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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 [...]

L is for Livland

Now time for another Latvian province for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge… Livland!

Livland was not strictly a Latvian province. The territory it covered is now divided between northern Latvia and southern Estonia. This is an important thing to remember when researching ancestors from Livland – if they seem to “disappear” from Latvian records, [...]

K is for Kurland

For centuries, what we now know as Latvia was a part of larger empires. In these larger empires, Latvia was not a province by itself, but rather divided into a number of different provinces. In this edition of the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, we’ll discuss one of these old provinces – Kurland.

Kurland was [...]

J is for Jaunlatvieši and Jaunā Strāva

So, what are we serving up for J in the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge? Jaunlatvieši and Jaunā Strāva – two related movements in Latvia in the 19th century.

The nineteenth century is when the Latvian nation started to “awaken” and gain a national consciousness. Prior to this time, Latvians who managed to make it [...]