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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. Peggy:

    I am trying to find my great-great grandparents, Vasil Lisecki and Mary Wozniak. My great-grandfather’s Naturalization Petition says he was born in Wikow, Austria, but I cannot find a reference for that city anywhere. Then his immigration papers say he lived in Belcz, Austria before coming here in 1911. Any help or suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Margaret Hosner

  2. rosanne:

    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…

  3. Wendy:

    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??

  4. ethel:

    Hi
    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

    thanx\

  5. Marlene Holland:

    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…..

  6. Diana:

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

    Thanks

    Diana

  7. mark ferko:

    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

  8. mark ferko:

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

  9. Franceymargaret:

    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

  10. Franceymargaret:

    Also looking for Maslak Hungary 1926

  11. Fran:

    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.

  12. liz:

    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.

    Thanks,
    liz

  13. Franceymargaret:

    Coincidentally
    I lived in Mason City in the 90’s

  14. Ann:

    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.

  15. Steve Dlugosz:

    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?
    Thanks

  16. Rick Schab:

    Where is Lecipany, Galicia. My Grandfather was from there

  17. DM Johnson:

    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.

  18. katie:

    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?

  19. katie:

    That should be my Great Great grandparents…

  20. Sylwia:

    Ann, I believe that you mean “Jaslo”.

  21. Ronald Kapinos:

    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.

  22. Nancy:

    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.

  23. Marta:

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

  24. Marta:

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

  25. Katrina Nickolan:

    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!

  26. Mike Wannick:

    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…

  27. Andriana T.:

    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.

  28. Brad:

    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

  29. Earlene:

    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.

  30. nancy:

    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?
    Thanks!
    Nancy

  31. Sharon Miller:

    I am searching for a town listed as Zagrzirica possibly in the Galica region. My grandfather’s brother Bartlomeij Bednarz was born there around 1883. This according to his New York Passenger list. I realize boundaries/towns have been renamed several times due to other countries ownership. I have searched several maps and have come up with nothing. Any help would be great. I’m sure they spelled the town’s name wrong on the manifest. Thanks

  32. Harry Bubnack:

    My grandfather came to the US sometime between 1895 and 1900 He was born in Galica ( Liviv) We do not believe our name is Bubnack He said that he came from town called Bobrka Where is this town and could it be that since he could not speak English that he was given the name.

  33. Christina:

    Thank you for this great article. I often wondered where my grandparents were from. They both spoke Ukrainian, but said they were from Austria. Now it makes sense. My mother said people in Canada would refer to them as Galicians and she had no idea what that meant. My grandmother was born in 1897 and left “the Old Country” in 1903 for Canada. My grandfather also left and landed in Canada. They were very young when they met and spoke very broken English. Too bad we were lumped in with the Poles and Jews and didn’t get to Brazil instead of cold Canada. Oh, well….Glad my English-bred father found my mother in Washington, DC.

  34. Justin:

    I have found a lot of information about my Great Grandfather but the papers keep going back and forth between Krosno, Poland to Galicia, Austria. Is that normal or is it more likely that I have 2 people? My mother also remembers him saying he was born in a art of Poland controlled by the Germans.

  35. Jaci:

    I am looking for information on Josef Lewczyka – immigration records indicate he is from Lesuica, Galicy in 1901. Family stories indicated they were from Poland. Thanks for any help.

  36. Garry:

    Do you have any information on Luchorzow, Galicia?

  37. Jennifer Quinn (@JennyQ):

    Okay, so I was just told that my grandfather was born here: Wisniowczyk, Podhajce, Galicia, Austria — but we have always been told we have a Ukrainian background. Do you have any clues, here?

