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Thanks go to Stephan for translating this material from Ukrainian

January 6, 2001

Dear Family and Friends,

I finally found the time to finish my translation of the introduction to Ivan Krasowskii's "Surnames of the Galician Lemkos in the 18th Century."

This labor of love is dedicated to the memory of our ancestors and to my dear father Ivan, who died just before Christmas Eve. He taught me to love his native language and not to forget the songs, the prayers, and the land of his ancestors.

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors, since this is only a first draft. I would have also liked to put all of the village names in their present form with Polish spellings instead of the Ukrainian transcription forms, which appear in the book, but there was no time to look them all up, except for the few that I knew and included in parentheses.

Happy Holidays!  Stephan

Surnames of the Galician Lemkos in the 18th Century
Ivan Krasowskii

from the Author (Krasowskii)

Lemkos, the farthest western ethnic sub-group of the Ukrainian people, have inhabited both slopes of the western Carpathians since ancient times.

Notwithstanding the fact that the forefathers of today's Lemkos have been separated from the rest of the Ukrainian lands for centuries, they have preserved their native language and culture under complicated economic and national conditions.

Despite historical realities, reactionary academics have created theories about the Lemkos being Russified Poles due to Austrian Rule or former Walachians (Romanians), who colonized the Western Carpathians under Polish rule in the 15th - 17th centuries and became "Ruthenian." On the other hand, relying on the fact that the Lemkos have preserved the ancient name for themselves as a Rusyn, a Rusnak and Ruthenian (rus'skyj), certain Ukrainian social-educational activists in the 2nd half of the 19th century, known as the Old Ruthenian (starorusyny) group (also referred to as Russophiles) came up with the theory that the Lemkos do not belong to the Ukrainian people, but form a separate Rusyn nationality branch of the Eastern Slavs.

In the late 1970's, while doing research on my native village of Doshno, in the San region, using a copy of the Josephine Metryka in the Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in L'viv, my associates and I (at the urging of Prof. Julian K. Red'ko) came up with the idea of reviewing the records (metryky) of all of the villages on the northern slopes of the Carpathians and then publishing a "Dictionary of Surnames of Galician Lemkos in the 18th Century."

To bring this about, we wanted to accomplish our goal by studying historical sources that bore witness to the national origin of the Lemkos and to prove or disprove the "Walachian colonization" theory. We also wanted to leave for posterity the systematic data we collected about the population that lived in the Western Carpathians at the end of the 18th century.

As a result of our work, which took several years and required detailed analysis of over 300 volumes of archival documents, we completed our compilation of the "Surname Dictionary." In the midst of our labor, we decided to present the surnames in an alphabetical list and to highlight the main ways in which they were formed.

In the process of compiling this dictionary, individual professionals willingly provided the author with their qualified assistance and valuable advice. I especially want to make note of the sensible help given by Pavlo P. Chuchka (Doctor of Philological Sciences and Professor at Uzhhorod State University) and the advice of Professor Doctor J. K. Red'ko.

My special thanks go to these individuals.


Contemporary historical science widely uses individual first names of persons, surnames, and other identifying names in order to more accurately answer questions about the origins of nationalities and nations, and about the creation and development of ethnic groups. In this way, one sheds more light on the problems of ethno-genesis. Analysis of personal names and the study of their development allows for a more basic study of the social composition of a given population group (lyudnist) in the past, and the intensity and the migration routes of a population (naselennya).

The first researchers of Ukrainian surnames were A. Stepovych (Notes on the origin of Little Russian Surnames - in Russian 1882, Voronezh) and M. Sumtsov (Little Russian Surname Appellations - in Russian 1885, Kiev). The work of V. Okhrymovych (Findings to recognize national customs and legal views - in Ukrainian 1895), studied the surnames of some individual Carpathian villages. The first person to study historical material of place names (onomastyka) was Ivan Franko (Reasons for Ukrainian Onomastics - in Ukrainian, L'viv 1906). Franko underlined the fact that individual names are important as material not only for the philologist-linguist, but also for the ethnographer and historian. Franko added that an important source for research into names could be the church records (metryky), even though these record books were not kept regularly in each parish and that a large part of these church record books have been lost in fires and as a result of wars.

Researchers on the surnames of Galician villagers in the 18th and 19th centuries have not yet devoted much attention to the important source document - the Land Kadaster (Pozemel'nyy Kadastr) of 1819-1820 (also called the "Franciscan Metryka" (Frantsyskans'ka metryka).)

