Wedding Wednesday

The wedding of Arnolds Vinakmens and Valentina Fedorova in Daugavpils November 1, 1936 (photo courtesy of Vladimir Vinakmen)

This photo was taken at the wedding of Arnold Vinakmen to Valentina Fedorova in Daugavpils, Latvia November 1, 1936.

Also in this picture are Janis Vinakmens, 4th person from the left, in a military-like jacket. The mother of the bride is standing behind the bride and groom, directly in between them. Karlis Vinakmens might be the young man standing beside her.

This is speculation, but likely Arnolds’ mother was there. Is Emilija Karline Veisbergs the woman standing beside the bride’s mother?

The man standing beside the young man who could be Karlis Vinakmens looks (to me) suspiciously like Karlis in his later years. Vilis Wihnstein??

Beautiful old photo!

Ancestor Story: Emilija Karoline Veisbergs

Emilija Karoline Veisbergs was born October 25, 1885, the second child of Mikelis Veisbergs and his wife Lina Brugis. She was baptized at Rezekne Lutheran church, in eastern Latgale. Her baptismal record lists her family’s residence as Taunaga estate, and her older brother Janis Rudolfs was born at Gribuli estate just 2 years earlier. Both estates were in modern Struzani pagast (“Struschan” in German). Her godparents were Karhl Swihkel, Karline Sch…., and Karline Brugis.

Emilija Veisbergs’ baptismal record from Rezekne Lutheran church

For ten years after Emilija’s birth, the Veisbergs family is a bit of a mystery to me. They must have left Rezekne at some point and travelled westward, ending up in Tukums around 1896. Mikelis and Line had at least two more children that I have found so far: Julius Roberts, born  in August 1896 at Slokenbekas, and Berta Ida, born in February 1900, both baptised at Tukums Lutheran church. Emilija must have met Vilis Wihnstein whilst living in Tukums, and the next record I have of her is her marriage to him in 1904.

Emilija and Vilis’ marriage record from Tukums Lutheran church

I won’t re-iterate the story of Vilis and Emilija’s children again, but long story short, they had 5 children between 1905 and 1921, before Vilis abandoned the family, leaving Emilija for another woman. Note that there is some pencilled-in writing around their record, perhaps this gives some details as to why the marriage ended, but I cannot make out many words well enough to translate…

The last I have record of Emilija is her listing in the 1941 Latvian census,  living with Alise and Fricis in an apartment in Tukums (more on their census record: http://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/the-1941-census-of-latvia/). During WWII, when her sons (Janis, Arnolds, Karlis and Fricis) all left Latvia, I believe Emilija and her daughter Alise stayed behind in Latvia. Alise went on to marry a man with the surname of Erdmanis, and lived in an old farmhouse in the countryside near Saldus with their two sons. It is possible that Emilija lived with Alise and her husband until her death. I did not ever hear my great-grandfather speak of his mother Emilija, but from my great-aunt I have learned that she died just before WWII ended, a civilian casualty of bombing in the area…

Wordless Wednesday: US Army Labor Service Daughters?

Germany, c 1951. Rasma Vinakmens and 2 friends, the year her father joined the US Army Labor Service Co.

Rasma Vinakmens and the same 2 friends, Germany c. 1955

These two girls beside my grandmother are sisters Olga and Reina Petrausken, displaced persons from Lithuania.

Old Photo: Vinakmens Brothers

Janis Rudolfs, Karlis and Arnolds Roberts Vinakmens, c. 1928 (photo courtesy Vladimir Vinakmen)

Finding living relatives in Russia has been a highlight of my genealogical journey.

Besides just finding more family, another benefit is more photos from an even earlier time have survived in the posession of my great-great uncle Arnolds Vinakmens and his family (likely because they did not have to make a frantic cross-European country, cross-Atlantic trip!)

This one above is the earliest photo I have seen of my great-grandfather Karlis, who is still just a teen here. It’s also the only photo I’ve seen of great-great-uncle Janis Rudolfs Vinakmens as a young man, and the first of a few photos I’ve seen of my great-great uncle Arnolds.

I love old photos. Sometimes between the documents and records and scribbling and stories, you still have a hard time gripping someone’s life story until you see a picture, then they come alive!