52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 18: Janis Stromanis

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Janis Stromanis was born around 1810, quite likely on Vecpils estate in rural Latvia. He was born before the time that Latvian peasant farmers acquired surnames of their own – this acquisition was a process carried out in the mid 1830’s in Latvia’s Kurzeme province where Janis lived. Scribes visited each house and recorded the surnames of those living there. The basic rules were that each father was to choose a name for himself and his children, and each child of a deceased father could choose his own name. There were other rules regarding what kind of names could be chosen, and there are many other subtleties to this as well – more reading on the naming process can be found HERE. Stromanis is a Latvian name derived from a German compound name – Strohmann. Stroh mann means – wait for it – straw man. Could this be derived from his line of work? Or perhaps some physical characteristic? Latvians chose surnames based on both, so it is anyone’s guess.

What I do know is that Janis’ father must have been alive at the time of the naming because while Janis married a woman named Lize and had two daughters with her in 1836 and 1838, other Stromanis family members served as their godparents, meaning he very likely had siblings. His daughters were born on Vecpils estate, at Gobzemji and Kapsi farms. Their eldest daughter, Made is my 3x great grandmother.

What makes Janis tough to find more information about is that he was married before having an official surname, and Janis isn’t exactly a stand out name – it is in fact the #1 most common male Latvian name. Lize is not uncommon either, although it is less common than Anna or Ieva. But there were tons of Janis and Lizes at the time, and the fact that both of their daughters were born on different farms also means they don’t seem to have strong ties to any farm in particular. The reason I was able to find their daughter Made’s baptism, which occurred before the acquisition of surnames is that her marriage record to last week’s ancestor’s son, Janis Sedols, is actually the most detailed marriage I’ve come across in regards to my own family so far. It stated that her parents were Janis and Lize and she was born at Gobzemji farm.

For now, Janis is as far back as I have gone with this line. I have not yet found his burial record, so I don’t know how long he lived or when and where he passed away, but that just means I have more work to do on Raduraksti’s wealth of church books!

Draudzes Locekļu Saraksti: Brugis Family

Progress!

Today I made a new family genealogical discovery thanks to my mother’s DNA results.  I was looking in records from the Gulbene area, trying to explore the family of a newly contacted cousin match, when I noticed the surname Brugis pop up.

Lina Brugis is my 3x great grandmother, mother of Emilija Veisbergs who is the mother of Karlis Vinakmens. She married Mikelis Veisbergs at Rezekne Lutheran parish in 1882, but I ran into a dead end looking for her family, because the Lutheran church in Rezekne was only built in the early 1870’s. Before that, there was only a Catholic parish. So the church records were no good, and Struzani pagast does not have any revision lists of any use. I had suspected the family had come from elsewhere, further northwest in Latvia closer to one of the other Lutheran parishes located there. And I was right!

Gulbene’s church records include a type of record I’ve previously not been able to use for my own family tree – a complete listing of parish members (draudzes locekļu aaraksti) Alphabetically! You need only look up a surname and people are recorded in family groups. These are a truly fantastic document to locate, they typically give you 3 generations of people – parents, children, and the parent’s parents. They also typically list birthdays and parishes baptized at, which is incredibly helpful for families on the move like the Brugises.

This record tells me that:

Lina Brugis was born December 18, 1859 at Dreini estate and baptized Christmas day, the third child of Ermanis Brugis and Lize Vacietis.

Ermanis was the son of Janis Brugis and Lina, born January 1, 1831 at Vīpuži farm.

Lize was the daughter of Janis Vacietis and Baiba, born January 15 1835 at Dreini farm. Ermanis and Lize married February 1, 1853, although Ermanis is listed as only coming to Gulbene parish in 1854, so it’s possible they were married at a different parish.

 Draudzu loceklu BrugisHow do I know this is my Lina? Because this family is listed as having moved to Struzani pagast on the following page. And Lina had several siblings born there, baptized at Rezekne draudze, who’s baptisms I’ve found before. Notably, the Brugis family had a tendency to have twins (dvini)!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 17: Kristaps Sedols

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Kristaps Sedols was born around 1805 on Kazdangas estate in Kurzeme, either on Strebuki farm, or on a farm known as “Waijuppe” in German, which I can’t seem to locate on any map or decide what it’s Latvian name would be – although the “Uppe” at the end could be related to “Upe” which is Latvian for “river”. It’s possible the farm did not exist later on for some reason and that’s why I can’t find it. He is my 4x great grandfather, the grandfather of Ieva Sedols.

