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WW1 Diary - July 29, 1918

Seventy-fourth installment from the diary of my great-grandfather’s sister Alise, written during the First World War. When the diary starts, she is living just a few miles from the front lines of the Eastern Front, and is then forced to flee with her husband and two young daughters to her family’s house near Limbaži as […]

Mappy Monday - Road to the East

Since the Second World War, Siberia and the Russian Far East are associated with deportations and prison camps. It is difficult to imagine that in decades past, thousands of Latvians and other Balts traveled there willingly to make new homes. But that is precisely what happened – in the late 19th century, with land in […]

52 Ancestors #24: Brencis Līcītis

Time for Week 24 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge! As noted in my first post of this challenge, I am starting with my most ancient known ancestors.

This week’s ancestor is a relatively recent one, by virtue of the fact that I do not have much information on his family line thus far. […]

Latvian Herald – June 6, 1921

This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles 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.

Today’s article makes reference to people referred to as “optanti” – people […]

Baltic Farmer – May 2, 1884

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: Baltijas Zemkopis (Baltic Farmer), May 2, 1884

From Cēsis. Today […]

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 […]

Tracking World War One Refugees

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ņ is for Ņižņijnovgoroda

Wow! That sure looks like a mouthful, doesn’t it? Don’t be too afraid though. This latest edition of Family History Through the Alphabet is just the Latvian name for the Russian city and oblast of Nizhny Novgorod.

Nizhny Novgorod is located in the eastern part of “European Russia”, and the oblast straddles the Volga River. The […]