Searching for family history online

By unveiling the online service Raduraksti in December, the Latvian State Historical Archives (Latvijas Valsts vēstures arhīvs) has put a smile on many peoples’ faces. For various archive users—from professional researchers to amateur genealogists—this new service will make researching family histories much easier.

It will no longer be necessary to physically turn up on the archives’ doorstep to access some of the records. Admittedly only a small percentage of records are online so far, but by the end of 2008 the plan is to have all church records of all denominations digitalized. Headway also is expected on making available census data from 18th and 19th century tsarist Russia (which Latvia was a part of intermittently). So far on offer are Lutheran church records dating back to the middle of the 18th century, searchable by region or congregation. Available records only go forward in time as far as 1905.

The records contain a register of births and baptisms, including the names of parents and their profession, godparents’ details and name of the person who performed the baptism. Also available is a register of confirmations, engagement announcements, marriages and deaths.

You will be required to register as a user of this online service. Having reached the digitalized records, you will find that they are usually handwritten in German (using the old German orthography) or in Russian. Although you can zoom in to try to make more sense of the text, bear in mind that by increasing the size of the text you lose resolution and the text will become distorted. Deciphering the records may be tedious and time consuming.

The Latvian project was inspired by the Estonian Saaga service launched in 2005 by the Estonian Historical Archives. All Lutheran and Russian Orthodox church records from Estonia, as well as other documents, are available online.

Various other places provide tips and offer access to information regarding Latvian genealogy. One such site is the Ciltskoks blog, where an enthusiast shares his tips (in Latvian only) on searching the Web for specific Latvian genealogy sites.

Meanwhile, provides an online tool to create your own family tree, complete with a photo and video gallery, a calendar and a travelogue section. You will need to register before you can use the site, but click on “Kas ir ‘boon’?” for a preview of what the site offers.

Also worth a mention is Roots=Saknes. The site was originally started in 1993 by Bruno Martuzāns at LATNET (the Latvian Academic Computer Network). Having received numerous requests for help from all over the world, and not being able to reply to many of them initially, he decided to set up a Web site that would at least point people in the right direction and contain tips on how to go about researching genealogy in Latvia. The site is in English and doesn’t look that flashy, but it is very helpful. 

Don’t forget the Latvians Online Looking for Friends and Relatives Forum where some of our helpful members also have a wealth of genealogy information to share with others.


The Raduraksti site created by the Latvian State Historical Archives allows users to peruse church records, such as this one from Sunākste, to find information about genealogy.


Daina Gross is editor of Latvians Online. An Australian-Latvian she is also a migration researcher at the University of Latvia, PhD from the University of Sussex, formerly a member of the board of the World Federation of Free Latvians, author and translator/ editor/ proofreader from Latvian into English of an eclectic mix of publications of different genres.

47 thoughts on “Searching for family history online

  1. I’ve been looking for two family connections in Latvia and I’m happy to be able to have use of on-line searching. My family name was Rekstin and the other name, from Riga also, was Chablowsky. We don’t know how the rest of the family in Latvia lived and we are curious about them.

  2. I have used the Raduraksti site and feel that the article should have mentioned that the records currently available are only from Kurzeme. Other areas of Latvia will be added later. Since my family comes from that area of Latvia, I have found some of the birth records I have been looking for, but the searching has been very tedious. It would be helpful if the site would provide a translation of the German column headings (pre-1892) and the Russian column headings (1892 – forward) for the various types of records (birth, marriage, death). Some of the entries are easier to decipher than others because of the handwriting of the individuals who entered the records. The marriage records include a reference to another register, but as far as I can tell, these registers are not yet online, if they even will be.

  3. I have found Raduraksti to be very helpful in tracing my RENNER ancestors. I just started searching the site a few weeks ago and have already found 10 references to my grandfather’s family. There are many records left for me to search and hopefully I will have more success.

  4. Shalom and greetings everybody, Family history is an important subject. If you dont know youre past, you dont know youre future. Im thinking of visiting Latvia to get in contact with family members, it could be that i will bring my Latvian wife with me, kind regards.

  5. I am very keen to trace my family roots. Do the names Lacis, Klienberg, Straume and an address about 30 Kms/ miles from Riga and boarding school in Riga mean anything to anyone.

