Document: An Illegitimate Child?

Being that Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann were married in 1865, I started combing through the Valtaiki church books from 1865 onwards in search of their children. Besides Ieva in 1869, they also had Janis in 1871. Janis was born at the same farm as his sister Ieva – Jaunzemji in Berghof. His godparents were Janis Sedols, Anne Strohmann and Martins Jekabsons.

Janis Sedols, son of Janis and Madde Sedols

(Side note: since the newborn Janis Sedols is the son of Janis Sedols, and a godparent is also named Janis Sedols, this tells me that there was likely at least one other related Sedols family at the time. The godparent Janis is a “jungen” (youth or bachelor) and since he shares the same name as the father Janis he wouldn’t be his brother – my best guess is that the father Janis does have a brother, and godparent Janis is a nephew. Of course, this is speculation until I can prove! Just another tidbit a baptismal record can give you.)

But that was all that I found, which is not typical of the time period! Did the family move? There are Sedols in Embute parish as well, but I haven’t seen any Janis and Madde. I also came across this interesting baptismal record:

Lawihse Konrad, illegitimate daughter of Simon Konrad and Madde Strohmann

I know it’s hard to read, but what it states is that on Berghof estate, Buhdeneek farm (I still haven’t found Buhdeneek’s contemporary name), jungen (bachelor) Simon Konrad and madchen(maiden) Madde Strohmann birthed and baptised an illegitimate daughter named Lawihse. Lawihse was born on May 26, 1865 and was bapisted June 6, 1865 at Valtaiki. Lawihse’s godparents were Lawihse Kuhning, madchen, Kristoph Strohmann, jungen and Lihse (Strohmann?).

Is this the same Madde Strohmann?? If it’s true, Madde and Janis Sedols were married May 16, 1865. 10 days before this child’s birth. It sounds a little soap opera, but there are not that many Strohmanns or Sedols (or Konrads, on that note) in the area. The father’s name is very light, too… was it pencilled in later on? More often than not, for other illegitimate children’s baptismal records I’ve found, no father is listed, just the mother. Did someone stand in as the father? Was it actually Janis Sedols’ child, conceived before marriage? Maybe another Madde Strohmann all together…

Interesting, anyways. Another puzzle to solve!

Document: Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann

I took a stab at guessing that Ieva Sedols’ parents were married within 5 years of her birth and found a marriage record for Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann (remember one of Ieva’s godparents is a Strohmann) in 1865 in Valtaiki. It looks like Janis was from Strebuki farm, Berghof (Kalnmuiza estate) and Madde was from Gobzemji farm, Oldenburg (Vecpils estate). Just to recap… Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann are the parents of Ieva Sedols, who married Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds. Jekabs and Ieva are the parents of Janis Akerfelds who married Anna Ziverts and had 14 children, one of whom was Arvids Akerfelds. So Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann are my great, great, great-grandparents.

Place of Interest: Valtaiki Lutheran Parish

Figuring out all the different estates and places in Embute parish really helped me out, so I figured I’d do the same for Valtaiki. I consulted the same old book (Das Curländische Privatrecht by Friedrich Georg von Bunge) as I did for Embute, as well as the church books and a map obviously. Some of the residents of these places may have attended Skrunda or Aizpute churches at some point in time or other, I’m sure. Valtaiki is a very small place today, while Skrunda and Aizpute are much larger.

Berghof (Kalnmuiza)
Oldenburg (Vecpils)
Kazdangen (Kazdanga)
Kalwen (Kalvene)
Perbohten (Perbone)
Laiden (Laidi)
Zilden (Cildi)
Gross Blenbienen (Blendiena)
Sergemiten (Sermite)
Wangen (Vanga)
Rudden (Rude)
Appussen (Kokapuze)
Ehnau (Enava)
Puhnen(Puni)
Neuhausen (Valtaiki)
Alt + Neu Pelzen (Vec + Jaun Pelce)
Alt + Neu Sexaten (Vec + Jaun Sieksate)
Kandeln (Kandeli)
Hemmessen
Bojendorff (Bojas)
Paddern (Padure)
Rudbahren (Rudbarzi)

