The Baptism of Mada Stromane

Sometimes when you’ve hit a bunch of brick walls, you need a set of fresh eyes! I hit the Raduraksti books again, and within the first 15 minutes, I had stumbled across a new family discovery:

Born on February 10, 1836 and baptised February 23, 1836
Born at Oldenburg, Gohbsem (Vecpils estate, Gobzemji farm)
To knecht (worker) Janis Strohmann and his wife Lise
Witnesses 1. Madde Strohmann, 2. Anne Sauer, 3. Janis Mattison
Baptised by Pastor Katterfeld at Neuhausen (Valtaiki)

Mada is my great-great-great-grandmother, her daughter Ieva Sedols married Jekabs Akerfelds. Just as her marriage record to Janis Sedols states, she was born at Gobzemji farm in Vecpils estate.

Janis Sedols in the Kalna Privatmuiza Revision List

The revision lists were basically lists of inhabitants of estates for tax purposes, almost like a census (the first of which for Latvia came later, in 1897). Usually on an estate, there were anywhere from 5ish to 40+farms, which would be numbered. The inhabitants of each farm were recorded in 1857/1858, 1850, 1835, 1816 and 1811. Not all years have survived for all estates, but the 1857/1858 (10th revision) seems pretty constant between all the estates that I am dealing with, so this is the one I will refer to most for now.

Here’s a revision list record from 1865 that pertains to my great-great-great grandfather Janis Sedols:

I’ll do my best to transcribe: “hinzugekommen” means “added”, so these people listed above were coming to Berghof (Kalnamuiza) from other estates.

“Wo nach der ordnung der revision list vom jahre 1858 gegenwartig hinzugekommen” = “Where, according to the arrangement of the revision-list from years 1858 presently added” Basically, what farm within the estate are these people now living at.

Tauf, Vater, und Familien-Namen” = “Baptismal, Father’s and Family Name”.

“Von wo hinzugekommen”  the literal translation is “added by where” but I believe it should be “added from where”

The small 4 columns on the right pertain to age.

Alright, so my Janis is at the top of this list. In 1865, he began living at Kalna farm, which in the 1857/1858 revision was designated farm #10. His family number is 13 – families were also given designated numbers in the 1858/1857 revision – there were no Sedols living at Kalnamuiza estate then, but the family number of 13 was given to the “Jansons” family. Whether or not this means Janis was related to the Jansons (there were a ton of Jansons in the area) I have not decided yet. His baptismal and family name are included, but unfortunately they omitted his father’s name (which I believe to be Kristaps anyway, from his marriage record). He came from Kazdangas estate, north and west of Kalnamuiza and is aged 22 years.

His marriage record to Madde Strohmann is found in the Valtaiki Lutheran parish book in the same year – 1865, and their first child, my great-great grandmother Ieva (as well as her brother Janis in 1871) was born in 1869 at Kalnamuiza estate, Jaunzemji farm.

Ideally I would be able to go to the Kazdangas estate revision lists now with this knowledge, and look for Janis, but the books are mostly missing from this estate. Knowing that he was 22 in 1865 means that I can go back through the Valtaiki Lutheran church books and search for his baptism in 1843ish.

Wish me luck!

The Marriage of Mikelis Veisbergs and Line Brugis

Mikelis Veisbergs (Weissberg) and Line Brugis (Brugge) were married in 1882 at Rezekne Lutheran church. Since they were married in December 1882, it could be assumed that at that time they were in their early 20’s, so they were probably born around 1860-1865.

Veisbergs is latvianized from German “Weissberg” – White hills or mountains. I have scanned all available Rezekne Lutheran church books and not found another Weissberg. Brugis however, are plentiful, suggesting that they were probably well-established in the area. I was stumped on this family for a long time, until a clue from a DNA match led me to the true origin of the Brugis family, to the north in Gulbene parish.

No 15/December 1882/ Mikelis Veisbergs married Lina Brugis

A Blended Family?

Being that Janis Sedols and Mada Stromane were married in 1865, I started combing through the Valtaiki church books from 1865 onwards in search of their children. Besides Ieva in 1869, they also had Janis in 1871:

Born March 27, 1871 and baptized the same day, #78 Janis, born at Berghof estate, Jaunzemji farm. Son of Janis Sedols, labourer and his wife Mada. Godparents are Janis Sedols, jungen (young man/bachelor), Anna Stromane, knechtfrau (labourer’s wife), and Martins Jekabsons, knecht (labourer)

(Side note: since the newborn Janis Sedols is the son of Janis Sedols, and a godparent is also named Janis Sedols, this tells me that there was likely at least one other related Sedols family at the time. The godparent Janis is a “jungen” (youth or bachelor) and since he shares the same name as the father Janis he wouldn’t be his brother – my best guess is that the father Janis does have a brother, and godparent Janis is a nephew. Of course, this is speculation until I can prove! Just another tidbit a baptismal record can give you.)

