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Where in the World Is Galicia Posted by on Jun 20, 2008 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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Comments:

  1. Lisa:

    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:

    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:

    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:

    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:

    Hello,

    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.
    Thanks,
    Edith

  6. debbie:

    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.

    • Linda Anne:

      @debbie 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.

  7. Kmick:

    Hello,
    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.

  8. Janis Ladanyi:

    My grandmother was Mary Sypek born in Vienna Austria, from Galicia married Alfred Hammer German. Would like to know if we are Jewish

  9. Sharon Barry:

    I just learned that my grandmother was born in this area? was on a death certificate. Could you please tell me where this may me located? Lone Bia Rary Galicuja.

    TKU am trying to do the Ancestry of my fathers side of his family which I understand they were near Sombir, Sombor, Starry Sambor, Austria.
    Sharon

  10. Laura:

    I obtained some information for my dads side of family…they immigrated from Galacia in 1907…last names vary from Kaptij to kaptey and now currently Kapty….would love to see if I could obtain more information about them

  11. Judith Singer:

    This is a good summary of the complex and confusing issue of “Where is Galicia?” The best place to look for town names, whether or not you are Jewish, is http://www.JewishGen.org, which has two databases, the Jewish communities database and the gazetteer, that will help you figure out the location based upon “sounds like” spelling, tell you the name in several applicable languages, and tell you what country it was in before World War I, between the Wars, and after 1950.

  12. Tony:

    My grandmother’s name was Julia Tempowska. Her marriage license indicates that she came from Galicia, Austria and arrived in the USA around 1919. Can you provide me with any additional information about her background? Thank you.

  13. Jay:

    I need some help.

    My aunt Gert who is 99 finally gets back to me saying my grandmother, her mother was born and raised in a small town called Kolomea in Galicia, Austria.

    http://jgaliciabukovina.net/110697/community/kolomea

    Problem is I don’t see Kolomea on list of cities in Austria

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_Austria#List

    What does this mean and should I care if for all my life I thought my heritage was Austrian not Hungarian.

    j

  14. Robert S.:

    Do you have any suggestions of how to look up birth records of someone born in Galicia (~1879)?

  15. Todd Stranko:

    I’ve been doing some family research and have hit a wall with the part of my family I wanted to find out the most about because it’s my last name. Stranko. My Great Grandfather arrived here around 1901 but I can’t find much information except they spoke Polish and claimed born in Galicia Polish Austria but I believe Stranko is a Ukranian name… I am trying to trace it back more but I have been unable to find anything including town from or anything on his father though I have his name. I’m not sure if it’s a problem that there is a lack of records left or if maybe it was a different last name and changed when they got to the U.S.??? Any ideas on where I can go from here? Thanks!

  16. Leah Liquornik:

    Can you help me with info about the small town called Uztryski Dolne. I think it is near Lvov. Any info you can throw my way would be helpful since I want to visit.

    Thanks

  17. William Schimeck:

    My mothers family emigrated from a town named Kicharova, Galicia in 1911, according to the ship’s manifest. I cannot locate Kicharova on any maps or references on the internet. Can you help with information? My grandfathers game is Pawel Piatek.

  18. Pat Martin:

    Great-Grandmother’s name was Zofia Freda, from Falkova, Galicia, born around 1874 plus or
    minus a year or 2. Do you know where Falkova was?

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