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8131Re: [Galicia_Poland-Ukraine] Switala surname

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  • Andre Switala
    Feb 7 8:36 AM
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      Hello 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. <<

      And

      >> In Polish the first letter, the S, has an accent over it which
      gives 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
      afterwards.

      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.

      Andre

      > >
      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?
      >
      > Tnx,
      > Brian
      >
      >
      > --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, Andre Switala
      > <andre@...> wrote:
      >> thanks to everyone who helped me with my question. Indeed it seems to
      > be
      >> a good source for genealogical research.
      >>
      >> Andre
      >>
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      > Yahoo! Groups Links
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