Since the end of WW-II, questions related to the surnames of the Ukrainian population of the Carpathian region have been studied by the following Ukrainian academic researchers L.L. Humets'ka (Kiev 1958), A.M. Zales'kyj (Kiev 1964), R. Y. Kersta (Kiev - 1984), Yu. K. Red'ko (Kiev - 1966), M.L. Khudash (Kiev - 1977) and P.P. Chuchka, Kiev - 1985) and by the foreign academics J. Riegier (in Polish - Wroclaw 1977) and E. Wolnicz-Pawlowska (in Polish- Gdan'sk 1978). The work of Wolnicz-Pawlowska in regards to Ukrainian surnames in the former Ruthenian Province (Ruskie Wojewodstwo) contains a thorough analysis of the Ukrainian surnames of villagers in 14 villages of the Sanok region within a defined period of time. Indeed, Lemko surnames have not yet become the subject of any special monograph research project, although their study helps to draw a line of answers to questions about the Lemkos' past.

Among the ethnographic groupings of Ukrainians, the Lemkos remained the least studied up until WW-II. Since the middle of the 14th century, Lemkos have lived outside the borders of Ukraine. Despite being surrounded by foreign powers and the age-old desires of Poland, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia to assimilate the Carpathian Ruthenians, economic and nationalistic oppression did not break the spirit of the handful of Ruthenians lost in the faraway mountains. The Lemkos saved themselves from denationalization and created new examples of material and spiritual culture. These riches, which nature itself has preserved are treasures, which belong not only to Ukrainian culture but to all of the Eastern Slavic cultures. It is clear that the basis of Lemko culture is general Ukrainian culture. In language, thanks to its geographic isolation, the population of the western Carpathians preserved many ancient Rus' archaisms. A mass of historical, linguistic-literary and cultural factors help to characterize the Lemkos as a part of the Ukrainian people. (interesting footnote: by the early 1990's, the number of Lemkos in the world was estimated to be at about one million with 200,000 living in the Transcarpathian Oblast of Ukraine, with 250,000 who were moved from Poland to the L'viv, Ternopil', and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts of Ukaine after WW-II, 100,000 remaining in Poland (after Akcja "Wisla"), 120,000 in Slovakia, 60,000 in Yugoslavia, and 200,000 in the U.S. and Canada.)

The lack of written sources up until the middle of the 15th century makes it difficult to study the history of the western Carpathians from ancient times until the 15th and 16th centuries. The "Rus' Primary Chronicle" (Povist' vremennydkh lit), the "Galician-Volhynian Chronicle" (Halytsko-Volyns'kyj Litopys), and archeological finds give scant information about the history of this region. From the 15th century, royal circulars, privileges, charters, court records and protocols exist. A valuable source of history for the Lemkos is the "Acts of the village of Odrekhova" (Akty sela Odrekhovy). It is the only well known set of acts of a self-governing village between the 15th and 19th centuries, which was written in the Ukrainian language in use at that time. Another quite credible source with which to study the history of the Lemkos and their social-economic positions are the Sanok Court books from the 16th to 18th centuries, the court book of the village of Vara 15th thru 17th centuries, the court book of the Klymkivka circular 17th thru 18th centuries, and the Josephine and Franciscan Land Kadasters (metryky).

There is also a number of documents for the 16th to 18th centuries (illustrations and descriptions of land holdings) published in the "Sources for the study of the history of Rus'-Ukraine" (Zherela dlya istorii Ukrainy-Rusi). An important publication of general state documents, royal privileges and decrees, courtroom records, and rulings of the Sanok legislature (sejmek) and other similar documents from the 15th to 18th century can be found in the "Akta grodskie i ziemskie" (in Polish - City and Land Acts). Material on the granting of privileges to villages of the Carpathian region (Prykarpattia) can be found in the "Zro'dla Dziejowy" (in Polish - Historical Sources).

Among the printed sources, the "Shematyzmy" (of the Greek Catholic Apostolic Administration of Lemkivshchyna - L'viv 1936) contains short historical accounts about the villages and information pertaining to economic, educational, and cultural activities. The works of D. Zubryts'kyj (History of the Galician Principality, L'viv 1861-1863-with the borders between the Ruthenian and Polish peoples from Galicia), M. Krynyts'kyj ( in Russian - Historical Content of the Mushyna area, Vienna 1853) are dedicated to the problems of the history and culture of the Lemkos, as is the work of O. Toronskyj (Ruthenian-Lemkos, in Russian, 1860, L'viv). It is also worth mentioning the works of the Polish researchers A. Fastnacht (Settlements in the Sanok lands (Osadnictwo ziemi Sanockiej w lata) 1340-1650, in Polish, 1962 - Wroclaw), the historical-ethnographic works of R. Reinfuss (Ethnographic borders of Lemkivshchyna (Etngraficzne granice Lemkowszczyzny "ziemia"), 1936 - Krakow) and J. Czajkowski (Historical and ethnic basis forming the ethnographic groups in the southern part of the Rzeszow Wojewodstwo, 1969 - Sanok).

