Arlava Draudze

Finally, some answers to overcome the brick wall that was my great grandmother’s family! It wasn’t easy – the documents I needed to ensure I had the right people were not available online and I needed help from a professional genealogist stationed in Riga – Antra Celmina. She found my great great grandparents Fricis Ozolins and Matilda Ozols’ passport applications (complete with pictures) from 1920 at the Latvian State Historical Archives. They were listed one after the other suggesting they had applied as a couple, and listed children’s names that match what I know of my family. And they were from the right area – Lubezere village in Arlava parish, just a bit north of Talsi, where most documents say they were from.

According to his passport application, Fricis Ozolins was born November 23, 1868. His (much younger)wife Matilda was September 18, 1890 – which means I actually already likely found her baptism record before when I was searching the nearby parish of Nurmuiza for the family of a DNA match of my mother’s.

I went to Arlava’s parish books and found Fricis’ baptism right where it should be near the end of the book for 1868. Fricis, son of Kristaps(1841), son of Ans (1815), son of Gotthard (circa 1785). A long line of men all from Lubezere estate. Residents of Arlava parish frequently mingled with those from neighbouring Nurmuiza parish, and it seems like female lines woven into these Ozolins all hailed from Nurmuiza. There are two Grietas – Grieta Nikodemus, wife of Kristaps Ozolins, and Grieta Olms (Olmans?), the wife of Ans Ozolins (Gotthard’s wife was named Anna). Arlava kept detailed marriage records – unlike most of my family’s parishes so far – that actually denote birthdate, parish and page number of baptism. Mysteriously, Grieta/Margrieta Nikodemus’ information doesn’t check out – her marriage claims she was baptized in 1839 at Nurmuiza but there is no record to be found. Her last name intrigued me, since it doesn’t have a very traditionally Latvian sound, so I poked around some neighbouring parishes and found a larger Nikodemus family at Kuldiga. Perhaps she was originally from Kuldiga – time will tell.

Ozolins, Fricis - Baptism

210. Fritz (Fricis) son of farmer at Essern (Lubezere) estate, Smilkti farm Christoph(Kristaps) and his wife Margareta. Godparents: Fricis Ozolins, bachelor and Julie Frohlich, maiden.

Matilda’s family is more of a mystery still. Her father was Janis Ozols – a name that might as well be the “John Smith” of Latvia, since it is so common. Her mother is a glimmer of hope – Madlena Briedis. Briedis is also a very common surname but at least the first name Madlena stands out a bit. Still, no baptism to be found for a Madlena Briedis at Nurmuiza, although I HAVE located one that would fit for a MaRlena Briedis, but it seems too big of a spelling error to accept. Janis and Madlena were married in 1886 at Nurmuiza parish, which kept sadly detail-less marriage records – literally just first and last names and date of marriage. They had a daughter in 1888 and Matilda in 1890 and then disappear from records – aka moved or died. Another loose end waiting to be tied up!

A few details about the setting here – the town of Talsi is fairly inland, but the parish of Nurmuiza to it’s east included residents right from the Talsi city limits over west to the Baltic coast on the Gulf of Riga. There was a decently busy port at Roja, just to the north along the coast, and Nurmuiza residents were actually sometimes shipbuilders and fishermen as well as your typical farmers. This could potentially be a reason for Fricis’ advanced age at marriage – he was 22 years older than his wife. I had previously figured it was possible that he had been a soldier, but now sailor is also a possibility. Of course, there’s always personal preference too, I suppose!

More to come…

Another Brick Wall Crumbling

Yet another brick wall possibly crumbling with the use of DNA. This one is by a string of very slight but apparently lucky chances. Through communicating with a genetic cousin of mine we learned his family roots trace back to a parish near Talsi called Nurmuiza. This suggested he could match my family somewhere in my mostly unknown Ozols-Ozolins family from Talsi. With my list of clues about my great grandmother Berta Ozolins’ parents Fricis Ozolins and Matilde Ozols, I decided to check Nurmuiza’s baptismal records from around the time I estimated Matilde to be born (1885-1890) and… I found a possible Matilde Ozols!

