Naming Illegitimate Children

I’ve been reading a little bit about illegitimate children, cross-religion marriages and the rules that came along regarding them. A great resource – IN ENGLISH! – to read is Bruno Martuzan’s site Roots-Saknes.

There’s lots of interesting facts there – including child support issues! But the one rule that struck me as being relevant for my research was the rules about surnames for illegitimate children. Illegitimate children took the surname of their mother, OR could invent a new one for themselves, so long as it didn’t coincide with a known noble family name. An interesting example given on Roots-Saknes is Baron von Osten-Sacken, who coincidentally owned some estate near Lieldzelda, and who’s family married in to the von Simolins baronial family of Lieldzelda. He took responsibility for one of his illegitimate children and gave him the surname Ostenek – not quite his own name, but definitely a nod to his biological roots.

Interesting, right? it’s definitely possible that the Akerfelds children of Ilze Grinberga were born and baptized with their mother’s surname – Grinbergs – and as they grew older, decided on the surname Akerfelds, which is why they are “alias Akerfelds”. This could explain the loose spelling habits of pastors recording the Akerfelds part of the name, since it would have been phonetic, and invented…

There are just two problems with this theory – 1. There’s an “Eichenfeld” family at Lieldzelda, as early as 1845, basically at the beginning of surnames in the area. And 2. Åkerfelt is a Swedish noble family that was living in Estonia, and likely would have been known to Latvians.

Some other less likely theories on the origins of the name right now:

-Ackerfeld/Akerfeld is the name of a Polish Jewish family. It seems the Polish Akerfeld family is concentrated in southern Poland – relatively far from Latvia, but could lend some weight to the I-P37 haplogroup case and our “sticky” southern matches.

-Akerfeldts are in Finland, as famously seen in Mikael Akerfeldt. The von Simolins family also branched out to Turku, Finland. But this is a stretch, in my opinion…

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