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russian surname

russian surname

Natasha Petersen (View posts)
Posted: 17 May 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Von Frank, Fon Frank, Selivanovsky
Von Frank from Moscow - German originally lived in area known as Rozumovskoye Grandmother - Baroness Olga Nikolayevna Von Frank Selivanovskaya
Vasilii Alexandrovich Selivanovsky from Moscow - wholesale tea merchant
Any info will be greatly appreciated

Re: russian surname

Joanne Goskowicz (View posts)
Posted: 21 Feb 2004 11:05PM GMT
Classification: Query
This is actually two names:
Baroness Olga Nikolayevna von Frank Selivanovskaya
and
Vasilii Alexandrovich Selivanovsky

From here, it's pretty easy ...

Nikolayevna means daughter of Nikolai/Nikolay (Nicholas).
Alexandrovich means son of Alexander.

So Olga von Frank is the daughter of Nikolai von Frank (pronounced (fon Frahnk). And Vasilii (Basil) is the son of Alexander Selivansky (pronounced sell EE van ski).

Olga is also the wife of Vasilii.
Vasilii is the wholesale tea merchant. :-)

Re: russian surname

Lavonne Sell (View posts)
Posted: 2 May 2004 5:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
My grandfather came to the US around 1900-1905 we have no records of his papers. He was probably Jewish and lived outside Moscow on a farm. His sister was a teacher. His name on all the papers we do have is Alexander Michwich, I am almost positive when he immigrated they changed his original name in some manner. Do you have any ideas concerning his real name or anything that would help me find out more about him.

Re: russian surname

Joanne Goskowicz (View posts)
Posted: 25 May 2004 4:17AM GMT
Classification: Query
You have a lot going on here!!

I really cannot be sure on this. It's POSSIBLE that there is a misspelling or abbreviation, but I cannot be sure. And it would depend on what papers you have and from where they were. If the papers you have are American, then millions of mistakes could have been made since Russia

Mich- MIGHT BE short for Mikhail or Michael. No promises on that. But if that were the case, Alexander could be Mikhailovich/Michaelovich (son of Michael). Micha (said Mee-h'a OR Mee-sha) is a nickname for Michael whereas Misha (said Mee-sha) is a nickname for Mikhail.

A patronymic name is not usually a surname in Russian culture. For example: If Alexander is the son of Peter (Piotr) Michwich, then his name would be Alexander Piotrovich Michwich. If he's the son of Michael Smith, then his name would be Alexander Michaelovich Smith. Piotrovich and Michaelovich are male patronymic names. They honor the father. Female patronymic names are a little different.

Not knowing if Michwich is a misspelled patronymic name is a disadvantage here. If you knew Alexander's father's name, it might help. If Dad is Michael Michwich, then we know that Michwich is a surname and not a misspelled patronymic name.

So, taking all of this into consideration ... just a stab in the dark, and a guess at best: Michwich COULD BE Michovich/Michowich/Michowicz/Michowitz (son of Mike). The spelling could change based on his region, religion, ethnicity, port of departure, ... IE: usually ... wicz = Belorusian, witz = German or Yiddish/Jewish, vich = Russian ...etc. But there are no guarantees. wicz is seen in Poland, Germany, ...

You might have other clues that "tell" the family's story "hiding" somewhere and not even know it. If he was Jewish, he probably brought a Menorah to America, for example. Maybe pictures ...

If YOU are not Jewish, and no one in your family is Jewish, do not assume that he might have been. Because most languages, including English, did not have spelling rules before the 20th Century, someone named Michaelowich could easily change the spelling to Mikhailovich in order to "fit in" to the area. Spelling errors can occur in so many places in Immigration ... ships' logs, port of departure records, port of arrival records, Ellis Island, etc.

And since the Russian (Cyrillic) Alphabet is nothing like the Western Alphabet that is used in America and most of Europe, there is all kinds of room for error. As a quick example, the Russian letter B /veh/ sounds like the German letter W /veh/ which is represented in English as V /vee/. So at port in Hamburg Germany someone hearing Mikhailovich might write Michaelowitz. And at Ellis Island, another person hearing Mikhailovich might write Mikaylovicz.

So sorry, but you have a lot of research to do.
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