Citizenship Question #latvia

K. & L. Bertelsen <layakbtl@...>

My late maternal Grandmother (Mama Nana) was born in Libau in 1898. Her
Mother and her Mother's maternal and paternal families (STEINHAUER and
LAPIDUS) were >from Vilna. Her Father and his maternal and paternal family
(PALM and ARONIS) were all born in Libau or earlier in Kuldiga/Goldingen
and perhaps Hasenpoth/Aizpute.
My GGPs were married in Vilna in 1897 and then went to live in Libau.

My GGF died in 1901 (aged only 35 years), and my GGM remarried a year or so
later. Her second husband, who was a widower with a young daughter the same
age as my GM, was born in Shargorad ca.1871.

I do not know when or where my GGM's second marriage took place, but the
family ended up in Odessa, via Mogilev-Podolia and perhaps Vinnitza, some
time pre WWI.

My GGM, her second husband and their two surviving sons, fled >from Odessa
in 1921 - Rumania/Germany - arriving in Montreal in 1925. My GM and her
step-sister were both married then and didn't flee with their parents.

My GPs and my late Mother (born Odessa 1921) left Odessa for Montreal - my
GF in 1925 and Mama Nana and Mama followed in 1926. They travelled back to
Libau, where Mama Nana still had paternal and maternal relatives, whom she
met again at that time. Some managed to get to Israel/ France/South Africa
and America in the 1920s and 1930s, but the rest probably perished. Both
my GFand Mama Nana and Mama travelled >from Odessa to Libau and >from Libau
to London/Montreal on the AUSSONIA (separate voyages).

I still have my Mama Nana's Ukrainian USSR passport, issued in Odessa in
February 1926, which has a Moscow stamp in it also. So, it would seem that
although she was born in Libau, she was a Russian, or perhaps
Ukrainian/USSR citizen, although I cannot say if this was because of her
marriage to my GF, who was born in Odessa, or because anyway Latvia, as her
place of birth, was regarded as part of the Russian Empire and thus the

Mama Nana and Mama became British/Canadian citizens in the 1930s and
travelled to Australia in1938 on a Canadian passport.

Mama always thought she had become an Australian citizen by way of her
first marriage in 1941, but when she and my step-Father could finally
afford to take a holiday overseas in the 1980s, and Mama applied for an
Australian passport, she discovered that she virtually had no citizenship,
as a result of law changes in the 1970s, and had to be naturalized as an
Australian citizen, which caused her untold distress as she had never had a
birth certificate >from Odessa, etc. Eventually it was all sorted out and
Mama and our step-Father finally were able to visit Vienna where Dad had
fled >from in 1938. However, I only managed to obtain a copy of Mama's
birth record >from the Odessa Archives a few years ago. Thank goodness
Mama's health had not deteriorated to such an extent by then, so she
finally was able to see her birth record (in Cyrillic).

So, like everything else, our families were subjected to the whims of
history and it seems someone born in Latvia or Lithuania prior to say
1918/19 would have been a "Tsarist Russian" citizen.

Lorraine Bertelsen
Boho, Downunder

If someone Jewish was born in Leibow (now Leipaja) in Latvia in 1891 and
> left for USA in 1908 and never became a USA citizen what would their
> nationality be (passport) Latvian or Russian or German?????

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