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Three Years!

This blog is three years old today!

As I’ve said in previous blog anniversaries, when I first started this blog, I never imagined that I would get the response that I have. I’ve had people contact me from all over the world to share their stories, ask questions and solve the riddles of their family trees.

It [...]

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 [...]

Ļ is for Ļaudis

We’ve stumbled onto a particularly difficult letter for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge… Ļ. “Ļ” is an odd letter – sort of like the “ll” in “million”, with more of a “y” added to it.

The only word that I could come up with for this letter is a surname, “Ļaudis”. It means “people” [...]

Ķ is for Ķimene and Ķiploks

So I have finally ran out of regular genealogy-related words for the more unusual letters of the Latvian alphabet for the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, so we’re off to surnames… so today for Ķ we have Ķimene and Ķiploks!

Both of these surnames are food-related. This is not unusual for Latvian surnames, as you [...]

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 [...]

Latvian Genealogy Primer - Part 2

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]