8131Re: [Galicia_Poland-Ukraine] Switala surname
- Feb 7 8:36 AMHello Brian,
for this (even though it will be long) I think it is best to send you
parts of an email that I received from William Hoffmann many years ago.
>> This name Switala comes from a Slavic root meaning "light, dawn,daybreak," which appears in Russian _svet_, Ukrainian _svit_, Polish
_swit_, etc. In Polish names the suffix -ala added to a root X usually
means "one always doing X, one always exhibiting the quality or
characteristic of X." So Switala meant literally "one associated with
dawn, light; one always shining; one who typifies brightness." There is
no connection with any German word, except perhaps a remote one with
words coming from the same original Indo-European root. <<
>> In Polish the first letter, the S, has an accent over it whichgives it a sound similar to German SCH (although Polish SZ sounds more
like SCH, the Polish accented S has a soft, hissing sound perceptibly
different from SZ or German SCH). In that name the L is not the standard
L but rather an L with a slash through it, which sounds like the English
letter W. Even in Polish this name has been spelled various ways,
including Switala, Switalla, etc.
In records it is quite common to see names spelled inconsistently, even
without complications due to the influence of different languages. Only
happened in the last century or so have people begun to emphasize
spelling a name the same way consistently, and only during that time
that literacy has become so widespread that it became possible to
standardize spellings. Whether one studies American records or English
or French or German, one need only go back a few decades and
one begins to see names spelled many different ways. So all those forms
you cite are simply variations in spelling of Switala, which is the
standard Polish spelling of the name. <<
Among other spellings I have seen and that I think might be related to
the Switala name are Schwitalla (mainly in Silesia), Schwiethal,
Schwital (which I saw in old Berlin address books) and also more exotic
ones as Szwitala, Schwitulla, Swytala etc.
It seems to me, that most of the Switala's lived in the Posen area
(Wielkopolskie) and Silesia (with the different spellings as well).
Since those parts belonged for a long time to Preussen, the German
language might have been adopted and thus they might have identified
themselves as German.
In fact, the reason why I subscribed to this mailing list is, that I
found a brother of my grandfather who got married in Galicia. His name
was Waclaw (Venceslaus) Switala and he got married to Marya Pasierbek in
Antoniowka near Kochawina in 1917 (they lived in Jajkowce). The marriage
record states, that at that time he was in the German Army and on
vacation/leave during that time. In the birth records around that time I
found one daughter that was born in 1919, with the name Jozefa Switala.
The records continue until the 1940s in the microfilm I currently have,
but no other birth was found there. So I think he might have moved
Could you please let me know where those German colonies where, that had
that name? I am always interested in finding new Switala's around the
world, so I would appreciate any information you could give me on that.
Thanks in advance.
> >bjlenius wrote:
> Hi Andre,
> Just wondering about your surname. One of the many surnames from our
> German Catholic colonies in Galicia is Switalo. It always seemed to me
> unlike a German surname. Anything you can tell me about yours?
> --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, Andre Switala
> <andre@...> wrote:
>> thanks to everyone who helped me with my question. Indeed it seems to
>> a good source for genealogical research.
> Yahoo! Groups Links
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