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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. Gloria Gelb:

    Trying to find exact area husband’s grandparents were born. Grandfather came to America 1910 and listed birthplace as Shontal, Galicia. His name was Leo Gelb. Grandmother and children followed in 1919 and listed birthplace as schendal Poland. They claimed they were from Austria Germany and of German descent. We Re making a trip and would love to visit the area but cannot find it. Can you help figure this out. Thanks.

  2. Margaret Buffie:

    My own research has mainly been with German villages in Polish Galicia. These villages, which were developed around 1792, pretty much emptied out between 1890 and 1910 – before the first world war broke out. A German Professor named Daum has researched these villages and collected, through church records and other records, a great deal of info on these villages. I have most the villages and their records on file now, thanks to his and his students’ research!

    Although poverty was one of the reasons many Poles and non-Polish people left Galicia *after* the first world war, it should be stated that *before* the war, in the late 19th C. the Poles were gaining more autonomy and more power for the Polish citizenry and therefore, used:
    1) Religious pressure to get the Germans to leave (they wanted the country to be Catholic and most Germans were protestant – Lutherans. Reform, etc)
    2) They also used the refusal of new land and economic support for the German farmers – who suddenly discovered that getting more land as their families grew in size, was being denied. So future generations of Germans who had settled the area in the late 18th C. could not get extensions to their farms.

    The villages were settled by Germans because the Austrian Empire wanted to develop the area with skilled German farmers and trade workers – and in the early 1790’s offered land to German farmers who were having the same problem getting more land in Germany.
    3) The burgeoning Polish gov’t also used their determination to have Catholic state schooling and the military under Polish control — as well as wanting the leaders of the government to be mainly Polish. For many years, there had been a number of Germans in office because of the Austrian Empire’s determination to develop the country (with little regard for the Polish citizens!). Poland and the Ukraine were extremely poor countries in the 18th C. It was natural, of course that the Poles wanted control of their destiny as the country developed.
    My family (like many settlers came from the Rhineland Pfalz area in the late 18th C.) came for the land. The descendants of my great great grandparents who lived in one of these German villages ran good farms, collected taxes for the gov’t, built inns as well as being weavers, shoemakers, store owners etc, (as well as helping develop their village church school and promote education), finally gave into the pressure to leave; and between 1898 and 1907 they pulled up stakes, sold their farms — and in my family’s case, their entire village immigrated to Canada and a few landed in the states. In other villages some returned to Germany, but most left for the USA, Canada and South America. I have been researching this very complicated place called Galicia and of course, it is almost impossible to sort through the many different and difficult changes throughout its development and the final decisions for full autonomy, in a few lines, but my family is just one example of the many that I have found during my research who made the long journey from their homes in Polish Galicia to a new life in Canada *before* World War I, not after. And their reasons for leaving were many layered.

    My ancestor from 1610 in Rhineland right up to the village in Galicia spoke and wrote what is called Gothic German. They did not move outside of their ethnic group at all and their names can all be traced back to Germany. My name Buffi (Buffie now) is actually Italian(!), so now I am on the search for my Italian family’s movement from Italy during the Reformation when many protestants fled to the Rhineland area!

    I hope everyone has luck finding their family. If you are of German descent from Galicia, you might like to check out Prof. Daum’s family info and other info on this website http://www.galiziengermandescendants.org/

  3. Ed Vogel:

    My grandfather; Bennie Fogel here, perhaps Chaim(or Chaim Dov) Fogel originally, became a US citizen. His Declaration of Intent says he was from Galacia, Austria. Is that just a typo, or is there a place of that name? Thanks.

    Ed

  4. Margaret Buffie:

    Just a few comments re German Galicians. My great grandparents were German Galicians and citizens of Reichau, one of the approximately 145 German villages established in what is now Poland around 1792 – funded by the Austrian Empire. The Empire hoped that skilled workers from Germany could help develop the area which was in deep poverty. They established towns and brought with them skills other than farming. By the middle of the 19th C they often held positions of authority such as tax collecting etc.

