Americanized Bukowsko Triangle Surnames

A lot of immigrants changed the spelling of their names after they arrived in the USA. My own is but one example. This page lists some names from the Bukowsko Triangle and their Americanized versions. On a related note, you might want to read about why your ancestor's name probably did not change at Ellis Island.

There's a couple of important things to keep in mind about the names below. First, the relationship between names is sometimes just guesswork on my part. I can verify some transitions (like Kramar --> Kramer and Bończak --> Bonchalk), but some I cannot. Second, most (all?) of these names are Lemko. When living in Europe (and even to some extent in the USA) Lemkos used the Cyrillic alphabet. For instance, my surname in its native Cyrillic is Семенчук. Semanchuk is an American transliteration of Семенчук, and Semańczyk is a Polish transliteration of the same. This is a point a lot of people seem to miss: both the American and Polish versions are approximations of the original. As such, neither is more valid than the other.

Nevertheless, the Polish spelling is helpful to know for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that most people reading this page can't make heads or tails of Cyrillic. The practical upshot is that if people are familiar with any non-Americanized version of their name, it tends to be the Polish version. Also, Polish was the working language of Galicia and many Ukrainian records are written using the Polish alphabet.

In the table below, I include the Cyrillic spelling of a name when I have a reference for it (such as a tombstone photo or a church book record).

Original Cyrillic Polish Versions American Versions
Бардон, Бардом Bardun Bardon, Barton?
  Biłas Billas, Belas?, Bitas, Bilas
Боньчак Bończak Bonchack, Bonchalk, Bunshock, Bunchock, Bonchock
Бонк Bonk Bonk
  Bryła Brilla
  Cyganik Cyganik
  Dembicki Dembistky?
  Hnat Hnat, Hnath?
  Hujsak Hoysock
  Hustak Hurtak?, Kurtak?, Hoptak?
  Klepczyk, Kłepczyk Klepchick, Clepchick, Klepshick
Ковальчик Kowalczyk Kowalchick, Kovalczyk
  Kramar Kramer
  Makara Makara, Macara
  Mazur Mazur
Музичка Muzyczka Musick, Music, Musik
Нечустуі Neczysty Nieczysty
  Patrylak Patrylak
Пехович Pechowicz, Piechowicz Pecovich
  Pielech Pellish
  Pudelska Padelsky?
  Rakoczy Rakoczy
Семенчук Semańczyk Semanchuk, Semanchek, Semanchick?, Szymanczak?, Samanski
Стажетьски Starceki Starzetski, Starzetskie
  Tarnawczyk Ternowchek, Turnowchek
  Tymczyszyn Timchishin, Timtishen, Timtishin
  Winiar Weiner?


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All contents © 2008 Philip Semanchuk under a Creative Commons License.