Ancient sources, especially archeological finds prove that the northern slopes of the western Carpathians were settled only in the valleys of the San river and its tributaries the Vysloka, Ropa, and Dunayets' rivers. Without a doubt, these valleys were settled by Ruthenians - the descendents of the Eastern Slavic tribes known as the White Croats. The arrival of Ruthenians into the western Carpathians at the end of the 11th century was also clear with the building of the town of Sanok on the San river as a defensive and administrative center in the western part of Rus'. Sanok is first mentioned in about 1150, when, according to the Ipatiivs'kyj Chronicle, it was occupied by King Geiza of Hungary.

The Polish researcher Dr. Fastnacht maintains that Sanok could not have been an isolated settlement and that, by established custom, nearby Ruthenian settlements were founded on the basis of Ruthenian Law (na Rus'komu pravi): Terepcha, Mezhybrid, Dubrivka Rus'ka, Zabolotsi, Ulyuch (first called Ulych), Lodyna, Hlomcha (Hlomcza), Tyriava Sil'na, Vil'khivtsi, Stotrozhi Velyki, Storozhi Mali, Kostarivtsi, Syanichok, Polovtsi, Chertezh, Prusyk and others. Of course, the first documented mention of these villages appears at a later date between the 14th and 15th centuries (interesting footnote: Terpcha - 1339, Vil'khivtsi and Syanichok - 1424, Dubrivka Rus'ka - 1426, Polovtsi - 1429, Chertezh - 1439. These are the years when privileges were granted to these villages).

Ruthenian settlements did not only center on Sanok and its tributaries, but also existed farther to the west in the valley of the Vyslik (Wyslok), along the Jaselka and in the direction of the Dukla and Jaslo mountain passes, along the communication routes and streams. One should mention the fact that the villages of Bos'ko and Doshno were among the oldest settlements founded on the basis of Ruthenian Law.

The remains of ancient ruins near Tyriava Sil'na, Terepcha, Voltushova, Vyslok Velykyj, Zahir'ya (Zagorz), Kulyashne, Lupkiv (Lupkow), Daliova and others are evidence of the existence of the boundaries of Ruthenian settlements. Because of this, we think that the assertions of the present-day Polish historians and ethnographers to be incorrect: namely, that up until the end of the 13th century the population living on the territory of latter-day Lemkivshchyna "was exclusively Polish."

After the fall of Kievan Rus', a portion of the Carpathian (Prykarpattia) and Trans-Carpathian (Zakarpattia) regions remained within the borders of the Galician Principality. Prince Yuriy (1301-1308) joined the territory of the entire latter-day Lemko lands to that of the territory of the Galician-Volynian Principality. This move sped up the process of economically and culturally developing the Carpathian region (Karpatskij Kraj).

The state of ancient Rus', to which a large portion of the territory of latter-day Lemkivshchyna belonged, influenced the growth and composition of the population of the western Carpathians. This fact was indeed also admitted by Fastnacht, who maintained that up until 1340, not less than one third of the villages already existed that were later known from the 15th and 16th centuries.

In the middle of the 14th century, Volynia, Halychyna (Eastern Galicia), and Lemkivshchyna were siezed and taken over by Poland. The lands of the Sanok region then became a part of the Ruthenian province (Ruskie Wojewodstwo) and are subsequently always referred to in official documents as "the Ruthenian land" (terra Rusiae). This fact also points to the ethnic composition of the population of the Carpathian region (kraj).

The Polish kings and noblemen then began a new long-lasting colonization effort aimed at Polonizing the population living in the Carpathians. On this point the Polish historian F. A. Osendowski wrote: "in the year 1340 king Kazimir joined the Galician lands and the Carpathians to Poland. He worried about the colonization of the Carpathian lands by his faithful knights -- Poles, Germans, Czechs, who step by step polonized the foreigners." (Karpaty I Podkarpacie, Poznan, 1930)

After rechartering the towns under Magdeburg law (German law), Polish authorities then forbade Ruthenians from settling in the towns of the Carpathian region (Sanok, Jaslyska, Biecz, Muszyna.) The city council of Jaslyska even brought out an ordinance stating "it is forbidden for Ruthenians and people of the Greek Faith from settling in the city."

