February 2021

She had an artistic nature combined with resilience

My great grandmother – my maternal grandmother Olga Kleinmichel’s mother – Countess Catherine Nicolaievna Kleinmichel, neé Bogdanov was born in Riga on 2 November 1865, when Latvia was part of the Russian Federation. Her father, Nicholas Bogdanov, was Marshal of Nobility of the government of Kursk, Russia, an area which

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Knowing different languages helped him in later life

As I have mentioned before, my father learnt Latvian, English, German and French at high school and also knew a smattering of Russian. As a Baltic-German who did his schooling in Latvia, it is not a great leap to presume he spoke German at home and Latvian within the wider

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He said he did not love her, but his notes prove otherwise

A couple of years before he died, my father told me that my parent’s marriage was “never a love match”. I found his statement difficult to believe because I knew my mother loved him very much. But I had no way of asking her, she had died several years before

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My grandmother with my mother

On birth, foreboding, love letters and rabbits

Researching family history, for me, is more than drawing connecting lines on a family tree. I always want to know more about my ancestor’s stories, how they lived their lives, what their thoughts were. Often this information can be gleaned from the letters they wrote or the memories they jotted

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