About Latvia, Passport and Police Registration Lists, 1900
This database consists of some 12,500 entries and contains references and family links to more than 20,000 named individuals in original documents held at the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga in Fond 51. The original documents include passport and police registration lists. Patronymics are almost always included, giving immediate access to two generations. Each entry is evidence that the individual travelled and resided in Riga but was not recognised among the permanent registered inhabitants of the city.
About the Original Records:
The term "Passport" is used generally and refers to any sort of travel or identity document. These documents were issued by the relevant authorities in the place of origin and were proof of identity and entitlement to travel. These passports did not necessarily imply any intention to travel abroad, as the system of internal passports was highly developed in the Russian Empire. Although the system of police registration of temporary residents in a borough or district is not required in either Great Britain or the United States it has been traditionally required in European cities and the requirement still exists in many areas today. The individuals included in this database are those who were in possession of internal passports and those who registered with the police when they visited Riga
About the Database:
The database is rich in social and personal detail and includes details on adoptions, marriages, widows and second marriages, occupations and other family links. Precisely what information is recorded varies from person to person but the vast majority have personal detail of considerable interest, including the address where the person or family was staying in Riga. The frequency with which individuals had to re-register varied from case to case. Typically it was every 3 months, although some had to register only yearly or occasionally less frequently. It is difficult to see what principle, if any, applied to individual requirement as to frequency of required re-registration. The database does not reflect subsequent re-registrations as this does not provide any further family detail.
The database fields are:
- Surname: In some cases alternative forms or spellings are given, separated by a slash ("/")
- Given Name(s): This entry field gives the person's given name or names, as set out in the Register
- Father: Virtually all entries give the name of at least one parent, effectively giving access to two generations
- Age: This entry field gives the age of the person at the time he/she registered at the police district in 1900
- Comment: This column provides a variety of information, in some cases including occupations, information on whether the person was retired, divorced or widowed, etc. Where specific information is recorded it corresponds with the registration record for that person. However, care must be taken not to assume facts from an absence of information. For example, an absence of reference to marital status cannot be taken as evidence that the person was unmarried
- Place of Origin: The database is noteworthy in the wide variety of places that are listed in this column. Modern names are used for towns and cities in what is now the area of Latvia, but historic names are retained for other areas. The database is particularly rich in those with origins in Lithuania or Belarus
- Riga Address: The place where the family stayed in Riga. Many of these addresses still exist, although the street names have changed from their Russian version to their modern Latvian names
- Town: All entries are marked as "Riga"
- Date: All entries are marked 1900
- Fond Number: This number helps the archivists at the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga locate the original information when inquiries are made
- Maiden Name: Unfortunately for genealogists, maiden names were seldom recorded, but where they exist on the original documents they are included in the database
Where can I get further information about persons appearing on this list?
The original list is held in the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga and they must be contacted directly for further information about individuals or families mentioned or copies of documents.