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Thread: My last name

  1. #1
    Новичок
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    My last name

    My paternal grandfather was raised in Germany before coming to the US in 1907. His father was Russian and mother German. He changed his last name to Gerhardt in 1923, long before I was born. For many years I had no idea Gerhardt was not my father's original name. He told me it was Gilefski, or at least I am spelling it the way it sounded. It was an uncomfortable subject to speak to my father about, so this is about all I could get out of him. Is there a different spelling than the way I spelled it. I desperately want to search for family in Germany, but unless I can find his name correctly spelled, I don't think it will ever happen. Can someone help me!

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Scorpio's Avatar
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    Probably, original name was "Gilevsky" ("Гилевский"?).
    For me it sounds more like Polish name (but it may be Russian as well).
    Кр. -- сестр. тал.

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин
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    yeah, it sounds Polish to me too. It'd be spelt "Gilewski" (although "Gilefski" would be acceptable too, since Polish last anmes are often not correct when it comes to spellings)
    but I guess it could be russian, too.

  4. #4
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Gilefski

    I agree that it could be either a Russian or a Polish name. I remember a good friend of mine whose a native of Poland (I live in New Britain, CT (where many Polish immigrants first settle upon arriving in the USA)) telling me that Polish and Russian are very similar and that if you understand one, you will be able to understand the other. I think that it could be Гилефский instead of Гилевский. в does make the ф sound when unstressed (like at the end of a syllable or word). ф always makes the ф sound, and I believe that I have seen ф at the end of words and syllables. Best of luck in tracing your ancestry! I assume it is a Russian name since you said he was Russian.

  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин
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    "В" can be heard as "Ф" quite often. For example: ВСЕ can be heard as ФСЕ.

    If he was Russian, spelling would be Гилевский, but right he could be Polish, or polish guy who grew up in Russian surrounding, that's why he believed he was Russian. He could be Ukranian, specially west ukranian, and he could be jewish, Russian Jewish I mean.
    DO NOT READ MY SIGNATURE!

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин
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    I am now glad to have the last name Reynolds. Nothing special about it.
    And I don't have family in Europe until back to the sixteen hundreds, woot for my family tree. So much easier.
    I come to represent and carve my name within your chest.

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