I have come across other Vinakmens, as well as Akerfelds, in my searching. Most of them who live in Latvia today go by Vinsteins-Vinakmens though, like my Janis Vinakmens did for a time before he changed his name. I’ve spoken with some of them, and in our broken Latvian-English communications what they’ve told me of their family trees does not match well with my own family tree.
My theory here is: There were multiple unrelated Weinstein families, who over the years became known and Vinsteins-Vinakmens, for the same reason as my ancestors – just to have a more Latvian surname.
Whoever their ancestor was, they did not change their name to just plain Vinakmens like Janis did. Perhaps there was one, single Weinstein man at one point in Latvia, from whom all Vinakmens are related, but I doubt it. I don’t believe we are all related.
There are still however, related Vinakmens out there that I do not know of yet. So far as I can discern, Janis Wihnstihn and his wife Trine only had two children: Vilis Wihnstihn and “Greete Pauline Wihnstihn” (not sure what the Latvian translation of this German name would be – Greta Paulina Vinakmens?). Greete would not have passed her surname on to her children though.
Then only one who would have passed on the Vinakmens surname that is related is the one Vinakmens son of Vilis, who is unaccounted for in my research, Arnolds. The last record of I have of him is in “These Names Accuse”. His last known residence is in Daugavpils, in eastern Latvia. His case number in this list though is “4” which means to the government, he was missing. Does this mean he avoided deportation? My great aunts spoke of Arnolds, and said his wife’s name was either Valentine or Viktorija, and that they lived in Russia. They had two sons, a painter and a violinist in Russia. These two sons would have inherited the Vinakmens surname. Would they have changed it back to Weinstein in Russia?