Tracing Marija

A little more digging during my lucky streak yielded me more documents regarding my Sedols family from Valtaiki parish. I discovered the death record of my 4x great grandmother Marija’s first husband, and with luck, he passed away just in the nick of time to be recorded with his surname – Paukši. Mikelis Paukši died at age 32 in 1837 – the same year Marija went on to marry Kristaps Sedols. Knowing his first name, the farm he lived on and his wife’s name allowed me to pinpoint the baptism records of their children, my distant 5x great half-aunt and uncle. I worked backward, found their son Ermanis first, still with the Paukši surname, and then his older sister Made:

pauksimarija

Baptism
137. Kazdanga estate/Strebuki farm/Mikelis and Marija’s child Made

pauksiermanis

220.Ermanis
of Kazdanga estate/Strebuki farm
child of Mikelis Paukši and his wife Marija
Godparents:
1. Ermanis Kronbergs
2. Ilze Paukši
3. Didrikis Simsons
Baptized by pastor Katterfelds at Neuhausen (Valtaiki) parish

I continued working my way through the records backwards in time and found Marija’s marriage record to Mikelis, a record that would have led me to a key fact in learning about the generation before her  it happened a few years later… alas, Marija married Mikelis before adopting a surname of her own – the surname of her father. No parental Iinformation is listed, to my dismay.

Mikelis from Kazdanga estate married
Marija from Muizaraji farm, Perbone estate.

No surname, but a lead: Marija was born at Muizaraji farm at Perbone estate. Mikelis was 32 when he died in 1837, so he was born circa 1805. My guess is that Marija was also born at this time period, 1805-1810, maybe closer to 1810 since she went on to have more children with her second husband after 1837. From here, I can attempt to locate her baptism record by scanning for Marijas born at Muizaraji farm, Perbone estate 1805-1810… but if there are more than one I won’t be able to distinguish, since I have no evidence of her parents’ names. The above marriage record could be the dead end on this branch of tree! But I am just happy to have traced Marija this far.

Document: The Marriage of Kristaps Sedols and Marija

A fresh set of eyes and a random tangent of curiosity won me another family document today. The family tree branch I’ve been able to trace the furthest back so far is the Sedols-Stromanis branch. Janis Sedols married Made Stromane in 1865 at Valtaiki church, and that marriage record was a rare gem of a document, recording both parties’ parent’s names and the farms they were from (rare in my area of research!). Janis’ parents, my 4x great grandparents were Kristaps Sedols and Marija, of an unknown surname so far and they lived at Strebuki farm, belonging to Kazdanga estate.

Residents of this area began using surnames in 1834-1835 – before that point it becomes more difficult to trace church records and determine which families are which. In a stroke of luck, Kristaps Sedols and Marija were married in 1837, with full surnames:

@Marriage of Kristaps and Marija, Valtaiki draudze 1837

 

Kristap Sedohl, jungen of Strebuk, at Katzdangen
married Marie Pauksche, wittwe

Marija Paukši! At first I was excited, thinking perhaps I had nailed down another Latvian family surname, until I confirmed that the word following her name is indeed “wittwe” or in English: widow. Paukši must have been her first husband’s surname, and her marriage to him is not within the years including surnames. To search further back without surnames is also impossible at this point, as I don’t even know Mr. Paukši’s first name, and there were many Marijas at the time.

Nevertheless, this tells me that: a)Marija was likely a bit older than Kristaps and probably has a few children from her first husband, which could also help explain why I only found two for her second marriage, b)my 4x great grandparents were definitely married in 1837 at Vailtaiki parish, and c)the Sedols family was attached to Strebuki as early as 1837 – which may disprove my theory that they are from the not-too-far “Sedoli” farm and that this is the origin of the name.

Baptismal Record: Ieva Sedola

Sedols, Ieva - Baptism

 

(Valtaiķi draudze, 1859-1871, page 287, baptism #23)

23. Ieva
Born at Kalnmuiža estate, Jaunzemji farm
Daughter of labourer Jānis Sedols and his wife Made
Born January 31, 1869
Baptized on February 4, 1869
Baptized at Valtaiķi parish
Godparents: 1. maiden Ieva Stromanis
2. Lize Krūmiņa
3. bachelor Miķelis Sedols

Amanuensis Monday: The Baptism of Madde Strohmann

After a brief hiatus from Latvian genealogy for a few months, I found my mind wandering back in time again. Sometimes when you’ve hit a bunch of brick walls, you need a set of fresh eyes! I hit the Raduraksti books again, and within the first 15 minutes, I had stumbled across a new family discovery:

                            The Baptismal record of Madde Strohmann

Madde
Born on February 10, 1836 and baptised February 23, 1836
Born at Oldenburg, Gohbsem (Vecpils estate, Gobzemji farm)
To knecht (worker) Janis Strohmann and his wife Lise
Witnesses 1. Madde Strohmann, 2. Anne Sauer, 3. Janis Mattison
Baptised by Pastor Katterfeld at Neuhausen (Valtaiki)

Madde is my great-great-great-grandmother, her daughter Ieva Sedols married Jekabs Akerfelds. Just as her marriage record to Janis Sedols states, she was born at Gobzemji farm in Vecpils estate. I hadn’t found her before, because I hadn’t considered that she might have been born earlier than 1840, based on her year of marriage.

Madde didn’t marry Janis Sedols until 1865. She was almost 30! That is quite old for a first marriage back then. It makes me wonder about this curious birth record of an illegitimate child born in 1865 to an unmarried woman named Madde Strohmann that I had found months earlier. Mind you, since one of Madde’s godparents was also named Madde Strohmann, we know there were at least 2 Madde S.’s. But, an illegitimate child and affair could explain why she married so late!

It seems as though the peasants of Valtaiki parish obtained surnames about half of the way through the year 1835. In terms of continuing to follow this family line, this baptism may be the only clues I uncover about  Madde’s parents. They must have been married prior to obtaining surnames, so finding their marriage record will be slightly more of a challenge given that their names are incredibly common. A marriage could have been my only clue about Madde’s parents besides her baptism or a sibling’s baptism. I don’t mean to be negative, but Janis and Lise Strohmann might be the end of this surname’s line for me!

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)

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!