Akerfelds Puzzle Pieces

There are more Akerfelds out there than just descendants of Janis and Anna. There is a family branch that ended up in New York, who originated in Nikrace pagasts. There is another branch that made it to Australia after WWII, who lived in Skrunda during the 30’s, but moved to Nikrace by 1941, with the death of the father of the family. Another branch is still in Latvia in the Skrunda region today.

My theory is that all Akerfelds came from one patriarch, possibly named Kristaps. I believe that my particular ancestor Jekabs had brothers, who all the other Akerfelds descended from. Proving that with documentation is quite a challenge as it stands. The names “Jekabs”, “Ernests”, “Kristaps” and “Ieva” are prominent in all the Akerfelds families I have found so far. Mind you they’re fairly common names, but in conjunction with all the other coincidences, it is just too much to ignore.

Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds and Ieva Sedols were parents to my two well-known Akerfelds ancestors, Janis and Katte, but also had 3 other children: 2 sons and 1 daughter. The daughter, named Anna, wouldn’t have passed on her Akerfelds name to her children, but the two sons would have. Their son Martins only had one child before his death in Siberia, but it was a daughter, so she would not have passed on the Akerfelds surname to her children. Their son Ernests, on the other hand, probably had children at some point, and would have passed his Akerfelds name on to them. Unfortunately for me, I can find no more record of this Ernests besides his baptism though. Ernests was the eldest son of Jekabs Akerfelds and Ieva Sedols, and his godparents were Ernests and Annlise Akerfelds (more about this couple below).

Other Akerfelds Families:

In the 1935 Latvian census, there is a Mikelis Akerfelds recorded, born in 1897 living with his wife Elizabete and their son Arnolds at Muizaraji farm in Nikrace. Being that he was born a year prior to my Janis, we will say they are of the same generation, could be brothers or cousins. The farm owner is named Anna Vainovskis, a widow and her daughter who were living there as well. In the 1941 Census however, the farm passed in ownership to Mikelis, and the Vainovskis are gone. This family comes to light again in 1949, when the Soviet government deported them to Siberia.

In the 1935 census, a widow named Marija Akerfelds (nee Rabovics) lived with her two sons Andrejs and Ermanis and her brother at “Pulvernieki” farm in Nikrace. By 1941, Marija and Andrejs are gone, but Ermanis is listed at Zoslenu majas, working as a farm worker. Andrejs immigrated to New York, and his family is still there today. Marija was born in 1899, so you could assume her deceased husband would be born around that same time as her. Again, in my Janis’ generation. Was it Janis’ brother Ernests? Another unknown brother?

In the Embute draudze church book, an Ernest Akerfelds married an Ieva Hase in 1887. It would be safe to assume Ernests was 20-25 years old at the time, so born around 1865. Not my Janis’ generation, but Janis’ father Jekabs generation. Ernests and Ieva baptised a daughter named Annlise in 1887 in Brinkenhof, at a farm I can best translate as Lappe? In the same year, 1887, Ieva passed away (childbirth complications?) and at age 7 weeks, daughter Annlise also passed away, all within the same year. One year later, in 1888, an Ernests Akerfelds married an Annlise Grinbergs. The same Ernests? Likely. Ernests and Annlise had 5 children: Kristaps, in 1888 at Kaupe farm in Lieldzelda, Jekabs in 1890 and Mikelis in 1893 at Rusi farm in Lieldzelda, Ernests in 1895 at Pluini farm in Rudbarzi, and in 1897 they had a stillborn child, and at this time they are recorded as living in Skrunda. Interestingly, this Akerfelds family also goes by both Akerfelds and Grinbergs, much like my own. This Ernests and Annlise are named as godparents of my Jekabs and Ieva’s first son, Ernests. I feel a connection here is definitely probable.

Also according to the Embute church books, there is a Lotte Akerfelds/Grinbergs who had two illegitimate children, Annlise in 1896 and Ernests in 1902, both at Sudmalkalns farm in Lieldzelda. Of course, the same Ernests and Annlise mentioned above are godparents to these children as well.

In 1898 a Kristaps Akerfelds (Hakerfeld) alias Grinbergs married Trine Skonpasts. However, no baptismal records of children were found for these two, and a burial record in 1899 shows a Kristaps Hakerfeld died at age 33 that year. The same Kristaps Hakerfeld?

In 1898 an Ernests Akerfelds married Madde Storke in Skrunda, but the Embute church book also recorded this marriage. Why is the marriage listed in Embute if it occurred in Skrunda? Is this the same Ernests as was married to Annlise, since their last child was born in Skrunda? Did Annlise pass away in the childbirth of their stillborn child, leaving Ernests to marry a third wife? Ernests and Madde had Karlis Akerfelds born in 1904 and Janis Akerfelds born in 1900,  both also born in Skrunda pagast at Gruvens farm, but also recorded in Embute.

Far enough back in the church book, an Eichenfelds family shows up. I must note that “Akerfelds” in German can be and is spelled “Hackerfeld” , “Hakenfeld”, “Hagenfeld” and other variations of the like, so comparing Eichenfelds is not a huge stretch. This Eichenfelds family’s patriarch was named Kristaps, and his wife was Marija. They had a daughter named Ieva in 1871 at Sprosti farm in Lieldzelda, but she was buried the same year. They also had a son named Ernests born in 1873 at Rusi farm in Lieldzelda, but he also perished the following year. That’s all the book has on the Eichenfelds, although it should be noted that the books from the 60’s are missing from Embute draudze. If Kristaps was having children in 1871, one could assume he was born around 1848. Is this the grand daddy patriarch of all the Akerfelds? Perhaps when the naming process occurred, he ended up with the surname of Grinbergs, but in order to differentiate himself from the other Grinbergs (which Embute draudze has in plenty), he chose to go by “alias Akerfelds”, as was common to do.