I believe I have found Kristaps’ baptismal record, although at this time in history, he did not have a surname yet. If it is indeed the right baptism, his parents were named Ermanis and Madde – but I am just not certain enough to say for sure yet. Ermanis and Madde would have been born around 1775, which is quite far back in Latvian Kurzeme standards.

Whether he was born there or moved there at some point, Kristaps lived at Strebuki farm at the time of his marriage to a young widow named Marija in 1837. Her husband had been named Mikelis Paukši, and he was definitely born at “Waijuppe” farm. Mikelis had died earlier in the year, and Marija, with a 7 year old daughter and 2 year old son married Kristaps at Valtaiki parish church. Marija was from Muizaraji farm on nearby Perbone estate and was roughly the same age as Kristaps. It might seem coarse to marry the same year your spouse dies in this day and age, but it was quite a good deal more common back then – Marija needed a breadwinner.

Kristaps and Marija had a son named Janis in 1838 at Strebuki farm, and this is my ancestor. I have not yet found a record of Kristaps death, to do so is quite a task. It is possible he had moved away from Valtaiki parish by the time he passed away, in which case I’d be blindly searching for a needle in a haystack in neighbour parish church books, with no clue as to what age he survived to past his son Janis’ conception. It appears as thought Kristaps is at the top of my Sedols line for now!

Genetic Genealogy

It would appear that I have opened a brand new can of worms in my attempt to break through some of these Latvian genealogical brick walls – I tried a new method. I tested my mother’s autosomal DNA using Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test. The whole process from ordering the kit to receiving our results took about 2 months. I received her results last week and have been on a reading bender ever since, looking for ways to interpret what we’ve been given.

The first thing we’ve been given is tools to calculate “Admixture” – her ethnic heritage. Family Tree DNA gives us the vague and somewhat confusing results of 89% Eastern European and 11% Finland/Northern Siberia. But a myriad of other admixture tools found at GedMatch give us a clearer, more Baltic approach – ~60% Baltic, ~30% North Atlantic, and a few other small minorities mixed in (always a hint of something from the Caucasus area).

The second type of hints we’ve been given is a list of “Matches” – people who share a segment of 7.0 centiMorgans (cM) or more of autosomal or x-chromosome DNA with my mother, suggesting they could be anywhere from 20th to 3rd cousins, depending on the amount of DNA shared.

It gets pretty technical, but the jist of it is, if you share a segment >11cM with someone, there is a >99% chance you share a common ancestor within the last 7 generations. 10cM = 99%, 9cM=80%, and it rapidly drops off from there, with less chances for smaller segments. Other things to consider are amount of segments shared – sometimes it is only one large segment, sometimes a medium sized one, plus a few other small ones.. it’s quite open for interpretation. I decided to focus first on those who share a segment of at least 10cM, since they seem the most probable. We have 59 matches at this level. You are able to see any data your matches have put in for their ethnicity and surnames in their family trees, as well as an email address to contact them at.

We have 4 matches that were predicted to be between 4 and 4.5 generations away, with German, German/Swiss, German/Swedish and Polish roots, although ¾ identify as German + one of the other ethnicities. 6 matches estimated at 4.8 generations away are of Russian, Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian ethnicity. From 5 generations back there are hundreds of matches – almost 2,000 in total, including some smaller segment matches.

I’ve noticed some recurring themes:

  • There seems to be a strong Lithuanian connection, particularily from the Samogitia/Telsiai area of Lithuania – not surprising given it’s proximity to my ancestor’s homelands in southwestern Latvia near the border with Lithuania. These matches seem to share particular segments of the 11th and 12th chromosomes, should that end up pointing to anything significant.
  • There’s also a strong Swedish connection – I’ve got a long theory that it could be from my Akerfelds family who’s ancestor appears to have been a mother of several illegitimate children living at an estate in Nikrace pagast owned by a Swedish baron (Baron de Bagge, Dinsdurbe estate)
  • There’s a pronounced Finnish connection, with a strong presence on the 4th chromosome
  • There’s definitely the probability that there’s some Baltic German mixed in at some point in the last 250 years
  • For some reason we have a load of matches with seemingly British Isles ancestors all matching up on a particular segment of the 19th chromosome, which I find interesting. There’s also a few Russian matches with that spot.
  • There’s a total mash-up of Eastern Europeans matching on a similar segment on the 3rd chromosome – from Hungarians, a Romanian and a Serbian to Slovakians, Swedes and Lithuanians. Is this that rogue “Caucasus” gene? Or the result of some Viking conquests?
  • There’s one particularily strong match with southern Estonian roots, and although many of the Latvian matches I’ve found seem likely to match up with my Akerfelds side down in Kurzeme, many of them also have a Northern Latvian connection, especially near Valka (right on the border with Estonia)