  6. For Benita Boyd: I have heard of “Lacis and Straume,” in New York state, USA. USA Latvians settled in the USA in the 1700’s as well as the folowing centuries. You may find relatives in the ‘White Pages’ on They may have imigrated. They also could be in Australia, Sweeden, Germany and so on.

  7. hi i am looking for my ancesters my father’s name is richard sop he use to help my grandmother who had farm in latvia my father came to england around 1948-50 can anyone enlighten me how to find my dad’s family

  8. Searching for my father Arthur Roze who immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s. believed to be born between 1896 and 1898 in Ostgaals. Parents were Kristap Roze and Amelia Schmelling.

  9. I am searching for any info on my grand parents, Janis Grasis and Allicia (maybe spelt incorrectly) Grasis who later remarried to Bruveris. My Aunt Veronica, married name not known died in childbirth and her sons are Dainis and janis. Dainis has a daughter Zentina. I have photos from my elderly father but no info. Can anyone help?

    1. Hello, new information…
      My grandfather was Janis Jakob Grasis. he was born !882 in Riga. I want to know if he had brothers and sister. Janis’s father was Jakob and his mother was Karlin Sehks. My grand mother married Janis in 1920 in Bauska, Alise Brueveris was her name. the had 3 children and the marriage did not last long. Janis went on to live with a woman who had children of her own. that marriage did’nt last either. Unfortunatly we know no names of these people. Janis may well have been married before Alise as he was 40 years of age and Alise was 20, when they married. Alise had a sister Olga who lost a leg during the war and there was one more sibling. Aunt Zenta married, I believe Janis Matulens and had 2 sons. she died while giving birth to Dainis. His bother Janis died early, hit by a truck, and Dainis had heart problems, his daughter Santa knows little about any of the family history.

  10. I am tracing DZIRNEKLIS and ZIRNEKLIS family roots in CESIS, LATVIA and RIGA. June 14, 1941 several family members were sent to Siberia. The family owned a deli with a butcher shop in back in Cesis. A family member in Australia said there still are DZIRNEKLIS descendants in Cesis. Please help put me in contact. Also, a DZIRNEKLIS family in Canada from Cesis are probably also cousins but we need additional information to put it all together. Thank you.

  11. I am trying without much success to find information on my great grandmother Zenita Dicmanis, was possibly living in Liepaja Latvia. Any info would be much appreciated.

    1. My grandmother’s maiden name was dicmanis she married and lived in liepaja. I don’t know where in latvia she was born.

  12. I am trying to track my family history on my mothers side. The family name i am researching is Dambrechts. Heinrichs Dambrechts my grandfather was born in Liepaja. My Grandmother Elza was from Riga. Any information about family would be great.

  13. I am looking for my grandparents family. My grandpa is Stanislavs Repsa and his parents are Jazeps Repsa and Emilija Kokins from Aglonas Pagasta. My grandmother is Helena Repsa. Her parents are Janis Zukulis and Ilze Zukulis. Any help would be great!

  14. I am looking for information about my great grand-father Kristian Strautman and great grand-mother Matilda. I know that both of them were born in 1958, but would like to know where and who the parents were. Their children were born in Bornsminde (my grandpa Iogan – 24 Sep 1881)… Any idea how can I find this information, please?

  15. I am new to the search for information of my father and his family. They were sent to Geesthacht DP camp. Minics is the last name, lived in the camp around 1942 ??.

  16. @benita boyd. My mothers family are from Riga with the surname Lacis. They emigrated to Australia after WWII. I am currently trying to find out more of my family tree. I would be interested to see what your link is.

  17. My father was born in Bauska, Latvia in 1909, had 2 sisters Thelma was one and a brother Mikeils, we know there were some nices, i have pictures. I have visted Bauska just recently, but the propety where they lived has now gone, I am keen to learn more about the family, I beleive they were originally farmers so the spelling of the name may be incorrect, any one out there with the same or similar name.

  18. Searching for relatives of my perants, Janis Mivrenieks 1913. Anna Spoks 1918. Surname may have been Murnieks. Both now deceased. Thank you, Janis.

  19. My grandmother’s (Eizenia Lacis Talmanis Ozols) father was Janis Lacis who was married to Liena. Eizenija’s siblings were Ede, Karlis, and Anna. Janis had a brother, Peter, who married Berta and they had a son, Rudolph. Janis and Peter’s parents were Andrew and Made Lusis. I hope there is a connection somewhere.

