Latvia Census

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Family lists / local censuses

Research use: Excellent source for identifying family groups. Due to the difficulty in using metrical books, the revision list provides the most information for the least amount of effort. The original returns are bound in volumes that are sometimes three to four feet thick, making them very difficult to handle except on microfilm.

Record type: Population enumerations were conducted after the revisions for the purpose of assessing a poll tax and identifying those for conscription into the military.

General: The term supplemental revision lists was used in some areas when referring to family lists. Since there was no universal mandate as in the case of the revisions to create these records, they occur randomly at different times for different places. Family lists were also created by conscription offices that listed all male members of a family along with their parents.

Time period: 1860-1920.

Contents: Head of household, family members, ages; other details vary.

Location: State Historical Archive in Riga.

Population coverage: 30% coverage because conducted randomly on a local basis and not always preserved.

Reliability: They are not completely reliable because of efforts to evade taxation or conscription by avoiding correct enumeration.[1]

All-Russian Empire Census

Research use: Identify family groups and give extensive personal information. Identify location of birth as well as residence, leading to other research sources.

Record type: Population enumeration primarily for statistical purposes.

General: The only 19th century general census in Latvia was conducted in the middle of winter, January 28, 1897, when the population was least mobile. It was undertaken by the Central Census Bureau, subordinate to the Central Statistical Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Russian Empire. Two copies were created, one kept locally and the other sent into the Ministry. The Ministry copy was eventually destroyed. A second census was anticipated in 1914 but World War I intervened.

Time period: 1897.

Contents: There is a separate list for each household. The first page of each enumeration form notes state (guberniia), county (uezd), district (volost), village, name of head of household, number of dwellings, number of souls found on day census was taken (divided by sex), number living there permanently, how many people are there who are not peasants, those who live there but are not official residents, and signature of person who compiled the form. On the following pages is listed: name; note if blind, deaf, mute, or insane; relationship to head of family and head of household; age; marital status; social rank; birthplace; where registered; residence; note if person is absent at the time of the census; native tongue; literacy; place of study or graduation; main profession; additional profession; military status.

Location: A remnant of the census is located at the State Historical Archive in Riga.

Population coverage: 10% (see preservation note).

Reliability: High.

Preservation of records/vulnerability: Approximately 40% of the name returns are extant. The records are well preserved in a good facility. They were little used during the communist period, 1940-1990.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Latvia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1995-2002.