  38. Pamela Stewart:

    Looking for info abt Lubianka, Gbaraz (not quite sure if this is correct spelling, Galicia, Austria. Petro Bazarynski and wife Antonina Dobryden emmigrated in 1911/12 and settled near Winnipeg, Manitoba – Arborg, Man. 5 children. Wud like to know the Anglicized versions of their names or the correct spellings of their Ukranian names. Antaska 1921 Census and Antonina on 1916 Census, Franka, Genika, Mekalina, Natja and Tekla.
    This is a great and so very necessary site. Thank you.
    Pam Stewart

  39. Chris:

    Tracing Slovak ancestors from Galicia, so I assume they lived near the southwest section of the region. Recently came across a death certificate indicating my great great grandfather was from Yarkova, Galicia. Any help locating this place name would be appreciated.

  40. Andrea:

    Thanks so much for the article, my grandfather was born in 1916. Served As a lieutenant in World War 2 But only paperwork we can find is from when he was in Scotland when he married my grandmother. they arrived in Halifax in 1948. would love to know if you could help with any information he was left at boarding school at the age of 7 or 8 his name is stanislaw chmurowicz born we believe in kolomyja galicia August 24th 1916 had to a sister named Maria and a brother named Karol. Any information would be very very appreciated. thank you for all of your help

  41. Andy:

    Very informative article ! Thank you. My Great Great Grandparents (Przepriora) came to America from a place called “Rosenbark” or “Rosenbach” Galicia. They considered themselves Polish, but list their birthplace as “Austria” on various census data based on the boundaries at that time. I have yet to come across this town. Have you heard of it? Do you know what country it is in today ? thank you for your time ! Great page!

  42. Robert:

    I hope I can clear up some confusion people have since my family had the same questions and now have figured it out.

    Many people from Galicia who emigrated to the U.S. and Canada would have identified themselves as from “Austria” prior to 1918, and from “Poland” on the 1920 and 1930 census forms, even if their home villages are in Ukraine today.

    Why “Austria?” Because Galicia was, from 1772 to 1918, a kingdom in the Austrian Empire, which was much larger than Austria is today. On today’s map, Galicia was located in the western third of Ukraine, plus a large area of southeastern Poland. A small strip of Galicia is today along the northeastern edge of Slovakia and the top of Romania.

    The eastern part of Galicia was primarily Ruthenians, and the western part Polish. “Ruthenians” are what we would call Ukrainians. If you can’t find your home village in “Austria,” it’s because it’s not in today’s Austria. It’s probably in Poland or Ukraine, but might be in Romania or Slovakia. It may have multiple spellings (in Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, even German, the mother tongue of the Austian empire). For example, one commenter referred to “Levow, Austria.” This is Lviv, Ukraine today. In Polish it’s “Lwow,” pronounced pretty close to “Levow,” and in German it’s “Lemberg,” which you’ll see on some old maps. My great-grandmother’s hometown is Mosty Wielkie in Polish, but Velyki Mosty in Ukrainian. (Ukrainian tends to use “v” where Polish uses “w” and puts the adjective before, not after, the noun.)

    After WWI ended in 1918 and the Austrian empire was broken up, the Polish in western Galicia ended up mostly in the newly independent Poland.(Poland had not been an independent nation from 1795 to 1918.) The Ruthenians in eastern Galicia declared an independent “West Ukrainian” state. It didn’t last long; newly constituted Poland invaded and seized it. Thus the “Poland” on the census forms in the 1920s and 1930s, even among Ruthenians from eastern Galicia: Their hometowns, formerly in Austria, were then in Poland.

    The former eastern Galicia was alternatively occupied by the Nazis and the Soviets during WWII. The current Ukraine/Poland border was drawn in 1945 to put the ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine and the Poles in Poland. People were scattered, though, and thousands on the “wrong side” of the line were resettled by force.

    What are “Ruthenians” and how do they related to “Ukrainians?” “Ruthenia” is simply the Latin term for the Kievan Rus’ people who, about 1,000 years ago, controlled the whole area from Poland to beyond Moscow. “Russia” is the Greek term.

    The area in today’s western Ukraine was controlled by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the 1370s, then by the Austrian Empire from 1772 to 1918. There was heavy western and Roman Catholic influence, and the Latin term “Ruthenian” remained in use. In the Moscow-controlled areas, where Eastern Orthodox religion predominated, “Russian” was (and is) used instead.

