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Surname Saturday - Šīrs

Welcome to the return of Surname Saturday at Discovering Latvian Roots!

Today’s surname is Šīrs – this is the maiden name of my great-grandmother Lilija, who married Augusts Lūkins in 1921. Lilija’s parents were Jēkabs Šīrs and Kristīne Kukure. This is the family that I’ve been researching the most lately.

Jēkabs Šīrs was born on the Stābeģu [...]

Surname Saturday - Government Approved, Part 4

It’s been six months since I posted one of these lists… well, better late than never! The summer was very busy, and I moved, and only now have I recovered where I put these papers.

Onto the names! As before, these come from a list published in 1822 by the governing authorities in Latvia, encouraging the [...]

Surname Saturday – Government Approved, Part 3

Sorry for the long delay, school has been absolutely out of hand! But the summer arrives a week from now, so hopefully there will be more time to write here. I believe I’ve caught up on my email correspondence recently as well, so if you haven’t received a response from me, please resend your email, [...]

Surname Saturday – Government Approved, Part 2

Following along from my post two weeks ago, I am currently posting surnames that were approved and suggested by the government of Livland in the 1820s for peasants if they needed some ideas and inspiration.

This week’s category: Personal Attributes and Characteristics, that either one has, aspires to, or wants their descendants to aspire to. These [...]

Surname Saturday – Government Approved, Part 1

As I’ve mentioned before, surnames for peasants came relatively recently in Latvia – the early to mid 1800s. When the provincial governments issued the decree abolishing serfdom, soon after also came the surname proclamations. After peasants started giving themselves surnames, the lords and rulers started to notice trends that could prove problematic – most prominently, [...]

Surname Saturday - Aiz

Welcome to Surname Saturday on Discovering Latvian Roots!

Today we’re going to look at Latvian surnames beginning with the prefix “aiz-“. This is a prefix that can mean various things depending on the context, but most commonly it means “beyond”, “behind” or “across”.

All of these names are from surname lists found in the book “Kas jāzina [...]

Surname Saturday – “Ābele/Ābols/Āboliņš”

Welcome back to Surname Saturday on Discovering Latvian Roots! Sorry I’ve been quite busy recently, but now I’m starting to be able to get back to genealogy and genealogy blogging.

Today we’re going to look at names relating to three similar-sounding Latvian names and names derived from them. All three appear on the list of common [...]

Surname Saturday - Early Latvian Surnames

As I’ve mentioned before, most Latvians didn’t have surnames prior to the early 19th century. They were peasants, and until serfdom was abolished, surnames were not a necessity since they were tied to the land. It was only afterwards that surnames became necessary.

But not all Latvians were peasants. Some were merchants, craftsmen and traders, and [...]

Surname Saturday – Compound Surnames

Welcome back to Surname Saturday on Discovering Latvian Roots!

This week I’m going to talk about compound surnames – that is, a surname formed from two words, rather than one. These are a relative rarity in Latvian surnames when it comes to names of Latvian language origin (German language origin compound surnames are more common when [...]

Surname Saturday – Time for Dinner!

When Latvian peasants were choosing surnames after emancipation from serfdom, they were strongly encouraged by the German and Russian rulers to choose names in their own language, and were forbidden to choose names of local nobles or famous people.

While not all obeyed this directive and chose German names (or had German names assigned to them [...]