Document: Ziverts Church Book Conundrum

**update: these findings have led me to take a closer look at Indriks’ baptismal record, and I’ve decided that I have the wrong one! I believe the surname here is “Straute” or something, (there are more of them in Embute) but not “Sivards” like I thought. Ziverts is usually “Sihwerts” or “Siewerts” in German anyway… Back to the drawing board for Indriks’ baptismal record!**

Going through the church books to find my Ziverts ancestors, I’ve come across a little bump in the road. Indriks Ziverts, my great great grandfather, is listed as the son of Karlis and Karline, of Backhusen estate. I have found a birth record (previously posted) for a Karlis Ziverts that fits the time period, a marriage for a Karlis Ziverts, and possible siblings for Indriks. Everything fit together at first glance… Except that the “siblings” and marriage I have found belong to a Karlis and KATRine(Ozolnieks), not KARLine. Also they’re listed at Dinsdorf estate, not Backhusen. No other signs of Karlis and Karline Ziverts. A transcription error by the priest who wrote the entry? Am I reading the name “Karline” wrong? Did the family move briefly to Backhusen, then back to Dinsdorf? Definitely not enough to hang my hat on.
I am going to check through the Gramzdas draudze church book, as some of the residents of some estates in the area seem to have attended this church instead of the further Embute, but I’m not sure what results this will yield as Backhusen is definitely closer to Embute.

**Sometimes making sure you have all the details, and a straight story can really help save you from making a big mistake and wasting a lot of time - good thing I didnt elaborate too far based on the first baptismal record I wanted to believe was Indriks’!**

More on Indriks Ziverts:
http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/indriks-ziverts/

Those Places Thursday: Embute Castle

http://www.geneabloggers.com
Embute Castle was built sometime in the 1200′s by the bishop of Kurland as a residence. Embute as a location had been occupied by Couronians for centuries and was a strong centre for resistance against the German Christian Crusaders (who ultimately prevailed). Over the centuries the Castle had been occupied by many German land barons, and Embute became a cultural centre for the area it is situated in, with it’s Lutheran church and fortified castle.
The castle was destroyed during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) but rebuilt as a manor a few decades later. It survived as a manor until 1920 when it burned down. The last owners of the manor were Hans von Hahn, and later his widow, who returned to Germany after the manor burned. The rumour mill spun word that she had burned the manor down in an effort to avoid it’s nationalization by the Latvian government during it’s land ownership reforms of 1920-1930 (ownership of land and buildings was given to the peasants who lived and worked on it.)
This is what is left of the castle/manor today:

Resource: Family Search Centres

The Church of Latter-Day Saint (LDS church) keeps Family Search centres at their churches. Apparently, they have access to a huge number of genealogical records from around the world on microfilm, including a massive collection of Latvian records. I guess you can order these microfilms to your nearest search centre and access them. I haven’t tried this yet and am not sure when I will have time to do so, but perhaps it is a future path for me to follow.
https://www.familysearch.org/locations

Place of Interest: Embute Lutheran Parish

There are a few books, even on Google (e-books) that detail the Baltic German nobility and their estates and manors in Kurland. They are written in old German for the most part, but can be understood.

“Das curländische Privatrecht, wissenschaftlich dargestellt” By Friedrich Georg Bunge is just one such book. According to which, Ambothen Kirchspiel (Embute Parish) in 1617 consisted ofthese estates/manors/farms (which I will attempt to identify in contemporary Latvian names):

Abelnieki Abelneeken
Alšu Allschof
Nīkrace Klein Nikrazzen
Asīte Assieten
Bakūze Backhusen
Bāta Bathen
Brinki Gross Altdorf
Dāma Gross Dahmen
Dēsele Deseln
Dinzdurbe Diensdorff
Dzelzgale Dselsgaln
Elkuzeme Alt-Elkesem
Elkuzeme Elkesem
Embūte Amboten
Galķinte Galkitten
Grieze Groesen
  Bergbathen
Krōna Krohnen
  Lathen
Lieldzelda Gross Dselden
Mazdāma Klein Dahmen
Mazdzelda Klein Dselden
Meldzere Meldsern
Mugurkaula Muggerkaul
Nīgrande Nigranden
Nīkrace Gross Niekratzen
Nodegi Nodaggen
Pikuļi Pikeln
Priekule Preekuln
Sepene Seppen
Tukummuiza Tuckumshof
Vaiņode Wainoden
Vartāja Wartagen
Vībiņi Wibingen
Vormsāte Gross Wormsahten
Ventinieki Gross Windaushof
Ventinieki Klein Windaushof
  Aswinden
  Gulben
  Schmaisen
  Rauden
Plepju Pleppen
Dziras Dsirgen

