Latvia Military Records

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Revision lists

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 enumeration for the purpose of assessing a poll tax and identifying those for conscription into the military.

General: Ten official revisions were conducted in the Russian Empire through 1859. Enumeration began in Latvia, after it was annexed by that empire, with the fifth revision (1795-1808), and continued with the sixth (1811), seventh (1815-1825), eighth (1833-1835), ninth (1850-1852) and tenth (1857-1859). There are some earlier revisions for portions of Livland that came under Russian rule at the beginning of the 18th century and were incorporated into Latvia. One copy was kept in the county treasury (uezdnoe kaznacheistvo) and the other was sent to the provincial fiscal chamber (gubernskaiia kazennaia palata). Separate lists were kept for the different social classes such as merchants (kupechestvo), townspeople (meshchane) and peasants (krestiane). Revision lists (skazski) are filed and bound by districts and large cities.

Time period: 1795-1859.

Contents: Revision number of household, name, parentage, age, age at time of previous revision, sex, nationality, social rank, relationship to household head, and change of status since the last revision of all those in the household. Females were not recorded in the sixth revision. The fifth revision included information on the parentage of the females but this was dropped as of the sixth revision. Sometimes the lists are accompanied by supporting documentation.

Location: State Historical Archive in Riga.

Percentage in Family History Library: 30%. 132 rolls of revision lists up to 1834 were filmed in 1940 by the Germans and acquired in 1994 by the Library from the Herder Institute in Marburg, Germany. However, left and right hand pages were filmed separately, limiting their usefulness.

Population coverage: 75% coverage. This record was not compiled for non-taxed classes: the nobility, high officials, clergy, military, and foreigners. Also, many people evaded enumeration.

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

Conscription lists

Research use: Hard to research because lists are arranged chronologically by district. However, they serve as a census substitute for males.

Record type: A military record of conscripts.

General: Lists of those being called up for military service. Drafting of selected groups began earlier but as of January 1, 1874, all 21-year-old males were subject to military service. Conscription occurred each year in October. Initially, the term of service was 6 years active and 9 years reserve. The length of active duty was reduced to 5 years in 1876 and then varied between 3-5 years thereafter. Deferments were granted for only sons, sole breadwinners, etc. Over 50 percent of the draftees were not inducted.

Time period: 1874-1920.

Contents: Name of the draftee, birth date, religion, marital status, literacy; later lists include names of parents, siblings and their ages.

Location: State Historical Archive in Riga.

Population coverage: 15-40% depending on the time period.

Reliability: High.

Preservation of records/vulnerability: Only a limited number are preserved. Those that have survived are well preserved in a good facility. They were little used during the communist period, 1940-1990.[1]

References

  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.