Actually I found two possible Matilde Ozols. Which would normally be bad news, but in this case… both have the same parents, they’re sisters. Janis Ozols married Madlena Briede in 1886 at Nurmuiza parish. They first had daughter Sophie Mathilde Helene Ozols in 1888, then her little sister Magda Mathilde Pauline Ozols in 1890. Sophie/Zofiya and Magda are definitely more Polish/Lithuanian/Catholic sounding names as opposed to Lutheran Latvian farmer names, and indeed Nurmuiza seems to have a strong Polish presence in their given and surnames, in the glimpse I’ve had of their church records. “Ozols” and “Briedis”, on the other hand, are extremely traditionally Latvian (they mean “oak” and “stag” respectively). Nevertheless maybe there is a connection further back on this family line to explain all my Polish connections.

One of these two sisters could be my great-great grandmother Matilde. Another hint that this family could be related is that my great grandmother Berta had a middle name – Helene – just like the older sister Sophie Mathilde Helene.

The last clue from my DNA/genetic cousin is that he had been in contact with a known relative of his in Latvia, who located a lucky type of document for Nurmuiza – a register of families from ~1900-~1915. If my family is also recorded in this book, it would give great details and confirmations! This book could be released onto Raduraksti soon (along with other church records from 1910-1914!)

This is all speculation for now. How do I hope to confirm? I have Antra Celmiņa of Discovering Latvian Roots on the case. She is a professional Latvian genealogist based out of Rīga, with access to a host of more records pertaining to the time period of Matilde and Fricis’s lives, including perhaps the above noted book…. Hopefully one of these records will confirm a birth date, place, parent’s names!

the baptism of Magda Mathilde Pauline Ozols, possible candidate for my great great grandmother!

 

Roadblock: Ozols-Ozolins

From Karlis Vinakmens’ wife Berta Helene Ozols-Ozolins’ DP Card, I know that her parents were Fricis Ozolins and Matilde Ozols, who were 20 years apart in age (Fricis the elder) and that she was born in Talsi. Since she was born in 1914, however, the church books on Raduraksti are useless for finding any other information about her parents. I know she had 3 sisters (Milda, Velta, Lilija) and 2 brothers. Being that Berta was somewhere in the middle of the birth order of 6 children (definitely not the oldest or youngest), her parents were likely married somewhere between 1905 and 1910… I also don’t know if her birthplace refers to the town of Talsi, or the surrounding district. 

The information I need is a needle in a haystack, especially considering Ozols and Ozolins are extremely common last names (you might as well be searching for Smith and Jones). To find Fricis and Matilde, I could blindly browse the Talsi baptismal records… But since Berta was born in 1914 and was not the eldest child, you could assume her mother was at least aged 18 at the time of her marriage/birth of her first child, and therefore was born somewhere between 1894 and 1884. By adding 20 years to compensate for the age gap between her mother and father, Fricis Ozolins was born between 1874 and 1864.

But even if I thought I had found a record about them, how would I know I had the right Fricis or Matilde Ozols/Ozolins? Were they even Lutheran? Because not only does Talsi have huge Lutheran church books, but there were other religions there as well. Raduraksti’s Russian census also will not help, since I don’t know if the family was together as a unit in 1897 when they took information.
This one’s a toughie!

Clues:

-Fricis was 20 years Matilde’s elder, born betwen 1864 and 1874

-Matilde must have been born between 1894 and 1884

-Fricis was deceased by the time his daughter Berta was married, in 1936

 

https://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/document-talsi-church-books-1900-1905/

https://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/document-fricis-ozolins/

https://chelli11.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/place-of-interest-talsi/

Document: Fricis Ozolins?

I may or may not have found Fricis Ozolins’ baptism record. It’s hard to put all your eggs in one basket when searching for a common surname in a large parish, but my reasons for believing that this might actualy be my Fricis are:

1. While there are a slew of Ozols, Ozolins families are relatively few in Talsi. I have turned up 5 couples who were bearing children during the specified time period. Only one Fricis baptised.

2. The record is from 1883. This would make Fricis 31 at the time Berta was born. This seems to jive with my guess that Berta was somewhere in the middle of the birth order of her 6 siblings. If he was born in 1883, he could have easily have been 24-25 when he was married, bringing us to 1906ish… which we have no records for.

