From left to right: picture #1- My Grandfathers brother: (Pauls and my Grandfather-Teodori Blumfelds) Pic #2 - ( Their sisters - Olga & Elsa Blumfelds) Pic #3 - ( Grandpa-Teodori & Grandma-Milda /Blumfelds/Horning) Pic #4 ( My father- Peter A. Blumfelds/ Horning) a little side note: My Grandpa Teodori changed our last name to Horning, when he emigrated to The USA in 1927 Pic #5 ( Grandfathers brother - William Blumfelds, and next their mother: Kathrine Putra / William & Ted? And last one: Their sister Elsa, my Great- Grandpa- Alvils & my Grandpa-Teodori Blumfelds) Pic #6 Pauls & his sister Elsa Blumfelds I believe; later on in Canada, years after they emigrated from Latvia. Pic #7 ( My Great - Grandmother- Kathrine Putra, my Great-grandfather- Alvils Blumfelds, and then their son- William & his wife Eva (born Karlson) Blumfelds, his sister - Olga and her partner? And last: William & his wife Eva, and their children: Paul, Werner & Eric Blumfelds. These are just a few pics I wanted to share for now. Four of my relatives made it over here and the others: Olga, Vladimir, Alexander, Carl & Katerina didn't. I do not know what happened to them, but would love to find out. And would love to find out more about My Great Grandfather "Alvils and my Great-grandmother - Kathrine (born Putra) Blumfelds" Any help in finding info on my relatives, would be greatly appreciated. Now, I will leave you with a letter from my Fathers cousin: (Janice Bloomfield) whom, I just met recently online:
On Feb 22, 2018 9:01 PM, "Jan Bloomfield" <email@example.com> wrote: Hi Shawn Great to hear from you - and to meet you electronically! I’m thrilled to hear that you are interested in the family history. My apologies up front for this long email!
My sister Lenore Bloomfield really enjoyed geneology and spent countless hours researching the family tree from all angles. I did some with her, and it is a fun (but time consuming) activity, as you have probably found out!
Unfortunately, Lenore passed away last fall (Sept 11, 2017). She had been keeping files and entering data into the Family Tree Maker program. However, about 6 or 7 years ago she stopped keeping the files up to date about the time she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While she did continue to collect and research info, I’m not sure how much she updated what was in the files or any new info she found.
That said, I have kept all her paper files and notes (boxes of them!) and plan to review them and make sure all the most up to date info is recorded. Also, while I have paper copies, I do not have a copy of her computerized Family Tree Maker files. I do have a bunch of 4” disks which may have copies of the files as well as digitized copies of the many photos she compiled, but I have not yet had time to check those out.
I’ve scanned some of paper copies of printed sheets for individuals which list some details about them and put them in a Dropbox file for you to access. I’ll send the link to the file for you, and I’d be thrilled if you can add (or correct) any info on the sheets to the file. I’ve seen your name in the records Lenore compiled, but it would be nice to learn more about you and others in your family. I’m sure she didn’t have many details - and they are definitely not up to date! Also, one of the files in Dropbox is a letter to Lenore from your Grandmother Mildred outlining what she had heard from Ted about his emigration to the USA. My father Paul was Ted’s older brother who came to Canada in the early 1920’s (not sure of the date, but the earliest record we’ve found is of work he did as a fire ranger in the forest fire season of 1927 in the Ottawa area. He apparently also lived in Montreal at some point (perhaps when he first arrived in Canada), and ended up living in Fort Erie, Ontario as of 1928. He married my mother Clara in 1943 in Fort Erie, which is where I was born (1950) and raised. I moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1976 and still live here, so I didn’t get back to Ontario all that often. Lenore and I did make a trip to see Aunt Mildred and Kathy one time quite a few years ago, and also saw your cousins Paul and Werner and their wives.