    From the late 1700s to 1917, the Russian Empire controlled all of today’s Ukraine outside Austrian-held Galicia and distinguished those Ukrainians from Russians in Russia only by calling them “Little Russians.” Not liking that name, and looking for a word that would distinguish them more from Russians, in the 1800s “Ruthenian” nationalists reached deep into their history to revive the term “Ukrainian.” It took hold in the Russian-controlled area of today’s Ukraine.

    In Austrian-controlled Galicia the term “Ruthenian” (which already was considered different from “Russian”) continued to be used until the fall of the empire during WWI, by which time it had fallen from favor and was replaced almost universally by “Ukrainian.”

  43. Robert:

    @ Andy: Rosenbark is, I believe, now Wadowice, Poland. It’s SW of Krakow and was at the very western edge of Galicia.

    @ Andrea: Kolomyja, Galicia should now be Kolomyya, Ukraine, SE of the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine

    @ Chris: It looks like you have an Anglicisation or misspelling on your hands. There’s a Jarcova (Google Maps 49.45, 19.96) in the Czech Republic not far from Slovakia. But it seems to be a bit west of the farthest western reaches of Galicia.

    @ Pamela Stewart: Lubianka, Gbaraz is NW of Ternopil, Ukraine today. It is Nyzhchi Lub’yanky and Vyshchi Lub’yanky. Search for Zbarazh (which is Gbaraz) on Google Maps and it’s just east.

    @ Jennifer: Wisniowczyk is now Vyshnivchyk, Ukraine, about 25 miles east of L’viv

  44. jeff:

    looking for info about my great grandfather PIOTR MEDYNSKI who emigrated from GALICIA AUSTRIA to Manitoba , Canada and became a naturalized Canadian March 1914 .

  45. Cynthia Hinkle:

    Hi!

    I was excited to find this blog because I am working hard to trace my mother’a side back to Eastern Europe. I know they are from the Galicia region, but we are trying hard to find towns. One town that has been mentioned is Sanok, but with that town I am able to find a lot of information. Just recently, I was told of another town, but the spelling I got is not very Polish or Ukrainian. (From all the information I have found it seems that my family is from Poland.) The village I am trying to trace now is Vislock — as I said that doesn’t look very Polish or Ukrainian. Does someone know what the spelling may be??

    Also, the family names I am trying to trace are Sierko, Mahalchak, Trinajstic, and Chirro. Again, there are many spellings of these names. No one in the family speaks Polish anymore so I am at a loss there.

    I would really appreciate any help people are willing to give.

  46. martin:

    i trying to research new galicia and yucatan. some people in the uk are using names such as hi&rh and king of that country. for example one on the internet named hi&rh prince john von und zu finney claims to be emporer of aztec empire and king of new galicia and yucatan. there are many others similar this just used as example as last one i read up on.

    any help?

  47. Karen:

    I believe my great grandparents and great great grandparents came from Galicia. They were Ukrainian. Last name Bugera and Dwizon or Durizon. Are these names still common in this area?

  48. Martha:

    Woytola indentified as Russian in early censuses but Austria in others. Any thoughts?

  49. Morwenna:

    I am trying to trace the area where my mother lived before WW2. It may be a misspelling because I am getting nowhere with my own searches but she said that she lived in Poland, in Galicia, in what sounds like a fairly small place called Prozivka or Proshivka. If it helps she said that her family lived off the land; no shops back then but there was a church (possibly Greek- Catholic) and an area of water (perhaps a small lake) where they washed items of clothing. She was deported from her home by the Nazi regime in about 1941ish.

  50. Anita:

    I’m looking for towns with the names of KRAZATKA and MAJDAN for the surnames of WILK, PANEK, TOMCZYK and CZYZ. These would be for my g-grandparents in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

    I keep running in circles and getting no where closer to finding anything.

    The WILK family is said to have been landowners at one point in time there.

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