This section of the website is devoted to a wide range of tools to assist genealogists researching Latvian Jewish ancestors, whether beginners or advanced researchers. The first two sections will assist in starting research and finding your ancestral town. The Archival resources section discusses both archives and tools to access the archival resources, most of which are not indexed.
Getting Started with Jewish Genealogical Research in Latvia
If you are new to genealogy, we recommend reading the first section, which is not geographically specific, and applies to genealogical researchers in general. The prerequisite to doing research overseas is to learn all you can about your ancestors in the country where they settled after leaving the "Old Country."
Once you have done your basic research in the country where your ancestors settled, you are ready to explore overseas resources. The following section will assist in finding your ancestor's town of origin. The advice in this section uses Latvian examples, but is equally applicable regardless of your ancestor's country of origin. Determining the town of origin is an important starting point, but don't forget that ancestors didn't always stay in the same place, so once you determine the town, be aware that your ancestor may have left records in other towns as well.
Also, some Jews who originated in Latvia or Estonia may have migrated elsewhere before emigrating altogether. In particular, there was a lot of interchange between the Jews of Latvia and Lithuania, and it is not uncommon to find families with members who originated in one place and later relocated. Be sure to expand your search to neighboring towns, and even countries, once you exhaust resources in your town of origin.
The sheer volume of resources available to Latvian Jewish researchers is impressive, but most resources are not indexed. This is especially true in the case of archival resources housed in the Latvian State Historical Archives in Latvia's capital city of Riga. The pages in this section discuss what can be requested directly from the archives, and how to access resources both on the Raduraksti website and on FamilySearch. There is also a discussion of how to use the crowd-sourced Ciltskoki website to locate passport files, among other. Other resources and links, including those for Estonia, will also be discussed in this section.
This section contains a variety of miscellaneous resources, from helpful websites to translation and other aids. It also lists the names of a couple of researchers and a tour guide.