    When Poland began to demand autonomy at the end of the 19th C., many Germans with political positions in Poland were ousted. Although it did not gain full autonomy until after the First World War, “Poland’s” growing demands included a determination to have the country exclusively Catholic. All Germans at that time were Protestant. The Germans were also not allowed to expand their land grants, so the younger generation were unable to have their own farms. Growing families were very restricted. Also German produce and goods were shunned to a degree. The Germans were no longer allowed to hold positions in local politics, either. They were pressured for those reasons to leave their homes. They sold their farms and of course, some did go to Germany, but not all. A number were able to come to Canada, the States, with some funds from farm sales. Many Eastern Europeans were not as “lucky” and came with little or no funds.

    Few members of my ancestors’ village of Reichau and other nearby villages like Deutschbach went back to Germany. The majority boarded ships for Canada, while a few went to the States. I am in tiuch with a number of them.

    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada had the largest group of German immigrants between 1872 and 1919 which were initially Galician Germans. Most of them, I found in my family research, came from the village of Reichau – while others came from nearby villages. A number of the Reichau group expanded to farms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, including a number of my extended family.

    My own great-grandparents remained in the North End of Winnipeg and found jobs, eventually moving to better jobs, and “better” parts of the city than the North End slums. All Eastern Europeans arriving in the years between 1900 and 1914 were crammed into limited slum housing with wretched sanitation. Many great friendships between the various ethnic groups were made, but there was also a lot of prejudice and turmoil in the crowded conditions.

    Info on the settlement of German Galicians in Winnipeg can be found in various sources but the most comprehensive study is a book by Arthur Grenke, called “The German Community in Winnipeg 1872-1919. Members of my family and their village arrived between 1887 and 1907. The “Western German” community in Canada grew in larger numbers in later years after the two World Wars, but the earliest German immigrants in Manitoba came from Galicia. The North End of Winnipeg really was a melting pot of many brave immigrants from Galicia!

  5. john blair:

    Grandparent Anna Bien came to US in 1893. The ships manifest is difficult to read but appears she was listed with a nationality of Galixia and a last residence of Mesrua. I am trying to comfirm where this is. Any help would be most appreciated.

  6. Garret:

    both Grand parents named Piotrowicz On there certificate of Naturalization says they are from Galicia Austria and left everything behind and came to Canada in May 24 1906. Can you please help me out regarding origin wether not they are Austrian or not my mother says they are and had to leave but i don’t know thanx.

    Garret

  7. Richard Rozak:

    Hello,

    I seem to be having the same problem as many of the other individuals. My grandparents came to the US from Vola Lacka, Galicia, Poland and Vola Malnovska, Galicia, Poland about 1910. There seem to be two Vola Lacka cities. One of these is in Poland, near Warsaw, and the other is in Ukraine. Do you have any idea which might be the correct city?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Richard Rozak

  8. Terri:

    Was there a town called Nowoselec near Galicia around 1909?

  9. Mary Gould:

    I am looking for a town or city called Kurzyna Wielka in Poland. We are confused as my late grandmother said she was from this place. She also mentioned Gdynia. Are these two close to each other? Thank you!

  10. Christine:

    I have a snuffbox and cannot get a translation. I thought it was German but wonder if it is Galician
    This is what it says “ein pris’rhen!”

  11. christian:

    Hi,

    My great grandparents were from Smolice, Austria, according to their immigration records. I am unable to find any information on this place. Does anyone know where is is currently located? Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!!

  12. Steve:

    I’m searching for relatives named Balut in Poland – would like to visit them. My grandfather’s father owned a farm located in Galicia, town of Rzeszow, reportedly 20 miles southeast of Krakow. He had two brothers and a sister who stayed there when he went to the U.S. in the late 1800’s. A different relative mentioned Siedliska as my grandfather’s former home. Other towns mentioned in family letters include Stanislawow, supposedly near Tzleszdw, and a neice of my grandfather living at Woca Niedzqwiedzka. Can you tell me if the names of these towns are the same today and, would I be able to find them if I flew to Krakow and rented a car? Thank you for any help you can offer.

  13. Deedra Hopkins:

    I am sorry, but I am very confused. First of all I have never heard of Galitzia until today. According to Family Search I have ancestors that came from Thomaschow, Russia. I am sure it isn’t the correct spelling, but as far as I can tell, this is in Rawa and that is in Galitzia. Supposedly they were German, but I really have no clue as to where to start finding more information. If there is any help at all you can give me I would appreciate it. Thanks. Deedra

  14. Carol:

    The 1913 passenger record for my grandmother records her ethnicity as Austria, Poland, and her residence as Joszczew, Galicia. Does anyone know what Joszczew is called today and where it is?