For now, it’s hard to say what to do with these hints. Something that could help solve some riddles is testing more family members – one potential 3rd Akerfelds cousin is completing some testing, results now pending. There’s a chance he will not show as an autosomal match to my mother since they are theoretically relatively distant, but he also has the ability as a male to test his Y-chromosome, a direct male lineage for the Akerfelds. If I can get a known male Akerfelds relative of my mother’s to test his Y chromosome as well, I can verify 100% that two Akerfelds ancestors I’ve found are definitely related, which is another theory of mine. Also using a method called “phasing” at that point I could distinguish which of my matches, and therefore which ethnicities are likely to have come from my mother’s Akerfelds side or her Vinakmens side. This could potentially help me locate more family records for all those blanks I’ve yet to fill in in my tree.

Until more testing is completed and I learn more about DNA, what I’ve started to do is contact my matches that are obviously Latvian, to see what their family trees look like and if I can help them expand those trees so we can find a common ancestor. So far I’ve got related families living in Saldus and Liepaja, totally within my mother’s paternal home-area.

The search continues! And the really interesting part is that as more people test throughout time, your own results just keep growing. Go on and try it out, people!! Maybe we’re related!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 11: Ieva Sedola

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Ieva Sedola was my great, great grandmother. She was born January 31, 1869 to Janis Sedols and Made Stromane of Jaunzemji farm on Berghof estate (Kalnmuiza in Latvian, later known as Sieksate pagast). She was baptized February 9, 1869 at Valtaiki parish church. Her godparents are noted as Ieva Stromane, maiden, Lise Krumina and Mikelis Sedols, youth. In 1892, aged 23 she married Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds at neighboring Embutes parish church, BUT I have recently discovered that she had a bit of a past. She had given birth to an illegitimate child in 1890, a son whom she named Janis Sedols and baptized at Valtaiki church. She named Klavs Sedols and his wife Ede and Janis Sedols (quite possibly her little brother) as his godparents. Illegitimate children were not unheard of for this time and place, but were still somewhat of a scar on the reputation. There were laws about fathers paying support for their illegitimate children, but since no father at all is acknowledged on Janis’ baptism, it is more probable that Ieva was all on her own, wanting to keep the father anonymous and not receiving any sort of support.

Ieva and Jekabs had two children while living at Muizaraji farm on Lieldzelda estate. They had another son named Janis in 1898, but shortly after his birth the family left the parish, and no baptism for Janis exists at Embutes (or anywhere else in Latvia that I’ve searched). Ieva took her 4 young children, all under the age of 10, and made a very long trip with her husband a long way east to the city of Tomsk in Siberia where he sought (yet unknown) better employment opportunities. It is possible Jekabs either worked for the Trans-Siberian Railway (although the railway bypassed Tomsk to the south), or a gold mining operation (gold was discovered in the area around that time) or possibly, but quite unlikely that he was attending one of Tomsk’s two new colleges. It is even possible that he just went there to farm and settle, since land was given away to willing settlers in an effort to colonize Siberia at the time. Ieva had a fifth child in Tomsk in 1902 named Martins.

Tragedy struck Ieva and her blossoming family when Jekabs became ill after Martins’ birth. The family returned home to Lieldzelda estate, my guess is to be close to family. In July of 1904, Jekabs passed away at the young age of 34, and his church burial record states that his cause of death was kidney disease. Ieva was a young widow at 35 with 5 children and one on the way – she was pregnant with Jekabs’ last child. Daughter Katte Akerfelds was born that November. It must have been a tough few years for this family – Ieva, being pregnant or with a newborn and her older children would have had to work to earn their keep somewhere. In 1908 she married fellow widower Janis Blazgis, and so far I do not know of any children from this union, though it is possible.