Lastly, the Australians. Ieva Akerfelds (nee Gaul) was born September 19, 1893 in Skrunda pagasts. She married a Kristaps Akerfelds and bore him four children before he died at an early age (after 1925, but before 1941 for sure). It can be assumed that Kristaps was of similar age to Ieva, so we will say c. 1893. This puts him in the same generation as my Janis, just a few years older. In 1941, a widowed Ieva and her youngest two children, Janis Alberts and Alma Emilija Akerfelds moved to Nikrace pagast and lived at “Mazvarmsate” farm. They are recorded here in the 1941 Latvian Census. Why go to Nikrace after the death of the husband/father? To be near his family for help or work?

There are two more puzzle pieces, another Mikelis Akerfelds born in 1893 in Nikrace, son of Ernests and Annlise, and an Ernests Akerfelds, born in 1905 in Nikrace, son of Alberts. I will go into further depth with them at a later date.

http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/mystery-monday-ernests-akerfelds/

Ancestor Story: Arturs Ziverts, Part 1

Arturs Ziverts was born November 15, 1901 at 6 in the evening, at Skrundenieki farm on Brinkenhof estate. He was the fourth child of Indriks Ziverts, a farmer, and his wife Jule Dzerve. He was baptised December 2, 1901 at Embute Parish Lutheran church. I haven’t figured out who it lists his godparents as yet…

(click to enlarge) Arturs Ziverts' baptismal Record

Arturs had many siblings, I know of 8 siblings thus far, born between 1896 and 1919 (Klaus, Fricis, Peteris, Arturs, Lucija, Anna, Olga, Ida). There is a 10 year gap in my knowledge of these siblings between 1905 and 1915 where Raduraksti’s churchbooks stop, so it is likely that there are even more. The 2 youngest siblings of Arturs, Olga and Ida born in 1915 and 1919, I know of from the 1935 census, as they were young enough to still be living at home at the time.

Arturs married Katte Akerfelds around 1925 (Possibly April 23, 1924, as this is the date she is recorded as living at Skrundenieki since). Around that same time, his little sister Anna married Katte’s brother Janis, who also began living at Skrundenieki, bringing his mother Ieva Sedols with him (It’s quite possible these 2 couples were married on the same day – the census of 1941 reads that Janis had been living at Skrundenieki since April 23, 1922, but it is hard to read, and Janis and Anna’s first son was not born until August of 1925, so I wonder if it actually reads “1924”).

In the interwar period (between WWI and WWII; 1918-1940), during Latvia’s independence, many reforms to the governmental and social systems were made, including a reform that allowed ownership of land to pass to the people, the peasants who worked on it, rather than greedy German land barons. It is probable that Skrundenieki came into Arturs’ father Indriks’ possession during this time, around the early 1920’s (Although as a side note, it is possible that with a surname like Ziverts in a fairly Germanized area with Siebert families around, Skrundenieki was in Indriks’ possession before the land reforms.. TBD). Indriks must have died somewhere between 1919, when his last child was born, and 1935 when the census was taken, because ownership of Skrundenieki had passed to Arturs by 1935. Why Arturs and not one of his 3 older brothers? I am not sure, and I don’t know where the brothers ended up either, although Arturs does say that some brothers had been deported to Siberia in an IRO document later on.

Arturs and Katte had 8 children – three boys and five girls, the eldest was a son born in October of 1927. Three of their children, born in 1933, 1942 and 1944, were born in Liepaja. The latter was born during their flight from Latvia with the retreating German army, but the two in 1933 and 1942 require some special consideration. I can’t really figure out why Arturs and Katte would have left their farm for a brief period to go to Liepaja twice. They returned to Skrundenieki shortly after the births, both times. So what were they doing in Liepaja for a year or two? I am not quite sure yet!

Roadblock: Ziverts

Well, a thorough search of Embute’s German congregation baptismal records turned up no baptism for my Indriks Ziverts. I guess this leaves me with two possibilities: 1. He was born elsewhere, or 2. He was born between 1852 and 1871. Probably the latter, although since his wife was born in late, late 1877 I was banking on him being less than 6 or 7 years older than her.

The search did make a few more Siebert/Siewert/Sihwert/Ziverts connections though, as it turned up some other Siewerts families in the area. The most interesting is Klaus Sihwerts and his wife Lina Grinbergs (Grinbergs, of all things {alias Akerfelds??}) of Brinkenhof, who were married in 1881 and had at least 3 children baptised in Embute between 1882 and 1888. This is interesting because Indriks and Jule’s first son is named Klaus, and one of his godparents is Klaus Ziverts. Could he be a brother of Indriks? Here is a snippet from Indriks’ son Klaus’ baptism record, listing his godparents, Klaus Schano (sp?) Ziverts, and Karlis Jekabsons… I can’t quite make out the words in between, although it seems that Klaus is recorded as evangelical lutheran.

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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:

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

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!

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!