Polish colonization first caught on in the towns and lowlands of the Northern Carpathians. Poles did not willingly like to settle in the highlands. In order to finally "make the Carpathians our own", the Polish kings granted the larger portion of these lands to the Polish nobility with the right to establish new settlements on the basis of German law, and also on the basis of Walachian law. Villages that already existed in these lands were also granted to the noblemen. For example, in 1373 King Wladyslaw granted the village of Jablonica (Ruska) on the San river to the nobleman Pszemyslaw. In the years 1386-1389 the king granted to Zyndram from Maszkowicz both the town of Jaslyska and the villages at the upper reaches of the the Morawa river above the village of Doszno. Also in 1389 a new village called Korolykova (latter known as Korolyk Polski) was founded there on the basis of German law.

The Roman Catholic Church also received royal grants. The Polish Catholic Church was to play a leading role in the political plans for the polonization of the Ukrainian population of the Carpathians. Queen Elzhbeta in 1384 granted to the Latin Bishop of Przemysl the villages of Rivne, Tserhova, Bereziv, and Domaradz. In 1434, King Jagailo also granted to this bishop the town of Jaslyska (which had reverted back to royal property) and the villages of Korolyk, Daliova, Biskuptsi and Nowa Jasionka. In the 14th century the kings granted the property of Muszyna domain (demesne = kljucz) to the bishop of Krakow.

Court and civic records and land registers began being kept in 1423. Only from this period do we have more concrete descriptions of Carpathian villages, which come from historical sources. By analyzing these records we see that in 1450 property within the Sanok lands was divided up into the following ownership categories: 73.7% of the land owned by Polish noblemen, 20.1% owned by the King, 5.8% owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and 0.4% owned by local councils.

Polish colonization of the Carpathians was also made up of German colonists, both in the eastern part as well as in the western part of latter-day Lemkivshchyna. This process began in 14th to 15th centuries. The Roman Catholic dioceses of Krakow and Przemysl actively participated in these colonizing efforts, with an aim toward polonizing the population, and weakening the influence of the Orthodox religion within the Polish kingdom.

In 1358 the town of Korosno (Krosno) obtains the status of German law. Soon thereafter, the surrounding Ruthenian villages of Novosil'tsi, Jablonica Ruska, Hrycewa Wola, Daliowa, Posada, Jaslyska and others also were rechartered under German law. German settlers soon arrive in Krosno and Rymanow.

As a result of this German colonization, new villages were founded: Hachiv, Kambornia, Iwonycz, Klymkivka. Part of the German colonists also settled in Sanok, where up until 1339 the majority of the townsmen were Ruthenians. By the end of the 14th century, however, the majority of the Sanok townsmen were Poles or polonized Germans. German colonists also showed up in the villages which is attested to by the names which they gave to the villages they founded, such as Zarshyn (Zarszyn) from the words "sehr schoen" (very pretty) in the Sanok region, and in the Horlytsi (Gorlice) region - Shymbark (Szymbark) from the words "schoen Berg" (pretty mountain). German colonists from the town of "Hoerlitz" in Silesia also founded the town of Horlytsi (Gorlice) (see the Shematysm of Lemkivshchyna, Lviv, 1936). Within the Sanok region over 150 settled areas were rechartered on the basis of German law.

The gradual process of turning local villagers into serfs worsened their social standing. It was useful for the Polish landlords to completely settle the sub-Carpathian (prykarpatskyj) and Carpathian regions in order to obtain feudal work/service terms (corvee) and natural duty obligations. The nobility established new villages, granting its inhabitants "freedom" (volya - wola) (a set period of time free of feudal work requirement/obligations to the landlord) for a period of 24 years from the founding of the village.

Legal relationships thus changed between the local master (feudal lord) and his serf village inhabitants. Under these conditions, Ruthenian law was obsolete by not being responsive enough to the needs of the land owners. German (Magdeburg) law, however, regulated the legal relationships between townsmen, merchants and craftsmen. This is why even as far back as the 15th century a mass re-chartering of villages on the basis of the customs of Walachian law began in the sub-Carpathian and trans-Carpathian regions, which under alpine conditions better formalized the legal obligations of village inhabitants living in the Carpathian villages ( which were at first were Polish royal villages, but later became the property of noblemen) toward the interest of the nobility. At first Walachian law was introduced in the royal villages, but later it was also introduced in villages of the nobility. Two of the first villages founded on the new Walachian law were Odrekhova (Odrechowa) and Shavne (Szawne). In 1542 Bishop Tarlo transferred the village of Volya Nyzhnya (Wola Niznia) from German to Walachian law. In the Sanok region over 160 villages, which had previously been chartered on the basis of Ruthenian or German law, were transferred to the status of Walachian law during the 16th and 17th centuries. (according to Fastnacht).

