Genealogy Resources - Jewish Latvia

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Conducting genealogical research can, at times, feel like systematically looking for a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, there are a wealth of resources to help you look for the right information in the right places. With these incredible aids, this activity that can be - at once - educational, emotionally redeeming and spiritually satisfying as one connects with the past to better understand and shape the present and future. Through these resources, some will reconnect branches of their family severed by the Holocaust.


Latvia SIG (special interest group) at

Riga Home Page

Courland Research Group Web Site

Daugavpils (Dvinsk, Dunaberg) Genealogy Resources

Latvia Research Resource Links including the Mormon Church Genealogy site

Guide to Accessing Genealogical Records in Latvia
Center for Jewish History

Latvian State Archives

Map of the Baltic Republics of Russia - 1915

Centropa Latvia Photos and Family Histories
Centropa's on-line database contains 113 photos and 10 detailed family histories from Latvia (as of September 2008). Search these photos and family histories here. You may also upload photos of your own family.

Latvian Holocaust Jewish Names Project
Documenting The Names of Those Who Perished in Latvia

The 1935 Latvian census identified 93,479 Jews living in Latvia. It is estimated that about 70,000 Latvian Jews perished in the Holocaust, the great majority by December 1941. The totality and speed with which this mass murder was achieved meant that many families were completely destroyed with no one left to mourn or even inquire about the dead. As a result, disturbingly few of those killed have been identified. Until now approximately 70 per cent of the Holocaust victims of Latvia remain unidentified.

The purpose of the Latvia Holocaust Jewish Names Project is to recover the names and identities of these members of the Latvian Jewish Community who perished and to ensure that their memory is preserved. The project is undertaken by the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia, Riga. Results of the names research is on the web at:

The project is not yet finished, many columns of the personal cards are still empty and the fate of many Latvian Jews still has to be established. If the fate of a family member or friend is not stated, you are encouraged to share information about their fate with the names project, at the email address on their web site.



Jewish Genealogy Web Portal of
There are many resources at this web portal. We advise that you do these 10 basic activities to get started researching ancestors in Latvia at the JewishGen portal.

  1. Register the names you are researching at the Jewish Genealogy Family Finder, so others who may be related can find you.
  2. Search the Jewish Genealogy Family Finder.
  3. Visit the Latvia SIG (special interest group) section and look up names you are seeking in its Latvia databases. If you are lucky, they may be listed.
  4. Search the Family Tree of the Jewish People, a collection of Jewish family trees. Also, post your family tree here so others may find you.
  5. For Holocaust-related searches, visit the Yizkor Book Project, which documents Holocaust victims.
  6. For Holocaust-related searches, visit the Holocaust Global Registry for searches for Holocaust survivors.
  7. Check the Latvia SIG (Special Interest Discussion Group) and its archives for information relevant to your research.
  8. Visit the JewishGenMall for books and videos about genealogy and Jewish Latvia.
  9. Visit the Learn section of JewishGen (from the home page)for free FAQs, Info Files and Tools for your genealogical research. These are very helpful.
  10. Review the home page of for other resources that may assist your research.

Seek your Shtetl! It is important when conducting research to know the town or shtetl of your ancestors. Many locations in Latvia have had multiple names under Russian, German, Polish-Lithuanian and independent rule. For example the Dvinsk of our grandparents and great grandparents time is today known as Daugavpils. It also has been called DŁnaburg, Dyneburg and Dinanburg as well as Dwinsk, Daugawpils and Daugpilis. Some towns in Latvia have similar sounding names, such as Karsava and Kraslava. If you are not sure which country in which your family's shtetl is located, there are even more similar-sounding names. JewishGen's shtetl-seeker helps you to solve this problem. It is a database of shtetl names with synonyms and geographic locations. For Latvia, as of 2006, ShtetlSeeker lists 4,849 localities, with 4,550 synonyms for a total of 9,399 place names. For the current name and spelling of the town(s) you are researching, visit ShtetlSeeker at

FAQ's / Getting Started with Jewish Genealogical Research
Holocaust Survivors and Victims at Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem in Israel has "pages of testimony" about those who died, submitted by those who knew them. There are at least 1 million such pages of testimony, and they became accessibly on-line in autumn of 2004. Search the pages of testimony by location and name to find those who died and the names of survivors who wrote of them.

List of Sites for Jewish Genealogy Research - from Avotaynu

Jewish Genealogy Publications and Resources

Jewish Genealogy Links — A Collection

Centropa Oral History Tool Kit
Centropa has developed a robust and detailed methodology for developing oral histories with Holocaust survivors, available here as a pdf. While this may be a more extensive process than many family historians wish to undertake, all can learn a great deal from the Centropa process and will adopt particular parts of it. It suggests tips, techniques and interview questions that you may not have previously considered.

This is a wonderful guide to interviewing family elders. If you are ambitious, patient and willing to spend the time, you may find yourself using most or all of the Centropa process, and perhaps contributing the results to the Centropa web site. Related tools are also provided here, such as a family tree format, spelling of Jewish expressions and a list of pre-war and post-war occupational categories. The interviewers workbook is available in English, Russian, German, Hungarian and Romanian.



Ellis Island One-Step Search
The best, easiest and fastest way to search the Ellis Island database from

Ellis Island Web Site - On-Line Search of Ship Passenger Records



A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Latvia and Estonia
by Arlene Beare (2nd edition, 144 pages, 2006)
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
(£6.75 U.K., $16 U.S./Overseas (postage included)

Rabbinic Bibliography - Latvia
Reference books about rabbis and synagogues in Latvia from as early as 1853.



Jewish Latvian Archives at Kibbutz Shefayim (Israel)
The following are indices of the records of the Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews at Kibbutz Shefayim in Israel.

Books Relevant to Latvian Jewry

Latvian Jewish Organizations, Parties, Institutions and Movements

Latvian Jewish Personalities

Photos of Latvian Jewish Organizations and Institutions

Photos of Latvian Jewish Personalities


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