Document: Tukums Church Books 1906-1909 Search Results

So a good search through the Tukums Lutheran church books from 1906-1909 turned up no new, solid information on any brothers or sisters of Karlis Vinakmens.

But, it did present a few other interesting facts:
1. There are “Siwerts” in the area
2. There are other Wihnstein families in the area (this I knew already, but I am now piecing them together)
3. Greete and Willis Wihnstihn are the godparents of another Wihnstihn child(Greete is the name of my Willis’ sister) while this certainly isn’t proof of a relation between this other Wihnstihn family and my Wihnstihn family, it does lend some weight to the idea (are you good friends with anyone else who shares your last name but isn’t related?? …me either!)
4. As for the concept of “Vinakmens” over “Weinstein” I now have evidence of this name’s variations earlier than before. I found a baptism from 1908 with the spelling “Wihnakmens”. This is also interesting because up until now I had never heard “Wihnakmens” – always “Vinsteins”, with the beginning part of the name Latvianized rather than the latter half.
5. Ans Rudolfs Wihnakmens is the son of Willis and Kattrine. I have not yet found any other Willis Wihnstihn in the area aside from my great, great-grandfather, who has not been painted as the greatest husband or father so far. Is this the same Willis? Ans is listed as a legitimate child. Did he leave Emilija and come back to her later? Emilija’s middle name is Karline… Could the church book have confused Karline and Kattrine? Not likely but…

(click to enlarge) Ans Rudolph Wihnakmens Baptism

Place of Interest: Rezekne

Rezekne (Latvian), Rositten (German), Резекне (Russian)

Rezekne (pronounced ray-SHEK-knee) is currently Latvia’s 7th largest city and is situated on the Eastern side of the Latgale province. Founded by the ancient Baltic Latgallian tribe, the term Rezekne was first used as a name for the area in 1285 when a stone castle was built here as a defensive building by the Livonian Order.

Because of its close proximity to the Russian border and Latgale’s Russian influence, Rezekne has always been fairly more russified than the places I’ve talked about up until this point in Kurzeme. Orthodox Catholic is the dominant religion in the area today, but in the past, Judaism was a contender for the top spot. Up until WWII, the population of Rezekne was around 13,000, with 2/3 being Jewish. After WWII, the population was 5,000, with nearly all Jewish people being executed or removed, and many more people having been deported to Siberian gulags.

After WWII, Rezekne was rebuilt with an industrial emphasis. This, coupled with Latvia’s occupation by the USSR, brought many ethnic Russians to the area for work. Even today, the population of Rezekne is about half Russian.

Rezekne Castle Ruins
Rezekne

Document: Tukums Church Books 1905-1909

Raduraksti now has the Lutheran church books from 1906-1909 available. This is great news, because as far as I know, Vilis Wihnstihn and Emilija Veisbergs were married in 1904, had their first child in 1905, and then a second child in 1911. Six years is a considerable gap between children, and I’ve always suspected that perhaps there were more children who maybe died, or I just never even know of.

I can’t wait to dig in and see if I can find any more brothers or sisters for Karlis Vinakmens, and more clues to his parent’s stories.

Roadblock: Ziverts

Well, a thorough search of Embute’s German congregation baptismal records turned up no baptism for my Indriks Ziverts. I guess this leaves me with two possibilities: 1. He was born elsewhere, or 2. He was born between 1852 and 1871. Probably the latter, although since his wife was born in late, late 1877 I was banking on him being less than 6 or 7 years older than her.

The search did make a few more Siebert/Siewert/Sihwert/Ziverts connections though, as it turned up some other Siewerts families in the area. The most interesting is Klaus Sihwerts and his wife Lina Grinbergs (Grinbergs, of all things {alias Akerfelds??}) of Brinkenhof, who were married in 1881 and had at least 3 children baptised in Embute between 1882 and 1888. This is interesting because Indriks and Jule’s first son is named Klaus, and one of his godparents is Klaus Ziverts. Could he be a brother of Indriks? Here is a snippet from Indriks’ son Klaus’ baptism record, listing his godparents, Klaus Schano (sp?) Ziverts, and Karlis Jekabsons… I can’t quite make out the words in between, although it seems that Klaus is recorded as evangelical lutheran.

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Roadblock: Indriks Ziverts/Siebert?

I still can’t find his birth record… Ziverts is the Latvian spelling for this surname, but it is Sihwert or Siewert in German… There are ethnic Germans in the area named Siebert, and while I can’t prove that the Ziverts descended from ethnic Germans just yet, I have thus far been ignoring the German congregation church records in favour of the ethnic Latvians. I think it’s time to check out the German congregation for an Indriks Siebert born around 1875… One more resource at my fingertips to exhaust.

Document: An Illegitimate Child?

Being that Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann 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. Janis was born at the same farm as his sister Ieva – Jaunzemji in Berghof. His godparents were Janis Sedols, Anne Strohmann and Martins Jekabsons.

Janis Sedols, son of Janis and Madde Sedols

(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:

Lawihse Konrad, illegitimate daughter of Simon Konrad and Madde Strohmann

I know it’s hard to read, but what it states is that on Berghof estate, Buhdeneek farm (I still haven’t found Buhdeneek’s contemporary name), jungen (bachelor) Simon Konrad and madchen(maiden) Madde Strohmann birthed and baptised an illegitimate daughter named Lawihse. Lawihse was born on May 26, 1865 and was bapisted June 6, 1865 at Valtaiki. Lawihse’s godparents were Lawihse Kuhning, madchen, Kristoph Strohmann, jungen and Lihse (Strohmann?).

Is this the same Madde Strohmann?? If it’s true, Madde and Janis Sedols were married May 16, 1865. 10 days before this child’s birth. It sounds a little soap opera, but there are not that many Strohmanns or Sedols (or Konrads, on that note) in the area. The father’s name is very light, too… was it pencilled in later on? More often than not, for other illegitimate children’s baptismal records I’ve found, no father is listed, just the mother. Did someone stand in as the father? Was it actually Janis Sedols’ child, conceived before marriage? Maybe another Madde Strohmann all together…

Interesting, anyways. Another puzzle to solve!

Document: Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann

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 Madde Strohmann (remember one of Ieva’s godparents is a Strohmann) in 1865 in Valtaiki. It looks like Janis was from Strebuki farm, Berghof (Kalnmuiza estate) and Madde was from Gobzemji farm, Oldenburg (Vecpils estate). Just to recap… Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann are the parents of Ieva Sedols, who married Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds. Jekabs and Ieva are the parents of Janis Akerfelds who married Anna Ziverts and had 14 children, one of whom was Arvids Akerfelds. So Janis Sedols and Madde Strohmann are my great, great, great-grandparents.