New settlements were also founded on the basis of Walachian law. The conditions for founding a new village depended on the natural growth of the local population, the arrival of emigrant-settlers (usually Ruthenians from the Transcarpathian region (in the southeast), and the state-sponsored colonization of the Carpathians by Poles and Germans. In the 16th century, families from the Ukrainian population of Eastern Galicia (Halychyna) and farther areas of Rus' arrived in the Carpathian highlands as a result of the Turkish and Tartar attacks upon Rus' at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. Noblemen also settled a few Belarusians arriving in the mountains from beyond the Pripiat marshes. (note according to Osendowski: in fact the Belarusians from the northern part of the Rivne oblast have much in common culturally and materially with the Lemkos.)

These new settlers also took over formerly inhabited villages, which had been depopulated as a result of various epidemics. For example, the following was written about the village of Mocharne (Moczarne) in 1622 "People died as a result of winds that were sent by God. Those who remained were wiped out by Hungarians and brigands." In order to repopulate Mocharne, Ruthenians from Transcarpathia were subsequently brought in.

As a rule, new villages founded on the basis of Walachian law sprung up along side neighboring villages that had already been in existence. In 1470 the villages of Voltushova (Woltuszowa), Balutianka and Volya Klymkivska (Vil'ka) (Wola Klymkowka - Wilka) were founded on the basis of Walachian law near the older village of Doshno (Doszno), which had formerly existed on the basis of Ruthenian law. One document for 1673 states that "cossacks and bailiffs" live in the village of Vil'ka. The village of Zavadka Rymanivska (Zawadka Rymanowska) was founded in about 1483 with a charter of privileges dating from 1487. In the first half of the 16th century the following villages were established on the basis of Walachian law: Komancha (Komancza) 1512, Moshchanets' (Moszczaniec) and Kamianka 1526, Lypovets' (Lipowiec) and Cheremkha (Czeremkha) 1527, and Poliany Surovychni 1549. In 1556 Ruthenian settlers form Transcarpathia founded the village of Volosate (Wolosate). A row of villages were founded in the second half of the 16th century such as Matiasheva Volya 1567, Tarnavka 1570, Pulavy 1572, Dushatyn 1578, Berezhnytsia Nyzhnia and Mychkiv 1580, Zavoji and Rudavka Rymanivska 1589.

The introduction of Walachian law, which better served the interests of the landlord, was obligatory for villagers. Villages under Walachian law existed side-by-side with villages under Ruthenian law. This fact is confirmed by civil documents form the 16th to 18th centuries from the village of Odrekhova (Odrechowa) in the Sanok region, which are known by the name of "Acts of the village of Odrekhova", Polish-German colonization continued pressure from the north and the west, attempting not only to slow down the spread of Ukrainian influence, but also to push out Ruthenians from the better lowland agricultural land into the mountains.

The efforts of the nobility and Latin clergy led to the forced introduction of the Catholic faith and the polonization of the population living in a row of Ruthenian villages in the Dyniw (Dynow) region. Only independent islands of the Ukrainian/Lemko population of this region survived until 1945.

A list of the most common surnames in Lemkivshchyna at the end of the 18th Century.

This Table contains the Surnames and  the Number of Families with this name, out of a total of 1707 surnames 
in the  list.
Most Common Surnames in Lemkivshchyna
Number of Families with this name, out of a total of 1,707 in the list
Surname No. Surname No.
Koval'  (Kowal) 56 Marchak 20
Rusyn     49 Dziubak 19
Popovych 48 Dudka  19
Barna  51 Luchka   19
Tsap  (Cap)  44 Savka 19
Mel'nyk 40 Fil'    19
Khom'yak  (Chomiak) 37 Bodak 18
Shpak   (Spack or Spiak) 37 Dziadyk 18
Voitovych  (Wojtowycz) 33 Duda    18
Koval'chyk  (Kowalczyk) 31 Kokhan (Kochan) 18
Prystash  (Prystasz) 31 Kril' (Krill)   18
Petryk 30 Slota 18
Havryliak 29 Makukh (Makuch) 18
Babiak 27 Tkach 18
Tyrpak 27 Horoshchak 17
Vovk (Wowk) 26 Kondrat 17
Kostyk 25 Pasternak 17
Krynyts'kyj (Krynycki) 25 Konyk  16
Kulyk 25 Mylian 16
Roman 25 Senchak (Senczak) 16
Baran   24 Sydor  16
Drahan 24 Fedorchak 16
Kozak 24 Ferents (Ferenc) 16
Verkhol (Werchol) 23 Khomyk (Chomyk) 16
Vyslots'kyj (Wyslocki) 23 Bodnar 15
Hal'ko 23 Halyk 15
Danchak (Danczak) 23 Hotsko 15
Krupa 22 Dmytryk 15
Bobak 21 Zavijskyj (Zawisky) 15
Markovych 21 Kohut   15
Steranka 21 Kravets' (Kravec, Kravitz) 15
Stets' (Stec) 21 Pavlyk 15
Khovanets' (Chovanec) 21 Savchak (Sawczak) 15
Khoma (Choma) 21 Soroka 15
Shevchyk (Szewczyk) 21 Stetsyk (Stecyk) 15
Zaiats' (Zaiac) 20 Khanas (Chanas) 15
Kit 20 Chupak (Czupak) 15


