12 December 2008

A letter from Latvia!!

I just got a very nice letter from Latvia from a relative on my father's paternal side of the family. Her name is Karina and she is my father's cousin. It included a photo of their mutual grandmother. It was very detailed in her description of what her mother was like. In essence, it looks as if her grandmother had a very significant and positive role in her upbringing.

I plan to write her back quickly with more questions and will include a few photos of our own and also a basic family tree that shows how we are related and to whom I am referring when I have more questions.

This is GREAT news!!

On a slightly less positive note, we got information back from the Latvian government as a result of our query through their embassy. While I haven't viewed the information myself (my dad ordered it and had it sent to his home, of course), we were seeking a birth date from one individual (his grandmother on his mother's side) and hoping for a next-of-kin information on another individual. We got a birth month and year but not a location (a very necessary point to find more ancestors in that line) for the grandmother and nothing -pretty much- other than a death date on the other individual. I have not concluded, however, we are at a "dead end" with either individual, because the census records for the 1800s have yet to be posted online and there may be leads for the grandmother.

Overall, not much there...so far.

21 November 2008

A Latvian connection found...

...for someone else. :p I made contact with someone in Latvia who shares a similar name. He gave me a bit of information (I LOVE google translator!) It has yet to be determined that he is a relative of mine, but -based upon the information that he sent me- he is very likely related to someone in the US with whom I've been in contact on a limited basis. I sent the US guy the info and told him to contact me if he was interested in learning more about or getting the contact information for the guy in Latvia. I hope he responds. Of course, I am hoping this leads to some connection to my family tree.

07 November 2008


Someone found my blog from Russia! "Trusinskis" is spelled "трусинскис" in Russian! I don't think I ever posted it here, but somewhere I found an item online that told of someone having a housemaid or servant named Trusinsky while living in Moscow. I wish I could find that entry -I have looked. I added "трусинскис" to a list of terms that would be used to direct people to this website for search/googling purposes.

It is unlikely anything much will come from this, but you have to always expand your chances and every little bit may help. Given the ethnic makeup of Latvia both now and in the past, it is almost a sure thing that I have relatives in Russia.

02 November 2008

a new source found

I was contacted a few days ago by a woman of Latvian descent. She found me through the message board on ancestry.com. She suggested a Latvian website for me by which I could contact people with a similar surname in Latvia. In fact, she did her own preliminary search and noted how she found around 20 people with the name Trusinskis or Trusinska (the female version of Trusinskis). One has to be invited into the website and she graciously offered an invitation which I, of course, accepted. I will post any successes that I have!

28 October 2008


Someone from Lithuania emailed me through this website. Their name is a variation of mine and they do seem interested in learning more. Good news -especially considering I haven't work on my research very much as I have been so busy with work and getting our house ready for sale!

Oh, I did have my dad send a request to the Latvian embassy in Washington in which he requested some vital records, as they provide that service for a very small fee. We should be finding out something in the next month or two that will hopefully take us one step closer to finding a living Trusinsky relative in Latvia and also further back on the "Gunther" family line. I won't publish the specific information because if people want to learn it, they will have to contact me directly and share some basic information they have, but chosen not to share...(ahem...Australia...) (damn, you'd think they'd at least send a note hinting at or explaining their sudden lack of interest or possibly suspicion)

23 September 2008

Family crest?

Here is an image from a gentleman with the last name of "Treschinsky" whom I had emailed. He commented on the fact that he did know of some relatives in Riga, as well as Kiev. I wonder if I will find any basis for my heritage being related to this image...

19 September 2008

I got an answer from Roberts Trusinskis!

"Declined". HAHA. I sent him an email a couple of times through what appeared to be his work email address. No response. So, I saw that he had a profile on "LinkedIn.com" and paid a small fee to send him an email there. I just got a message back saying that my message was "declined" with the reason given as "inappropriate".

I am only barely annoyed. What is it about someone who doesn't have the level of curiosity to respond to a "hey, we may be related" note that included an explanation?? The note clearly wasn't spam and doesn't solicit any information unless we were both convinced that there was a biological relationship -and the information in that instance would be very limited. Is the suspicion a legacy of the Soviet era?? At least now I know that I shouldn't bother to contact him again. I did ask that he reply if he weren't interested so that I would know not to bother him any further.

If he is a descendant of Johann Theodor Truschinsky -as is possible- I won't contact him.

We do have our source in Latvia who will likely know of this person and any other "Trusinskis" if they are indeed related. Indeed, I probably should have only pursued that route.

16 September 2008

DNA Results are in

They arrived late last night. There are 12 exact matches to people in the FamilyTreeDNA.com system. I ordered the most basic, "12 marker" test. To further refine the results, I will have to order the 37 marker test. Of course, the more matches the greater the likelihood of a close biological relationship.

It is unlikely this will yield much new information for my genealogical research, unless I get others who share a similar surname to take the test, as well. I can think of a number individuals I would like to take the test but given they don't even reply to emails, it is unlikely they will take a DNA test for this purpose.

Oh, one more thing: overall, the most matches were with people in Norway (as a percentage of those in the FamilyTreeDNA.com system). I did find that to be interesting!

13 September 2008

August Johann Theodor Trusinskis/Truschinsky

I found what I was looking for. I found a birth record for August Johann Theodor's first child. Don't get this wrong, but I am disappointed because it is a daughter, not a son. I am a bit disappointed because when she got married (if so) she very probably did not retain her family name. If it were a son, he and his descendants would be easier to find! I just sent an email to a gentleman in Latvia who may be of some help. I sure hope he responds! (UPDATE: That was the "Roberts Trusinskis")

07 September 2008

Jakobs Kirche

A new film has arrived which I will review on Saturday. It has birth records for the late-1930s at Jakobs kirche. I am hoping to find a birth record for a child of my great uncle -whose first marriage I now have documented.

17 August 2008

Linking them up

I think I have made a specific link between two of my largest Trusinsky files/threads of research. One is a specific birth document for Eduard Truschinsky. The parents shown on it coincide with the parents of my 2nd largest file of Truschinskys. The occupation of the father is the same in both documents, as well. Additionally, the largest file centers in Livonia -before moving to Riga- while the 2nd largest file is in a different part of Kurland. The link for the two files is in a part of Kurland where they all come together, with dates, names and occupation aligning.

I have four files of Truschinskys of which I have been unable -to this point- to link together. All of the files have overlapping individuals in terms of witnesses to various births. That is not concrete evidence, but is certainly is circumstantial enough for one to assume there is a link. Of course, I need to do a bit more research (as usual), but I am beginning to feel more confident in making the link and possibly continuing for another generation or two. One of the documents suggests Prussia for a place of birth for an individual (finally!)

So much more will be made clear when I get around to ordering or examining online (when they are posted) the revision lists for Kurland and the Russian census of 189x! I just hope they still have records for the areas that I need...

That brings me to another, possibly stunning (okay, the most stunning thus far) revelation about the Truschinsky line...

10 August 2008

steps forward but also nothing

SIX films arrived this weekend at the LDS. I am really, really hoping for something on one of them regarding the oldest Truschinsky line of research. That doesn't mean I am expecting something there, as it involves a specific region, but isn't quite for the years I want. However, there may be some other, illuminating records there. Two other films are related to a family who married into the Till family. One record is another film for the Lemsal area. I don't expect to find anything there, as I have already reviewed it and it isn't any more comprehensive than what is online. Finally, I am going to review passports issued by the German embassy in Riga. I am really hoping to find something there for one of my main lines of research. Again, "hoping" doesn't mean "expecting".

