Frequently asked questions

How and when do I pay you?

Full payment in advance is required. You can pay by PayPal or arrange a bank transfer to our bank account. Using TransferWise.com allows to save money on bank fees. Payment details are included on the invoice.

How long does it take to complete the research?

It can take up to a month to complete a research report. The twenty-hour research plan may take longer than a month. For example, after requesting LVVA archival documents it takes three days to be given access to the original documents. Every subsequent request also takes three days.

How do I receive the report and copies?

The report will be sent to your email address as a pdf file. Digital copies of the archival documents will be sent to your email address via WeTransfer. You will receive a download link which is active for seven days.

Can you find out where and when my ancestor died?

If your ancestor died before 1914, then we can search in church registers, however it may require a lot of work if the year and place of death is not known.

Vital records post 1914 are not available to the public or researchers. You can obtain the death certificate from the Civil Registry Office in the relevant municipality (Dzimtsarakstu nodaļa), however, you must provide information of the time and place of death. No more than seven years can be reviewed for one request.

 

You also must provide copies of the documents—birth and/ or, marriage certificates—proving that you are related to this person.

We can request the death certificate on your behalf with your notarized and apostilled power of attorney. Additionally, we would require copies of the documents proving your relationship to the deceased person. To contact the Civil Registry Office Archive directly, please write to dzimts.dep@tm.gov.lv

You can also search two online databases, cemety.lv and Nekropole.info, however, these databases, do not contain information on all inhabitants of Latvia.

Can you find out what happened to my ancestors during the Soviet occupation?

This is a difficult task, because the documents give a reference to the past, but not to the fate of a person, and the war changed people’s lives very dramatically.

 

If you know the address of your ancestor and when they lived there, then the search in the house books or other documents registering inhabitants is possible.

 

If you know where the person worked, then some research is also possible. Keep in mind that all personal information from the post-war period is protected by the Archives Law (of the Republic of Latvia),  and the EU General Data Protection Regulation, so the researcher will need your notarized and apostilled power of attorney, as well as copies of documents proving your relationship to the requested ancestor.

If you know only the name of your ancestor, then you can search the Internet, or some of the few electronic databases:

  • deported persons (a database of persons deported to Siberia in 1941 and 1949);

  • historical periodicals;

  • the database of the Latvian State archive (LVA);

  • cemety.lv (a digital database of Latvian cemeteries, still a work in progress and therefore not complete); and

  • Timenote.info (deceased persons database)No complete database exists for those who emigrated from Latvia during WWII, but you can find some information on refugees in Germany in Arolsen Archives Database.

  • No searchable database of passports or census records for the post-WWII period exists.

My family emigrated from Latvia in 1944. Can you find out how they fled and where they lived in Germany?

The records of Displaced Person camps are kept in Bad Arolsen, Germany, and the International Tracing Service can be contacted for further information

The ITS does not keep documents on prisoners of war who were not exploited for forced labor, or on the fates or whereabouts of members of the German armed forces.

Do you research Jewish families?

I am not an expert in Jewish history in Latvia, but I can help you in some cases. To my experience, JewishGen Database,  is the most useful source for researching Latvian Jewish families.

 

In most cases, Jewish names used in the Russian Empire differ a lot from those used post emigration, therefore try various versions when researching the database.

 

There is little we can add to the pre-1914 period sources already published in this database, but we can collect document copies from the Interwar period, such as passport copies or house book records.

I can also suggest the Latvian University Database The Latvian Names Project to research the fates of Latvian Jews during the Holocaust.

I would like to find relatives in Latvia. Can you help me?

To find living relatives, usually an initial archival research is necessary. If you already know your relatives birth date and parents’ names, then you can use the paid service “Transferring wanted persons letters” available on Latvija.lv portal, or send a request and a letter by post to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA).

The OCMA Population Register is an electronic database begun in 1992, so it contains information only on those people who lived in Latvia from 1992. The OCMA will verify if your relative can be found in the Population Register, and if the result is positive, they will forward your letter to your relative’s postal address.

 

You will not receive your relative’s address, though.

If the person you are searching for died prior to 1992, they will not be registered. If the person died post-1992, then there is a chance that OCMA will identify their descendants and forward your letter to them.

We are not detectives and searching for living family members is not our focus, but in some cases, we can include this as a final phase of the research project.