These most popular Lemko surnames in the 18th Century prove without a doubt the connection of the population on the northern slopes of the Carpathians with Ukrainians. The surnames in Lemkivshchyna as in other regions of Ukraine were formed by various individual identifying characteristics, especially by original occupation, by outward appearance, by individual character traits, by the name of the place where one lived, by territorial and national origin, and by other characteristic naming traits. Lemko given first names of individuals, names of animals and plants, and the names of various objects and abstract meanings were also used as the basis for these surnames, prior to which individual familial appellations were used.

The most widespread group of Lemko surname for the most part came from individual given names. A cursory glance at Lemko surnames demonstrates that male first names were quite often used as the basis for surnames, such as: Adam, Vanio, Vasyl', Havrylo, Hnat, Dmytro, Kuz'ma, Nester, Oleksa, Prokip, Roman, Sava, Stepan, Franko, etc.

Another group is also formed by using male first names with diminutive and endearing grammatical word endings (suffexes): -ko, -ochko, -echko, -en'ko (such as Andreyko, Andrusechko, Hrytsechko, Vasen'ko, Fedorko, Yurko), and with the male endings -ets', -yk, and -chyk (such as Vasylets, Danylets, Romanets, Yakymets, Adamyk, Adamchyk, Van'chyk, Vasylyk, Levchyk, Maksymchyk, Romanyk, Fedorchyk, Khomyk, Yasenyk.)

One peculiarity of these names is that each could be given to a person on the basis of his given name, or on the basis of the given name of one's father (if the father was Vasyl', then his son is Vasylyk.) Personal names with word endings, bearing a somewhat impolite connotation were much less common among Lemkos. Examples of surnames of this type (using the endings -yha, - ura, -yura, -ur, -unda, -ysko, and -ach) include: Vanyha, Fedoryha, Demura, Matsura, Stepura, Fetsyura, Yatsura, Demchur, Tymchur, Klymunda, Kostysko, Petrysko, Romanysko, Semanysko, and Klymach.

A numerous group of Lemko surnames formed from first names is made up of secondary forms, which came about especially to characterize children after their parent's name. Within the boundaries of these secondary forms are those names using the possessive adjectival suffix -iv which indicates the first name of the founder of a family along male lines. Examples of these surnames include: Adamiv, Vaniv, Vasyliv, Hnativ, Hrytsiv, Ivaniv, Il'kiv, Mykhailiv, Pavliv, Petriv, Fedoriv, Yurkiv and many others.

Close to these are other Lemko surnames of adjectival origin formed by using the suffix -yn, such as Andreyishyn, Babyn, Kas'chyn, Marusyn, which were created from nouns ending in -a (in the nominative case.) This -a ending group also gave rise to surnames based on the word form indicating the female spouse family member (using the ending -ykha) stemming from her husband's first name. This ending gives rise to surnames such as Vasylyshyn, Hrytsyshyn, Mykhalyshyn, Petryshyn, Semchyshyn, (from Vasylykha "the wife of Vasyl", Hrytsykha "the wife of Hryts", Mykhalykha "the wife of Mykhailo", Petrykha "the wife of Petro", and Semchykha "the wife of Semen".

A lesser number of surnames from secondary name forms was created by using the patronymic suffexes: -ovych and -evych: Adamovych, Vasyl'kovych, Hnatkovych, Levkovych, Yurkovych. Also belonging to this group is a smaller category of surnames that could be formed from either male or female name forms ending in -a by adding the suffix -ych: Vasych, Ksenych, Fedorych, Yaremych etc.

A large number of Lemko surnames of patronymic origin are also formed by using the ending-ak, -iak, -chak: Vasyliak, Havryliak, Havryshak, Davydiak, Van'chak, Mykhal'chak, Yurchak etc.

