Monday, May 04, 2009

Cik Kauliņi Latvijā? How Many Kaulins (Kauliņš) are there in Latvia? Only 49 Listed Telephone Numbers in All of Latvia

How many Kaulins (Kauliņš) are there in Latvia? Were the Kaulins originally Livonian Livs, i.e. close relatives of the Estonians and Finns? Have they been almost completely assimilated in Latvia? My father, Arvīds Kauliņš, once said that his grandfather still spoke Livonian. Here is a sound probe of the language at Tulli Lum although the Liv language is nearly extinct.

If the root kaul- in Kaulins (Kauliņš) is related to Finno-Ugric kal-, then it originally meant that the Kaulins clan were ancient fishermen because Finno-Ugric *kala means "fish" whence Latvian gaļa "meat"?:
The Estonian word for fisherman is kalur
The Finnish word for fisherman is kalastaja
The Livonian word for fishermen is kalamie and it also means "Livonians"

Simon Hamilton has the following definitions in his dictionary of Estonian "street names":

"Kalamaja (Kalamaja): Fisherman's hut. Kalamehe (Kalamees): Fisherman, angler. Kalaranna (Kalarand): Fishing-beach. Kalasadama (Kalasadam): Fish harbour, fish port. Kalavälja (Kalaväli): Fishfield? Perhaps a place where fish were laid out to dry.... Kalevala (Kalevala): Finnish epic compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century, sharing several features with (or lending to) Estonia's Kalevipoeg. The "Kalev" part of the name (lit. "fishing") seems clearly related to the proto Finno-Ugric *kala, fish (. Estonian & Finnish kala, Hungarian hal, Sami guöllé) and even Altaic (Tungusic: kul, salmon; Khalka Mongolian: xalim, whale). Clearly a very old word. Kalevi (Kalev): Estonia's epic hero of uncertain identity, the same name being used to describe the man and his son. Kalev stories pre-date the separation of Finns and Estonians.... Kalevipoja (Kalevipoeg): Title and eponymous hero of Kreutzwald's (see Kreutzwaldi) mammoth poem, said by many to trigger the sense of (Romantic) nationalism in Estonia, by others vice versa.... Kaluri (Kalur): Fisherman."

Did the Kaulins clan make up the original inhabitants of Livonia? for example at Zvejnieki?

Here is a map of the location of the various Baltic peoples ca. 1200 A.D.

Map from Wikipedia

The Latvian website was able to find only 49 listed telephone numbers with the surname Kauliņš in all of the telephone books of Latvia. (There are also telephone numbers for the surname Kauliņa, as the female surname is permutated (changed) in the ending in Latvian language, but there is no way to know whether these names were obtained by birth or acquired, so we do not include them here in our analysis.)

The map distribution of the telephone numbers is shown in the graphic above (my creation), clearly evidencing that the greatest number of Kaulins live in Riga (Latvian Rīga), the capital city of Latvia. That same map suggests two central rural locations of the Kaulins clan in Latvia - one in Vidzeme (Livonia) and the the other in Kurzeme (Courland).

If the telephone numbers approximately reflect the traditional locations of the Kaulins clan in Latvia, then the specific distribution of the surname Kaulins (Latvian Kauliņš) in Vidzeme suggests that one path of ancient migration into Latvia might have been from the Latvian coast near the present Estonian border on the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea, going inward along the Salaca River (Estonian Salatsi) to Lake Burtnieks (Burtnieku Ezers, Burtnieks, Burtnieki) and from there to the Gauja (i.e. the Gauja River, pronounced "gow-ya", now part of the Gauja National Park), with the most eastwardly projecting Kaulins group then having migrated along the Gauja as far as the area of Lejasciems and Gulbene, where migration stopped. The Livs called the Gauja "Bērzupe" (Birch River).

There are Kaulins surnames along this entire river path, from Salacgrīva at the mouth of the Salaca to Lake Burtnieks (Burtnieku Ezers), then to the Gauja River and from there to Lejasciems (German Aahof, Liv Alakula, Russian Leisk). There is still a village called Alaküla in Estonia today not far from the Latvian border near Gaujiena.

I believe that the Lejasciems area in some ancient era was a ceremonial burial ground of the Livs - which accounts for the numerous ancient cemetaries clustered closely in this region. Compare the Liv name Alakula for Lejasciems with the Latvian term līķis "corpse". According to our research, Lejasciems in the ancient megalithic survey map of Latvia may have marked Lyra (Vega) on the hermetic planisphere - for Lyra is the traditional heavenly "box" with this function, for which reason the nearby city is named Gulbene (from Latvian gulbis "the swan") for the nearby constellation of Cygnus, which still today is the symbol of Gulbene. The Estonian word for corpse is koolnu - and Kulna is the Estonian name for Gulbene.