But that was all that I found, which is not typical of the time period! Did the family move? There are Sedols in Embute parish as well, but I haven’t seen any Janis and Madde. I also came across this interesting baptismal record:

Born on 10 May 1865 and baptized in June 1865 #123 baptism at Berghof estate, Budenieki farm. Lavize, daughter of maiden (unmarried lady) Mada Stromane. Godparents are Lavize Kunins, maiden, Kristaps Stromanis, jungen and Lize Stromane, maiden.

I know it’s hard to read, but lightly penciled in is “Simon Konrad” as Lavize’s father. Mada and Simon had a child out of wedlock, before her marriage to Janis Sedols. Mada married Janis on May 16, 1865. 10 days before this child’s birth!

Document: Janis Sedols and Mada Stromane

I took a stab at guessing that Ieva Sedols’ parents were married within 5 years of her birth and found a marriage record for Janis Sedols and Mada Stromane(remembering that one of Ieva’s godparents is a Stromanis) 4 years earlier in 1865 at Valtaiki church.  So Janis Sedols and Mada Stromane are my 3x great-grandparents, and here is their marriage record:

Janis Sedols, labourer at Berghof estate, born at Strebuki farm, son of Kristaps and Marija, both deceased, marries Mada Stromane, unmarried girl at the same estate (Berghof), born at Oldenburg estate, Gobzemji farm, parents Janis and Lize.

Extending the Stromanis Branch

While casually browsing Raduraksti’s list of revision lists by estate, I found myself going back through Kalnmuiza estate, where my 3x great grandmother Mada Stromanis was born. She was the daughter of Janis Stromanis, a farm labourer from Puni estate and Lize, a peasant woman from nearby Klaugi farm who did not have her own surname yet at the time of her marriage. I found Mada and her parents in the 1858 revision list for Kalnmuiza:


page 151/254 Kalna privatmuiza estate revision

The revision list shows Janis, at age 43 1/4 with his wife Lize, aged 43 and 4 of their children – Mada (she would have been aged 22 already), Kristaps (14), Ernests (12) and Ieva (7 1/2). It notes that this family came to this estate from neighbouring Puni estate in 1852. Mada is recorded as having moved with her little brother Ernests to Kalna estate’s No. 13 farm (Grigali) in 1857. One other gem of information given here is Janis’ father’s name – Peteris.

This started me off on a search tangent, since I had previously not known Janis’ father’s name, and only knew of 2 of his children. I found his marriage to Lize in 1834 at Vailtaiki draudze, 3rd from the top:


#63/October 1834/Janis, from Grigali farm, Oldenburg estate married Lize from Klaugi farm, of the same estate.
As well as baptisms for several more Stromanis children – Mada was the oldest, then Anna, Kristaps, Ernests, Ieva, who was born with a twin brother Fricis, and second set of twins Kriss and Trine, though the last 3 children did not survive into adulthood.

Valtaiki draudze happens to hold records all the way back to 1731, so I took a stab at finding Janis’ baptism, based on the fact that his father’s name was Peteris, he was born in 1813/1814, and was born at either Oldenburg or Puni estate. I found only one Janis, son of Peteris born in that time period:


#9 baptism in 1813 at Puni estate; Janis, born 26 September at Dsansi(??) farm (I haven’t located any similar sounding farms in the area, but the #1 baptism in this list was also born there) to Peteris and his wife Katte.

I pushed a little further and found a probable marriage for Peteris and Katte in 1807:peteriskattestromanisPeteris, resident of Martini farm, Aizpure estate, born at Jaunsieksate marries Katte, widow living at Sauli farm, born at Rudbarzi estate.

That’s another generation for my Stromanis branch! Peteris and Katte are my 5 great grandparents, born circa 1780. Now, I could search for Katte’s first husband, and their marriage, to try and discern her parents names, to match up with her recorded birth estate as Rudbarzi.. and I could try something similar with Peteris. Revision lists could help too. It gets hard to “trust” that you are on the right track with these records from before surnames were handed out, but it IS possible!