Matronymic forms using these endings are considerably fewer but include: Handziak, Hanuliak, Kseniak, Maruniak, Marusiak, Marushchak (from the female first names: Handzia, Hanulia, Ksenia, Marunia, Marus'ka, Marusia.)

Even fewer Lemko surnames created from noun forms are made using the patrynimic suffexes -uk, -iuk, -chuk (Havryliuk, Havrynchuk, Demianchuk, Petrashchak, Petryshchyk, Savchuk, Seniuk) and with the endings -chat, -oviat, -eviat (Antonchat, Sen'koviat, Stetseviat.)

Besides surnames formed on the basis of first names among Lemkos in the 18th century, there were also numerous surnames based on specific characterizations of people on the basis of their family occupations or professions. Examples include: Bodnar (a cooper), Honchar (a potter) , Hudak (a musician), Drotar (a wire-maker), Zil'nyk (a herb gardener), Koval' (a blacksmith), Kolodiy (a cartwright), Kosar (a mower), Kravets' (a tailor), Kukhar (a cook), Kushnir (a furrier), Maliar (a painter), Mel'nyk (a miller), Mlynar (a mill owner), Oliar (an oil presser), Pastukh ( a shepherd), Pochtar (a postman), Reshetar (a net maker), Riznyk (a butcher), Soliar (a salt dealer), Stoliar (a joiner/cabinet maker), Teslia (a carpenter), Tkach (a dyer), Tokar (a turner) , Trach (a  sawyer/sawmill worker), Tsymbalista (a hammer dulcimer player/the kind you often hear played in Dracula movies), Chizhmar (a cobbler), Shvets (a shoemaker).

Examples of a person's social standing and position being used as the basis for some Lemko surnames include: Arendach (a tenant), Bazarnyk (a peddler at an open market), Bakaliar (a sacristan), Bacha (an old respected shepherd), Byskup (a Roman Catholic bishop), Vladyka (an Orthodox or Greek Catholic bishop), Bohach (a rich person), Bohachyk (son of a rich person), Viyt (a bailiff/magistrate of a village), Voznyj (a coachman), Gazdayka (little master of the household), Holota (rabble), Hudachok (a little musician), Husar (a cavalryman), Dziad (a hobo), Diak (a church cantor), Yedynak (an only child), Zatyk (a son-in-law), Katolyk (a Catholic), Kozak (a cossack), Kupets (a merchant), Pysarchyk (a scribe), Popovych (son of an Orthodox priest), Syrota (an orphan), Shlakhtych (a nobleman).

Territorial locations of origin from which the founding father of a family may have come include: Balutiansky (from Balutianka), Biliansky (from Bilianka), Vyslotsky (from Vyslik), Zarshynsky (from Zarshyn), Poliansky (from Poliana), Krynytsky (from Krynitsia), Odredavsky (from Rudavka), Tyliavsky (from Tyliava) etc.

To this last group also belong surnames formed from geographic names using the ending -ak and -iak such as Beskydniak (from the Beskyd mountains), Volynshchak (the Volyn province in Ukraine), Horak (from the mountain), Doshniak (from the village of Doshno), Zhdyniak (from the village of Zhdynia), Podoliak (from the Ukrainian region of Podilia), Potochak (from the stream), and Spishak (from Spish).

There are also the following surnames using the adjectival suffix endings -nyj, and -ovyj: Horbovyj (on the hill), Hranychnyj (on the border), Dorozhnyj (by the road), Zapotochnyj (across the stream), Pidhirnyj (at the base of the mountain or Underhill).

Ethnic origin is also used as a basis for some surnames: Boyko, Volokh (a Walachian), Lemtsio (a little Lemko), Rusynko (a small Ruthenian), Venhryn (a Hungarian), Zhydyk (a small Jew-note, in Western Ukrainian usage this word is not a pejorative form of the word for a Jew as it is in the Russian language - the word "zhyd" in Western Ukrainian, as in Polish or Czech is equivalent in meaning to the Russian word "Yevrey"), Liakh (an ancient Ruthenian word for a Pole - note, in Turkish, Poland is called Lechistan), Madyar (a Hungarian), Mazur (a Mazurian Pole from northern parts of Poland), Moskal (a Moscovite - what Western Ukrainians always called speakers of the Russian language from areas near Moscow), Nimets (a German), Poliak (a Pole), Tatar (a Tartar/ descendents of the Mongols who settled in Crimea), Turok (a Turk), Tsyhan (a Gypsy), Shved (a Swede.)

A relatively high percentage of of Lemko surnames originate from ancient pre-Christian names: Bilyk (squirrel), Holey, Kokhan (beloved), Krasunko (handsome man), Mylyj (dear one), Strashko (the terrifying one), Sukhan (the lean one).

