Re: how to find who lived at Riga street address in 1913 #latvia

Logan J. Kleinwaks

Moshe Shaeffer asked how to find who lived at Roumanoff Str. 23 in
Riga around 1913. This answer might be of more general interest.

Many Riga directories and directories with wider Latvian coverage
including Riga are full-text searchable at
Looking at the list of Latvian directories included in the search
engine, at, you can see
that there are Riga address and business directories for 1910 and 1914
from the series "Rigasches Adressbuch," which are in German, and
there is a 1914 Riga business directory in Russian, "Vsiia Riga." For
years further >from 1913, there are directories in Latvian, German, or

To search directories by street address, you need to know the street
name in the appropriate language. If you don't know this and can't
find a website with historical street names, one strategy that
sometimes works (and works in this case), is, for languages in the
Latin alphabet, to do a soundex search on whatever street name you
have. At, type Roumanoff into the search box
near the top, change the "Regular Match" option to "D-M Soundex,"
change "Any Place" to "Latvia + Estonia," and press the "Search"
button. By examining the matches (over several pages), you can see
that the street name in Latvian is Romanova iela and in German is
Romanowstrasse, sometimes written Romanowstr. or Romanow str. To find
the Russian street name, change "D-M Soundex" back to "Regular Match,"
change "Add Latin -> Cyrillic" to "Only Latin -> Cyrillic," and press
"Search" and you will see Russian text >from Latvian directories with
Russian transliterations of Roumanoff highlighted in yellow (some
followed by numbers, sometimes with a Russian suffix in between --
these are the street names). Copy and paste the highlighted Russian
text somewhere, so you can use it later.

Now, with the correct street name in hand, do a search with "Regular
Match," "Latvia + Estonia," and "Add Latin-> Cyrillic" for:

"Romanow* 23"~2

The quotes match a phrase, the * is a wildcard permitting strasse or
str endings, the ~2 allows up to one word in between, such as Romanow
str 23.

This will show you matches in the German-language directories,
including 1914 Riga and 1910 Riga. You can then click on the links
above each match to view an image of the corresponding page and see
the names of the people or businesses at that address, if it isn't
clear >from the text snippets in the search results.

For the Russian directory >from 1914, leave the search options the same
and just replace "Romanow" in the search box with the highlighted
Russian text you copied and pasted before (leaving the *, ", ~).
Pressing the "Search" button will show you matches in the Russian
directory (which are not necessarily the same as in the 1914
German-language directory).

You can see there are a few steps involved to thoroughly search by
street address in multiple languages. If you were searching by
surname, you wouldn't need to do this, just type your search name in
the search box with the default options (and maybe change "Any Place"
to "Latvia + Estonia") and the automatic transliteration into Russian
should kick in, though you might also need to do soundex searches or
try other variant spellings if your spelling isn't the only possible
one. In the near future, I plan to add guided searches and/or
tutorials to the site that will walk you through more complex searches
like the above.

Note that there might also be archival records in Latvia that can tell
you who lived at a particular Riga address, such as the "house books,"
but I don't know whether they cover 1913
( apparently has databases of residents
beginning in 1918).

Logan Kleinwaks
near Washington, D.C.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.