30 September 2006

BOOK: Researching Latvia and Estonia

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has a new addition to its series of guides: A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Latvia and Estonia by Arlene Beare.

The compact, all-you-need-to-begin, 144-page guide has been updated and expanded from the original 2001 work, with new sections, databases and Web links. Readers will be prepared to tackle follow-up research.

The history section, with maps, offers a focus on where to look, while “Starting Your Research” provides the nitty-gritty on where and how to begin, archives, surnames, patrynomics and international and online resources, associations of former Latvians and Estonians, a good section on Latvian resources, and archives (including those from Lithuania and Belarus, which hold records of interest).

Latvian archives hold vital records -- military registers, census records, family lists, passport and registration books and more. The guide explains the holdings.

In addition to a list of 1891 Jewish firms in Riga (company name, type of business, owner’s name and address), both the Holocaust and Cemeteries sections hold a good overview of available data. Museums and libraries in Riga offer more relevant holdings, while the "Latvia and the Internet" section includes many Web links.

Special interest groups (SIGs) and links provide additional help, and a travel section lists recommended guides. Lists of communities and previous names, archival terms and translations are followed by a FAQ and bibliography. The Estonia section is smaller, but also holds the essentials.

Other guides in the reasonably-priced series (about $11) include genealogical resesource guides to Germany and Austria, the U.K., Lithuania, organizing your family history records, reading Hebrew inscriptions and documents and genealogical resources within the Jewish home and family.

To order, email publications@jgsgb.org.uk

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