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Góralewicz - Milewicz
Created by Administrator Account in 5/1/2012 12:14:06 PM

 


… My problem is that I cannot find any history on my surname (my grandfather, Alexander (Alexius on his Baptismal Certificate) Goralewicz, may have been an only child and an orphan. His Birth Certificate says he was born on March 28, 1877 in Zalczoiwie, District of Rohetyn, in Galicia, and was baptized at St. Michael Greek Catholic Church. His father's name was Onaphren Goralewicz, and his mother was Maria Langorski

The Polish form of your surname would be Góralewicz, pronounced roughly "goo-raw-LAY-vich." The -ewicz suffix means "son of," and góral is a Polish word meaning "mountain men," so the surname means "son of the mountain man." Specifically, the góral usually refers to people living in the Carpathian mountains in southeastern Poland, western Ukraine, and eastern Slovakia -- they are thought of as colorful people with their own customs, dances, clothes, and dialect. So your grandfather's name suggests origins somewhere in that area, much as you thought. There are various sources of info on the górale -- you might find some at the Website www.infoukes.com, and I remember seeing mention of a book on góral customs somewhere, though I can't find it right now -- maybe a Web search would find it for you. You might also want to look for info at the Culture/Customs on this site.... In any case, the name Góralewicz is not all that common in Poland these days, as of 1990 there were only 185, scattered all over the country but with a slight concentration in the provinces of Przemysl (57) in southeastern Poland and Wroclaw (30) in southwestern Poland. The numbers in Przemysl and Wroclaw provinces make sense geographically, as both areas are rather mountainous; also, the Wroclaw numbers might be influenced by post-World War II forced relocations of millions of Ukrainians from southeastern Poland and western Ukraine to the territories taken from Germany and incorporated into Western Poland... I don't have data for Ukraine, it may be that Góralewicz'es are fairly common there; also, I don't have access to further details on where the Góralewicz'es lived in Poland, such as first names and addresses, I only have a breakdown by province.

By the way, to be strictly accurate, your grandfather's original name was not Alexander but Alexy = Alexius in Latin. The names come from the same Greek root, and are often confused, but they aren't really the same name. I don't know what "Zalczoiwie" is, that's clearly misspelled, but the district name was Rohatyn. His father's name was probably Onufry (in Latin Onuphrius), a first name more common in Galicia than in Poland proper.

Langorski is a problem -- as of 1990 there was no one in Poland by that name, I have never run across it before, and it's in none of my sources. It might be a name more common among Ukrainians than Poles, but I can't help wondering if it's been misspelled. For instance, in some records r and w can be hard to distinguish, and Langowski is a common name. Or we might be dealing with Polish nasal vowels that can end up being spelled several ways. The bottom line is, I don't have anything on it -- but if you ever run across records where it's spelled differently, let me know and I'll see if I can find anything on it.

… My grandfather married Maria Ilcewicz (or Milewicz) in NYC in 1906, and it was supposedly a family joke that they were from two different "classes", and could never have married in Poland. I think her family was wealthy landowners and lived in an area that today is part of Russia, while my grandfather lived in the far south (near the Goral Mountains?), and had served in Franz Joseph's army before coming to the US in 1902.

All that is plausible enough, but it's tough analyzing names if you're not sure what the correct form was. Milewicz is a moderately common name (1,334 Poles by that name in 1990), meaning "son of Mil-," where the latter is probably a short form of a longer first name in which the first part is the root mil-, "dear, loved, nice." As of 1990 there were 223 Poles named Ilcewicz (no particular concentration in any one part of Poland), and 157 named Ilewicz. Both would mean "son of" something, but again, the question is, was the name Ilcewicz or Ilewicz? In either case, the name probably means "son of Ilya" -- that's a Ukrainian form of the name Elijah or Elias.

I hope you can find further records that will clear up the spellings of some of these names of people and places, because some of them are clearly distorted (Zalczoiwie, for instance, is definitely not correct for Polish or Ukrainian). It will help a lot if you have correct spellings to deal with. Unfortunately, with Eastern European research, getting the right spelling can be half the battle! These names were often mutilated unintentionally when folks emigrated.

I only charge for name analysis if I do the most thorough job I can, checking every source I can think of. When I do a "quick and dirty" analysis, as in this case, the research only takes a few minutes and I don't see any need to charge for it. In most cases I wouldn't come up with more even if I spent several hours on it, and I think this is such a case. So there's no charge for this info.

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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