Thread: Latvia: Latvian prospects
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01-15-2013, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by vinituu View Post
Some cents from me about family names in Latvia - there are different influences for them. Latvians didn’t had family names, commonly they were called in name of farmstead they come – like John from Stiebri (just as example). Then come Germans, Poles, Russians and Swedes as well and they come with own rules. So we become many Family names which ended with: –sons (from Swedes), many –bergs (from Germans), mani –vics (from Poles), and –ovs (from Russians). That is not a full list of course 
Same there was also a economical or political benefit to change family names depend on rulers. Centuries ago there was a free land available for those, who changed believe to orthodox and changed the family names to Slavic.
That is only one explanation, why many people in Latvia have non-Latvian family names.
The name endings from different ethnicities really helped clarify things, thanks alot ! But then for the most part would it be fair to say most carry Germanic ancestry rather than Scandinavian along with Slavic?
Originally Posted by ozo View Post
I can somewhat imagine where you are coming from, but you sure do picked poor (to put it mildly) examples for Scandinavian influence. Blueger, actually is a nickname, and Džeriņš is as Latvian as it gets. Girgensons is a rare one, but it has that striking ending of an Scandinavian last name (but we have thousands of people named Jansons, Pētersons, etc. That said we probably don't even have 5% Scandinavian in average Latvian (unless you count some Finnish blood Scandinavian as well), Sweden simply was relevant in what know is day modern Latvia/Estonia a couple of centuries back when rulers of the land thought it would be nice to invent official last names here as well. Lots of Germanic, not Scandinavian last names in general here.

Our ties with Slavic world are much more tighter and we can surely speak about some serious ancestry, yet we are still nothing like Slavs. When it comes to modern days we can still fairly easily spot who is a Latvian and who is a Slavic person although lately the borders are becoming blurry and you can never be sure where Latvian ends and Russian speaking person starts, see Oļegs Sorokins (more Latvian than probably I am ) and then there's Artūrs Kulda, who doesn't give interviews in Latvian at all.

This last paragraph is a touchy one even 20 years after we regained our independence, but you can be sure that we'll cheer Ņikita Jevpalovs' goals just as loud as Roberts Lipsbergs' (hey again Scandinavian?) ones as long as they both sport that sexy Latvian maroon.
Lol sorry I was speaking of appearance rather than surnames. As you said sometimes it is easy to point out certain characteristics. It is very easy to tell who is slavic but myself since as vinituu mentioned there were so many historical ties to different nations I cannot tell who is a Latvian myself. Lithuanians for some reason I have a much easier time picking them out and Estonians I believe have many Russian and Finnish ties, after all about a quarter of the Estonian population is ethnically russian, same with Latvia, but not so in Lithuania. Is there great genetic disparity between the Baltic nations?

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