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Happy Halloween!

No new puzzle today, Aila is taking the day off for every Goth’s favourite holiday – Halloween!

Now, Latvia doesn’t strictly speaking celebrate Halloween, but there are a number of Latvian pagan traditions that do mimic this holiday – most notably the practice of “ķekatas”. Now, in Latvian tradition, this going around to people’s homes dressed [...]

The Spanish Flu Epidemic in Latvia

Most of you are probably familiar with the Spanish flu epidemic that ravaged the world from the beginning of 1918 to the end of 1920 and killed somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of the world’s population. But do you know how the epidemic took place in Latvia?

Since my great-great-grandmother Dorotea Matilde Francis (maiden name [...]

“Rally Under the Latvian Flag!”

“Rally Under the Latvian Flag!”

This was the headline of the exhortation published on July 19, 1915, by Latvian members of the Imperial Russian Duma, Jānis Goldmanis and Jānis Zālītis, announcing that the Imperial Russian Army was allowing the formation of national battalions – in this case, the Latvian Riflemen Battalions, known in Latvian as “Strēlnieki”.

They [...]

Liepāja’s Response – May 23, 1912

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles and snippets 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: Liepājas Atbalss (Liepāja’s Response), May 23, 1912

Difficulties expected for [...]

Book Review: The Case for Latvia

I don’t review books on here often – okay, this is the first review – but I think it might be something I start. This book in particular I think is very valuable for understanding the tricky nuances of Latvian history.

The book is called The Case for Latvia: Disinformation Campaigns Against a Small Nation by [...]

Latvian Royalty?

Now, the title is a bit of a misnomer. There isn’t a Latvian royal family. Nobles in Latvia were typically German, sometimes Polish, sometimes Russian. But this post is about a group in Latvia that can be considered the closest thing to nobility that ethnic Latvians have – the “kuršu ķoniņi”, or “Curonian Kings”.

This group [...]

Homeland – January 18, 1911

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles and snippets 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: Tēvija (“Homeland”), January 18, 1911

The barons of Vidzeme are [...]

Baltic Herald – January 11, 1906

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles and snippets 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 or historical note.

Source: Baltijas Vēstnesis (Baltic Herald), January 11, 1906

News [...]

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 [...]