I am also trying to contact possible kin around the world, but I continue to fail in getting a response from...anyone.

I have a genealogist in Germany investigating the degree to which it is possible to access public records for some relatives I know had died in Germany in 1968 and 1977. As I had explained to him, the goal is to establish contact with living relatives.

03 August 2008

How many variations of Trusinsky are there??!!

I search for variations of my family name and have found -as I have mentioned before- at least four other versions of the name in church documents for people of whom I am quite sure I am related. Now I search for "Trescinskis" and over 2000 hits come up! I wish someone from Latvia would email me and say (if this were true), "Um, Trusinskis and other, similar names are far more common than you suspect. So, it is not likely there is much of a relationship." Maybe that is why some people that I had sent emails in Latvia had not replied (of course, language may be an issue...)

02 August 2008

Some success

I did have some success with the last three films that I had ordered and examined. I found four or five marriages. One marriage was for my granduncle -August Johann Theodor Truschinsky. The name was bit difficult to read for the individual he had married, so I will have to return and examine that film again later. This information may be of some use in finding some living descendants in Latvia. I also found a marriage for a Till. All of these marriages are from the 1930s -so they are relatively recent.

24 July 2008

Till research isn't going anywhere

I found the Till death record to which I had referred in my last post -well, one film of the two that cover that time period in that community. I did, however, find the death record of the Till who had died in 1827 and was born sometime in the 1770s. It didn't provide any further information -such as where the guy was born. I won't find anything more in birth or death records until I review the Revision lists. They are explained and will eventually be posted here.

No Truschinsky records in the two other films that had arrived. *sigh* I do hold out some hope for some Truschinsky records that are on order for another community. All of the dates that I would like to be covered are not available, but I would like at least one...preferably the one that is for Eduard Truschinsky's birth. That would be huge. It is very unlikely I will find that record, as he was born two years after the last available date of the records to arrive. As will Johann Till, I may have to get some luck with some Revision lists.

21 July 2008

Tomorrow I review some records and DNA update

The records are for both Truschinsky and Till. I may have already reviewed the Till records, but I want to be sure I am hoping to find a more detailed death record that what I have found online (http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html). The Truschinsky record (two of them, with a lot more on the way!) seeks to find a particular birth record for a Truschinsky, but I will still be quite pleased and a bit surprised if I find any Truschinskys -the records for this area haven't been particularly helpful. I get lots of references to this broad geographic region, but no supporting data to help me develop the links between three broad groups of Truschinskys. If I did find a particular birth record for this Truschinsky, I may be able to link the 20 or 30 individuals I found in the last few weeks with my existing tree. If I can, it will be very exciting and will very likely lead to some living relatives in Latvia!

DNA UPDATE: I have been notified by Family Tree DNA that my samples have arrived and will be heading out to their lab in the next week or so. While I am annoyed at the length of time this takes, I am still excited about the possibilities of where this might lead.

DNA UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Family Tree DNA has now projected my tests will be complete by...get this...September 5. Ugh.

20 July 2008

online resources

I've ordered about 9 films from the LDS and some should begin to arrive in the next week or so. So, I am waiting. While I've been waiting ...and waiting... I have been searching online for books that may be of use in my research. They are almost always in German or Latvian, but if I am only looking for a name or names amongst a list,that is still alright. Anyway, I have found three different German language books -two of which have names that are in my family history! One gentleman died in Kazan (I presume, Russia). That is a death record I would have never found if it were not for this source. Another who may be related worked and lived in a specific city in present-day Poland. I have also begun to realize that in World War I, much of Kurzeme (Kurland) was emptied of population. In fact, my grandmother and her family lived in Ukraine for those years of the war -and they were living in Riga just prior to that! I wonder, how many of my other relatives did not return to Latvia??
I also wonder, how many chose to fight for the Bolsheviks, and, when the Bolshviks didn't control Latvia right away (until after WWII), did they stay in Russia? I know that some Latvians did make that decision. Many civil wars have brother fighting brother. I do not see how this one might have been any different.
There are now -in my view- enough Trusinskys and Tills that I have found (etc) that it is probably likely that some moved to Russia and stayed...even to this day. At some point, I will try to look in Russian directories for the Russian spellings of Trusinsky. However, while I strongly suspect Dr. Karlis Trusinskis has looked at this website, but has not responded, how will I be able to get someone who probably isn't as worldly, but probably very suspicious, to communicate??

Additionally, I am not sure if I should be excited or disappointed with the lack of communication from Australia. I say that because he could be amassing quite a large amount of information (dates, data, pictures, etc) -as Gustav said he is on his behalf, or, perhaps, the issue is no longer being pursued by he and his family. Time will tell.

10 July 2008

Truschinsky DNA test

The test has arrived and I will give a sample tonight. It requires three different swabs of the inner cheek. I will send it away tomorrow. I believe the company says that it takes about 3 weeks to get the results.

I want to encourage others to take said test if they feel that may be related (though it only works for the paternal heritage and only on males). The cost is $99 if you make your order as a part of a group/surname project (such as Trusinsky). Here is a link for more information. Also, here is a link to the Trusinsky project. I will post results on the second link.

You can also join a geographic project, as well or in lieu of, to get the discount. The test costs $149 if you do not get it through a project. So, if your heritage is Latvian -or German- you could join one of those groups.

08 July 2008

I've found some more trusinskys

I received a response to my email/letter to the DBGG. It was a nice letter that didn't provide to many insights into what I was asking but there was one bit of information which directly let to me finding at least a DOZEN more Truschinskys! (not including children born of a marriage to a female Trusinsky who -hence- have a different surname) My earliest confirmed Truschinsky is a witness to a baptism and I am suspecting that he is a brother of the father. It also gave me a number of birth locations that should be useful -particularly since I ordered records from that area earlier last week. I've started a separate family tree file for the new Trusinskys and will only link them to my existing Trusinsky tree when I've proven a link between them. I am very confident that I will be able to do so!

Also, I sent out an email to a "suspected" "Trusinsky" in the US who I had found online. He responded and shared a bit of information which indicates that there may be a link. He has a relative that does some genealogy and forwarded my email and website to her. That reminds me -I should reply to the gentleman!

03 July 2008

I'm back

We arrived from Europe this last Monday. Jane and I visited Iceland, Sweden (2nd time for me) and Finland.

Now that I am back, I have ordered my DNA kit from Family Tree DNA. I've started a group based upon my surname. If people have a similar surname to Trusinsky, they are invited to join the group and -in return- they receive a price $50 lower than if they joined on their own. The lower price is $99 for the base kit. The kit examines the DNA of a male descendant that remains unchanged from generation to generation. It is for this reason that the group is based upon the surname, as the son of Trusinsky has the surname of Trusinsky, etc. However, that being said, I have found at least 4 different spellings of Trusinsky in the documents I have found for my ancestors. I am sure that these are relatives (unless, of course, someone was adopted along the way...).

Here is the link to the project.

17 June 2008

Another Trusinsky found!

This one was born in the early 1800s. I have yet another community into which I can search for more Trusinskys. I can't dig too much further, as I have a few items in which I need to make a bit more progress (Australia, Karlis Trusinskis, etc.)

