After many years of researching my roots in
Halychyna/Eastern Galicia and using genealogical software programs to do so, I
have come up with a structured technique. Of course, you do not have to
use my technique in order to keep track of your own records and genealogy.
However, I do ask that you do the following three things:
- Choose a technique that works for you. Most
likely, you will develop a system over a period of time.
- Whatever technique you choose, make sure that you
follow it throughout your project. So long as there is order and
consistency, both you and your readers will be able to follow your work.
- At least read through my page below. Even if you
do not adopt each and every step, you will get ideas and thoughts that will
help you. I include not only my preferences, but also many variations,
from which you can decide.
Iíd like to use the full name in the native language of
the ancestor. Since my family is of mixed ethnicity and religion, I have adopted
the following naming scheme.
For those baptized Roman Catholic, I give Polish first
For those baptized Ukrainian Catholic, I give Ukrainian first name.
I know that there were Ukrainians who considered
themselves Roman Catholic (called latynyky) and Poles who considered
themselves Greek Catholic. However, without proper documentation regarding the
individualís ethnicity, I use this general rule.
In my software, program, Iíve assigned Alternate Name
Fields for the Latin equivalent. This way someone without a foreign language
background or someone who was not aware of the policies of the record keepers
would be able to identify the correct person in connection with the correct
Latin language document.
Whenever I produce a report of my data for someone not
familiar with Slavic languages, I give them a brief explanation of the Slavic
sound systems in the case of Polish and Ukrainian. This helps them read
and correctly pronounce such names as "Szczepan", "Krzysztof" and "Kayetan".
Visit my page on Common First
Names for a list of some names translated from Latin into Polish and
Below are some other methodologies that you may consider.
Please note that I have pointed out these methodologies' disadvantages.
Using the Latin name:
Although this would make your listing consistent with the Latin language
document, it loses the realistic point of our ancestry. Latin was used in the
records since it was the language of the predominate church of the empire. The
forms and language was made consistent by the multinational Empire to avoid
nationalistic disturbances and expand on the readability of such documents
throughout the Empire. These Latin spellings of the names carried no
significance in the day to day life of your ancestor.
This method may appear to be the easiest because the names would be familiar and
easy to pronounce (at first, you know). However, like with the case with Latin,
these ancestors, including the record keeping priests, would not have known the
English equivalents. Many names doní
Last names are more difficult to resolve than first
names. Iíve personally chosen to use the Polish spelling. This was done for the
- I avoid confusion of various Ukrainian transliteration
Matvijchuk, Matvichuk, Matviychuk
- Most of my ancestors were Polish, about 65%.
- The parish priest, though assigning Latin first names,
used Polish spelling for last names.
- Iíve chosen the proper Polish spelling for my software
program. If the priest used a variation spelling, I put that in the Variant
Majewski (proper), Majeski (variation)
Drabczak (proper), Drapczak (variation)
- I started to use the same methodology adopted for
First Names for the Last Names. However, I immediately came up against
serious problems and complications:
Daughters raised the faith of the
mother carried a different last name than the father if the parents were of
Father Ivan Havryshko (Greek
Catholic) and wife Anna Hawryszko (Roman Catholic)
daughter is Maria Hawryszko, (Roman Catholic), so last name is Polish spelling
This caused confusion in
searching the database for the individual by surname. Every time I had to search
for someone, I had to look up by both the Polish and the Ukrainian spelling
Baluczynski and Baluchynsky
Olejnik and Oleynyk
Of course, if youíre family is predominately either
Polish or Ukrainian, you can settle on one of the languages and simply make an
Alternate Name Tag for those not following the normal pattern. For my family,
which is so mixed, Iíve adopted the above system that may work for you too.