Callout to Researchers

A few weeks ago, I was officially appointed the town leader for both Talsi and Valdemarpils for JewishGen’s Latvia and Estonia Research Division. “What does that mean?” I asked. The goal of town leaders is to maintain contact with area researchers, locate and index records and make them available, and generally serve as a contact person for those with family from their towns. I’m happy to do this, as it fits perfectly with my goals for this website.

Since the IAJGS Annual Conference a few weeks ago, I’ve updated the “Talsi Records” and “Valdemarpils Records” pages with new information. There are more records available online than ever, indexes completed and in progress, and even more records in the archives waiting to be digitized. If you haven’t searched recently, take a look at the links. The Research Division has a brand-new website as well, which is well worth your time.

If you have family from Valdemarpils/Sassmacken or Talsi/Talsen, my aim now is to get you involved.

  • Do you have a story to tell about your Talsi or Valdemarpils family?
  • Do you have knowledge of a particular aspect of Talsi, Valdemarpils, Courland or Latvian history?
  • Do you have records from Talsi or Valdemarpils other than those already digitized and available online? (See the Talsi Records and Valdemarpils Records pages for what’s currently available.)
  • Do you have a website for your Talsi or Valdemarpils family that we can link to?
  • Do you have photos or maps of Talsi or Valdemarpils, particularly older ones, that you’d be willing to share?
  • Would you be willing to help index records as they become available?
  • Do you have language skills in Latvian, Russian, German or Hebrew? If so, would you be willing to translate records from Talsi?
  • Do you have contacts in Latvia, particularly the Talsi/Valdemarpils area, that might help us locate records?
  • Would you be willing to help fund record acquisition or digitization for Talsi or Valdemarpils if the opportunity arises?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, please contact me.

While most of this will be more long-term, I’m most anxious to get others involved in sharing their stories. This space is available for anyone interested in writing about Talsi- or Valdemarpils-related topics that would be of interest to Jewish researchers. That can be anything from an informal account of your family stories to a researched history of the area. The more writers we can involve, the more interesting this project will be.

Another goal of mine is map-related. Eventually, I’d like to use 1935 census records, directories and other data to compile Jewish community maps of these two towns. At the moment, the time between the wars is the most feasible for this, but if I can find the information, I’d love to be able to do that for the 19th-century as well. If you have any address information for either town, maps, or keys to changes in street names over the years, all would help with this project.

And of course we’re looking for records. We know they’re out there, but need help tracking them down and hopefully getting them digitized, posted, and available for your research. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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