13 June 2008


Here are two documents for my father, Karl Trusinsky, who was named Karlis Trusinskis when he was born in Latvia. I am posting these in the event that Dr. Karlis Trusinskis sees this website, yet is skeptical of its authenticity. The first one he acquired on his first visit back to Latvia a few years ago. While I don't read (or speak) any Latvian, it looks as if the document shows my father's dad is named "Karlis", as well. That is wrong. My father's dad (my grandfather) is named Alexander. The second document, I believe, was given to his family while he was in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany after World War II.

I've also added two photographs to the slideshow on the right. These two pictures are of a few more individuals in Latvia and -possibly- the only pictures of who might be August Johann Theodor Trusinskis -a man whom we think died in 1972 in Riga and had "two wives and three children". The man was my grandfather's brother. I didn't realize that we had a picture of him until I had just scanned them. We have been unable to locate his children or grandchildren in Latvia.

REMEMBER: you can click on the pictures to enlarge them!!

12 June 2008

Dr. Trusinskis

I sent an email yesterday to a gentleman in Latvia who was a doctor that worked on a series of journal articles with a possible relative of mine: Dr. Karlis Trusinskis. I emailed him because I cannot find the email of Karlis Trusinskis and so I had asked that the doctor forward the email to him or let him know in some other way about it. **I've changed my profile to allow people to contact me by email if they click on the profile. Prior to that, people had to post a message, but may have chosen not to because they had felt apprehensive about it becoming public.

I hope to hear from Dr. Trusinskis -even if he is unsure if there is a relationship. As I said in the email to his colleague, "there aren't too many Trusinskis' in the world..."

Keep your fingers crossed...

11 June 2008

You say Truschinski, I say Trusinsky...

After my wife and I get back from Europe I think I am going to order a DNA test for genealogical research. It will trace a particular gene that is passed from father to son. That means, if, for example, someone 300 years ago had three or four male children and they had children, etc., those people male children and their descendants will have the same gene and a relationship will be proven. At Family Tree DNA they then compare the results with their database. One then has the opportunity to contact others. I know I won't find another "Trusinsky", but I just might find another Trusinski or Trusinskis, etc.

Why the title? It is my own take on the ditty, "you say tomAto, I say tomOto". I mention it because there aren't many "Trusinsky's" in the world, but, as I have mentioned before, I've found at least four variations of the spelling of Trusinsky amongst the documents discovered in my research. I've brainstormed all of the variations of "Trusinsky" and checked the internet. I'm going to list them here and in another posting on the blog in the hopes that some of them find this site and send me a note!

03 June 2008

Struck out.

No luck. The only film that was there was for deaths from 1918-1920 and there wasn't a single thing of interest. I don't think Alexander Friedrich Eduard Truschinsky and his death will be heard from again. Now I just wait for all of those marriage records to come in....

02 June 2008

Going to examine records tomorrow

I am going to the Oakdale LDS to examine some records that had arrived. They involve the Truschinskys and possible Tills -the two families of greatest interest to me on my father's side. One record is for deaths from 1918-1920 and may have my great granduncle's death record. The particular reason I say "may" is because the notes I have from my father say that he may have died from "Sibia on train" -whatever that means. The "big" insight or information that I seek from this record -besides the date and cause of death for Alexander Friedrich Eduard Truschinsky- is his birth location. I need more information to better track down that line of the family tree.

The other records, I believe, are all for marriages from Jakobs Kirche from 1912-1938. I expect some surprises in those records.

I am done with school for the summer after this Friday. I will get a chance next week to peruse the records at my leisure. Also, I will have to order some more records before I leave for Europe. Something I will order soon will be records from the German Embassy in Riga (pre-WWII). They have passport applications and if so many individuals fled Latvia for Germany in the years prior to WWII, they may have been required to demonstrate German heritage and also to get a passport. That elusive link may be very important for finding a living "Till" in German to whom we are related. There is no information indicating a migration or any Truschinskys from Latvia other than my grandfather one of his sisters, Leontine, who went to Australia. The challenge for that family will be in establishing a link backwards to the time in which they migrated TO Latvia from Prussia or Germany.

26 May 2008

Outgoing communcation

Nothing much new since I've established contact with my relatives in Australia. I sent a document that shows everything I have entered into my software from my earliest Truschinsky. While I haven't heard back, I suspect they are waiting for some sort of a series of questions from me. So, I have to get around to making a questionnaire to send and that Michael can use. I will solicit some pictures, as well.

I haven't heard anything from Karina in Latvia yet, but it has only been about two weeks via snail mail.

I still haven't heard anything from the German Baltic genealogy society so a few days ago I sent two letters out via post. I'm hoping I get a response, even if it is that they can't help me with the information that I've provided. Ideally, they have a person or people working on examining their records for my relatives! That, however, is quite the long shot!

I also got a comment on my inquiry that I posted on a genealogy web site regarding my Deifel heritage. So, after two weeks, I have now responded to her. I think a relationship will be established (there are too many similarities) -it is just a matter of where the connection is made. That will please my mother to a great degree and maybe, just maybe, she will start practicing her German as much as I am! In fact, I just ordered a German newspaper to be delivered twice a week. It should be a nice learning tool.

I expect to receive some Truschinsky records from the LDS in the next week or two. I think I will find something there of note.

15 May 2008


Because of my wonderful 2nd cousin Karina, in Latvia, my father managed to contact via phone his cousin, Helmut Gangnuss, in Australia! Apparently he did give my father his email address. I have written him and exchanged a few emails with his son. He told me a bit about his family, including the fact that S. Gangnuss is his wife. I KNEW there had to be a connection! I have sent the contact information for my Gangnuss contact in Germany to him, so if you are reading this Gustav, you will probably be getting an email soon!

Also, regarding Karina, I did just send her a letter via snail mail (no email usage at her end). In it I suggest an ongoing correspondence by letter and in them we can learn more about one another and our families and, in time, hopefully meet. As some who read this know, while I am traveling to Iceland, Sweden and Finland this summer, Latvia is not on the itinerary. I hope to visit in 2009 with my father. Maybe by that time I will have established a contact with the Tills, though that is a more distant relation. I suppose that with greater biological distance, the interest level on their behalf is more likely to be small. Bummer.

12 May 2008

Map of Lativan communities in which I have found ancestors

View Larger Map

You can interact with the map by using the arrows on the left side of the map. In doing so, you can zoom in to see what specific communities are marked in blue and, in some instances, what family line was there. I will at some point post a map of communities in the world in which I currently have relatives.

09 May 2008

Ho-hum update

I went to the LDS on Wednesday and took a lot of photos of birth, death and marriage records from Limbazi. Nothing particularly interesting except that I noticed the name "Kerstein" is spelled a few different names in the records (Kirstein, Kerstens). I find it a bit interesting because it isn't a particularly difficult name. The Kersteins are related by the first marriage to August Till, but, as I mentioned in a posting months ago, I am not related to Emma Kerstein through their four children -I am related to August Till by his second marriage and that was to someone with the last name of Puls. I probably won't follow the Kerstein record much more because of that fact. My Rogenhagen contact might be a bit more interested in it, so when you read this contact me if you are interested in finding out more. Anyway, I will have to order a couple of records from Limbazi that range from around 1800 to 1836. Of particular interest would be if I found a more detailed death record for August Till's father, Samuel. All I have is the date of his death, not the place of birth, which would be far more meaningful to further my research chronologically.

