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Surname Saturday - 2014 Latvian Olympians

Just like in 2012, Surname Saturday here at Discovering Latvian Roots is celebrating Latvia’s Olympians!

Now, I’m not sticking only to the medalists. And there’s a reason for that, which most Latvians, and others paying attention to the Latvian Olympic team (which this week included all of Canada), will know full well – whatever the medal […]

Surname Saturday – Rudzītis

Today’s Surname Saturday name is Rudzītis!

This Latvian name is the diminutive of “rudzi”, which means “rye”. It is a relatively common surname, found in many Latvian parishes, including Bauņi, Galgauska, Dauguļi, Krāslava, Lēdurga, Limbaži, Nabe, Sece, Sidgunda, Skaņkalne, Stopiņi, Taurupe and Umurga.

Rye is a popular Latvian foodstuff, its most popular form being rye bread, […]

Surname Saturday – Missing Parishes!

If you’ve been paying attention to the Latvian Surname Project, you’ll have noticed that I’ve filled in some gaps in the map on the front page – having added names from the parishes of Ainaži, Ipiķi, Lode and Vaidava, I now have some names for all of the parishes of pre-war Valmiera county! The parishes […]

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 – Latgalian Surnames

If you’ve been to the Latvian Surname Project, and looked at the map on the front page, you’ll have seen that most of eastern Latvia (Latgale) is blank.

Not anymore!

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to spend time reading a book called Latgaļu uzvōrdi, palames un dzymtas by Leonards Latkovskis. This book, as well as time spent […]

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 […]

Surname Saturday – Curiosities of Patkule Parish

Welcome back to Surname Saturday at Discovering Latvian Roots!

Where did our surnames come from? That is always a question that we wonder. Since most ethnic Latvians got their surnames relatively recently (in terms of the entire scope of human history), a number of these stories have survived, so I’m going to share some with you!

These […]

Surname Saturday – Olympic Victors

Time to celebrate the Latvian medalists of the 2012 Olympics! This can fit in nicely with Surname Saturday – let’s take a look at their names, shall we?

The first Latvian medalists of 2012 were bronze medalists Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Jānis Smēdiņš in mens’ beach volleyball!

PĻAVIŅŠ is the diminutive form of “pļava”, which means “meadow”. This […]

Surname Saturday - Surnames of Jumurda Estate, 1826

I’m starting a new Surname Saturday feature – each week, I will profile the surnames of a different manorial estate from the 1826 revision list. Why 1826? That is the year that surnames first appeared in the revision lists – for the Livland guberniya, at any rate, in some cases in the Kurland guberniya they […]

Surname Saturday – Different Kinds of Hills

As many of you probably know, the Latvian word for hill, “kalns”, is a fairly common Latvian surname, particularly in its diminutive form Kalniņš.

But there are many different kind of “kalns” as well, as evidenced by my journeys through old church records. These names are particularly common in western Latvia, especially in communities such as […]