Other Resources

General Resources

The list below is an alphabetical list of additional resources that are available to researchers, from other Research Divisions and Special Interest groups, to digitized newspapers and miscellaneous websites. Additional resources may also be found in the Cemetery and Holocaust sections of this website.

ANU - Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot - has a Communities Database that includes profiles of Jewish Communities in Latvia.

Baedeker, Karl. Russia with Teheran, Port Arthur, and Peking; Handbook for Travellers. Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1914. Digitized on the Internet Archive; pages 46-84 cover the areas that encompass present-day Latvia and Estonia. Includes maps.

Beare, Arlene. A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Latvia and Estonia.  London: Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, 2016. Two downloadable updates are also available.

Belarus SIG - Belarus shares a border with the Latgale region of Latvia, and the former Vitebsk gubernia extended from Latgale into Belarus. The National Historical Archives of Belarus in Minsk holds some records pertaining to Latgale (these are not indexed). The holdings have not been fully inventoried, but according to the Latvian archivists, they include the following: 1811 revision lists for Rezekne and Ludza, 1850 lists of citizens and merchants of Ludza, 1889 Lists of Jews of Vitebsk Province living in rural areas, 1874 census of Rezekne and Varaklani, 1874 census of Rezekne and Varaklani, 1874 census of Daugavpils, Dagda, and (partial) Polotski, and 1874 list of homeowners in Gostini (Glazmanka).

Bobe, Mendel, ed. The Jews in Latvia. Tel Aviv: Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel, 1971. A translation of all but one chapter appears on the Yizkor Book project of JewishGen - it also includes a chapter on Estonia. A translation is also available on Genealogy Indexer (see below) and the Internet Archive

Facebook - the following groups discuss Latvian Jewish genealogy: Lithuania & Latvia Jewish genealogy and Latvian Jews יהודי לטביה. Two groups covering general Jewish genealogical research are the Jewish Genealogy Portal (partnering with JewishGen) and Tracing the Tribe. Facebook groups will generally answer questions, do simple translations, and give advice, which will vary, depending on the experience of the responder.

Genealogy Indexer - this website has a variety of business and trade directories, searchable by country and keyword (town, name, etc.).

IAJGS International Jewish Cemetery Project is focused on cemeteries, but also has historical background information on regions and towns in Latvia and Estonia.  

JDC Archives - the Joint Distribution Committee's archives holds materials dating from 1914. The individual collections can be accessed via a name search, database search, and/or photo search. The JDC archives is also an excellent source of interwar materials, including site visits to various communities that were devastated in the aftermath of the First World War. 

LitvakSIG - there are close ties between Latvian and Lithuanian Jewish families. It is fairly common to find ancestors who moved from Latvia to Lithuania, or vice versa, so be sure to search for family members in both locations.

Latvia Bibliography - This list of books was initially published in April 1997 in the Latvia SIG Newsletter. Many new publications have appeared since that time, but the list is still useful. Some of the resources have since been digitized and/or translated, as the Mendel Bobe book cited on this list.  Many are out of print. At some point, the bibliography will be updated.

Museum "Jews in Latvia" " - the museum is located in Riga. Its website includes a short list of Towns and Places, profiling Aizpute, Bauska, Dagda, Daugavpils, and Jaunjelgava.

National Library of Latvia has a digital collection that includes photos, maps, and periodicals (see below).  Its periodicals section, Periodika, holds digitized newspapers published between 1930 and 1999, including news stories and various lists (tax,  professionals, property owners, marriage license registrations, etc.). Periodika is searchable by keyword or surname - non-Latvian speakers may use Google translate. Newer issues may be restricted by copyright laws.


Sils, Kārlis. "Why the Estonia-Latvia border was drawn with a British diplomat's pen." Lsm.lv [Latvian Public Broadcasting]. 1 April 2020.  

Mawhood, Will. "The Strange Story of Walk - United by the Soviets, Divided by Freedom." Deep Baltic. 28 October 2015.

Translation aids 

BYU Script Tutorial (Russian section) is a comprehensive resource devoted to all aspects of reading Russian genealogical records. The website includes information on both handwritten and printed Russian, and is divided into sections discussing Techniques & Tools, Alphabet, and Documents. Topics include sample documents, names, handwriting recognition, genealogical terms, and calendar information. Jewish examples are included.  “The Russian Tutorial.” Brigham Young University. https://script.byu.edu/russian-handwriting/introduction/: 2024.

Glossary of Latvian Genealogical Terms, was prepared by Arlene Beare, with the assistance of Mark Maymind. This glossary, covering occupations, family relationships, and many other useful terms. was prepared to assist volunteers translating both internal passports and internal passport issuance books, and is an invaluable aid to any researcher using modern Latvian genealogical documents.

"Latvian Genealogical Word List." FamilySearch Wiki. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Latvian_Genealogical_Word_List : 2020. 

“Reading Russian Handwritten Records." FamilySearch Online Learning Center. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Classes_in_the_Learning_Center  : 2019. Videos 76, 77, 78.

"Russian "How to" Guides on FamilySearch." FamilySearch Wiki. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Russia_%22How_to%22_Guides : 2021. This is a treasure trove of links and informative guides on reading Russian genealogical documents.

Shea, Jonathan D. and Hoffman, William F. Following the Paper Trail: a Multilingual Translation Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1994. 

------------------------------In Their Words; A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents, vol.2: Russian, 2nd ed. Houston: Language & Lineage Press, 2014.


Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Grestes 2-12

Riga, LV-1021


Email: aleksgen@balticgen.com

website: http://www.balticgen.com/

Mobile 371 6416972

Aleks is a Latvian Jewish genealogical researcher and historian who is also a contributing editor to Avotaynu. He is available for research services, photographing towns and cemeteries, and as a tour guide. He will perform research for families originating in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Russia and Poland. His services are described on his website.

Jana Makarov 

Email: janaafodi@gmail.com

Jana will perform research services at the Archives.

Tour Guide

Elena Spungina 

Email: elenaspungina@inbox.lv

Elena is a tour guide for visiting Latvia. She has a car and speaks good English.  

Note: Inclusion on this page does not constitute an endorsement by JewishGen or the Latvia Research Division. Interested researchers should contact professional researchers and guides in advance regarding fees and services offered.

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