Where in the World Is Galicia

Posted on 20. Jun, 2008 by in Geography, History

I would like to welcome all my new readers and thank you guys for commenting. It’s great to see your feedback! I also want to encourage you to ask me questions and offer suggestion regarding what you want me to write about here. Don’t be shy! Whether it’s grammar, spelling, history, or “my grandma used to make this yummy Polish dish”, I will do my best to answer all your queries.

Ed already started by asking about Galicia in his comment. So today, it’s all Galicia all the time. Ed, enjoy! And let me know if this is the information you were looking for.

The problem with Galicia is that there are actually two of them, one in Poland and one in Spain. And if you’re not quite sure which Galicia region you have in mind, it can be quite confusing –it was even to me when I was in school. Here, of course we’ll talk about Galicia in central Europe.

The name “Galicia” (Galicja in Polish) is a historical term, and as such – is no longer used to describe the area. And the region itself is now divided between Poland and Ukraine. So just where exactly this Galicia used to be? Get a map of Ukraine and look for Lviv (Lwów in Polish), then go a little bit east until you reach Ternopil (Tarnopol in Polish). From there trace a bit south-west to Ivano-Frankovsk. That little triangle is the original Galicia.

“But wait!” you could say, “It’s all Ukraine.”

Yes, it is NOW. Back in those days, Poland stretched pretty far to the east. As a matter of fact, Lvov was a Polish city. Galicia managed to grow quite substantially throughout the years. After the partition of Poland, it became an Austrian province incorporating Cracow (Kraków) to the west, Lublin to the north, and going as far south-east as the present Moldovan border. A pretty big chunk of land, wouldn’t you say?

‘Whither Galicia’ via the Head Wide Open blog

There were additional territorial changes throughout the years. Russia got a bit of Galician land to the north, a lot of stuff was happening on the eastern border, people kept moving back and forth, the usual historical stuff. The big deal happened in 1873, when the province became officially an autonomous part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. Polish was re-instituted as the official language (along with Ukrainian in the east) and everybody hoped for bigger, better, brighter future.

Sadly, the changes were not forthcoming. Galicia might have been autonomous, but it was also one of the most populous and at the same time the poorest provinces in the Empire. So around the 1880s, the peasants decided they had enough of living in abject poverty and started moving away in droves. First to Germany, and then to the US, Canada and Brazil.

Galicians were never a homogenous breed, they were a typical eastern European mix of a little bit of everything: Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans and what not. And even while emigrating, those different nationalities stuck together. Germans naturally migrated to Germany, Ukrainians – in the beginning to Brazil, and Poles and Jews – to the US and Canada.

After the First World War, when western Galicia became part of the newly restored Republic of Poland, the emigration frenzy slowed down somewhat. The estimates vary, but all in all, anywhere from several hundred thousand to a million people went looking for a better life across the Atlantic.

To help you with you genealogical search, here are some clues regarding major Galician city names:
Lviv – Polish: Lwów, German: Lemberg (currently in Ukraine)
Krosno – German: Krossen (currently in Poland)
Przemyśl – Ukrainian: Peremyshl, German: Prömsel (currently in Poland)
Tarnów – German: Tarnau (currently in Poland)
Rzeszów – German: Reichshof (currently in Poland)
Halych – Polish: Halicz, German: Halitsch (currently in Ukraine)
Sanok – German: Saanig (currently in Poland)

If you have any Galician place names you’re not sure about, just leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can dig up.

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158 Responses to “Where in the World Is Galicia”

  1. Lisa 27 December 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi, I’ve always heard that family ws Galician Jewish. On records, great grandfather resided in “Fonbel. ”

    Do you know where this might be?

    Thanks so much.

  2. Carol 31 January 2016 at 2:16 am #

    Do you know where Karlsdorf was in Galicia? I have been told it is now Poland and may no longer exist as it was destroyed by the Russians after the war.

  3. Katie Armstrong 15 February 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    Hi there,

    I was recently given the story of where my great grandparents were born (and great great grandparents)

    My Grandmothers mother Varvara was born in Rybna Galicia.
    Do you know where that might be now?

  4. David Pflueger 15 March 2016 at 12:04 am #

    maybe you can help, Maybe not? My grandmother came from Galicia near Austria border her name was Anna sushinsky. My Grandfather came from Austria,near the Galicia border was in Franz Joseph army his Name was Troffin Mustitch. there parents arranged there marriage. circa 1900. Can you give me a good guess as to what village one of them came from? can you give me ideas as to how I can find families in this region? I appreciate anything you can do and understand if you can’t do anything. thanks David Pflueger 104 maryann lane, Coatesville,PA

  5. Edith Horen-Amster 23 April 2016 at 2:00 pm #


    I was wondering if you could help me find the actual name and location of my grandfather’s home town:
    All we know is that his name was Kadysz Horen, born in June 11, 08 in Korytmia, Galitzia. He emigrated to Argentina in the 1930’s.
    Will appreciate any information.

  6. debbie 24 April 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    My grandmother came from Russian/Poland in 1904, the manifest looks like from Hotel or Chotel. Her father came over a few years before and the contact person was Maci, I found a Marceli with the same last name Szathowski that was from Galicia. I was wondering if Chotel or Hotel was in Galicia. I would love to find were she was from in Poland. Her mother’s name on her stone is Hedwig, but the manifest says Jadwiga. It’s the same name on in German, and the other in Polish. I do a lot of genealogy, but this is one mystery I can’t seem to answer. If you can give any assistance, I was be greatly appreciative. Thank you.

  7. Linda Anne 1 May 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Debbie,
    My aunt was born with the name Jadwiga and also some of her documents say Hedwig. When she came to the US, her name was Harriet. I believe it’s a variation on the same name.

  8. Kmick 23 May 2016 at 3:34 am #

    Ive been doing some genealogy trying to figure out the original spelling of my familys last name so that maybe i can find family back in Ukraine. When my great grandarents came to NY the people there said the original name was to hard to say so they changed it to Kmick, then I guess the building that had those records burnt down. My dad said that the original name sounded like “Kimyetch” He asked my grandpa how to spell it but he didnt know how. Any ideas on how to spell that sound in Ukrainian? Also i was wondering about how on the the cences papers it says my great grandparents is from Galicia or Austria but they spoke Ukrainian and there buried in a Ukrainian cemetry. Where about would that be in Ukraine today? Also ive heard from family that my great grandpa fought in the Austrian army. What where they fighting about back then? Was there a big war going on? My great grandpa was born in 1870 if that helps on time frame.

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