The 10 most popular masculine names from Vidzeme in 1638

by Rebecca Lucas (ffride wlffsdotter)

Last updated 17th February 2018


The information on this page comes from:
Renāte Siliņa-Piņķe. 2014. Izplatītākie zemnieku vārdi Vidzemē 17. gadsimta pirmajā pusē. [The most common personal names of peasants of Vidzeme in the first half of the 17th century.] Baltistica 49(1); 177-196.

Vidzeme, today northern Latvia but at the time part of Swedish Livonia underwent an audit in 1638. This audit recorded the names of all the farmers, their male descendants and their servants in the region.
In the 11,995 entries examined by Siliņa-Piņķe, 829 different masculine given names were identified, and it was possible to identify the 10 most common names and their variants. The audit was written in Low German or Early New High German, so although we know these names were used in part of the modern-day territory of Latvia we don't know how these names were recorded in Latvian.
Although the Medieval Names Archive concentrates on names recorded prior to 1600, due to a lack of information on names recorded in the territory of Latvia in English, it is hoped this will be useful for readers. Siliņa-Piņķe’s article is freely available online, and contains more details about the names.

The 10 Most Popular Names

The 10 most popular masculine names, here listed in their normalised, modern Latvian forms, were:

  1. Hanss (1377 persons)
  2. Jānis (1194 persons)
  3. Pēteris (985 persons)
  4. Jēkabs (780 persons)
  5. Andris (631 persons)
  6. Juris (564 persons)
  7. Matīss (548 persons)
  8. Tomass (497 persons)
  9. Henriks (489 persons)
  10. Miķelis (442 persons)
The spelling variations of these names appear in alphabetical order below. The header forms, unless repeated in the list, were not found in the 1638 audit:


Hanss Henriks Jēkabs Jānis Juris Matīss Miķelis Pēteris Tomass