  20. I am looking for any information on my father and any of his relatives, born in Riga: Edvins Kampuss 1922-1973. Member of Waffen SS, POW, coal mines in Belgium then to USA. His mother was Maria Teteris. His father was a diplomat, his brother was part of the temporary Latvian government in Spain.

  21. Hi, I am looking for any information on my grandfather Arvids Ozolins, he was born in Riga 10/10/27. He migrated to Australia from Italy on a ship called Svalbard and arrived in Sydney in 1949. He moved and worked in South Australia had two children and passed away at an early age.

  22. I’m looking for my father’s family roots. My father was Andrejs Vezis, and my grandfather was August Vezis. If I could figure out what town or parish they lived in, I could localize my search better. I’m just starting to investigate and have limited information.

  23. Looking for cousin Arvids Kanepajs, born in Latvia to Andrejs and Lilija, on Sept. 19, 1944. Andrejs perished in WWII and Lilija married a man named Vezis. They immigrated to Australia in 1951 and had 3 girls. I have childhood photos and two letters from Lilija to my mother Daina Kanepajs Blukis. Any information about Arvids and descendants would be of interest.

  24. Hello,
    I am searching for relatives of my father Edmunds Lasis who lived in ventspils latvia. His mother was Mathilde and his father was Henrik(sp?) Both my father and grandmother have died and I am searching for a link to family.


    Deb Payne

  25. I’m looking for my late father’s brother and sister.My late father, Peteris Meduneckis, was in the Waffen SS. He hasd a younger brother Valdis and sister Biruta, if they are still alive they’d both be in their 80’s and probably think my father was killed in the war.I would love to find any one that might be related to me through my father.
    Thank you,
    kay Gubbins

  26. Am looking for relatives of Janis Praulins who was my maternal grandfather. He was born in Riga in 1926 and his father was a master tailor. In 1944, he left Riga when the Russians invaded. He ended up living in Halifax, Yorkshire, England where he died in 2002. He had two children, one of them was my late mother Lucia who died in 2017. Due to circumstances, we were estranged from Janis, but my mum talked to me about his life in Latvia. Would like to find any relatives of his who are living.

  27. Good afternoon just wondering if there is a service to check if I have any relatives in Latvia . My father came to England during WW2 and sadly passed . He never talked about the war as it was to upsetting for him and never went into any detail regarding family . It would be nice to know if I had and relatives still in Latvia . Hope in interest for any results . MY fathers name was ISADOR EDWARD KOKAREVIS. Regards John Kokarevis .

  28. hello , looking for information about two brothers from Riga Evalds and Janis Brants born in the 1920s after ww2 they both ended living the rest of there lives in bradford west yorkshire searching for any family links or information . regards stephen .

  29. Hello..I am looking for members of the Dics family from Riga.My Grandfather came to England after ww2 and I know one sister was sent to Siberia.I would love to trace more family members.Regards,Jude.

  30. Hi my father Leon Ozerskis was born in Indra Latvia. He migrated to Australia in 1947.I don’t know much about his family and am having a difficult time in trying to get some history on him. I have never seen a photo of any of his family and would like to know if there are any living relatives who may be able to share some photos and some more information .

  31. Hi…..My name is Travis Grauds….I am looking for any Family member or information on past family history..I do know my Father was born in Riga Latvia and my Grandfather was captain Grauds…..he was very wealthy …He owned over 20 merchant cargo ships also owned 10 to 15 buildings in Riga ..and a beach house……….I Travis Grauds am 64 years old now…And only living Son and Grandson..I beleive….Please Someone help me…..Thank u….

  32. I have been trying to find information on my Maternal Grandfather (Sam Swerdlin – born in 1883) and my Maternal Grandmother (Dora Lopesof or Lapesovich – born in 1888) who were born in Wetebsk. They migrated to America in 1906, after first traveling to Liverpool.

    I have searched all of the usual resources (Ancestry, My Heritage, Jewish Gen, Geni, etc.) without much luck. I would appreciate any hints you can give me.

