Baltic Genealogy

Along the Eastern European Plain to the Ural Mountains is the locality referred to as the Baltic region. It is a land with dense forests, lakes, rivers, marshes and bordered by the Baltic Sea. The lands have been occupied by many different people over the centuries and most recently as republics of the former Soviet Union. Their traditional names are Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia and represent the core of Baltic genealogy.

The Baltic people are associated with the Slavic and German people. One of their languages is the Old Prussian, which is a form of the Slavic language. This ancient group of people was influenced by their neighbors and conquerors.

Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian are separate cultures with their own customs and traditions. Many historical influences have offered cultural similarities and differences between them. While Christianity is the major religion there are varied forms. In Estonia and Latvia they follow the Lutheran faith. In Lithuania it is mostly Roman Catholic. There are many individuals who follow the Russian Orthodox Church.

The languages of the people of the Baltic area are Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian. There is a touch of the Finnish language in the those who speak Estonian. Also, a major language in the region is German, since it is a neighboring region and had for years controlled the area. Other ethnic groups who influenced the Baltic area were the Swedish, Danes and the Poles.

Latvia has the largest Slavic population. The population between the three are close in numbers, roughly 1.5 million to 3.3 million. Within each of the three are also Baltic Germans, practicing the Lutheran religion and speaking German. The Baltic Russians are mostly in Latvia and had lived in the area when the Baltic locale was under Russian jurisdiction. Most of the Baltic Russians descendants continue to live in Latvia and Estonia.

In Baltic genealogy the nations of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland and the region of western Russia are occasionally referred to as part of the Baltic region because they border the Baltic Sea. However, their individual languages, customs, religions and traditions are distinctive enough for each to stand alone as far as their ethnic heritage. They have had the greater influence over the decades on the Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia people.

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