3. No other Fricis Ozolins to be found… Mind you, just because Berta was born in Talsi does not mean her parents both were. I wish Talsi had records up until 1909 like Tukums!

(click to enlarge) A baptism for a Fricis Ozolins

No. 105. Fritz, born on April 6, 1883 (baptised the same day) at Luick Remmess(sp?), son of Janne Ohsolin (can’t quite make out his occupation) and his wife Lawihse, both Lutheran. Godparents are wirt Ans Wachstein, of Luick Remmess, Ehwart Jakobsons (same occupation as Janne Ohsolin), and Marri Wachstein, madchen.

Document: Talsi Church Books 1900-1905

I’ve begun combing the Talsi lutheran church books for Ozols-Ozolins families (and in doing so, am effectively putting off the task of going through the much larger Tukums books). Ozols and Ozolins are the surnames I am hunting, and this is no easy task, since both are quite common. I started working backwards from 1905 down. I’m at 1900, and so far I’ve found Ozols, Ozolins, and Ozollaps surnames. Ozols seems to be the most common, and I have put together several different Ozols families who were having children in this time period, as expected. I must happily note that I have only found one Ozolins family so far.
I am searching for Fricis Ozolins, his wife Mathilde Ozols, their daughters Milda, Velta, Lilija and Berta, and 2 sons, of whom I don’t know names yet. Sometimes this family went by Ozols-Ozolins, combining their mother’s and father’s surnames. I don’t believe Fricis and Mathilde were married prior to 1905, so chances are I will not find one of their children’s baptismal records. The best I can hope for is to try and find their own baptismal records… And hope that there aren’t multiple Fricis Ozolins and Mathilde Ozols baptised in the area at the same time…
So far though, I have noted the popularity of the name Mathilde in the area, and also Bertus or Berts for a man. The names here seem to be a little more inventive than the Janis, Ievas, Annas and Jekabs of the less urban Embute/Gramzdas/Valtaiki areas (although of course those are prevalent as well).
Onward…

Place of Interest: Talsi

Talsi (Latvian), Talsen (German), Талси (Russian)

Talsi is both a city and a district in northern Kurzeme, known for its historic beauty. There are numerous natural parks, cherry and apple orchards, lakes, hills and cobblestone streets. Talsi is one of the oldest cities in Kurzeme, the ancient Curonians built forts here.

This is the birthplace of Berta Helene Ozols-Ozolins, and possibly the place of origin for my Ozolins ancestors.

Matrilineal Monday

Blogging promt courtesy of: http://www.geneabloggers.com 

At one point in my interest in genealogy I considered exploring genealogical DNA testing. You can have your DNA analyzed, and this will tell you of a certain haplogroup you belong to. A haplogroup is sort of like an ancient ethnicity, like Slavic or Turkic or the like. Since there are certain mutations that take place in chromosomes that rarely change from generation to generation, scientists are able to use Y-chromosomes to determine all the males in your patrilineal lineage (your father’s, father’s, father’s, father… etc) and mtDNA determines your mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother… etc).

For me, since I am female, the only tests that could be done are the mtDNA based ones discerning my matrilineal ancestors (a female would have to have a brother or her father tested to find her Y-DNA haplogroup, since we lack the Y-chromosome).

For me, my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother (great, great-grandmother) was Matilde Ozols, who I know very little about. One of her daughters, my great-grandmother, was born in 1914. So knowing that, I could say Matilde was likely born somewhere between 1872 and 1896 and married Fricis Ozolins somewhere between 1890 and 1913. My great-grandmother was born in Talsi, Kurzeme, but that is not to say for sure that Matilde originally came from there. She had 4 daughters, I believe, and 2 sons. A family story is that one of the sons was shot and killed by Soviet occupiers for hunting and killing a deer for food for his family, when food was scarce.

Combing through the Talsi church books will be my best bet for further discovering my matrilineage. Or mtDNA testing. The Talsi church books are cheaper… free ☺. I have a strong feeling that Matilde was an ethnic Latvian, so chances are she could be grouped into haplogroup H, a large, common European group. DNA testing is an option though, for those interested. One of my favourite websites, http://www.ancestry.com offers a test, complete with explanations of your results.

More on European mtDNA haplogroup distribution: http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_mtdna_haplogroups_frequency.shtml