Matrilineal Monday

Blogging promt courtesy of: http://www.geneabloggers.com 

At one point in my interest in genealogy I considered exploring genealogical DNA testing. You can have your DNA analyzed, and this will tell you of a certain haplogroup you belong to. A haplogroup is sort of like an ancient ethnicity, like Slavic or Turkic or the like. Since there are certain mutations that take place in chromosomes that rarely change from generation to generation, scientists are able to use Y-chromosomes to determine all the males in your patrilineal lineage (your father’s, father’s, father’s, father… etc) and mtDNA determines your mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother… etc).

For me, since I am female, the only tests that could be done are the mtDNA based ones discerning my matrilineal ancestors (a female would have to have a brother or her father tested to find her Y-DNA haplogroup, since we lack the Y-chromosome).

For me, my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother (great, great-grandmother) was Matilde Ozols, who I know very little about. One of her daughters, my great-grandmother, was born in 1914. So knowing that, I could say Matilde was likely born somewhere between 1872 and 1896 and married Fricis Ozolins somewhere between 1890 and 1913. My great-grandmother was born in Talsi, Kurzeme, but that is not to say for sure that Matilde originally came from there. She had 4 daughters, I believe, and 2 sons. A family story is that one of the sons was shot and killed by Soviet occupiers for hunting and killing a deer for food for his family, when food was scarce.

Combing through the Talsi church books will be my best bet for further discovering my matrilineage. Or mtDNA testing. The Talsi church books are cheaper… free ☺. I have a strong feeling that Matilde was an ethnic Latvian, so chances are she could be grouped into haplogroup H, a large, common European group. DNA testing is an option though, for those interested. One of my favourite websites, http://www.ancestry.com offers a test, complete with explanations of your results.

More on European mtDNA haplogroup distribution: http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_mtdna_haplogroups_frequency.shtml

Timeline: Indriks Ziverts

**update: I have decided that this is not the birth record of Indriks Ziverts. The surname looks to me more like “Strasds” or something to the like. There’s more of this surname in Embute. The rest of the info about Indriks here is accurate, but I do believe the search for his baptismal record is back on**

Indriks Straute

 

To me, it looks like this record has some Russian cyrillic letters mixed in with the German, but Indriks, as well as everyone else listed on the page has a “someone Von Lundberg” named in their baptism. A landowner/baron? The pastor? Sounds pretty German to me, so that would be my best guess. Along with Von Lundberg, I can make out Lize Berzins, and Indriks and Bille Jankowski (sp?) Jankowski is a guess, but there are other Jankowskis in the area. These 3 are godparents I assume? Not very helpful just yet but they may be good clues later.

Indriks married Jule Dzerve around 1895. From then on, they resided at Skrundenieki (according to the 1941 census).

Their first child, Klavs Schanis (sp?) was born one day in April 1896 at 11pm, at Skrundenieki. (I haven’t made out the exact day yet). He was baptised at Embute. His parents are both listed as Lutheran, and his godparents are Klavs Schanis Ziverts and Karlis Jekabsons.

Their second child Peteris was born November 28, 1897 at 10 am. He was baptised December 26, 1897 at Embute and his godparents were Peteris Ziverts, Karlis Jekabsons and Lawise Dzerve.

Their third child Fricis was born June 9, 1900 at 5am. He was baptised June 24, 1900 at Embute.

Their fourth child Arturs was born November 2, 1901 at 7pm. He was baptisted December 2, 1901 at Embute.

Their fifth child Lucija was born in Agugust of 1904 at 6pm (havent made out the day yet). She was baptised that October at Embute.

There were more children, the youngest, Ida was born in 1919 I believe. Again their birth information does not yield much useful information yet, but the godparents may be helpful later when I know more.

Combing through the Embute church books from 1852 back seems to be my only lead. I may finally have to take a crack at the revision lists on Raduraksti too. It does look positive that I may be able to find the next generation here. All I need to do is find the time to go through the records!