I did order four more records on Wednesday. They are all for St. Jakobs Church in Riga. Three of them are wedding records and one of them is a death record for 1918-1920. I hope to find a death record for another Truschinsky of whom it has been suggested died in that range. If I recall correctly, I don't have a birth record for that person. I don't know if his birth will be revealed to be in Kurland or Livland. The marriage records probably will get a Till and/or Truschinsky. I know Johann Till get married at Jakobs, but the date may be just prior to the date for the records I had ordered. I will eventually order those records. It will be a busy summer in that regard.

I have been a bit more, well, "concerned" isn't the correct term, but "focused" might be more appropriate on getting records for deaths in Latvia post WWII. The Latvian embassy in Washington provides a service for $10 in which it sends a form to the Latvian archives to do a search on said individual. I will look more closely at this this weekend. It is through these records that I might be able to establish a contact in Latvia or Germany.

Finally, I sent an email to the DBGG in late April and haven't received a response of any sort. It was recommended by Dr. Hermann Rogenhagen and I felt a bit optimistic that I would get some sort of response, but I have not, as of yet. I am going to wait until around May 20 and then send a snail mail letter to Germany.

05 May 2008

Truschinsky frustration

I totally understand that one will inevitably hit roadblocks in genealogy research, but this is a bit crazy. I waited three months to get the information on my great grandfather, August Truschinsky, and after I finally get it, I run into a new roadblock in less than one day! UGH!!! August was born, according to his death record, in Salisburg. This town is now called Mazsalaca. There is no record of his birth in that location. So, I look in surrounding locations and then I do find his birth record. The birth record gives the names of his parents and they are the same as another I found in Truschinsky birth record for a town called at that time Alt Salis (but is now called Salacgriva). I had found the father's death record in Alt Salis a few days earlier and it indicated a birth location in Kurland -Aswiken. This community is now called Aizviki. I searched in the records in nearby, slightly larger towns and, thus far, there are no records. Another person who either died or got married listed their birth location as Diensdorf in Kurland. That community is now called Dinsdurbe. No such luck in my search there, either. What is interesting is that this family has four different communities in which they lived or were born. I still haven't found two supposed brothers in this family, but I did find an unknown female named Olga -though I have not confirmed a relationship.

*sigh* the search goes on...

04 May 2008

Truschinsky update

I had some success yesterday at the LDS in Oakdale. I am doing follow up research today at home on the internet. I found the death record for my great grandfather, August Julius Theodor Truschinsky (born in Alojas, Latvia), as well as confirmed the identity and death record of his father (my great-great grandfather) Eduard Truschinsky. The record of my great, great grandfather indicates the cause of death as "erysypelas" and includes a few other words I can't seem to make out. If you google erysypelas, you get, among other things, this link which seems to explain it. Erysypelas seems to also go by the name St. Anthony's fire. It sounds terrible, but also seems to create a quite vivid image in my mind.

I still have another Truschinky, Olga, that I have to tie into the tree. She was married Salacas -the locale where the other records were found.

29 April 2008

Eine gute Woche!

...or so it seems it may be. I got an email on Saturday indicating that my films have arrived at the LDS. Unfortunately, they are closed to get their carpets cleaned tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow night. I will have to wait until Saturday morning to peruse them. One more thing on this matter: I had thought that the documents would be in Russian, but the most significant one with information from 1920-1939 should be in Latvian -a much easier language to skim and decypher!

The next item of gute Zeitung is that my father finally got a letter from Karina in Latvia. In it, she has some personal comments, but she also included contact information for Helmut Gangnuss! My father said he was going to call Australia last night -the same day he got the letter- but he must not have been able to successfully contact him, as I told him to call me if he was successful. After he is successful -or after trying and failing for a few weeks- I will contact my Gangnus contact in Germany. I am sure he will be pleased to get the information.

The final and potentially exciting item is that I received an email from Dr. H. R., the father of Dr. J. R. (anonymity protected). He didn't share with me any new genealogical information, but he did provide a potentially very significant contact. He gave me a few names and email (and postal) addresses for gentlemen who are involved in Deutsch-Baltische research. Here is their website. (This may be a better link...) Apparently he has already spoken with them on my behalf and, to some extent, they may be expecting my contact. I am not sure what help they will be able to provide. I do not know whether I should send an email or send a letter by postal mail.

Here is what I specifically request:

There are two primary obstacles that I face that are particularly frustrating. The first difficulty I have is in finding from where in Germany –or old Prussia- individuals had come. I have found birth locations in marriage, confirmation and death records, but am wondering if there are any German (or Prussian) sources, such as emigration records, you might suggest that I examine.

The second, but more immediate and greater concern is where I might find records concerning the emigration from Latvia to Germany. I have found a lot of people who have simply disappeared from the records and of whom, I suspect, a lot of them went to Germany. I am familiar with the status of Germans in Latvia from the early 1800s until World War II so I know that the vast majority of Baltic Germans left Latvia for Germany at some point.

So, both problems revolve around migration between Germany and Latvia. Any information or suggestions that you could provide on these matters or on any other would be very much appreciated.

There is more to my letter, including surnames, but I did not include that information.

Again, I have no idea about fees, but they do seem to have memberships available, but I am not sure there would much use for me given my German -AT THIS POINT!- is not good enough.

So, to summarize: 1. contact information for a relative in Australia, 2. three films have arrived for me to examine this weekend, and 3. an email from Dr. H.R. with some potentially very good contact information for a Baltic German genealogical group in Germany.

22 April 2008


I was searching that Latvian website yesterday and found 3 Truschinskys. Needless to say, I am QUITE pleased about finding them. One was of a marriage record in Riga, but that record had listed the gentleman's birth location so I dug through those records and found his birth record. His first and last name coincided with my grandfather's uncle. Of course, that birth record listed the father's name. That's two Truschinskys. The third Truschinsky was found in a record for a female in the town where I found the birth record I mentioned earlier. I had never heard of her, so it might be an interesting chase to find her relationship. In fact, after this posting, I think I will try to find her birth record and see if there is a relationship with the Truschinsky I had just found.

The search goes on...

Oh, one more note: in two of the three records I had just found it shows an alternate spelling of Truschinsky. That is not particularly common. I have found AT LEAST four different spellings for my last name, Trusinsky.

13 April 2008

New Pictures

Here are some pictures I received from my Gangnus contact in Germany. Thanks! And,ultimately, a BIG thanks to Petra Stockhausen who's the owner of these pictures. Remember, CLICK on the images to get a larger view of them!

This is Leontine Truschinsky.

This is Leontine Truschinsky -on left- and then her daughter, Gertrude just behind her. The gentleman in the picture is Leontine's husband, Erwin Gangnus.

Leontine, Gertrude and most likely Helmut Gangnus. If it is Helmut, it must be in 1942.

This picture is one that I got from my grandmother, Lydia (Till) Trusinsky. I posted it here because her husband, Alex (Sasha), is the brother to Leontine and the cause of my interest. While this is a picture of Lydia and her husband Alex, if you compare it with the other picture, don't Leontine and Alex look very alike??!! RIGHT click on this image to compare it with the previous image on a side-by-side basis.

This picture is of Leontine, Erwin and Gertrude (on the right side of the image). The remaining child is unknown and cannot be Helmut because there is around a 12 year difference in age between Gertrude and Helmut.

This final picture is of Leontine, Erwin and Helmut in the carriage.

05 April 2008

I am "displeased".

