Roadblock: Ozols-Ozolins

From Karlis Vinakmens’ wife Berta Helene Ozols-Ozolins’ DP Card, I know that her parents were Fricis Ozolins and Matilde Ozols, who were 20 years apart in age (Fricis the elder) and that she was born in Talsi. Since she was born in 1914, however, the church books on Raduraksti are useless for finding any other information about her parents. I know she had 3 sisters (Milda, Velta, Lilija) and 2 brothers. Being that Berta was somewhere in the middle of the birth order of 6 children (definitely not the oldest or youngest), her parents were likely married somewhere between 1905 and 1910… I also don’t know if her birthplace refers to the town of Talsi, or the surrounding district. 

The information I need is a needle in a haystack, especially considering Ozols and Ozolins are extremely common last names (you might as well be searching for Smith and Jones). To find Fricis and Matilde, I could blindly browse the Talsi baptismal records… But since Berta was born in 1914 and was not the eldest child, you could assume her mother was at least aged 18 at the time of her marriage/birth of her first child, and therefore was born somewhere between 1894 and 1884. By adding 20 years to compensate for the age gap between her mother and father, Fricis Ozolins was born between 1874 and 1864.

But even if I thought I had found a record about them, how would I know I had the right Fricis or Matilde Ozols/Ozolins? Were they even Lutheran? Because not only does Talsi have huge Lutheran church books, but there were other religions there as well. Raduraksti’s Russian census also will not help, since I don’t know if the family was together as a unit in 1897 when they took information.
This one’s a toughie!

Clues:

-Fricis was 20 years Matilde’s elder, born betwen 1864 and 1874

-Matilde must have been born between 1894 and 1884

-Fricis was deceased by the time his daughter Berta was married, in 1936

 

http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/document-talsi-church-books-1900-1905/

http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/document-fricis-ozolins/

http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/place-of-interest-talsi/

Where in the World is Arnolds Vinakmens?

Arnolds Vinakmens was born in 1911, probably in Tukums. He was the second son of Vilis Augusts Wihnstein and Emilija Karline Veisbergs. I have very little information about Arnolds.

He is listed in “These Names Accuse” as a deportee of June 14, 1941. Registration and group no:  17668/4, last known whereabouts: Daugavpils. The 4 in his case number means he was likely either in the military, or a communications or transport official or employee who was evacuated by force to Russia.

One of my great aunts, Arnolds’ niece, recounted to me that Arnolds had a wife named Valentina. They lived in Russia near St. Petersburg and had two sons, one of which was a violinist and one a painter.  So, if he was deported, he must have stayed there, and he was probably already fluent in Russian, since his family lived in Russia for a few years when he was a child.

Indeed, today there are Vinakmens in St. Petersburg. Whether or not they are descendants of Arnolds I don’t know yet, but I am attempting to find out!

***UPDATE***

After learning how to spell “Vinakmens” in Russian Cyrillic (“Винакмен”), I searched the web. I found a few hits on Facebook.com, of those living in St. Petersburg. Knowing that Vinakmens is not a common surname, and the fact that they lived in St. Petersburg like my great aunt had told me, I decided to send messages. Bingo! I found myself speaking to Arnolds’ grandson, who seems just as interested in family history as I am.

Roadblock: Akerfelds

Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds is Arvids’ grandfather. He was born c. 1870, but as to where, I still have no clue. He married Ieva Sedols in 1892 at Embute Lutheran Church, where they baptised 2 children: Ernest in 1893 and Anna in 1894 while living at Muizaraji farm in Lieldzelda. Then the family disappears until 1904. Their son Janis (Arvids’ father) was born in 1898, supposedly in Nikrace parish (which did not exist at the time, but was rather called Brinki, or Brinkenhof estate)but I cannot find his baptismal record.

The next brother, Martins (for whom Arvids is named) is lrecorded as being born in 1902 in Tomsk, Siberia. It is noted that some Latvians did go to Siberia (voluntarily this time, not forcibly!) for work, and cheap land around 1910 when the Trans-Siberian railway was built, but alas, I have no documents from the Akerfelds family at this time. Church baptismal records do exist in Tomsk, but getting my hands on them is proving to be a challenge.