  15. Ann S:

    My grandfather- born in 1893 – immigrated to the US in 1913 – his draft card in 1917 said his birth place was Krosua, Galicia, Austria – wondering what that might be called today??

  16. Karen S. Freebersyser:

    I’m looking for information on my grandfather, Andrew John Burdek. He was born November 13, 1887 in Galicia, Poland. He immigrated to the US in 1906 at the age of 19.

  17. Sonja:

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ve been researching my family tree and have found a lot of seemingly contradictory information, but it makes more sense now that you’ve explained some of Galicia’s history. I’m wondering if you might be able to help me identify the birthplace of my great-grandfather, Wenzel Yarancek (also spelled Jearmchuk), who was born in 1870, supposedly in Marvina, Austria. I haven’t been able to locate this place. There’s a Marvina in Russia, but it’s too far east to be a likely match for anyplace in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the 1900 US census, Wenzel listed his birthplace as Russia. In later years, he reported it as Galicia and/or Austria. In some years, he reported Russian as his mother tongue, but in other years, Bohemian (which I take to mean Czech). His wife’s maiden name was Franchuk, and her ethnic background seems to be the same (except her mother spoke Polish). Any insight as to where this “Marvina” is would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  18. Lawyer:

    It is smth new and funny in history. Why the Polish forget the truth about the founder of Galicia and that the Polish conquered Ukrainian land, named Galicia?

  19. Arlene:

    My grandmother, born in Galitzia in the 1890’s, said she spoke Czech in elementary school. Do you think this is correct, and if so, why?

  20. Barb Lurie:

    What a wonderful site. Thank you!

    My father’s cousin, Bill Cherwenak (lots of spellings of the surname) came from Benedigwazas, Hungary in 1911. Anyone know what the town is called today?

  21. Scott Pilkey:

    Hi – my great grandparents John Myszkowski & Josepha Jaskulska, immigrated from Galicia in the late 1800’s. They were married in 1896 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area). The marriage record says they were both from Najdorf, Galicja. I have not been able to locate or find any information on Najdorf. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Scott

  22. Kevin:

    Have been seeing the name Brose Galicia, likely Anglicized, I’m guessing its currently in Austria maybe? Anyone have any ideas of the actual spelling or what it might be called today?

  23. Sibyl Becwar:

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from now on. I want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a nice morning!

  24. Maggie Conlon:

    Quest. My grandfather came to America about 1901 or 02. He came from Galicia (Ronashau (sp), in Austria. So I was told. Grandma too came from Galicia,approx. 1901 or 1902. I think Ronashau also, but not sure. Can you tell me if this town is or was in Austria or Poland. They both spoke German (dialect), and were Lutheran. How can I do a search on family?Where do I begin. Thank you for any help u can give me.

  25. Michael:

    My great grandfather’s papers list his place of birth as Welitchka, Austria in 1855. He immigrated to the US in 1873 through the port of New York.

    Is Welitchka, Austria really Wieliczka, Poland near Krakow and home of the famous salt mines? If so, what do you think his motivation was to say he was from Welitchka, Austria? Unfortunately I do not know if German or Polish was his native language. He was Jewish and may have also spoken Yiddish. I do know that he was reasonably well educated and integrated well into his wife’s family, who had been in the US for several generations and was a successful business man in Galveston, TX.

  26. julie:

    I am looking for any information on Blaskowa,austria. My great grandmother Marya Karmeleta was from their and I am looking for information on the town she is from, really all I know is she was born on 2/8/1894.I also know when she arrived in America was 6/18/1913.I am looking any information on her parents,siblings actually really anything.Please help if you can it would be great.

  27. Mark klym:

    So my grandfather was from Galicia, Galician. What nationality am i

  28. angie:

    Hohenbach #44, Mielec, Galizien(A) Mielec, Podkarpackie, Poland

    Family name Karushaar. Thanks angie

    Johann Friedrich Kraushaar !
    Birth 24 SEP 1847 • Hohenbach #44, Mielec, Galizien(A) Mielec, Podkarpackie, Poland
    Death ABOUT 1941 • Canada

  29. 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.