Ieva’s oldest son, the illegitimate Janis Sedols married Anna Zveja and made Ieva a grandmother for the first time in 1914. Anna’s parents Janis and Jule Zveja owned Jaunzemji farm in Nikrace pagast, just a bit south of Lieldzelda and it’s entirely possible that they allowed Ieva and the rest of her children to come live with them when Janis married their daughter. Which would make sense, because Ieva’s younger son Janis Akerfelds and daughter Katte married a son and a daughter of the neighbouring farm’s owners, Indrikis and Jule Ziverts. Ieva, widowed for a second time after Janis Blazgis’ death sometime after 1918, moved in with them in 1924 to the Ziverts’ farm named Skrundenieki. The farmhouse was more than one hundred years old, lit by oil lamp and supplied with water from a spring. There were four rooms – and quickly they were filled with more grandchildren for Ieva as her children’s families flourished. Ieva would have enjoyed a simple, rural life surrounded by a large family at this time.

Ieva died sometime between the ages of 72 and 75 – She is present on the 1941 Latvian census, but was not with her family when they were forcibly evacuated to Germany in October of 1944. She was more than likely buried at Embutes parish’s cemetery, and one day I hope to find this out!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 10: Emilija Karline Veisberga

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Emilija Karline Veisbergs was born October 25, 1885 to Mikelis Veisbergs and his wife Lina Brugis of Taunaga farm in Struzani pagast, just north of the eastern city of Rezekne in the Latgale province of Latvia. At the time, it was a part of the Russian Empire. Emilija was baptized at the Lutheran church in Rezekne in November just a few days after her birth, and her godparents were Karlis and his wife Karline Zvikelis and Karline Brugis. Her parents were married in 1882 at Rezekne church, and she had one older brother named Janis Rudolfs Veisbergs, born in 1883 at Gribuli farm in Struzani pagast – her parents were not particularly bound to any farm. This is of note, because after Emilija’s baptism, the family disappears from Rezekne church records. Where and why they went is a mystery to me that I am still working on, but for the next 5 years following Emilija’s birth they are nowhere to be found (yet). Then they pop up out of nowhere in Dobele parish in 1890 and 1891 to baptize two children while living at Dobe and Rumbenhof. Then they disappear another 5 years, only to pop up and baptize two more children at Tukums Lutheran church while living at Slokenbekas estate.

I don’t have a clue why they were moving so much, certainly it had something to do with Emilija’s father Mikelis and work, but it seems that Emilija spent her childhood and teens travelling around, not staying in one place. She must have settled in for a bit after her parents went to Slokenbekas though, because in November 1904 she married Vilis Augusts Vinakmens at Tukums Lutheran church. Emilija gave birth to their first son, named after her older brother Janis Rudolfs in 1905 at Slokenbekas. Her next two children were baptized at Kandava parish, northwest of Tukums in 1911 and 1913 (the latter being my great grandfather Karlis).

Then World War One broke out, and Emilija, like tens of thousands of other residents of Kurzeme, packed up and left their lives behind, seeking refuge from the German advancements into the Russian Empire that was their home, and moved with her husband and three sons to somewhere in modern Siberia (I’d wager a guess at somewhere along the Trans-Siberian Railway). Vilis found work at a meat packing factory and the family subsisted, although definitely in hardship as refugees. A fourth child was born in 1916 – Emilija’s only daughter named Alise. Shortly after her birth, the Russian Bolshevik Revolution gained steam, and the communist Bolsheviks seized power in Russia. Strikes, civilian unrest and communism closed the doors at Vilis’ meat packing factory, leaving the family without income. Luckily, World War One soon ended and Emilija, Vilis and their four children were able to move back to Tukums sometime between 1918 and 1921.

The end of World War One was an interesting time for Latvia – the area as a country gained independence for first time in modern history as part of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk (well, long story short anyways). Latvia experienced a time of great national awakening, strong nationalistic pride. People who had once been peasants belonging to German landowners in the Russian Empire were suddenly proud, free Latvians and the economy boomed. Emilija gave birth to her fifth and last child, Fricis in Tukums in 1921. Sometime after Fricis’ conception, Vilis left Emilija for a younger woman. After all they’d been through, he turned his back on her and their children. This must have been tough, with five children ranging from age 16 to newborn. Her eldest son enlisted with the army and worked in a communications unit in Riga, surely sending money to help Emilija and his siblings. Her next son got a job with the railroad and lived mostly in Valmiera and Daugavpils. Her third son also enlisted with the army, this time in the navy, his unit stationed at Liepaja. Emilija lived in Tukums with her two youngest, unmarried children. Daughter Alise worked at a pharmacy and son Fricis became a mechanic.