The next I know is their last child Katte was baptised in November of 1904, back in Embute parish while living at Cepli farm in Lieldzelda, and that same year Jekabs died, his cause of death listed as lung or kidney illness.

I don’t know where to begin searching for a birth record for Jekabs since I don’t know his place of birth, and can’t find listing of his parents anywhere. The exact reason why he went by Grinbergs and yet also Akerfelds is still a mystery to me also. “Grinbergs” is a fairly common surname though, and it is easily assumed that “Akerfelds” was chosen as a way to distinguish a certain family from the other, unrelated Grinbergs families in the area.

 I believe Jekabs had at least one other brother named Ernest, for whom his first son was named, and who was the godfather of his first son. This Ernest Grinbergs alias Akerfelds (c. 1868) married Annlise Grinbergs and they had a few children in Embute parish, Janis’ cousins they would have been. Again, note that during the naming of the Latvians, many different, unrelated families were given the same common names, Grinbergs being one of these common choices. So, probably Annlise and Ernest were not of the same ancestors, even though they shared the Grinbergs surname.

The Akerfelds name though, if chosen to differentiate one Grinbergs family from another, is much less common, since it is basically invented. Since both Jekabs and Ernest chose this new surname to define their families, it is not a far stretch to assume these two were brothers.

Mystery Monday: Akerfelds in Tomsk

Currently I’m emailing back and forth with someone in Russia about old church records from Tomsk. The email address I obtained by posting a query on http://genforum.genealogy.com/. I’m hoping that Jekabs and Ieva Akerfelds baptised their son Martins in Tomsk in 1902, (and possibly even my great-grandfather Janis) leaving behind some records. They were Lutheran in Latvia, but chances are a Lutheran church did not exist in Siberian Tomsk at the time, so I’m banking on at least some form of Protestant church being located there, in a mainly Orthodox country.

Obviously, English being my only fluent language, speaking Russian (a language that even uses a different alphabet all together) is not my forte. I seem to get by with the aid of Google Translate, (as crude as that is). Google Translate seems to be pretty easy to use for Russian, as long as you stay away from using any sort of slang and keep to your point. I am also lucky enough to work with a man who speaks Russian, so every now and then I ask him to get me through any difficult translations. I am to the point where I can look at a word written in Cyrillic and sound it out, but that knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet is about as far as I get, without a good grasp on the actual Russian language.

This Russian contact of mine is very quick to respond, usually in one business day, although the email comes over night, since Tomsk is pretty much literally on the other side of the world.

Wish me luck that this Russian resource turns up some Akerfelds evidence! Maybe a clue to what exactly they were doing in Siberia!

Hunting for Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds

My mind has once again wandered to Jekabs Akerfelds and his origins (more putting off of combing the Tukums church books!). I was reading about Latvian migrations from the 19

th century until the present and it got me thinking about how Jekabs’ fourth child Martins was born in Tomsk, Russia in 1902. I wonder, if perhaps my Janis was actually born in Nikrace/Brinki in 1898, as his documents say, but maybe baptized in Tomsk as well, which would explain why I can’t find his baptismal record. Were there Lutheran churches in Siberia in the early 1900’s? Were they baptized Orthodox? Do records exist from the Tomsk area at that time?

The 1895 Russian Census took place between 1895 and 1897… did this family somehow slip by the census? It started in central Russia in 1895 and was taken in Latvia in 1897. I know the Akerfelds were in Embute parish as late as 1895, as their daughter Anna is baptized there. Did they move to Russia somewhere between 1895 and 1899?

The way I see it, there are still a few resources I could exhaust before throwing up my hands in the search for Jekabs at this time:
1.       Find out if Tomsk church records, or vital records exist and how I can access them.
2.       See if I can find an online way to search the 1895 Russian census outside of Latvia, and check Tomsk.

Perhaps one of these sources will give me more hints as to where to begin searching for Jekabs…

Roadblock: Indriks Ziverts/Siebert?

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.

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!