Filling Out My Tree – Ziverts Family

At a dead end for my direct ancestors on most of my ancestral lines for quite some time now, I decided to go to work “filling in” siblings and cousins and extended family members in an attempt to uncover more clues about how to advance my research. I revisited my Ziverts family – one that I have a lot of good documents about, but still manages to remain full of unknowns and mysteries.

The mystery: My great great grandfather Indrikis Ziverts. From my point of view, he shows up out of nowhere in Embute draudze, at Brinkenhof estate, purchasing Skrundenieki farm in 1895 and baptizing a child with a young wife he married in an unknown place in 1896. From Skrundenieki’s land file and the godparents listed on Indrikis’ first sons baptism record, I know that Indrikis’ father was named Klavs Jeannot. His mother is still MIA for me.

Anyways, hoping to learn more about Klavs Sr. and Indrikis’ possible birth or marriage locations, I began researching the most intriguing extended ancestor I’ve found so far – my 2x great grandfather Indrikis’ uncle and namesake, Indrikis Sr. Indrikis Sr. was the fifth son of Lauris and Margrieta Ziverts, born at Paplaka estate around 1847. And while I have located his eldest brother Adams’ baptism record in 1836 at Virgas draudze, and his youngest sister Bille’s in 1850, I haven’t uncovered his actual baptismal record yet, frustratingly.

At age 10, Indrikis moved from Paplaka estate, near the large port city of Liepaja, east to rural Brinkenhof estate in Aizpute aprinki with his parents and five siblings, including Klavs Sr., in 1857. They are recorded on the Revision List for Brinkenhof, first living at Mucenieki farm. Klavs Sr, aged 17, went off on his own, north and west to Dizdroga estate this same year. Evidently, Indrikis Sr. followed soon after, to Klein Ilmajen estate, right next door to Dizdroga. Both then “disappear” from records for an extended period.

Indrikis Sr. pops back up in late 1872 at North Durbe draudze, where he marries his wife, Betty Ozolins. Interestingly, he chose to use the German version of his name – Heinrich – and his wife Betty must have as well, since she was born with the more traditionally Latvian sounding first name of Bille. Indrikis Sr. had also picked up a career by the time of his marriage – he is listed as the Bierbrauer of Klein Ilmajen (Mazilmaja) estate – Beer brewer! Their marriage is actually interestingly recorded in 4 different places across 2 different churches – twice at North Durbe, the first record is crossed out. Once in a marriage index for Aizpute, and one nice long form, German congregation marriage record from Aizpute. They left me a hint here – Heinrich is listed as “Ziverts alias Wahrne” – news to me!

in 1872, though serfdom had been abolished in Latvia, still most ethnic Latvians were tenant farmers and generally agricultural workers – land ownership, skilled trades and artisan work was mostly (obviously not exclusively) still for the more upper class, typically Baltic Germans. Latvian was the language of the common people, while German was used in most written documents and official matters. If a Latvian happened to elevate their social status somehow, they might find themselves “Germanizing” their name and attending church with the German congregation – most Lutheran churches gave services in both Latvian and German. This appears to be the case with Indrikis Sr/Heinrich. My direct ancestor Klavs also tried his hand at this – his last 3 children and the only ones I have any baptismal records for were given very German names and baptized at Embutes’ German draudze.

Heinrich and Betty had one daughter at Klein Ilmajen in 1874. They “disappear” again until 1880 when they show up at Embute draudze, where my direct Ziverts ancestors were living. They had another 3 children at Embute, baptized with very German names and baptized in German. They also had very lofty sounding godparents – land owners and German millers, etc. They moved again to Pauri near Saldus, baptized another 2 sons at Saldus draudze, and evidently purchased some land, as Heinrich is listed as a ‘grundbesitzer” – land owner – in those 2 baptism records.

Later on, into the 1920’s and 1930’s, some of Heinrich and Betty’s children can be found in confirmation records from Aizpute church – perhaps they eventually moved to Aizpute, as the trend into the 1900’s was more people moving to cities from rural areas.

So some hints: the family was able to enjoy some benefits of an elevated social status – owning land, attending German congregations, learning tradeswork. Was it Heinrich who was the first to achieve this? The rest of the family seems to be your standard peasant farmers up until Heinrich’s marriage in 1872. Was it something Heinrich did? Or maybe his father Lauris? Was Heinrich in some sort of apprenticeship at Klein Ilmajen learning to be a brewer prior to his marriage? Is that what Klavs left his family for Dizdroga estate at age 17 to do, an apprenticeship?

The family sure was mobile though. Paplaka to Nikrace to Durbe to Saldus and Aizpute, Liepaja.. they definitely got around, making them harder to trace!!