This area is also marked by megalithic border stones at Paideri near Lejasciems (Paideru Dižakmens), then a few miles up the road from there at a location between Sinole and Velena (Robežkalnu laukakmens) and in Daukstu Pagasts near Galgauskas, not far from Lejasciems (Rožkalnu Raganas Akmens). Velena (the name comes from the grass turf used to cover graves) is just up the road from Lejasciems and is the site of one of Latvia's most beautiful churches, built in red rapakivi granite (also known as "Baltic brown"), a fairly rare and unusual building material, found also in the churches of the Åland Islands between Sweden and Finnland.

Velena Church
Photograph by Gatis Pāvils linked from

The modern church of Velena, pictured above in a photo by Gatis Pāvils linked from, is built on a church site which over the years previously had five other churches built on it.

Our theory of Liv migration into Latvia via the Salaca is supported by the discoveries made at the extensive Stone Age cemetery at Zvejnieki, documented at Zvejnieki, Northern Latvia: Stone Age Cemetery (British Archaeological Reports International Series) by Francis Zagorskis, translated bz Valdis Bērziņš:
"Dr. Francis Zagorskis spent almost 20 years studying the Stone Age cemetery of Zvejnieki on the shore of Lake Burtnieki in northern Latvia. In this translation, Zagorskis' text has been left unaltered, since the opinions expressed by the author, including his views on the chronology, have retained their validity in the light of subsequent studies."
Zvejnieki has been described in an article by Gunilla Eriksson, Lembi Lõugas and Ilga Zagorska in the Abstract to their article, Stone Age hunter–fisher–gatherers at Zvejnieki, northern Latvia: radiocarbon, stable isotope and archaeozoology data, where they write:
"The Zvejnieki Stone Age1 complex in northern Latvia includes one of the most significant hunter–fisher–gatherer cemeteries in northern Europe in terms of both the exceptional number of individuals buried there and the extremely long period of use: more than 300 individuals interred over a period of at least four millennia. New results of archaeozoological studies and palaeodiet investigations performed on the Zvejnieki human remains are presented here, together with 18 new radiocarbon dates. It is clear from the stable isotope analyses that the Zvejnieki people were heavily reliant on freshwater fish until the end of the Early Neolithic, when the consumption of fish declined somewhat, although it still made an important contribution to the diet. The Late Neolithic individuals in Corded Ware flexed burials at Zvejnieki and elsewhere in Latvia show a distinct dietary pattern, pointing towards animal husbandry. The faunal remains found in settlement layers confirm the trends revealed by bone chemistry, whereas the archaeozoological analyses of faunal remains in graves, mostly in the form of tooth pendants, show a different picture, emphasising the importance of big game hunting. This illustrates the discrepancy between the symbolic world, as expressed by burial customs, and everyday life, as revealed by stable isotope data and refuse layers."
As written at Oxbow Books:
"Zvejnieki (Northern Latvia) - Stone Age Cemetery
by Francis Zagorskis

The late Mesolithic and Neolithic cemetery of Zvejnieki on the shore of Lake Burtnieki, northern Latvia, is unique. More than 300 burials have been found, spanning over three millennia. The skeletal evidence, supported by the numerous grave goods (both tools and ornaments) provides invaluable evidence for the 'anthropological types of the Mesolithic tribes and their origins' as well as a 'better insight into the processes of interaction between Neolithic tribes' over a very long period of time. The study, which includes illustrated catalogues of burials and finds, was first published in Latvia in 1987 (a year after the author's death) but is now available in English for the first time. 147p, b/w illus (Archaeopress BAR S1292, 2004)"
As written at The Baltic Assembly:
"In the present territory of Latvia, the Stone Age lasted until the 2nd millennium B.C. At about 14,000 B.C. the glaciers began to recede, and the climate improved. In the 9th millennium B.C., the first inhabitants from the south arrived in the territory of present-day Latvia. They made their living by hunting and fishing. The people lived in clans and equally distributed the property they held in common. The Neolithic Era or the Late Stone Age lasted from the 4th to the 2nd millennium B.C. The number of inhabitants grew; the settlements expanded. The people gathered wild plants, and the ceramic pottery appeared in the form of clay pots and bowls.

In the 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C. the ancestors of the Baltic Finns and Balts arrived in the present territory of Latvia. The ancestors of Baltic Finns (also Livonians) arrived also from the east, and their main occupation was fishing. The ancestors of the Balts arrived also from the south and southeast. When the Metal Era began in the 2nd millennium B.C., there were already evidences of cattle breeding and agriculture in the territory of Latvia. At that time, bronze tools were introduced. Matriarchy was replaced by patriarchy because cattle breeding was mainly a man’s occupation."
Burtnieku Ezers means literally "Lake of the Letterers" and it is known that the ancient apiarists (beekeepers, honey farmers) in this region used to mark their trees with symbols of possession, a practice confirmed in the Russian term "bortņiki". One should recall that among the ancient Pharaohs as relates to the origins of writing that "[t]he rulers of Lower Egypt wore the red crown and had the bee as their symbol." (See related apiary information historically at Tel Rehov and BirdChick).