Remember how I said I'd be pissed if that book that I ordered from Germany didn't have Otto Till's information in it? The book called "Deutsch-baltisches Gudenkbuch, Unsere Toten der Jahre 1939-1947"? It lists the names and some biographical information of Baltic Germans who served in the German military in WWII and died, were captured or went missing. Well, as I'm sure you suspect at this point, OTTO TILL IS NOT IN IT! I have records for a whole lot of Tills in Latvia and there is not A SINGLE TILL listed in the book. I will have to get my dad to ask my grandma a bit more about Otto and his service and also if she remembers any relatives -close or distant- leaving for Germany before the war. Not only immediately before the war, but even into the early 1930s or 1920s.

Of course there aren't any Truschinsky's/Trusinsky's/Trusinski's in it either. Also, Ella Trusinski, who married a (Edwin) Gangnus, isn't listed as his wife. He isn't listed as having a wife or child. It is probably merely incomplete information on behalf of the publisher, but I will ask my Gangnus contact in Germany if he has a copy of the marriage certificate or a copy of the marriage in any records.

sigh...no, **SIGH**!!!

01 April 2008


I've seen the word "Kaupen" in a series of records and I cannot determine what it means. I have googled the term and nothing comes up except a location in Germany. I have some doubt if that is what is means in this context because there is another location -Gross Ivanden- listed just before it and that is where the record originates. Now I am beginning to think it is a status or occupation, although it does not seem to easily translate -if at all. I've attached a copy of the image. If anyone can help me out, please send me a note!!

30 March 2008

Whew! I am exhausted!

I've spent waaaaay too much time working on genealogy the last two days! However, as a result of the tip given to me by J. Rogenhagen, I've accessed a lot more records! A series of questions have been resolved, but a few have popped up, as one might suspect occurs frequently in genealogy. It seems that the wife of Johann Samuel August Till, Maria Dorothea Elizabeth Neumann, left Limbazi within a couple of years after her husband's death in 1827. They went to a regional city named Wolmar (Valmiera in Latvian), which is just east of Limbazi. It is a bummer that I won't ever know the train of thought that the widow went through when deciding to move to another area.

I found my first link to somewhere in Estonia, but it is by marriage and not by blood. Specifically, she is the wife of the 3rd great-grand uncle of mine. Her maiden name is Peterson. *yawn* Not even PetersoHn!

I think I found the death record of the widow who left Limbazi for Valmiera. The record does raise a question, however: the record lists her place of birth as "Petersburg", which I assume refers to St. Petersburg, Russia, which, at that time, had a lot of Baltic Germans -though not as much as Riga. However, I thought I saw her birth record in the Limbazi records. I will, of course, have to double check. Up to this point, I hadn't recorded her date and place of birth. That might be because I haven't actually found it. I know I found a bunch of Neumanns in Limbazi, but until I can make a definitive link, I don't input them into my software.

Before the last few days, I had a male Till whose name was too difficult to read in the birth record. Well, I found Heinrich August Till, his marriage record and death record. All of the dates and locations on said documents coincide the location and date of birth for this male in Limbazi. I've decided it HAS to be the one.

Another strange thing, is that in the various marriage records, the name Johann Samuel August Till is NOT mentioned, but what seems to be August Heinrich Till. I will have to re-examine the photographs I took of those documents to see if I can clear up the anomaly. These documents that refer to Samuel Till as, instead, August Heinrich Till, list Marie Till, geboren (maiden/birth name) Neumann. That would be an amazing coincidence if there was another Marie Till, with the birth name of Neumann who had a child born in Limbazi. It is too coincidental to be realistic!

The big picture is that out of Samuel Till's nine children, prior to today I only had additional information on 3, but now I have only 3 left without any information after their birth and baptism.

I should go to bed soon. If I start browsing another record, I'll probably stay up for another two hours and, despite being on spring break, I shouldn't stay up that late.

That reminds me, it is -sort of- funny to consider what I'd be doing on spring break if I were around 10 years younger and in graduate school again. *sigh*

28 March 2008

Wolmar Lettland oder Valmiera Latvia

I just got a message this morning from J. Rogenhagen in which he said that his father will be sending me some information that he has. Johannes did send me a couple of links that he thought might be helpful. They are both related to Germans in the Baltic region. So, I checked out the database and searched for a few names: Till, Ahrens, Puls, Truschinsky, etc. I found some of Till, Ahrens, Puls and something quite close to Truschinsky. The database gave what information it had. For example, in some situations it had birth location, but not death location or date, etc.

I found a Till entry around Wolmar -which is larger city around Limbazi. Limbazi is where my oldest Till records are!

I think this is going to allow me to find all of those missing Tills that aren't present in either the Riga records or the Lemsal records.

27 March 2008

Two messages from the Gangnus gentleman in Germany

I will paste them below. Oldest is listed immediately below, with most recent under that one. I feel comfortable posting them because Gustav okayed my doing it earlier and his email is not posted. It is pretty much an academic exchange of information (okay, it is him giving me information, not me giving him much, except those pictures.)

Hello Brian,

some ideas about Till ... I researched not only my colonists living in the colony. More interesting (and more difficult) is to research the fate of the colonists leaving Hirschenhof. When they could not inherit the farm of the father they had to go outside, regularly to Riga, 70 percent of all. I discovered some families in the surrounding manors as well. There were about 95 percent Latvian peasants, the German landholder's family and some German speaking craftsmen as smith, miller, inn tenant, administrator. Between them our colonists (and socially rising Latvians) found good jobs. If I remember rightly, I saw there (in raduraksti) some Tills and G�nthers. A few of them (Till and Truschinsky) can be found in the phone directory of Riga of today, especially Gintere or Ginters.

As to Erwin Gangnus: His parents were Georg Ewald, *Hirschenhof 15.11.1875 - Riga 15.5.1937. He married Riga 5.11.1900 Karolina Maria Dorothea Mauerhoff, *Riga 3.4.1880.

In the field of the Latvian history of the 19. century A. Plakans will be himself one of the best experts. We know him as a leading member of the AABS (Association of Advanced Baltic Stzdies).

As to the percentage of the social strata of the Baltic Germans I am unsure. It depends on time and locality. The relation between Latvians and Germans in general never was lower than 90 : 10, excepting in the towns, where the Germans had the majority until the 19. century. The leading group (nobility), the richest people ((commercial world of Hansa) always was of more importance than number. They themselves had strict forms of apartheid both against the Latvians and the lower classes of the own "nationality". As their importance was low and their attention even more, the upper families did not see them, even authors, writers, historians who made history. But I beg your pardon. I don't want to teach you; I tell only my opinion about that what I read and heard the last 25 years.

During the last decades before the emigrations of 1939 and 1941 most of the formerly leading families had left the country: during the russification era, during World War II and foundation of the Baltic republics, after and because of the agrarian reforms, during the Latvian politics growing more and more nationalistic (as in Germany, too).

These facts explain some of the reasons why many Germans didn't leave their homeland at the end. They had become Latvians on a considerable scale. There was an irrational hope, the lower the class the more spread, that the homeland even under Stalin would be better than the incertain future in the foreign "Vaterland". Mixed marriages had become a quite normal case although condemned in the NS ideology some years later. A husband or a wife had a serious problem when he/she was a Russian, Latvian, Estonian, Pole and when he/she spoke all languages except German. And in Germany the imigrants of 1941, who had "refused the hepful hand of the F�hrer" in 1939, were not recognized as Germans, but as refugees to be observed and may be educated in camps of "deplaced persons".




Hello Brian,

the four attached photos are o.k. The first one (obituary of Adolf Deifel) is blameless, number 2 and 3 (Santa Claus with boy or with boy and girl) are good, the fourth picture (man in the garden, face in shade) difficult to identify. As I understand in picture 2 - 4 is Helmut, in 2 maybe with son, in 3 with son and daughter, in 4 alone. Deifel doesn't seem to be a Baltic name. But there were variations of this name in the Volga colonies.