Unfortunately, Paul, Ted, Willy and Elsa didn’t see each other often. They did correspond some and connected by phone occasionally, but that was expensive in the 40’s and 50’s. I recall a couple of visits with them when I was quite young, and I think I may have actually met your dad Peter only once or twice. He and I were the same age, so did “write” to each other at birthdays, etc. Lenore was your Uncle Lee’s age.
In 1949, Paul sponsored his sister Elsa and her 2 children Alex and Linda to emigrate to Canada. They lived with my parents and sister Lenore for a few months when they first arrived, and then again for a period in about 1952 or so when I was small when Elsa had TB and was in a sanatorium. Elsa later married Ron Millar and lived in Fort Erie for the rest of her life. I understand that Ted sponsored Willie, Eva and boys to emigrate to the USA about the same time.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of answers to your questions re: Alvils and Kathrine’s families. I’ll give you a bit more background based on what I know and what Lenore and our cousin Lynn (Linda) Lacasse (Elsa’s daughter) who lives in Welland, Ontario were able to find out about the Blumfelds family in Latvia and Russia. Unfortunately, it appears that there are few centralized files, and records were kept in churches which were destroyed by fire, war, etc. (a common occurrence). Lenore and Lynn had some letters that were in Latvian translated to English, but there are a lot gaps and questions. There may be much more available now through places such as Ancestry.com or other sources, but I have not had chance to do any more searching in the past few years.
My dad Paul didn’t talk much about his childhood (and it sounds like Ted didn’t either - probably because they had some pretty hard times). Paul was born in Odessa (April 4, 1905), but the family was living in Moscow. As noted in Mildred’s letter, they had a summer home (dacha) outside Moscow.
(FYI - while the film Dr Zhivago showed dachas as nice summer homes, this was not necessarily the case. When I was in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago on a cruise, we visited Peterhof which took us through the countryside past many dachas that were little more than very small lots with a very small shed or shack which provided a place in the country to grow some food and to get out of the city - but very basic.).
Paul and Ted’s mother Kathrine Putra Blumfelds died in Moscow (either cholera or the flu epidemic) in 1917 or 1918. Then during the Russian Revolution, the family apparently fled to Riga, Latvia. Kathrine’s family (we think the family name was Putra) was from Liepaja / Libau area of Latvia. It is also possible that they moved to Liepaja (Libau) Latvia either then or at some time later, and then possibly back to Riga. A card from Alvils to my dad Paul dated Aug 31, 1938 says that he and Elsa were visiting Riga for about a week. It is possible that he was living in Libau at the time. Cousin Lynn found a 1938 list of property owners that included a property owner named A.V. Blumfelds in Libau at that time at 21 Zalu Lela. She also found a letter to Elsa from Alvils 2nd wife in 1958 from the same address.
There is also other evidence of a connection in Liepaja (also known as Libau). It appears that Ted’s sister Elsa who married Eduard Janschevski was living in Liepaja in 1940 when their son Alexander (Alexis) was born. Elsa then fled from Latvia in August 1945 with Alex (not sure if her husband was with her or if he was in the military), and ended up in a Displaced Persons (DP) Camp in Wels, Austria.
Another note suggests that while the info shows that Alvils was born in Kiev, Russia, his family may have been German (this is based on a note provided by your Aunt Eva - Willies wife). This is quite possible. An historian friend told me many years ago that there have been several migrations of German settlers to Ukraine over the past couple hundred years - so who knows. Alvils would still have been Russian if actually born in Kiev, even from a German background. I don’t think Lenore ever did any searching re: the Kiev connection - or if she did, nothing shows in her files. So that maybe a start for Alvils parents.
Mildred also noted that Alvin (or Alvils) changed his name from the Russian Svitkov (or Svitkou or Zvitkov) to the Latvian meaning Blumfelds after moving to Latvia (apparently Svitkov is Russian for ‘field of flowers’). We’ve not seen anything that confirms this anywhere, but it is possible. It is also not clear why Ted chose the name Horning when he emigrated to the USA.
