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Created by Administrator Account in 12/28/2009 1:09:17 PM


we are trying to trace our roots. my grandfather came to america in 1907. according to ship manifests, ethnicity was austria, galicy,polish. place of residence was dolnawicz, galicy. his full name was wojciech Burkat age 37 at that time.

I'm afraid someone may have misled you. The information to which I have access is seldom much use in tracing individual persons or families. But here's what I can tell you.

Burkat is pronounced roughly "BOOR-cot," that Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions it in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles], saying it appears in records as early as 1431 and is a Polish variation of the German name Burghart, from roots meaning "defend" and "mighty, bold," so that it originally meant something like "bold defender."

As of 1990, according to the best data available (the Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych, "Directory of Surnames in Current Use in Poland," which covers about 94% of the population of Poland), there were 506 Polish citizens named Burkat. The largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Katowice 53, Krakow 277, and Nowy Sacz 39. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses, so I can't tell you how to find that info. Krakow and Nowy Sacz were in Galicia; I don't believe Katowice ever was. (Galicia was the part of Poland seized by the Austrian Empire during the partitions in the late 18th century; it consisted of what are now southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. There's no guarantee the place you're looking for was in the territory now ruled by Poland; it could be in what is now Ukraine.)

I looked in the Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia and found no place named Dolnawicz; I can't be sure, but I suspect the name is wrong. There was a Dolna Wies (literally "lower village") near Myslenice, south of Krakow. At one time it was a separate village, but now it's part of the town of Myslenice, and is called Dolne Przedmiescie ("lower suburb"). This might be worth a look, since in Poland the name Burkat is most common in the Krakow area. So "Dolnawicz" may turn out to be Dolna Wies; I don't know, but I think it's worth a look.

Copyright © 2002 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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