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Genealogical collections and family histories

Research use: Provide the results of previous research such as pedigree lineage information and may lead to the original sources of documentation. Often provide information from record types, areas, and time periods where we have not yet been able to acquire the original records.

Record type: Compiled genealogies, organized collections of lineage data, family histories, pedigrees, family and community genealogies, whether manuscript or published.

General: In Latvia, there are three known collections pertaining to: descendants of the Teutonic Knights, the nobility, and the general population. These collections reflect the German cultural heritage of Latvia and its interest in genealogy.

Time period: 1600s-1940.

Contents: Names of individuals; dates and places of birth, marriage, and death; names of parents and children. Many include histories and illustrations of ancestors and ancestral homes. Community genealogies list families of a specific place. May provide source citations or copies of documents. Many are indexed.

Location: State Historical Archive in Riga and possible other locations such as public and private libraries, archives, and other repositories.

Population coverage: 10%.

Reliability: As accurate as the compiler. Compiled information is subject to error. Generally, family histories are a reliable source but should be verified from primary sources. Noble lineages might be skewed by links made for the sake of prestige.

Accessibility: The historical archive is open for researchers and its services are reasonably priced. Elsewhere they may be difficult to find. Many in archives are not cataloged. Some can be acquired through interlibrary loan, through local research agents, through filming by other libraries, or by purchase.

Preservation of records/vulnerability: The records in the historical archive are well preserved in a good facility. They were little used during the communist period, 1940-1990. Conditions vary elsewhere. Many are stored under appropriate conditions, but some are subject to loss or damage.[1]


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Latvia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1995-2002.