A photo we have of Alvin’s gravestone shows the following: “Blumfelds Alvils, 1877 - 1950”. I’m not sure where his grave is located. Other info re: Alvils health was provided in a letter to Paul from Willie in 1945 when he was in a DP camp in Regensburg, Germany where he noted that Alvils had been very sick with tuberculosis in 1941. In WW2, the Latvians welcomed the Germans who were fighting the Russians and Willie and Elsa were conscripted to join them - but they later regretted it as they were not treated well and living conditions in the DP camps were atrocious. They also didn’t want to return to Latvia. There were several letters from both of them begging for help in getting out of the DP camps to someplace like Canada or the USA.
From pictures and other info compiled, it appears that Alvils (Alvin) married a second time to a woman named Vilhelmena, but her maiden name, date of birth and date of marriage are not known. There are a few pictures of her, but no wedding date that I can find in Lenore’s records. A wedding picture of Alvils and Vilhemena includes Elsa and another young lady (not sure who).
On a related note, cousin Lynn said that Elsa had told her that at some point she left Riga to go to live with her aunt - possibly her mother’s sister. Since it seems the Putra’s were from Libau, this could have been where she was sent. Also - pure speculation on my behalf, but I wonder if perhaps Alvils married Kathrine’s sister. That did happen a lot in those days. It’s hard to tell from the photos we have of Kathrine if there is any resemblance.
RE: Kathrine’s family. As I indicated, we don’t have much information about them, other than the sense that the family name was Putra. However, some pictures and references in letters perhaps give us a clue. It appears that Katrine had some sisters - one named Pauline and the other married to a man with the name Indriksons, probably also living in the Libau area of Latvia.
A caption on a photo Lenore had from 1913 is entitled My Tante (Aunt?) Maiji (Indirkson).
There is another photo in a cemetery with a lady sitting by a gravestone that says “Kristaps Indriksons 18?? - 19?? and Maija Inkrikson (no dates)”, but there are 2 coffins in front of the grave stone. Another note she has is that there is a photo that I can’t find right now that shows a gravestone for Maija Indrikson 1885-1942 and a note that says perhaps killed in a bombing in the war.
A letter from Willie sent to Paul in 1946 says Aunt Indirkson (they are still alive) and Aunt Putra died. Not sure of their first names.
There is another photo of a distinguished looking man with a top coat, hat, mustache and cane that says “Mons bralens Tanis Putra”. Unfortunately, I don’t know what that translates to, and even if it is Latvian. My guess is that it could mean brother or perhaps uncle. Not sure.
Another photo is labelled Tante Klestrova which Elsa identified as Pauline in Liepaja. There is also a reference to Alfreds Klestrows elsewhere which could be Klestrova. I don’t know what relation, if any.
Lenore found a list of Indirkson property owners in Libau in 1938 (see copy in Dropbox) - in the same list as the AV Blumfelds listing. Unfortunately, no first names are given - only initials and street addresses. Her notes also show that the list didn’t include Putra or Kalve.
Kalve is another possible name of relatives. There is a picture on a postcard in the files of a fellow who looks very much like Paul and Ted who appears to be an opera singer, dressed in a wig and costume. His signature looks like Alfie Kalve 1933. His short note references the Operetta “Madame Dybari” and the Liepajas Opera. Not sure if he is any relation, but could be due to the likeness.
A question - do you have copies of the photos I’ve mentioned? And photos of some of the art that Alvils did? Paul and Elsa were sent some of his pastels pictures. I have a few and Lynn has some as well. I also recently gave her a couple of very large paintings (one of who we think was our grandmother) that Lenore had. They were too large for me to easily bring back to Alberta. Lenore took pictures of all the paintings I believe. If you haven’t seen these, let me know and when I find the digital copies I will load them in Dropbox
Hope all the above makes sense and gives you some more information. I’ve enjoyed going through files today, and it is a good incentive for me to continue and clean up the piles of files that are left for all branches of my family!
Keep in touch, and if you can add any info to what I have, that would be very much appreciated! Cheers and great to connect with you.