I still can’t find his birth record… Ziverts is the Latvian spelling for this surname, but it is Sihwert or Siewert in German… There are ethnic Germans in the area named Siebert, and while I can’t prove that the Ziverts descended from ethnic Germans just yet, I have thus far been ignoring the German congregation church records in favour of the ethnic Latvians. I think it’s time to check out the German congregation for an Indriks Siebert born around 1875… One more resource at my fingertips to exhaust.
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.
(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:
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!
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.
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.
Gross Blenbienen (Blendiena)
Alt + Neu Pelzen (Vec + Jaun Pelce)
Alt + Neu Sexaten (Vec + Jaun Sieksate)
**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:
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: