Wedding Wednesday: Arvids Martins Akerfelds and Rasma Lilija Vinakmens

Arvids Martins Akerfelds and Rasma Lilija Vinakmens were married August 10, 1957 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

In this picture, besides immediate family members: Zigurds Melderis, Ansis and Mudite Berzins, Janis and Eleonore Zommers, family friend Peteris Skrastins and Alfons Preiss.

The decals and license plates on the closer car says Racine, Wisconsin – this must have belonged to Rasma’s Vinakmens cousins from Racine! (Nice ride!)

Google Search: Akerfelds

Naturally, one of the first steps I took when I started researching my Latvian roots years ago was Googling “Akerfelds”. When you do this, you are hit with a slew of pages about Darrel Akerfelds, current bullpen coach for the San Diego Padres and former pitcher for several other MLB teams, including the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies. Darrel is one of Janis Akerfelds and Anna Ziverts’ grandchildren, and Arvids’ nephew: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=akerfda01

You will come across another 2 names of sporty Akerfelds girls in the US who are not descendants of Janis and Anna. However, their Akerfelds ancestor does hail from the Nikrace/Embute area. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out exactly which Akerfelds puzzle piece he would belong to just yet, as the original Akerfelds man in that line died at a young age and left his wife Marija Rabovics and 2 sons behind. These three do appear on the 1935 and 1941 censuses, but there is no name for the husband/father Akerfelds, since he was passed away. It could have feasibly been Janis’ brother Ernests, of whose fate I don’t yet know. It was someone of that generation, and was likely a son of either Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds and Ieva Sedols, or Ernests Grinbergs alias Akerfelds and his wife Annlise (more about them in a previous post: http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/akerfelds-puzzle-pieces)

OId Photo: A Latvian Reunion?

This is an old photo that belonged to my grandmother Rasma. There is no information anywhere on the back of it. I believe it was taken in Canada, judging by the look of age of my grandfather Arvids Akerfelds. These men are all Latvians… Arvids is 2nd from the left, top row. The 2nd from the left in the bottom row is a man named Zigurds Melderis, who I would eventually get to know much better than my own grandfather.

Back row: unknown, Arvids Akerfelds, Alfreds Taube, Antons Pizans, unknown, unknown, Mr. Karnupis, unknown, Peteris Skrastins, unknown, unknown, Janis Ozols

Front row: unknown (Melderis?), Zigurds Melderis, Niks Beinarovics, Ansis Berzins, Alfons Preiss

1st My best guess is this is some kind of ex Labor Service Co. get-together? What are the guns all about? Was this possibly taken at a Latvian club such as Sidrabene, which my grandparents used to attend?

I’d love to know what this photo was all about, or who all the people in it are!

Sidrabene:

http://www.standrewslatvian.org/sidrabene/

***UPDATE***

According to my great-aunt, the local Latvians would have a yearly competition, sort of like track-and-field but involving marksmanship, and her guess is that this photo was taken at one such competition.

Document: The 1941 Census of Latvia

In 1935 and 1941, Latvia took a census. The one conducted in 1941 yields much useful vital information about persons listed. It is important to note that it was conducted after the Soviet mass deportations of June that year.

This is the 1941 census listing of Emilija Veisbergs, and her youngest children Alise and Fricis. They were living at 11 Talsu iela, Tukums. I honestly can’t remember where I got this document (frustrating, I know!) Again… WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN, INCLUDING WHERE YOU GOT DOCUMENTS FROM! Woops… Anyways, I will transcribe below…

(click to enlarge) inhabitants of Talsu iela 11, Tukums (1941)

Family # 7

Name: Vinakmens, Fricis/Gender: male/Born: May 19, 1921 in Tukums/Ethnicity: Latvian/Religion: Evangelical Lutheran/Occupation: “galdnieka māceklis”(His IRO application years later states that he was a mechanic at this time, but the translation of this text is “tablemaker’s apprentice”, “pie Jelnieka” might be referring to the name of the master tablemaker he worked for)/When moved to residence: March 1, 1940

Name: Vinakmens, Alise/Gender: female/Born: November 29, 1916 in Russia/Ethnicity: Latvian/Religion: Evangelical Lutheran/Occupation: “Apkalpotāja “Vecā aptiekā” (A clerk at the “Old Pharmacy”{likely a business or store name})/When moved to residence: March 1, 1940

Name: Vinakmens, Emilija/Gender: female/Born: 1885 in Rezekne/Ethnicity: Latvian/Religion: Evangelical Lutheran/Occupation:”majsaimniciba” (housekeeper)/When moved to residence: March 1, 1940

I have gotten a peek at 1941 census records for the Akerfelds/Ziverts clan as well, but they were sent to me already transcribed by someone who had visited the archives in Latvia for me:

 

Census 1941

Aizputes aprinki Nikrace town / pagasts
Address Nikrace pag.
House name Skundunieku majas
Owner Ziverts Arturs
Apartments 5
Nr of residents 24
1. Ziverts, Arturs/Born: 1901.XI.15 Nikrace pag/Occupation: Farmer/In residence from: 1901.XI.15
2 Ziverts, Katte/Born: 1904.XII.13 Nikraces pag/Occupation: Farmer/In residence from: 1924.IV.23
3. Ziverts, Alberts/Born: 1926.V.7 Nikraces pag/Occupation: school student/In residence from: 1926.V.7
4 Ziverts, Voldemārs/Born: 1927.X.28 Nikraces pag/Occupation: school student /In residence from: 1927.X.28
5 Ziverts, Irma/Born: 1931.III.21 Nikraces pag/Occupation: school student /In residence from: 1931.III.21
6 Ziverts, Velta /Born: 1933.VII.17 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1933.VII.17
7 Ziverts, Skaidrite/Born: 1934.XI.17 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1934.XI.17
8 Ziverts, Karlis/Born: 1940.III.2 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1940.III.2
9 Ziverts, Jule/Born: 1877.XII.29 Purmsati pag/In residence from: 1895.VI.18
10 Ziverts, Ida /Born:1919.III.13 Nikraces pag/Occupation: worker /In residence from: 1919.II.13
11 Ziverts, Olga /Born: 1915.VIII.10 Nikraces pag/Occupation: worker/In residence from: 1919.II.13
12 Blažgis, Ieva/Born: 1869.I.30 Sieksates pag/In residence from: 1924.IV.23
13 Akerfelds, Janis/Born: 1898.IX.23 Nikraces pag/Occupation: Farm worker/In residence from: 1922.IV.23
14 Akerfelds, Anna/Born: 1906.XII.14 Nikraces pag Occupation: Farmer/In reisdence from: 1906.XII.14
15 Akerfelds, Arturs /Born: 1925.VIII.20 Nikraces pag /Occupation: school student/In residence from: 1925.VIII.20
16 Akerfelds, Arvids/Born: 1927.IX.30 Nikraces pag/Occupation: school student/In reisdence from: 1927.IX.30
17 Akerfelds, Elvina/Born: 1929.IV.12 Nikraces pag/Occupation: school student/In residence from: 1929.IV.12
18 Akerfelds, Arijs/Born: 1930.IX.30 Nikraces pag/ Occupation: school student /In residence from: 1930.IX/30
19 Akerfelds, Ludmila/Born: 1932.III.20 Nikraces pag/In reisdence from: 1932.III.20
20 Akerfelds, Alfons/Born: 1933.VI.28 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1933.VI.28
21 Akerfelds, Alberts/Born: 1935.III.7 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1935.III.7
22 Akerfelds, Arnolds/Born: 1936.XII.31 Nikrace pag/In residence from: 1936.XII.31
23 Akerfelds, Skaidritie/Born: 1939.I.7 Nikraces pag/In residence from: 1939.I.7
24 Akerfelds, Aivars/Born: 1940.IV.11 Nikraces pag/ In reisdence from: 1940.IV.11

I wonder if that Family Search Centre I mentioned before can give me access to these censuses in more detail…. hmm…

*Special thanks to Antra Celmins for deciphering the Latvian in the Vinakmens census!*

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)

Timeline: Jekabs Grinbergs, alias Akerfelds

Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds was born around 1870, judging from his death record in 1904 at age 34. He married Ieva Sedols on November 14, 1892 at Embute Lutheran church.

Their first child Ernests was born April 1st, 1893 at 2 in the morning at Muizaraji farm in Lieldzelda (a little north of present-day Nikrace). He was baptised April 17th at Embute. Jekabs is listed as a worker, and both he and Ieva are recorded as Lutheran. His godparents are listed as Ernests Akerfelds (Hakenfeld) and his wife Annlise (was Ernests Jekabs’ brother?)

Their second child, Anna was born September 2nd, 1894 at 5 in the morning, also at Muizaraji farm. Her godparents are listed as Janis Sedols, worker and Katrine Sedols, servant. (Siblings of Ieva?)