Emilija, Alise and Fricis moved into 11 Talsu iela in Tukums on March 1, 1940. Emilija was working as a housekeeper, likely nearby. The last bit of evidence I have about her life is the 1941 census of Latvia. After that, World War Two ravaged Latvia, many awful things happened. Latvia’s short term independence was lost to waves of occupation by both Soviet and Nazi governments. Emilija must have been incredibly worried about her older children, scattered around Latvia, as their involvement with the military and railroad would make them stand out to Soviet and Nazi occupiers as potential “Enemies of the state”. She must have lost communication with her son Arnolds in Daugavpils after the mass Soviet deportations of 1941, since his name is found in a book called These Names Accuse – a list compiled by the Latvian government of those reported missing and likely deported after the deportations. Youngest son Fricis was forcibly conscripted by the German Todt Organization in 1942 and sent off to the Eastern front in Russia. Near the end of the war, Tukums became the site of particularily awful and violent fighting and bombing as the Germans began to lose and the Russians pushed the eastern front back westward. I’ve been told that Emilija became one of the civilian casualties, meaning that very likely she passed away in 1944, around age 59.

Emilija had a relatively short and tough life. The good news is that in the face of all that hardship, all five of her children lived into their eighties, Alise was at least in her nineties when she passed away – if she is not alive still today! (I have no further news about Alise but she was living the last I heard). Emilija’s descendants are scattered around the USA, Canada, Latvia and Russia today.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 5: Janis Akerfelds

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

 

Janis Akerfelds was born September 30, 1898 in the Kurzeme province of Latvia, which was a province of the Russian Empire at that time. His parents were named Jekabs Grinbergs alias Akerfelds and Ieva Sedola. Jekabs and Ieva were married at Embutes parish church in 1892 and had two older children, Ernests and Anna. Janis’ documents state that

he was born in Nikrace, however he was not baptized at the local Embutes church. Shortly after his birth, his family packed up and travelled east to the city of Tomsk, in Siberia. Tomsk is one of the oldest cities in Siberia, and around the turn of century was a growing place. A recent discovery of gold and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway which passed through the city of Novosibirsk to the south, along with the Russian Empire giving land for free as incentive to settle the area made Tomsk Oblast (province) an attractive place to go to have a try at making a better life for a peasant farmer like Jekabs. There were also two universities recently founded in the city. It’s possible that Janis was baptized either in Tomsk, or somewhere eastward along the way from Nikrace to Tomsk. Jekabs and Ieva had a fourth child, Martins, while living in Tomsk in 1902.

Tragedy struck the family and Jekabs must have fallen ill while in Siberia, and the family came home, presumably to be near the rest of their extended family, to Nikrace. In July 1904, Jekabs passed away at age 34. His wife Ieva was 5 months pregnant with their fifth child, born in November – Katte. The family lived at Cepli farm in nearby Lieldzelda at the time of Katte’s baptism in November of 1904. Shortly thereafter, revolution broke out in the Russian Empire. Violence and unrest spread throughout Latvia, Kurzeme in particular. By 1906 things had calmed down again, but the revolution left lasting impressions on the majority of Latvians, who were poor peasantry.

Ieva remarried in 1908 and fellow widower Janis Blazgis became Janis’ stepfather. The family grew and remained in the Nikrace area. Janis attended Nikrace pagastskola (elementary school) before becoming a farm hand and a bricklayer. In April of 1924 Janis, his sister Katte and his mother Ieva moved in to Skrundenieki farm, owned and operated by the Ziverts family. Janis and Katte both married siblings Arturs and Anna Ziverts, children of the head of the farm. It’s likely Janis and Anna were married first, based on the birth of their first child in 1925. Katte and Arturs weren’t far behind, their first son was born in 1926.