Additionally, there are surnames, which characterized people on the basis of their outward appearance or by other individual traits. Such characterizations were widely used in a mataphoric sense as groups of words, such as in the names of animals: Baran (ram), Byk (bull), Bober (beaver), Borsuk (badger), Verkholiak (tit-lark), Vovk (wolf),Vorona (crow), Hnyda (nit), Kit (cat), Kobyliak (mare), Kohut (rooster), Holub (dove), Huska (goose), Zayats (hare), Zozulia (cuckoo), Kavka (jackdaw), Konyk (horsey), Kril' (rabbit), Kozel (billy goat), Kuna (marten), Lys (fox), Medvid' (bear), Mukha (fly), Rak (crab), Rybka (little fish), Slymak (snail), Sova (owl), Soroka (magpie), Tkhir (skunk/polecat), Khrushch (may bug/scarab), Tsap (billy goat), Shpak (starling).

Another group of surnames stem from names of plants: Bibko (bean), Hrab (elm tree), Hrusha (pear tree), Dub (oak tree), Klen (maple tree), Kriak (hedge), Loboda (pigweed), Slyva (plum tree), Slyvka (plum), Smereka (fir tree), Yavir (maple tree).

Surnames from various tangeable things, especially items of work or their component parts include: Baniak (pot), Varekha (ladle), Hal'ba (half liter glass), Dzvonyk (bell), Drapach (horse comb), Duda (pipe, reed), Kolyska (cradle), Korba (crooked handle), Liushnia (curved piece of wood), Motyka (hoe), Opalka (feed sack), Opar (scalded skin), Palytsia (cane), Truba (trumpet),Tsybukh (smoking pipe tube), Tsidylo (strainer), Tsymbala (kettle drum).

Names of food items also used as the basis for surnames: Borshch (rich beet soup), Varianka, Halushka (dumpling), Dziama (boiled beef), Zhentychka (whey), Kyselytsia (a tasty somewhat sour soup known in Polish as zurek), Maslianka (buttermilk), Pyrih (known to Poles and Americans as pierogi), Polyvka (sauce, broth, soup), Steranka (dough boiled in milk), Yukha (fish soup), Yabchanka (apple sauce).

Surnames based on parts of the anatomy include: Varga (thick lip), Hryva (long thick hair), Holova (head), Dziubak (a pockmarked person), Kyshka (guts), Kolinko (knee), Laba (paw, large hand), Noha (leg), Pelekh (tuft of hair), Piastuk (fist), Kopyto (hoof), Ratytsia (cloven hoof).

Surnames from phenomena of nature include: Hrad (hail), Moroz (frost), Slota (rainy weather), Tucha (thunderstorm), Kholod (the cold).

In order to characterize persons by their external and internal traits, many words were used as surnames, not only in a transference sense but also by direct meaning. In this way the following Lemko surnames originated: Bezzubyj (toothless), Holovatyj (big-headed), Bilousyj (white moustached), Gambal' (mouthy), Huban (lippy), Holyk (naked guy), Horban (hunchbacked), Zubal' (toothy or dentist), Kalichka (cripple), Kastranets (castrated), Kyrpan (turned up nose), Kuliavyj (limping), Maslianyj (greasy, oily), Nechystyj (unclean), Plaskyj (flat), Slipak (blind man), Slutyj (enfeebled), Solomianyj (made of straw), Khraptsio (snorer), Khudyj (skinny guy), Bolybriukh (stomach ache), Vertun (restless person), Hlukhanych (deaf man), Dykyj (wild one), Kusala (biter), Mudryj (person of wisdom), Chvanio (a wise guy).

If one divided Lemko surnames of the 18th century into groups, then the most numerous group stems from those originating from first names - almost half (45% of all names). Approximately 22% of Lemko surnames originate from character traits, and 20% according to the activity (job/trade) of the first person to bear the surname.

Lemko surnames of the 18th century by and large (over 80%) are of Ukrainian origin, many of which can also be found among Poles. Among the catagory of "foreign" surnames, the greatest number are of Polish origin. Surnames of Slovak, Hungarian, and Romanian origin in the northern part of Lemkivshchyna in the 18th century were very few.

The lack of a larger number of 18th century Lemko surnames of Romanian-Moldavian origin gives credence to the fact that Lemkos are a part of the Ukrainian people and also casts doubt on the theory of a mass Walachian colonization of the Western Carpathians.


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Page prepared by Walter Maksimovich

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Originally Composed: March 1st, 2002
Date last modified: March 27th, 2020