Yet another brick wall possibly crumbling with the use of DNA. This one is by a string of very slight but apparently lucky chances. Through communicating with a genetic cousin of mine we learned his family roots trace back to a parish near Talsi called Nurmuiza. This suggested he could match my family somewhere in my mostly unknown Ozols-Ozolins family from Talsi. With my list of clues about my great grandmother Berta Ozolins’ parents Fricis Ozolins and Matilde Ozols, I decided to check Nurmuiza’s baptismal records from around the time I estimated Matilde to be born (1885-1890) and… I found a possible Matilde Ozols!
Actually I found two possible Matilde Ozols. Which would normally be bad news, but in this case… both have the same parents, they’re sisters. Janis Ozols married Madlena Briede in 1886 at Nurmuiza parish. They first had daughter Sophie Mathilde Helene Ozols in 1888, then her little sister Magda Mathilde Pauline Ozols in 1890. Sophie/Zofiya and Magda are definitely more Polish/Lithuanian/Catholic sounding names as opposed to Lutheran Latvian farmer names, and indeed Nurmuiza seems to have a strong Polish presence in their given and surnames, in the glimpse I’ve had of their church records. “Ozols” and “Briedis”, on the other hand, are extremely traditionally Latvian (they mean “oak” and “stag” respectively). Nevertheless maybe there is a connection further back on this family line to explain all my Polish connections.
One of these two sisters could be my great-great grandmother Matilde. Another hint that this family could be related is that my great grandmother Berta had a middle name – Helene – just like the older sister Sophie Mathilde Helene.
The last clue from my DNA/genetic cousin is that he had been in contact with a known relative of his in Latvia, who located a lucky type of document for Nurmuiza – a register of families from ~1900-~1915. If my family is also recorded in this book, it would give great details and confirmations! This book could be released onto Raduraksti soon (along with other church records from 1910-1914!)
This is all speculation for now. How do I hope to confirm? I have Antra Celmiņa of Discovering Latvian Roots on the case. She is a professional Latvian genealogist based out of Rīga, with access to a host of more records pertaining to the time period of Matilde and Fricis’s lives, including perhaps the above noted book…. Hopefully one of these records will confirm a birth date, place, parent’s names!