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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 [...]

Latest News – March 16, 1940

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.

Source: Jaunākās Ziņas (Latest News), March 16, 1940

New Surname, by Andris Bērziņš

“It [...]

Latvian Royalty?

Now, the title is a bit of a misnomer. There isn’t a Latvian royal family. Nobles in Latvia were typically German, sometimes Polish, sometimes Russian. But this post is about a group in Latvia that can be considered the closest thing to nobility that ethnic Latvians have – the “kuršu ķoniņi”, or “Curonian Kings”.

This group [...]

Venta’s Voice – February 22, 1940

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.

Source: Ventas Balss (Venta’s Voice), February 22, 1940

Surname changes without well-founded reasons

The [...]

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 [...]

Free Country - January 29, 1940

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.

Source: Brīvā Zeme (Free Country), January 29, 1940

A 90-Year Old Rīga resident [...]