Their third child is my ancestor Janis. He was born September 30th, 1898 in Nikrace pagast, according to his DP card. This has to be incorrect, as Nikrace did not exist at the time of his birth, rather it would have been Lieldzelda or Brinki. I cannot find his baptism record anywhere.

Their fourth child Martins was born in 1902 in Tomsk, Siberia. What were they doing in Siberia? Tomsk is a city, but also a region. This is the Martins that would eventually be deported back to Siberia.

Jekabs died back in Latvia in July 1904, leaving behind his four young children and a pregnant Ieva. His cause of death is listed as either lung or kidney disease.

 
 
 

Their fifth and final child Katte, was born November of 1904 at Cepli farm in Lieldzelda, a few months after her fathers passing.

It would be great to find some kind of clue to look for Jekabs’ baptismal record, or what farm/estate he was on prior to living at Muizaraji with Ieva. Anything really, to help point to his father. Likely, his father was a Grinbergs, and decided to call himself and his sons Akerfelds to help differentiate from the multiple other unrelated Grinbergs families. We will see, I guess!

 

Document: Akerfelds Deportations

Martins, Ernests and Mikelis of Nikrace pagast were all deported to Siberia by the Soviet government for their political beliefs and their involvement with the Aizsargi. There are a collection of books documenting these deportations, “These Names Accuse”, “Political Action in Latvia: NKVD to KGB”, and more. 

Martins was related, but what of Mikelis and Ernests?

 Case Number: 218688/2: Martins, son of Jekabs Akerfelds and Ieva Sedols was born in 1902. He owned Jaunzemji farm in Nikrace. He was accused of being part of the Peasant’s Union government, as well as the commander of the local Aiszargi unit. He was arrested on June 14, 1941 and deported to Vyatlag, Kirov Oblast, Siberia. Here there was a “correctional labor camp” set up for deportees and political prisoners. His wife Anna Zveja and daughter Skaidrite (Rita) Akerfelds (Case Number: 21867/2)  were also arrested on June 14, 1941 and deported to Krasnojarsk, Manas Oblast, Siberia.  Skaidrite was released in Krasnojarsk October 15, 1946. Anna was released Sept 11, 1947. “Released” simply means released. They were not shipped back home. They were basically dropped off in the middle of Siberia to fend for themselves. Note that mother and daughter were also released a year apart. Skaidrite was born in 1937, and would have been 9 years old, separated from her mother and with no idea what happened to her father, or where he was. Martins was not so lucky, and perished in Vyatlag May 17, 1943. 

Mikelis Akerfelds, born in 1897 in Nikrace pagast. After WWII, when Soviet Russia once again had control over Latvia, another wave of Siberian deportations took place. Mikelis was arrested
December 19, 1949, his crime was being a part of the Aizsargi, and a local “policeman” (this is a poor translation courtesy of me).  His fate is not listed. In the 1935 Latvian census, this Mikelis was living with his wife Elizabete and their son Arnolds at Muizaraji farm. Muizaraji was originally owned by Anna Vainovskis, a widow, but by 1941 ownership had passed to Mikelis, who had been living there since November 26, 1921 (likely the date Elizabete and Mikelis were married). Mikelis’ father is not listed, however, prominent Embute parish Akerfelds family Ernests and Annlise already had a son named Mikelis born in 1893. So it is not likely that Ernests was his father. It is entirely possible that my Jekabs was his father, as I have no record of Jekabs and Ieva from 1896-1904. Supposedly my Janis was also born in Nikrace in 1898, but there is no baptismal record for him either. That will remain speculation until I come across further information. What became of Mikelis, and whether or not Elizabete and Arnolds were deported with him I do not know.

Case no. 4046: Finally, Ernests Akerfelds was born in 1905, son of Alberts. He was living at Krogaraji farm in Rudbarzu (north of Nikrace). This is the curveball, since I have not yet found an Alberts Akerfelds born of Jekabs’ generation. He and his wife Anna (daughter of Karlis, born 1903) were arrested March 25, 1949 and deported to Omsk, Siberia. They were released May 21, 1955.

Blog: Nigrande to Priekule

http://walkacrosslatvia2008.blogspot.com/2008/08/day-22-past-nigrande-to-priekule.html

I just stumbled across this blog by accident. This man walked across Latvia from east to west, and happened to go right through the Akerfelds/Ziverts home county. Check out some of his pictures and read his tale! Nikrace and Embute are between Nigrande and Priekule.