  30. Diane Karalunas:

    Hello, just found a death record, husbands maternal grandmother . It is hard to decifer but her parents places in Galicia. One says last laszki dahiszmi-bobrkq the other is Drochowyczi bobrkq. Any tips or websites to help learn how to do. All this genealogy stuff?
    Thanks

  31. 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.

  32. Lori:

    Thank you for this informative piece. It makes everything so much clearer. I was always told that my grandparents moved to America from a village called Novy Zodgorov in Galicia, but we could never find information about such a place. Do you have any knowledge about it?

  33. Vito:

    hi there, my great grandfathers last name was Wasyluk, and he came from Galacia to Canada. Do you have an idea of where in Galacia that name is from?

  34. Steve Flak:

    I’m trying to find the town in Galicia where my grandfather come from.
    I’m not sure of the spelling. The 2 spellings are: Jawingy, Jaturgia.
    Another town mentioned is Mostyska.
    Any help will be appreciated.
    Steve

  35. Dolores:

    Frances Rogala Krawiec born l876 in Jezowe, Galicia. Do you have any info about her or where Jezowe is located?

  36. Siusaidh:

    Do you know WHY there are two Galicias? Did the one in Spain receive migrants who named it for the place from which the came? The one one in Spain is a Celtic area yet the “c” in Galicia isn’t pronounced in a Celtic language way, which is like a “k.” Could it be a Polish word? Thanks.

  37. Jenny:

    Do you know where was Tschochany which I heard was in the historic district of GALICIA, once part of the Austrian empire. the town name is spelled the German way I think because the documentation was made in Austria and later in Frankfurt.

  38. Kaycee:

    My husband’s great-grandfather is from Kraków. I believe I may have found an immigration record for his great-grandmother. It lists her place of birth as Wola, Galicia. Any clue as to what modern-day area this might be? Thanks in advance!

  39. 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?

  40. Bogumila Gladysz:

    Please let me know how to find a place of birth of my husband John Gladysz’s great grandmother Maria Gladysz and her brothers Felix and Stephen Gladysz. Place recorder on Ancestry is Chlemeliska, Calicia, or Chmielska or Clemeliska. Please help if you can. Maria Gladysz was born in 1858 listed as Czechoslovakia. Her children were born 1st son Ignatz (john) Gladysz in 1884, Nov 9th in Poland, 2nd child, John Barotlomew (jan Batrlomiej) Gladysz born on August 15, 1890 in Chemeliska Galacia, 3rd child Katarzyna Gladysz, born Dec4, 1894 also in Chlemeliska Galacia, Maria gave her children her maiden name Gladysz, no father is listed anywhere. We are trying to find Maria’s husband or partner and father to all her children. She had actually 4 children. One died after birth in 1896, Parycja Gladysz. Where is Chlemeliska, Galicia or Czechoslovakia. Thank you,

  41. 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

  42. 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

    • Andrea Watralik Earp:

      @Edith Horen-Amster Hi there, its so exited to see that because my grandfather was coming from Galitzia and he went to Argentina in the 30′ , where I am from. 🙂 he was living in Buenos Aires, had my dad and in 1972 I was born in Argentina, in 2003 I moved to USA where I reside now. could be possible that they know each others 🙂

  43. 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.

      • Paula:

        @Linda Anne My polish grandmother’s middle name or rather baptismal name is Hedwig (in English), but her baptism certificate written completely in Polish states her middle/baptismal name is Jadwiga. Jadwiga is just Hedwig in Polish. 🙂

  44. 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.

  45. 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

    • Olivia:

      @Janis Ladanyi Klimiec, Klymets—- that’s Karlsdorf, it’s in Modern Ukraine. My second great grandparents were born and raised there.

    • Daniel:

      @Janis Ladanyi If the men in the family were Jewish then they were circumcised, maybe you can find out discretely?

  46. 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

    • bva:

      @Sharon Barry Sombor: Vojvodina northern Serbia, then in Austrian-Hungarian empire.
      Stari means “old”. So probably the old centre of town.
      Visiting Sombor recommended nice town and region.

  47. 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

  48. 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.

  49. Laura:

    Hi, I just found my g-grandmother’s immigration documents in which she is listed as “Galician” but I know for a fact she was Polish. she is also listwed as last living is Osick? Orick? Osicky? I can;t tell exactly. Was this a city in Galicia?

  50. 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.

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