About Latvia, Courland Registers and Family Lists, 1845-1874
This database consists of material extracted from a number of separate lists: Names of adult family members extracted from official Jewish Military Recruits Registers from the ten major cities of Courland, together with an 1874 family census list from Bauska. Nearly 8,000 entries (over 11,000 named individuals). The exact records are listed below:
- The Bausk [Bauska] Family Census Lists for 1874
- The Friedrickstadt [Jaunjelgava] Recruits Enlistment Register 1845
- The Goldingen [Kuldiga] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1871
- The Grobin [Grobina] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1868 (390 records)
- The Hasenpoth [Aizpute] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1871
- The Jacobstadt [Jekabpils] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1871 (1,200 records)
- The Libau [Liepaja] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1868
- The Mitau [Jelgava] Recruits Enlistment Register 1845 (4,000 entries)
- The Pilten [Piltene] Recruits Enlistment Registers 1871
- The Tukum [Tukums] Recruits Register 1871 (2,500 entries)
- The Windau [Ventspils] Recruits Enlistment Registers
Recruits Enlistment Registers:
Recruitment Lists were lists drawn up on the order of the Tsarist Government to serve as the basis on which individuals were selected for military service. This process did not only apply to the Jewish community but affected all inhabitants irrespective of religion or nationality. The Registers relating to the Jewish community were kept separately because the Jews were considered a separate nationality as well as a separate religion. Similar registers existed for the other major community groups.
The original lists are handwritten in German. Each family unit is identified by a family number and the members of the family and their ages are listed. The family number is cross-referenced to the Oklad [tax] number for the family in the same district or region.
This database concentrates primarily on the adult members of the households and does not generally record child entries from the original list.
Bausk Family Census Lists for 1874:
This list was created in 1874 as part of a census of local inhabitants carried out at the same time in a number of Courland communities. The original is handwritten in German Fractur Script and forms part of the holdings of the Latvian State Historical Archives in Riga. The original list contains children as well as adults and the format is not very different from that used in the Enlistment Registers referred to above, although the purpose for which the list was compiled was different.
The database consists mainly of adult members of the community, both male and female, and makes it possible to identify the Jewish families living in the area in or about 1874. Part of the value of the list is that it was amended from time to time up until the early 1900's as individuals died or moved abroad.
About the Database:
- Family Number: The lists were compiled on a family basis and the original lists allocate a number to each family. The family numbers in the case of Bausk have not been recorded in the database although they do exist in the original list. Noting the family number helps you to distinguish between direct ancestors and collateral family in the form of potential Aunts, Uncles, Cousins etc.
- Oklad Number: The Oklad referred to the families tax reference number. Tax lists were very comprehensive and the inhabitants of each town and community were allocated an Oklad number. Each family is cross-referenced so that the original list compiler would have checked the information supplied against the information given on other occasions.
- Family Name: This refers to the family's surname. These were German in form so that, for example, families which later became Israelson will be spelled Israelsohn in these lists. Despite a policy of Russification in the Empire from the 1860's onwards, it is a remarkable feature that these official lists are all in German rather than Russian. Courland retained its character as a Baltic German province and the enduring use of German for administrative purposes until the end of the century is notable.
- Maiden Name: In the case of a woman, her name at birth, where available.
- First Names / Given Names: This refers to the person's first or given name or names. Many of these are of Hebrew or Yiddish origin. The original spelling has been retained even where it is inconsistent in the original document.
- Father's Name: Over 2,000 entries in the database include the first names of the entrant's father
- Age-in: This column gives you the entrant's age in the year specified. For example, "34 in 1874" tells you that the person was 34 years old in 1874. Occasionally the column gives the person's date of birth although this is rare.
- Date of Death: This field will sometimes give you an exact date of death, but more typically simply the year of death. In the case of Bausk entries, this column sometimes includes additional information such as the place of death. If the date of death is later than the date of the list this means that the original list was amended at a subsequent date on the basis of information supplied to the registrar presumably from family members or friends.
- Town: The modern name form is used, in keeping with JewishGen policy. Where other town or cities are mentioned such as in the place of death the original entry is preserved and the name is not updated.
- Type of List: This tells you what sort of list the information comes from.
- Fond Number: This is the category number assigned to the document in the Riga archives and can help to locate the documents relevant to your family.
Remember that Recruits Enlistment Registers were undertaken by locality. The fact a person is registered in say, Friedrickstadt [Jaunjelgava] does not mean that the family lived inside the town of Friedrickstadt. Although they may have done so, it is also possible that they lived in the general registration district of Friedrickstadt. Unfortunately the original lists do not record addresses.
How do I find out more about family members who are listed?
Each of these lists helps to build up a picture of the Jewish families of Courland. In order to obtain further information about children and/or obtain other information relating to specific individuals you will need to write to:Ms. Irina Veinberga, Head of Department
Latvian State Historical Archives
(Latvijas Valsts vēstures arhīvs)
Slokas iela 16, Riga LV-1007
The archives now have a policy of charging a preliminary search fee of $50 before embarking on research, plus an additional fee for each family member located. They provide a highly professional service and will bill you on completion of the work.