As to your requests: I haven't got any picture of Leontine, Erwin, Helmut, Gertrud. Only Erwin's father (Ewald) is in my book. As I corresponded with a cousin of Helmut, the only person who survived in Germany, I wrote her a letter to ask for pictures.

As to the earlier history of German immigration into the Baltics: Until 1766 there were no German peasants at all except landholders/nobility with Latvian bondmen or citizens of Hansa towns.

About 1766 Catherine II., a woman of German nobility by birth, one of the greatest Russian czars by life and biography, around 30 000 German settlers from the southwest of Germany (which didn't exist in those times) come in invited to colonize underdevelopped landscapes. About 1 percent of them founded a colony in Livonia, today Latvia. They spoke German until their elimination in 1939. In the beginning they were peasants, but most of their descendants at Riga and elsewhere became craftsmen. The later the more they developped into the upper classes and par example married daughters of the nobility, too. Irrespectively of that, from 1400 to 1850 immigrated as individuals tramps, workmen, and so called literates (teachers, parsons, physicians). I think people as Till, Guenther etc. came into Livonia as craftsmen. Under the multicultural conditions of life some of them became Latvians, some of the Latvians - after the serdom was abolished about 1820 -became Germans until the national awakening after 1870.

The German (Baltic) population which Latvia and Estonia in 1939 has been registered in alphabetical publications of the Latvian and Estonian states (dismissal out of citizenship). I have fotocopies of them. In 1941 only hectographed papers were written without system or order. A paradoxon: The emigrants of 1941 who did not estimate Hitler were punished for that fact having remained two years longer in the east. In many cases they got the German nationality only by becoming SS specialists.

The best and greatest archives for details of persons (maybe only relatives?) is

Finckensteinallee 63
Postfach 450 569
D-12205 B e r l i n

or: berlin@barch.bund.de

The most important details to identify a person are the names and birthdate (and birthplace).

I wish you all the best.


----- Original Message -----
From: Brian
To: Gustav Gangnus
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:39 AM
Subject: Re: more Gangnuss and Truschinski

Hallo Gustav,

I've attached a few pictures of Helmut. I will explain the picture of the gentleman in the military uniform later in this message. I will send a few more pictures after you let me know that you received these pictures. I do not know who the child is in the one picture with Helmut. Remember, all of the pictures that I send you have been identified by my grandmother within the last year. They are her pictures, but she will be 95 years old this May, so her memory is not very good.

Some thoughts:

I have a few pictures of a female named "Trudy" who is sitting with Leone Truschinski and Helmut. I now think that this may be "Gertrude" Gangnus. I still don't know if she is adopted or born to Leontine. My grandmother did not say that she was related to Helmut or Leone T., but I will ask my father to inquire with my grandmother a second time. I will include those pictures in the next message.

My father has placed a call to Latvia to inquire with our relative about a phone number/email/postal address for our Australian relative, Helmut. I will let you know when we meet with some success.

I do have a couple of requests if you are able.

First, do you have any pictures of Leontine T. or Helmut or, more importantly, Erwin? I would appreciate it if you could send me a scanned image or, if it is easier, by post. The image of the gentleman in the uniform is an obituary, of course. I have three or four relatives on my mother's side of the family who died in either WWI or WWII. I have an image of each obituary. So, if you had an obituary, some other image of Erwin, and/or other military records, I would be very appreciative. I am trying to learn more than just birth, marriage and death dates when it is possible. It is very tough, though, as you may be aware, I have only been doing this for less than one year.

Second, as I may have mentioned earlier, no matter the success I have in going further back in my research, I have no idea of how to find records of my relatives when they leave for Germany, pre-WWII or for when they may have left Germany or Prussia or the Volga region for Latvia. Do you have any suggestions? I think this will be my biggest and most meaningful challenge.

The third and related to the previous item is about a relative named Otto Konstantine Till, b- 4 Nov 1910, who died while serving in the German military, but I have been unable to find records to that end. All I know is that he died in 1942. He was born and raised in Riga. Is there a Latvian source that you might recommend?

Of course, I am not asking you to do any research for me, but only to give me any ideas that you might have based upon your experience.

Do you need me to send the immigration records that I have copied from Australia? I already have Leontine's record on my website from which you can download. Is there any specific information that you would like to receive from me? Please let me know.

Thank you for your help!


I am unclear if he wants/needs any more information from me, but I imagine if he does, he'll send me a note. Either way, if my dad somehow manages to get contact information for the gentleman in Australia, I'll forward that to him.

The information he gave me about Germans in Latvia is good. The most interesting thing to me was the comment about there being no German peasants prior to about 1760 in Latvia. So, a date to establish portions of my family tree were something other than peasants is around 1760.

I'm still waiting for a response from the Rogenhagen gentleman. He said that his family is sure of a link to Riga, but the only information I have is in Limbazi (Lemsal, at the time). I think it would be very, very cool if they were NOT aware of the link and found it because of my work!

I just ordered a book from Germany

It is over 500 pages and, according to the LDS website, familysearch.org, has in it a

"List of Baltic-Germans who died as a result of World War II. Names are arranged alphabetically--the index indexes names embedded in the entries which include date and place of birth, disposition (killed, missing, taken prisoner, etc.), date and place of death, profession, and spouse's name. Not all entries include all pieces of information."

Pardon me, but this had damn well better give me some information on Otto Till. If it does that, anything more will be, as we say (for some reason) in America, "gravy".

Wurttemberg, Russia and Deifel

I was just reading in my book, Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns about the Germans in Russia. One thing that would be most interesting to me is to establish a link between some Deifels from the Volga region of Russia to the Deifels to which we are related in Germany. According to my aunt Diane's research, many of the ancestors of "our" Deifels are from the Wurttemburg region of Germany. What I just read is that many of the Germans who left Germany for the Volga region came from the WURTTEMBERG area! This is BIG news and something that I will investigate this spring or summer. I cannot recall, but for some reason I thought I saw that that there was a couple of Deifels in US immigration records, but their origin was in Russia. If that is the case, they may be related to us AND their descendants are in the US!!

26 March 2008


I had a student today say that they saw online that I was into genealogy. He went on to say that he didn't know much about it, except that it has something to do with Genies.

20 March 2008

Deifel: My mother's side of the family

A whole lot of genealogical research has already been completed by my aunt Diane, but my mother -who on occasion seems quite interested in the genealogy- asked that I create a page for her side of the family. So, here are the names for which she is most interested:

Deifel and Teufel

Contact me if you are doing research on these names and maybe we can establish a link and exchange information.


I got an message for a "Rogenhagen" from Germany this morning. So, as they requested, I emailed them after which I suppose they will send me a note again inquiring what I know. I asked them in the email if they were aware of any relation from Latvia. I'll keep you posted.

15 March 2008

Puls update

I have found the birth record of Katherina Elisebeth Puls. I found it after finding her death record. She and her family went to Jesus' church in Riga. She was born in 1821 and had 6 siblings. Interestingly, her parents married over 7 years AFTER she was born. Obviously, I found their marriage record. That means, of course, that I've found another family name, though this one is FAR less interesting. The name is...BERG. There were a TON of them in that church! Anyway, I would now like to find the death records for either (preferably both) of Katherine's parents, as that may help me find their birth location. I'm still waiting for a city/location outside of Latvia for some blood relative. The best I have thus far is a Sperber whose father was born in Lodz. Maybe there is a Lotz in Latvia, but I know there is one in Poland and is a reasonably major city, so I am just going to assume he is from there. Regardless, I will not be pursuing that family line any further.

