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…


4 thoughts on “Hunting for Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds

  1. Could the family have potentially been railway workers? This was right around the time the Trans-SIberian Railway was being built, and they could have been working on the Western Siberian Railway, which was the part around Tomsk, just off the main line. The Russian Empire encouraged settlement along the railway because it wanted to keep its hold on Siberia.

    I’ve been researching the Trans-Siberian the past couple of days, since my perusing through Latvian church books turned up a Latvian child that had been born in northeastern China. Further research showed me that thousands of Latvians actually ended up in that area working on the railway, so it is possible that they were along other parts of the railway as well.

    • Yes, that was my initial guess! I know that there were also a lot of mineral resources in and around Tomsk…
      The head of this family Jekabs is also the one who died in 1904 of either lung or kidney disease at age 34, so I’m guessing whatever kind of work he was doing was physically demanding! I wonder if any records from the area are accessible?!

      • There appear to be a variety of records available for Tomsk through the FamilySearch Centers, but none of them look promising – for religious records, just Orthodox and Catholic.

        If Lutherans weren’t available, the child (or children) may have been baptized by a different Protestant sect – the child I mentioned above that was born in China was baptized there by a Scottish Presbyterian minister, and then entered into the Lutheran church book when they returned to Latvia. Do you know when the family returned to Latvia? If so, you could try checking the baptism records for that time (if you haven’t already), and see if a number of children have been entered in, in what would typically be thought of as “out of order”, since they were being entered awhile after their births, rather than in the couple of months following.

      • Hmmm, I’ve picked the area’s churchbooks clean, and I have found other examples of people being entered in from another parish, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here :(. The family was god-only-knows-where between 1895 at their second child’s baptism (Embute), until 1904 when Jekabs died and a few months later his youngest child was born, back in Embute. I’m dying to find out more about this family!!

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