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?

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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130 Responses to “Where in the World Is Galicia”

  1. rosanne 25 June 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    have discovered grandmother, Katarzyna Wieczerzak, emigrated from Galician “Wola” in 1913, possibly with friend/relative Marya Salwierz from same town. Which “Wola” would be most likely, as I find many towns/cities with this as partial name…

  2. Wendy 23 August 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    My mother-in-law says she was from Schawna near Kolashne? I cannot find anything on any map with these towns. She says they no longer exist. She left Poland in 1930 going to Canada. She also says it is near Sanok. Any ideas where I can find information on these towns??

  3. ethel 26 August 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Tryiing to find info about my father, who came to U>S> from Galicia in approximatley 1880. Cant find any census or manifest. He came from Narajow, or something similar. Name was Max Kurtz


  4. Marlene Holland 28 August 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I notice most comments are in reference to genealogical research. My reason was different. I’m reading War snd Peace, where Galicia was mentioned. Thanks for your information! Now back to my novel…..

  5. Diana 24 October 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    I’m having trouble finding info about Cikowiec, Galicy and a surname of Moyciok. Andy clues or suggestions?



  6. mark ferko 12 November 2012 at 11:51 am #

    while searching for our great grandfather his ww1 draft registration card is hard to read. line 5 asks where were you born? it looks like binnarona galicia austria. would you know of such a town or one that would seem to fit. thank you for your help it has been an exciting journey. mark ferko

  7. mark ferko 13 November 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    our great grandfather listed pietrzyowa as his birth place.is there a town by that name in galicia?

  8. Franceymargaret 28 November 2012 at 4:13 am #

    I have found my mothers birth certificte she has since passed at the age of 93. She was born in 1917 to Dmetro and Annie Frazer.
    The birth crtificate says her father was born in Horczatan Austia and her mother was born in Tostanka Austria Mothers maiden name was Brucziski.

    Can you tell me anything, how could I find family there? What are these towns called now?
    Thank you Franceymargaret

  9. Franceymargaret 28 November 2012 at 5:13 am #

    Also looking for Maslak Hungary 1926

  10. Fran 30 December 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Hi – My grandparents originated in Laska Wola in Galicia, last name Szymeczek. Came to US and settled in Mason City IA. I still have relatives In Przemysl, Bytom, Zuravica (sp). We visited in 1989 and 1991.

  11. liz 31 December 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Hi Thank you for this valuable information. Was wondering if you ever heard of Sazwiny Galicia. My grandmother emmigrated to the Us from this location in 1912. Would love to visit, but wasn’t sure where this is.


  12. Franceymargaret 17 January 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    I lived in Mason City in the 90′s

  13. Ann 7 February 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Hello. Thank you for this site! I have been searching for my great grandmothers birth place. She never called herself a pole. She cooked German and Jewish foods with ease. Her town was yoswaw, Galicia. What is it now? I would love to learn more about my family.. Maybe even visit.
    Thank you so much for your time.

  14. Steve Dlugosz 26 February 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Hello: I’m trying to trace my Granfather’s birthplace (Antonio Dlugosz/1888). I have his 1918 Military recrutement(Fr) booklet (LaMars, France). I see ‘Brody’ written down, along with Galicie(a)? He came to America around 1921/2. No luck with Ellis Island records. Wish I could send pictures of the hand written data?

  15. Rick Schab 3 March 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Where is Lecipany, Galicia. My Grandfather was from there

  16. DM Johnson 5 March 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    My great grandparents, Maksym Muzyka & Tekla Pawelska, arrived to the US in 1904, and considered their ethnicity/nationality Ruthenian on their ship passenger list. In the 1910 census they say they are from Austria Poland. 1920 census: the say they are from Galicia, with mother tongue Ruthenian. 1930 Census: they say they are from Ukraine, and mother tongue Ukrainian. 1940 Census: they say they are from Poland.

    I have been doing a lot of reading since then, trying to make sense of it all, which is how I stumbled on your blog. I must admit, I’m confused how they kept changing their nationality, and it has caused me to hit a brick wall.