14 March 2008

Blood relatives

The picture below is made up of individuals spanning four generations and are direct descendants of the people I am researching and showing on this website. It is a picture from 2005. I am on the left, while my father is next to me. We sure look like we're from northern Europe, huh? We are all in the US right now, but the three oldest in the picture are originally born in Latvia.

13 March 2008


I know I had promised more information, but I have been working on fixing a computer for many hours over the recent days. (I still haven't been told those records I am waiting for from the LDS have arrived yet...)

Anyway, I do have some good news from today. Someone did a google search for "Trusinskis" and found this site! I am hoping that they know and/or are related to a Trusinskis in Latvia. The search did originate in Latvia, so maybe I will be lucky.

If you are that person, post a message on how to contact you!

09 March 2008

Latvian Surnames oder Lettisch familiennamen

Well, maybe not really "Latvian" as most would claim that they are in fact German and not Latvian. While I tend to agree, they are all from documents that originate in present day Latvia. The following is a list of names that I have compiled from my research thus far in which I am trying to map out my family tree. I will update it as I learn more. ALL of the names are important to my research. My grandparents' names have two stars (**), while my great grandparents' names have one star (*). PLEASE contact me if you are of any relation to any of these names, even if you are unsure of a relationship to Latvia! The Truschinski names in the second row below are especially important as they are the different versions of my last name and there have been very few found with some connection to Latvia at this point.

**Trusinski or Truschinski or Truschinsky or Trusinskis

08 March 2008

Research update

I still have not received notification about the Trusinskis records arriving in Oakdale. I think that there will be some very interesting and useful information in those records. Their usefulness will be limited, however, because I think they are going to be primarily in Russian. It takes much longer for me to identify names and it is very, very difficult for me to gather much more information from them. *sigh*

I have received another communication from the gentleman from Germany. He is originally from Latvia, and, like my father and his family, left Latvia when he was very young. He has extensive knowledge of the Gangnus family line and it seems may have some that might overlap with some other areas in which I am researching. For example, he mentions an "Alexander Till" and his marriage to someone. I will be curious to find out more about this particular Till, because I have one that was born in the same year (Eugene Alexander Till) but I have specific records about him having another marriage at a preceding time. Maybe there was a second marriage or, more likely, it is some other Till. The Till line that I have amassed thus far is from Johann Samuel August Till who had 9 children. I've only established a line from one of those children! From that child (August Theodor Till) who had 11 children, I have found three who have been married and a couple who had died when they were young. Of those three marriages, I have only one that continues another generation. That one has 7 children all of which were married at some point.

My point is that there are a lot of Tills out there for which I have been unable to find information. So, who knows who this "Alexander Till" may be...

Speaking of Tills, I have a death record for August Theodor Tills second wife, Katharina Elisabeth Puls. The record lists her as being married, not widowed, so that means that August T. Till was still alive at that point! Also, it lists her birth place as Riga, so that is where I must look to find more Puls records. As a part of my research, I am trying to play closer attention to "witnesses" in birth records. If they appear, that means that they must still be alive, which helps me in establishing a death date for said individual at a later point.

Other than the obvious limitation of how far I can go back in time to find records, I am going to have to figure out how to go about finding when these Tills (and others) left Latvia for Germany and elsewhere... I really, really want to find a link to some Tills who are currently alive in Germany -as does my Dad! In fact, it seems as if that is the goal in which he is most interested.

07 March 2008

I've received an email from a Gangnus!

It's been posted on one of the comments in a message dated 28 September 2007. See, Diane, this internet trolling, as I'd like to call it, has already reaped some rewards! :-) Ironically, Diane, some sort of link through the Gangnuss name leads in part to the Volga Germans. Remember, that is where some Deifels lived??

03 March 2008

More records online!

I have a lot of pretty good stuff coming up. There aren't any "breakthroughs" in them, but they do seem to further along some lines of research. They develop the Till line which, ultimately, I hope, will lead to a connection with some Tills in Heidelberg, Germany. Stay tuned!

25 February 2008

Deutschbalten or Baltendeutsche or Baltic Germans

I created this web site so that I might be able to receive messages from those who might be related to me in Latvia, Germany, Australia or the US. My family on my father's side is from Latvia, but considered themselves German. Everything that I've researched thus far confirm that. I've got records to the late 1700s to that end. The names that I have found thus far can be found throughout northern Germany. The names are: Till, Ahrens, Puls, Neumann, Wiegart, Bitte, Kerstein and Trusinski/Truschinski. In my research, Latvians would adopt German culture if they "rose" to the middle class so it can be hard to prove German heritage from Latvian heritage.

My mother's side of the family comes (mostly) from southern Germany. The names on that side include Kaiser, Meyer and...most interestingly...Deifel/Teufel -meaning "devil".

Please feel free to send me a note if you have any knowledge of these family names -especially if you know of a link to Latvia! Finally, if you know of any books or other resources that would help me further understand the Baltic Germans in Latvia, post a comment! Thanks! Danke Schon!!

24 February 2008

Research update

I spent four hours at the LDS in Oakdale. I reviewed two films for St. Martin's church in Riga, Latvia. It was the second time I had reviewed them because the first time all of the good viewing machines were occupied and my camera didn't seem to be working.

Here are my results: I have taken pictures of the records and thereby confirmed a new family name in the tree: Bitte. It was the maiden name of Anna Margarethe Ahrens. I found her death record, but not her birth record. Her birth record is from a time before St. Martins church was founded. I also have, of course, the name of her husband: Friedrich Ottomar Ahrens. I have neither a birth date nor death date for him. I also don't have a marriage date for either of them. I did see that a number of death records often listed two other churches in Riga for where the people who had died were born or baptised: St. Johannes and St. Gertrude. I am sure that I will review their records sometime, though no later than this summer. In Anna M. Ahrens death record, it lists here place of birth or baptism (not sure which it is) as Pinkenhof. That translates to Pinki in Latvian and is located near the present day port city of Liepaja, though in the 1800s and earlier it was called Libau.

The records still haven't arrived for Trusinski.

UPDATE...on the update.

In doing some online research at the Latvian government records website, I found that 'Pinki" is in more than one location in Latvia. It is also a specific area around Riga.

22 February 2008

Resource ordered

A few days ago I ordered, among other things, a book from amazon.com called Der St. Jacobi-Kirchhof in Riga (1773-1895). It was written around 1895. It is in German. It is about, as far as I can tell, the graveyard or churchgrounds of St. Jacobs church in Riga. My father's father was baptised there. I have looked at some of the text on amazon.com and it will be interesting. It will be interesting, in part, because it is in German and I will try to figure out enough of it to make it of some use. It should be here in a week or so.

13 February 2008


I went to the LDS family history center in Oakdale today for about 2.5 hours. Things didn't go very smoothly. I arrived about 10 minutes after 6 pm and all of the good machines were taken. As a result, I had to use the old machines. I should take a picture of them. They are far less user-friendly! Then, to make things worse, my camera wasn't working (not that the pictures would be very good with the machine I was using.) I went through two reels of film for St. Martin's church in Riga. I found quite a number of birth records and at least one death record for the Ahrens line of the family tree. I will have to return in two Saturdays to take some good photos of the documents. The reel of film with the deaths for St. Jakobs church in Riga hasn't arrived yet. In that reel I hope find some death records for a Trusinski or two and then in that record a birth location. I have a feeling they are Russian. I am still at a loss as to why they didn't leave Latvia with the rest of the Germans if they so closely identified themselves as "German"...

