A DNA Surname Study Coming Together

A descendant of Lata Grinberga has volunteered to take an autosomal DNA test. This could be huge for my quest to break through a brick wall of missing records on my Akerfelds family line. We’ve got an impressive little group of testers representing this group from rural Nikrace, Latvia so far – 3 descendants of Jekabs Akerfelds (including myself), 1 from his older brother Ernests (maybe 1 more on the way) and now, maybe the key to more information – potential sister of Ernests and Jekabs, Lata Grinberga.

What makes Lata so special is that there is a gap in church records at Embute between 1854 and 1869 – both my great great grandfather Jekabs and his brother Ernests were born in that time period, so the typical records I’d have used to identify their parents (baptisms) are not available. They also happened to live at an estate (Lieldzelda) for which no revision lists are available at Raduraksti.. that would have been my second choice for record. However… Lata was born in 1872, and I have found her baptism.

The case for Lata being a sister to Ernests and Jekabs is strong. She had 3 illegitimate children  and named them after Ernests, Jekabs, and Ernests’ second wife Anlize. She lived near the brothers, first on the same estate – Lieldzelda, but moving northward to Skrunda when Ernests also made a similar move (Jekabs’ family moved to a Latvian colony in Siberia at this time). She was baptized as Lata Grinbergs, but her children (at least her sons – her daughter married and took her husband’s surname) adopted the surname Akerfelds, or Grinbergs alias Akerfelds, just like Ernests and Jekabs.

What’s extra interesting is that Lata, being mother to 3 illegitimate children, was also born out of wedlock. She was born in July of 1872 to an unmarried woman named Ilze Grinberga at Gruzenieki farm at Lieldzelda. There’s not a ton of information about her in the baptism, but her godparents were Lata Kristhold, Margrieta Ehrlich and her son Ernests Ehrlich. Her mother Ilze was born in 1843 at Dinsdurbe, a neighbouring estate to Lieldzelda, and she was a twin – sister Karline was born the same day.

SO the results of Lata’s great grandson’s DNA test should be very telling. If Lata was a full sister to Ernests and Jekabs, our new tester should appear as a 3rd cousin to our other 3 Akerfelds testers (3rdcousin, once removed for me, the fourth tester). It’s also a possibility that maybe, since she was illegitimate, she had a different father than Ernests and Jekabs and our new tester would be a half 3rdcousin. And of course, it could turn out that Lata is not biologically related at all, maybe just a distant Grinbergs cousin who decided to jump on the “alias Akerfelds” bandwagon.

Whatever the result, it will surely bring about more questions. Who is the mystery father? If she is a full sister to Ernests and Jekabs, why did their father never marry their mother despite having 3 children with her? Was his surname Akerfelds? Where was he from? Was he perhaps a different religion than Ilze Grinbergs and that’s why they didn’t marry? A soldier maybe, often away? Was he perhaps a baron or an estate owner, or an affiliate of one who would visit Lieldzelda/Dinsdurbe?

The DNA test results will not be able to answer those questions for me… but it will offer some very good clues, a couple more new footholds to launch new little investigations and possibilities.Presentation1Akk


2 thoughts on “A DNA Surname Study Coming Together

  1. Pingback: My 3x Great Grandmother: Ilze Grinberga | A Latvian Canadian Story

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