    The only cities I have are for my grandmother Marie Muzyka. A document I found online shows she was born in Krywe, Ukraine. Yet her only living son recently told me he remembers working on a school project as a child and she said she was from Levow, Austria. I cannot even find that town.

    I guess what I am looking for is a place to start in regards to genealogy research of nationality: are they Polish, Austrian, or Ukrainian? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  17. katie 10 March 2013 at 2:57 am #

    MY Great grandfather John Macey’s father and mother are from Atlamowa (sp) Galicia Austria according to John”s marriage record from 1913
    Also his wife Martha(Ewasko) Macey states her mother and father are from Hubyez(sp)Galicia Austria
    Anyone hear or know correct spelling of these?

  18. katie 10 March 2013 at 3:21 am #

    That should be my Great Great grandparents…

  19. Sylwia 9 May 2013 at 5:54 am #

    Ann, I believe that you mean “Jaslo”.

  20. Ronald Kapinos 3 June 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    What if any is the relationship between Spanish and Polish Galicia? I read somewhere that because of constant raids by Vikings and the Moors, some Galicians left Spain to settle in central europe around 1000 a.d.

  21. Nancy 9 June 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    My grandmother was last residence in Galicia before she came to the USA in Nov 1912. She was born in Bachowisc, Australia.
    I wanted to know how far you think that is from Galicia. Try to figure it out on Google. Anyways I would like to know if you can help me out, I want to get her birthrecord. They said she was polish but the research that I have been doing for the last several years said she was Ruthenian (Russniak).
    Any information would help me out.
    Her name is Katarzyna Stebnicka.

  22. Marta 14 June 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Hei katie
    correct spelling Marta Iwaszko ,Jan Maciej ,place Hubierz

  23. Marta 14 June 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Hi Steve, you should use these Polish spellings for better luck: Galicja and Antoni Dlugosz — remember the “l” is barred.

  24. Katrina Nickolan 31 August 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Anna,

    My great grandmother’s name was Anastasia Szlapak. She was born in 1895 and immigrated to New York in 1911 and was married there in Nov 1913.

    Her birthplace was Horeslowiece, Galicia, Austria. Horeslowiece is also spelled Heryolawice and Horyolawiec.

    My father would like to visit her birthplace and we would appreciate any help in narrowing down its location. Thank you for any help that you can provide!

  25. Mike Wannick 29 September 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    My great grandparents came from Iwagzoy-Gorny Tarnapol Galacia. I have heard that it was part of Poland also part of the Ukraine at another time , it changed at various times ,I even heard it was Russian at one time. Who did it belong to in 1909 and what is this town called now ??? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you…

  26. Andriana T. 1 October 2013 at 3:47 am #

    To DM Johnson. If they said they were Ruthenian this means they were Ukrainian. In the 1940 census they most likely called themselves polish because there were negative stereotypes about Ukrainians. Somewhat like Irish felt. they were considered the backwards people of Eastern Europe. Ruthenians are Ukrainians.

  27. Brad 2 October 2013 at 1:56 am #

    Looking for probable info on the last name Bilecki. My G-Grandfather came to US from “Galicia” in 1920 census, “Austria/Poland” in 1930 and so on. Any idea where this name originates? New info available on mundia.com shows his birth place as Galicia per numerous records including draft cards etc. VERY interested. Brad

  28. Earlene 14 November 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Thanks for the great website. I am having trouble determining all the spellings of the Gorka near Szczurowa. I believe it was involved in several partitions but have no good reference to the spelling or renaming at under different occupations.
    For people working on genealogy I did discovered that peoples’ names could have been registered In the form of the ruling nation(German,Russian) or in the Latin form.

  29. nancy 26 January 2014 at 2:39 am #

    Can’t find any information before Aaron Blonder who emigrated from Galicia, also on Census they claimed they were Ruthenian, Austrian and Polish. Would you have any records of where they may have originated?

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