31 January 2008

A couple of minor things

I've ordered three documents last weekend: two sets of birth records from St. Martins in Riga that are from around 1850-1873 and a set of death records from St. Jakobs in Riga. The death records cover from around 1920 to 1939. I hope to find the Trusinskis' there, but expect to find a surprise or two. They should arrive in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I think a whole lot of the 1920s documents are going to be in Russian. I can decypher Russian font/text, but Russian handwriting is MUCH more difficult for me!

The most recent "family tree" on this site is quite outdated. As my immediately family knows, I have a couple of branches now established into the 1700s.

I emailed a gentleman who had maintained a site on the internet that deals with Latvian genealogy. The site is very, very good. It is bitter-sweet, for me, however, because in one link he lists the resources he has "at his fingertips". TWO of which are VERY interesting. One resource, if I recall correctly, is the list of Baltic Germans who left in 1939/40, while the other was made up of Latvians who died in WWII serving in the German military. Unfortunately, I can't even seem to find that link now. UGH! Finally, I tried to subscribe to the mailing list and discussion group, but the address posted isn't recognised as a valid address by yahoo.com.

It's all good, however. I have made a TON of progress in just a short time. Who would have thought that I'd have documents that go back to the late 1700s?! Of course, I did that in less than 9 months of research! I am STILL looking for that link to Sweden and the supposed link to a Polish baron.

The mystery goes on...

24 January 2008

Communities in Latvia in which I have found relatives in the past

Goldingen -Kuldiga
Schrunden -Skrunda
Lemsal -Limbazi
Iwanden -Ivantes
Needern or Nerden -Niedru or Niedre
Wenden -Cesis
Wolmar -Valmiera

I expect to find more. I found a reference to Kaupen and there is one in Germany and one in Eastern Latvia, but the one in eastern Latvia does not make logical sense... Oh, and even more interesting is that there is a community named "Tils" in western Latvia. "Tils" is how Till is spelled in Latvian. Frequently, surnames are a reference to occupation or a region from where a family comes. The third common basis for a family name is that it is the patronymic of the father. For example, if the son is named John and the father is named Karl, the last name for the son is Karlson. I have a number of those in my searches, but only one that can be linked to my tree in any way: Peterson -at it is only by marriage.

Looking for...

Karlis Trusinskis, Roberts Trusinskis and Igors Trusinskis. We may be related so I am seeking to determine if that is true. I share your last (family) name. My father left Latvia with his parents and siblings during World War II and the name on their birth certificates was spelled Trusinskis. I do not think the name is probably any more common in Latvia than it is in the United States.

If you contact me through this web site by clicking on the "comments" link, I will send you more information that may help you determine if there is a relationship! I hope you choose to contact me!


21 January 2008

More information found

I have found yet another community in which we may have had (past tense, certainly!) relatives. In a death document for a Carl (yes, Carl with a C) Wihgert, it noted the town in which he was born. He was born on 12 December 1814 in Skrunda, then called Schrunden -or something like that. His father was a shoemaker. It is the first instance in which I have found an occupation that was easily read and understood. Also, it gave the mother's maiden name -Jankowski- and where the mother and father came from. In German it is Needern [or Niedru (Nerdern)], and is also somewhere around Kuldiga. FINALLY, another reason the document is particularly interesting is that the death record spells Carl's name Wihgert, like the way our earlier, documented relatives spelled it, yet the birth record is spelled Wiegert. SO, what that means is that if a link can be found from one generation to the next, a slight differnce is spelling doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't related. In fact, it may mean that they are the SAME PERSON! I KNOW I have seen a series of Wiegerts in my research by I didn't record their location/information, as one has to limit their search parameters in some way.

I am still looking for the marriage record of the gentleman who had died in 1885 and then, from that, hope to find the birth record of Heinrich Wihgert. That might give a middle name and help me find siblings, too. I still haven't found the maiden name of Heinrich's wife, Anne, anywhere. Hopefully that is listed in their marriage document...if I can ever find that. WHEW!

18 January 2008

Disappointing realization...

So, about the Rogenhagens of whom I was so excited to have found...I'm not related. The reason that I am not related is because the Till that married the granddaughter of a Rogenhagen had four children in that marriage. The wife then died (don't know why, YET) and then he remarried a bit later. He then had 7 children with that woman. It is through one of those children I am related.

It's kind of too bad, as Rogenhagen seemed to be an interesting name to me. *sigh* Oh well.

One more thing: I reviewed two films in Oakdale that I had ordered from the LDS. There was nothing there except for one reference to a "Puls". It was a maiden name of a woman in a marriage document. I guess there was one more thing. I did find a lot of entries for St. Jacobs Kirche in Riga. Virtually all of the entries, however, seem to be "von" someone. It is my understanding thus far that "von" in front of a family name implies some sort of royal lineage. My grandfather -apparently- insisted that he and his family were related to royalty. It certainly seems as if a number of others in his church were, but there isn't a hint of evidence thus far that his family is!

Tomorrow I will be returning to Oakdale to review (hopefully) four more films of records from the late 1800s. I don't recall if they are the Till side or the my grandfather's side, but I hope find something of use. Finally, I plan to order another film or two that focuses on the (my family name -I don't type it so my students do not find this site via a web search). I have hit a wall in that area. It is on that side I have a key person being born in Latvia, Russia or Karelia. Not particularly useful, though, if I actually found the record, it would be pretty cool if it were Karelia!

14 January 2008

I figured out where the Wihgerts came from!

My grandfather's mother came from some town, according to her confirmation record, that I couldn't figure out, given the messy foreign script. Anyway, long story short, they didn't come from Goldingen, but a community near Goldingen called (now) Ivandes. I have no idea about the current or past size, but I hope to someday find out about its history. Suprisingly, I also came across a death record for Karl Jabob Wihgert. He was 71 when he died which was in 1885. Unfortunately, I STILL haven't found the maiden name for my grandfather's grandmother. She is consistently listed as Anne Wihgert, despite most other records from other churches showing the "geboren" name. *sigh* Maybe I can find the death record. Sometimes they give the mother's maiden name on that.

12 January 2008

very quick update

I've used the website mentioned in the last post and found out some more information. I have found two more family names that have been mentioned multiple times in documents: Rogenhagen and Neuman. BOTH of these lines go back to the late 1700s and I found a Till (married to the Neuman/n) that was born in 1781 +/- a year. An interesting note: I've found more than once instance (by myself once, while in research by others another time) where a couple had another child and gave it virtually the exact same first and middle name as another child.

04 January 2008

Latvian Genealogy Records Online

The Latvian government is scanning and publishing online many documents that family genealogists want to view. Thus far, if one isn't familiar with some aspects of Latvian and/or Evangelical Lutheran organization, they may be a bit difficult to navigate. For example, when I've requested documents from the Family History Center through the LDS, I could search for them by a specific municipality or church. They don't seem to organize them in this way as far as I can see. Additionally, I can't seem to figure out how to print out the documents or save the image. If you check out the site and can figure out how to do so, PLEASE revisit this site and share with me how you did it! THANKS!!

You do have to register to use the site, but it is quick and free! Here's the link: http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html