    Dennis H. King

  33. Hi. My name is Leslee Waters. My mom was born in a displaced person camp. Her name was Aina Rutmanis. My Uncle Ivars was a few years older and I lost other family members that I am not sure of their names. My grandmother was Marta Rutmanis, she died when I was approx. 12, she spoke very broken English and was mortified of Hitler and Stalin and told me things that I am not sure about such as the number of Aunts and Uncles I would have had. She also said they took her home (Russians I think) as a headquarters and the ran from it after burying all valuables. She begged me never to go back there, she was under some impression they would keep me. I was told we are Lutheren, atleast that is how Momma had me baptized. I was told that my granny (Marta Rutmanis’ maiden name was Vicmanis but I am not sure how true that is. She came over in 1949 I think through Ellis Island My real grandfather (whom I never met that came through Ellis Island with my mom, granny and Uncle} I think Ojars was his name. I recently did my DNA on and I came back 50 percent Latvian so I am pretty sure what I heard as to my real grandfather is true. My mom is still alive but my Uncle died a few years back. I cant find anything other than basic records of my mom, uncle and granny on ships manifest (Holbrook I think) . If I am 50 percent Latvian I am sure that makes my mom100 percent, my dad is a mut from Texas lol. I would love to be able to help my mom find out more and for me as well. I feel like I dont know where I really came from. My husband even said that he read somewhere that I could have Dual Citizenship so I guess it means it is safe for me to try and find out where we come from. Any help that you could offer for direction in how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration,


    1. Leslee,
      You and your mom are Latvians.At this moment I cannot relate the pains that many Latvians endured due to the evil of world war 11 .Like your mother ,I was in DP camps
      in germany.If you access to You tube.please ask your Mom to listen to Latvian folksong s
      especialy Dzen Laivinu .Ps.Contact Latvian lutheran orgs .
      My sister M.l.Zilvinskis was instrumental in helping Latvia to regain it’s independence
      You can find lot’s of joyful info online about our 15 centuries ofLatvian People.

  34. Hi all, I’m looking for any information on past or living relatives of mine, the name is Celins, my uncles name was Adolf, ( passed away in1965), his wife’s name was Emilinjia, their daughter was named Skaidrite ( born 1917 died 1940), Uldis, their son was taken to Siberia at the age of 19 never heard from since.

  35. Hello, my name is Inara Taube. I am searching for some information about my biological mother, her name is Anna Uplejs. I was adopted at the age of 9 months from the orphanage in Jurmala.

  36. Hello, I am searching for any family members who still live in Latvia. My father’s name was Karlis Benkis, he was born in 1907 at Mazsalacas Pag. Province: Valmiera. He migrated to Australia on the Dundalk Bay on 11/10/1949. Thanks Marg Benkis

  37. Hello, I’m searching for any relatives I may have. My grandfather was born in Lativa. I think he was born in Daugavpils Lativa or Riga. His name was Alfred Mirans and he came to Canada in the 40’s I think. From what I understand, he had family.. his mother, father and 2 brothers stayed in Latvia.
    My grandfather has now passed and we have nobody left. Just my dad,y bother and I left for any family.
    Thank you,
    Kelly Mirans

  38. To whom it may concern,
    I’ve been searching for my maternal grandmother’s family for many years. The last name is Sejkstule (s). I’ve been told that they come from the Daugavpils area, or such. I was told that Agnese Sejkstule was born in Riga, at the turn of the 20th century, and was moved to an orphanage, in St. Petersburg, Russia, by her father, when she was 10 years old. Her marriage record to my Polish grandfather, Edmund Witkowski, vanished due to the Russian revolution, in St. Petersburg. I cannot find any records in Latvia.
    Thank you. Eva Sneade

  39. Hello. I am searching for family in latvia. My grandfather Voldemars Ivanovs Born 1926 lived with his family in Vecpiebalga before WW2. My grandfather had two brothers called Janis and Karlis. Also, my grandfather had three sisters called Marta, Skaidrite and Zelma. My grandfather and his brothers were put into DP camps after WW2, My grandfather came to the UK, while his brother Janis went to Australia and his other brother Karlis stayed in Germany. We believe that my grandfather sisters stayed in latvia with their parent’s. My grandfather parents name’s were Andrejs ivanovs and Marija Leontine (Maiden name Skuja). If anyone is reading this and they think we may be related please reply. Thank you

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