Janis and Anna would go on to have 14 children in total between 1925 and 1948, and Katte and Arturs had 8. Skrundenieki was a centuries old, small farm. It had four rooms and had a spring as a water source. All 26 people between the two families lived and worked there. Janis’ brother Martins at some point acquired a neighboring farm called Jaunzemji, which had previously belonged to his wife’s parents. The 1920’s and 1930’s passed peacefully, although Janis and Anna lost two children – one as an infant, apparently fell out of a highchair and hit her head, and the other was named Elvina, aged 12, who stepped on a rusty nail and died of tetanus.

Then came the 1940’s, and World War Two. Latvia was essentially invaded and occupied by Soviet Russia, and the Soviets wasted no time in attempting to squash Latvia’s nationalist outlook and “russify” the population. They systematically arrested and executed key people they deemed “enemies of the state”, who were in reality, important political, military and social figures. This culminated on the night of June 14, 1941 when in one single night, tens of thousands of “enemies of the state” were awakened in the night, given a few minutes to gather what belongings they could carry, and told that they were arrested and to be sent to hard labor camps in Siberia, also called gulags. Entire families were deported to Siberia – men, women, elderly, children, infants in an incredibly inhumane manner – in rail cars designed to transport cattle. Many people died in the gulags either due to starvation, exhaustion or exposure. This was the fate of Janis’ little brother, neighbor Martins who died in May of 1943 after 2 years in a camp in Kirov. Janis would have seen Martins, his wife and 4 year old daughter all deported that night, and would not ever see them again.

Shortly after that atrocity, the German army began to have some decisive victories against the Russians on the Eastern front, pushing the front lines east, back across Latvia. Latvia was occupied next by Germany in July of 1941. Suddenly new people in Latvia had targets on their backs, and again many mass executions and arrests were made, this time mostly against Jews and Roma. Tens of thousands were murdered under the reign of the German occupiers, who would remain in command for the next 3 years. And although a far cry from ideal, it seems that German occupation was more tolerable than Soviet occupation for Janis and his family – at least they weren’t being killed. But by 1944 the Germans had been taking heavy military losses and the Soviet army was again able to push their way west through Latvia. Kurzeme being the western-most province was the last stand for the German army in Latvia, and when it became clear that they were defeated, they began evacuating their troops through the ports of Ventspils and Liepaja. They also made a point to forcibly evacuate many Latvians who they took with them as prisoners of war. This was the fate of Janis and family. The residents of Skrundenieki farm (including two pregnant matriachs, Anna and Katte, and Arturs and Anna’s elderly mother Jule Dzerve) were forced to abandon their homestead in October 1944, and board a ship at the Latvian port town of Liepaja bound for the German-controlled port of Gotenhaufen. Katte actually gave birth in Liepaja three days before they left, and Anna was 6 months pregnant.

From Gotenhaufen, the family next went to a gathering camp for foreign workers at Kelsterbach, Germany and next, to a sawmill owned by a man named Hermann Mogk III. The entire family worked there, likely gathering resources to support the German war effort. All except Janis’ eldest son Arturs, who at age 19 was deemed old enough to strike out on his own – the Germans used him at a Daimler-Benz plant in Bad Rotenfels, where he lost his right hand in an accident. Janis’ last son was born in December, 1944 while at Echzell. Here they stayed until their liberation by the Allied forces in May 1945. The war was over, Hitler had committed suicide, but still a major loss was that Latvia now remained under Soviet control. Janis’ eldest son Arturs was reunited with his family at this time.

When the International Refugee Organization assumed responsibility for all the people around Europe who suddenly found themselves without a homeland, Janis stated that he would not like to be repatriated to Latvia because he did not want to live under the communist regime. Instead, the family would remain in Germany for another 4.5 years, mostly in the city of Augsburg. Here, his son Arturs, who was now in his twenties, married a local German girl named Luise Gottle, and joined the German workforce. Second eldest son Arvids was accepted as a refugee by Belgium and went there to earn money as a coal miner. The rest of the family waited to be accepted by another country to start their lives anew. During the 5 years they remained in Germany as displaced persons, Janis worked for the US Army in the labor service corps.

Katte, Arturs and the Ziverts clan went to Berthoud, Colorado in March 1950 and Janis’ family followed soon after in August. Janis left his two eldest sons and his mother in law Jule behind in Germany, but brought his wife and ten youngest children to their new home in Colorado, where there was a growing Latvian exile community large enough to organize their own Latvian Lutheran church parish.

Janis passed away in 1970.