Searching Out Family Roots—Pictures and Album
The highlight of this, my third trip, was making it out to Vidzeme to see where it all started—my grandfather's first mill, the church where my grandparents were married, where my mom and her sister Laura went to grammar school. I was amazed how well my aunt Laura was able to find her way around!
And, as you can see from the pictures, I also had some time to wander around Riga as well.
Read Peters' 1994 travelogue here
Below, some favorite pictures from this trip, scanned at various times.
Nearby is Two Ruble Lake, so named because the property owner used to charge the locals 2 rubles for fishing rights.
Peters got to wander around Riga as well, reinforcing his love for Riga's architecture.
Peters missed his bus stop and rode into the next town--this is a view along the way back.
Autumn leaves were still vibrant with color along the city canal--this was a far milder fall than usual!
Dravnieki is Peters' mother's cousin's Arturs' birthplace in Vidzeme, and still home to their collective earliest memories
Peters' grandfather, Jānis Ķulle, was a miller. We visited his first mill, a windmill, in Vidzeme, near Velēna. This was where it all started, when he was 20, in 1888. It's now a museum dedicated to local personalities and a popular place to hold weddings.
A view along the back road from Mordanga to Stende. This picture remains one of Peters' favorites!
Later, Peters' mother's family relocated the family to Kurzeme. Here is Peters' grandparent's third, and final, mill and home, "Mordangas Dzirnavas", at twilight
(Peters' Grandfather's first watermill) Around the turn of the century, Peters' grandparents moved not far away from Lizums to Pērļu Dzirnavas, a water-mill, just down the road from Druviena, still in Vidzeme. When we visited, it had just been reclaimed by the daughter of the owner to whom Peters' grandfather had sold the mill before moving to Kurzeme. Peters' mother and aunt Laura were born here.
The radio station building in Old Riga, facing the Dom Church Square. The pock-marks of Soviet bullets attempting to quell the independence movement can just be barely made out in several places.
This scenic spot is along the Abava river in Sabile, in Kurzeme. It's along the road from Riga to Kuldiga.
And here they are, Peters' grandparents. Peters rephotographed these pictures which his aunt Laura had saved when the family was taken to Siberia. (Thankfully, Peters' parents weren't home at the time!) Someday, Peters hopes one of his albums will include finding and visiting his grandparents' unmarked grave, under a stand of trees, about 30 kilometers outside of Krasnoyarsk.
The church in Velena, Velenas Baznica, now a registered national landmark. Peters' grandparents (mom's parents) were married here, and the Kulle family plot is in the church cemetary.