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Surname Saturday – Relationship Between Surnames and Farm Names

Like in many other countries, rural properties in Latvia are known by names, rather than by street numbers as is typical in an urban setting. However, unlike most European countries, these rural Latvians really only acquired surnames in the early 19th century. What this means is that large numbers of Latvians have surnames that came [...]

Surname Saturday – Estates are Live on the Latvian Surname Project!

What do we have for today’s Surname Saturday? A new content category on the Latvian Surname Project!

If you’ve stopped by the Latvian Surname Project recently, you may have happened across some of the work I’ve been doing adding surnames from some of the earliest estate revision lists. I’m adding these for two reasons: One, because [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

M is for Manorial Estate

This is a good one for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, something I mention quite a lot but I’m not sure if I’ve ever really defined… Manorial Estate!

There were two types of “estates” in pre-independence Latvian society – manorial estates and social estates. Discussion on the latter to come later when we get [...]

H is for Hinzugekommen/Abgegangen

Heading into German words now for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge! Though I’m cheating – there are two words here instead of one, because they are inseparable when it comes to Latvian (and Estonian) genealogical resources. Since Estonian territory had the same sort of administrative structure as Latvian territory in this time period, [...]

E is for Emancipation

On to letter E of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!

E is for Emancipation

To many Westerners, particularly Americans, “Emancipation” means the freeing of slaves from slavery, more specifically black slaves in the American South, during the Civil War. But this is not the Emancipation we are discussing today, though this Emancipation takes place around [...]

Paying Attention to Details

It is too easy, especially when reading records that require interpretation of handwriting in an unfamiliar language, to pick out the main details – date of birth and parents – but ignore the details that are “not strictly necessary” – godparents, occupations, and so on. It is also easy to just scan for the surnames [...]

Working With Revision Lists

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Kurland revision lists are up on Raduraksti. Good news – the Livland (Vidzeme) revision lists are up too!

Now here is your guide to making sense of these documents!

I’m going to start with just the revision lists themselves – many of them come with all sorts of [...]

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 [...]