The distribution of Kaulins surnames in Courland, on the other hand, suggests a more recent dispersion of the Kaulins surname from the north and/or from Riga to the west and south. Many more rural inhabitants of Latvia, in previous centuries, then as now, went to Riga to find work and then settled in its environs. My own father is a good example, having to leave Lejasciems early in his life after the death of his father in order to work in Riga to help support his mother and six sisters.

Based on Latvian telephone numbers, and grouped by regions, the locations of people in Latvia with the surname Kaulins are as follows, starting in the west of Latvia and moving eastward:

Locations of the surname KAULINS in Latvia
by telephone numbers in pagasti (counties, parishes)

Please note: Links to points of interest or general websites have been added to cities and counties (parishes) to make things more interesting, and for our own use, we have added hotels, businesses, etc. which appeared to us to be of interest for our own possible future use. They have no relation to the Kaulins listed as having telephone numbers in those cities, pagasti, novadi or lauku.

Please note also : We translate Latvian pagasts - the smallest administrative unit in Latvia - either directly as "pagasts" (plural pagasti) or as "county". Some people translate pagasts as "parish". The term parish originated in the United Kingdom to apply to the smallest unit of the Anglican Church and has a historical religious significance in the U.K. which is not fully portable in meaning to the civil pagasts in Latvia and that is why I prefer the neutral term county. The term parish is also sometimes used in the sense of a subdivision of a county.

Arturs Zageris writes:

"The division most important to the people was pagasts. Some translate it parish, I will call it pagasts. There are about 500 pagasti in Latvia. The median pagasts is about 27,500 acres in size and has about 1,150 people. [The mean is 30,500 and 1,500].". As written at "In Latvia, a rural municipality (sing.:novads, plur.:novadi) is part of a district (sing.:rajons, plur.:rajoni). A rural municipality normally consists of amalgated parishes (sing.:pagasts, plur.:pagasti). An urban municipality is called rajons."

LIEPAJA (Latvian Liepāja) in Courland is Latvia's 3rd largest city and an important ice-free port in the winter, located in the southwest corner of Latvia on the Baltic Sea.

As the Wikipedia writes: "The original settlement in the place of modern Liepāja was founded by Curonian fishermen...." There are two Kaulins who have telephone numbers in Liepāja:
COURLAND, KURLAND (Latvian Kurzeme)
- from the western coast of Courland toward Riga
RIGA AND ENVIRONS (links are to diverse websites about Riga) (see also the virtual tour of Old Riga at - click the yellow balls for views and panorama)
  • Kauliņš, Aivars - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Andris - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Atis - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Eduards - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Jānis - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Jānis - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Jānis - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Juris - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Teodors - Rīga
  • Kauliņš, Zigurds - Rīga
(Riga environs)
Kauliņš, Viktors - Sakstagala pagasts


Kauliņš, Jānis - Ilūkste
Kauliņš, Andris - Daugavpils

There are very few Kaulins in Latgale (Latgalia) or Zemgale (Semigalia, including Selonia), and those few families were surely relocated from other areas to work in the railroad and industrial cities of Rēzekne and Daugavpils.

A major railroad was put through Rezekne (Latvian Rēzekne), drawing inhabitants from elsewhere:

"Initially, Režica was the part of Pskov province; in 1777 - the part of Polocka province, but in 1802 - one of the centers of Vitebsk province. Rezekne boomed in its development in 1836, when the road St. Petersburg - Warsaw was built. The railway St. Petersburg - Warsaw was constructed in 1860 but line Ventspils-Ribinska was built in 1904."

The Wikipedia writes:

"A Latgalian hill fort is known to have existed at Rēzekne from the 9th to the 13th centuries, until its destruction at the hands of German crusaders of the Livonian Order. In 1285, the knights built a stone fortress on the site, which is today known as Rezekne castle ruins, to serve as a border post on their eastern frontier....

In the 19th century, the population of Rēzekne was 2/3 Jewish.... The remainder of the population included Poles, Germans, Russians, and an extreme minority of native Latgalians. With the economic development and the arrival of the railroad, the population grew steadily....

Daugavpils is the 2nd largest city in Latvia. Daugavpils is a city of heavy industry, today populated to a majority by Russians (ca. 54%), with 15% Poles, 8% Belarusians and only 17% Latvians.

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