Genealogists who blog are called Geneabloggers (at least the ones who find mutual fellowship among the growing Geneabloggers network, and who try to keep up with following each other; we are nearing the 2,000 mark as Thomas keeps us updated). Many of us (most?) have not met each other in person. Never mind: personality and character come through in the written word. Support, assistance, and comfort are always being offered.
Thanks to Greta at http://gretabog.blogspot.com, I believe I've identified an important ancestral portrait that long eluded me.
|OTTO FREIBERGS (1855-1906)|
No-one had written on the back of this photograph to identify the man. It was in my “Latvian Collection” from my mother and grandparents. Some members of my two major families left Latvia well before the First World War, so photographs were constantly being sent from those who stayed behind. The man could have been from either of my two families who lived in quite separate places in the old country.
Although over the years I had different volunteers translating letters and postcards in Latvian and Russian, I had overlooked this one. All it had on the back was a faded, stamped inscription in Cyrillic script.
Serendipity glowed to life when Greta picked up on one of my blog posts and offered Russian translation. The scan was sent. YES! It was merely the photographer's stamp, BUT his address was Sissegal. The town named Sissegal (German) is Madliena (Latvian). You have to know something of the contemporary political powers in play to appreciate the Latvian-German-Russian place name variations.
That was the crucial identifier. My Freibergs lived close to Madliena, a town of some authority in the district. My Jurikas family lived nowhere near there and would have had no occasion to visit the town, especially for a photography sitting. Otto did. Elected by his fellow parishioners, he had become a prominent reform leader in the district.
In fact, it was to Madliena that district police force-marched him, under orders from the embattled Vatrāne (German: Wattram) estate owners, to face a firing squad on 4 February 1906.
Thank you, Greta! Geneabloggers are the best! Thank you also to Callie who also offered language assistance (what will I find next in the archaeological-genealogical midden?!).