Resource: Raduraksti’s Church Books

Raduraksti LogoThis is a crucial sresource, should you wish to research Latvian genealogy. Hosted by the Latvian State Historical Archives, it contains 3 types of records (so far) with more being added all the time. They are digitized copies of original documents. The documents are church book records, Revision Lists and the 1895 Russian Census.

The church books are birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial (BMD) records from churches all over Latvia. They are organized by religion, then parish. The Lutheran church books have proven quite easy for me to sift through and have yielded some results for me. The records are in German and Russian, depending on the time period. German is close enough to Latvian to understand names, and the Russian text usually has first names and surnames spelled out in German as well. The church books only have records up until 1905, and it is important to note that there are gaps in their coverage, as some books have been lost or destroyed.

Records you find on Raduraksti may be hard to understand for the English-as-an-only-language researcher such as myself, since are in old-German script, Russian Cyrillic, Russian translations of German translations of Latvian names and places, etc. I am still yet to use the Revision lists or Census, simply because I haven’t had the time to hunker down, figure out how to find what I’m looking for, and really go at them just yet. I can pick out my family’s surnames and first names now in Cyrillic, and make some really slow progress with the help of online translators, but the church books are really the only document I’ve gotten into just yet. I will get to the census and revision lists in time!
Here’s an excellent guide to understanding these records by a fellow Latvian genealogy blogger: http://www.celmina.com/genealogy/2011/09/anatomy-of-a-birth-record/

This is the where you can find the priceless resource: http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html

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