The First World War was a time of chaos across Europe. And yet, there was order as well, at least in Latvian territory and amongst Latvians residing elsewhere. The documentation surrounding Latvian refugees of the First World War is extremely comprehensive, though not easily accessible. But hopefully that will change over time.
During the First World [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Almost caught up on the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge! Today we’re talking about dates, dates and more dates – the topic is New Style vs. Old Style!
No, we’re not talking about fashions for an evening out, but rather different calendars. Up until 1918, the Russian Empire used the Julian calendar. Most European countries [...]
This is a key letter for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge. Not for the letter itself, but for the subject matter. The International Tracing Service can be the key to unlocking one’s family history – if your family emigrated from Latvia in the post-Second World War period.
I’ve already talked about the ITS on [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Generally speaking, genealogy is a calm and focused pursuit. However, sometimes you need to be random – this is particularly true when trying to find something at the archives.
There is a reason for this – the Central Fond Register really only names the fonds – and usually they are named after the creator of the [...]
A wonderful resource for researching Latvian genealogy is the house book collection at the Latvian State Historical Archives. They are available in fond 2942 for Rīga and in fond 2110 for the rest of Latvia.
During the Czarist era, as well as during the interwar period, every residential building in Latvia had to keep a record [...]