but I did start the challenge late (two months late!), and I had extra letters to do, so I think I’ll have done okay by finishing only a week or […]

T is for Tartu

So again, the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge has the name of a city that is not in Latvia. But this time it is closer to home – Tartu is a city in Estonia, which, at the time of the Russian Empire, was a part of the province of Livland, which, as I’ve mentioned […]

Š is for Šanhaja

“Šanhaja” is the Latvian name for “Shanghai”. But wait – why is a Chinese city a topic on a Latvian genealogy blog?

A year or so ago, the idea of Latvians in China might have seemed a bit strange to me too. But as I learned through my work with Latvians Abroad – Museum and Research […]

S is for Social Estate

As promised during M is for Manorial Estate, now we have S is for Social Estate for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

While Manorial Estate was all about the countryside, Social Estate is primarily about the cities. Technically, social estate existed in the countryside as well, but there the division was quite clear – […]

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 […]