Finding Latvian Archival Records through the Ciltskoki Website
by Marion E. Werle
Note: Due to recent changes in the Ciltskoki website, the information below is no longer current. There are two levels of coverage, general, and name search, the latter of which requires a paid access code. We will update the website shortly to reflect the changes and new screen layouts. (21 September 2021)
The Latvian website Ciltskoki, (Family Trees) has begun the process of indexing many archival records currently on FamilySearch. The website was founded by Egils Turss, and the background is described here (you will need to turn on the Translate feature of your browser, as the article is in Latvian).
The Ciltskoki website has a number of ongoing indexing projects focused on interwar passports, house registers, and other documents being digitized by FamilySearch. As documents are indexed, they are linked to the digital images. Indexing is ongoing, so check the website frequently.
The Ciltskoki website is in Latvian, and as such, you will need to use the Translate function of your browser. As with the other websites, you need to set up a userid and password. Be aware, however, that the “Enter” key doesn’t always work (especially for signon) in a language other than Latvian, so you may need to switch back to Latvian before hitting “Enter”
The website is free, and as such, is filled with advertising – it is easy to click on ads if you aren’t careful.
Internal Passports (Pases)
One of the most useful searches on Ciltskoki is finding internal passport files. Although the Latvian internal passports on FamilySearch are roughly in alphabetical order, with each file having its own archival number, the Latvian surname spellings are variable, and it is difficult to locate passports simply by browsing. Ciltskoki allows searches either by full surname (uzvards) or partial – no wildcard asterisk (*) is needed. The partial search will find surnames that either begin with or include the partial name. The search will also find married women with the maiden name of the search term. Note that the JewishGen Latvia Database also contains a collection of entries from passport application books as well as a limited selection of Jewish passports turned in to the Riga police. The latter collection includes people originally from Jekabpils, and many details from the passport files have been translated and extracted. However, the vast majority of the Riga passport files has not been translated, and the indexing provided by the Ciltskoki volunteers is invaluable. In some cases, search results will not list a given name, so be sure to check all entries of a given surname for potential family members.
This is the Ciltskoki home page after signing in: