Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

Can you help me with the "Baker" surname in Eastern Europe?


My great grandmother, Rosemilla, had the maiden name Baker. All I know are the years she died and that she was from Austria-Hungary's Galicia (in a town in between Poland and Ukraine).

Her father was Leonid Baker.

I don't know much because she died young and my grandfather was taken to New York and lived in an orphanage for many years.

Basically, I'm curious because "Baker" is not an Eastern European name.

My friend got a few hits on of people named "Baker" moving to USA from Russia and surrounding areas.

So where did the Baker name come from over in Eastern Europe?


Oh and the family spoke Polish & Russian, so I know that culture-wise they were basically Polish.

And we look very Slavic.

My family has limited knowledge on other family members names though. We just know they lived in Poland and surrounding areas.

I'm just curious as to why the name Baker was over there.

Do you think someone had been English or something? And moved there? and the name just got carried on....?

Update 2:

Rosemilla was born 1898 and died in 1920

The only records I have are from overseas.

So, yep.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    the biggest probability is that you are right.. it isn't a name associated with Eastern Europe, or persons who spoke Polish.

    The likelihood is that the name (like thousands of others) was ENTERED as Baker in records either when she came over, or shortly afterwards. What you do need are her death record/ place, and seeing if she was in the 1920 or 1910 census. Her marriage will be shortly prior to 1920.. where grandpa was born, is the first place to be looking for this. At least one or more of the census, would indicate about when she immigrated, and MIGHT lead to the record itself. With ANY LUCK.. you might be able to look in the neighborhood, and find either her parents or siblings. Just because she died young is not proof that they did.

    "drop back" to grandpa, and his exact date/place of birth. That is the key to opening the door.

  • 1 decade ago

    With the information you've given us and the names that you found, your ancestors are probably Ruthenians. Galicia was a huge area encompassing almost 1/2 of the current country of Poland, plus parts of the Ukraine, Lithuania, etc. When Poland was partitioned, Austria-Hungary took the region of Galicia. The Ruthenians were a group living in the SE part of what we now know as Poland, which overlapped the Russian partition of East Prussia and the Austrian partition of Galicia. FWIW that's considered Central Europe, not Eastern Europe, so when you're looking up records don't look just in Eastern Europe or you may miss a huge section.

    The name Baker is an English name so the one thing I can guarantee is that it was changed somewhere between the time she left Europe and the time she learned to speak English. You're probably looking for some version of the word "PIEKARZ". Just as a slew of Kowalskis became Smiths in the US, a number of Piekarzic, Piechowiaks, etc became "Bakers".

  • 1 decade ago

    The fact that a surname doesn't sound Slavic doesn't mean that it is not Polish, Ukrainian, Czech etc.

    Imagine such situation: in the year of 1300 a family of German settlers Backer (a latter "a" with two dots above) came to the city of Lvov for example. Four, five generations later their ancestors are polonised (changed into Polish) or ruthenised ( changed into Ruthenians) because most of their neighbours are Polish or Ruthenians. Their surname was changed into Baker, what is simpler for Slavic speakers. You can't say that it is not Polish, or Ukrainian ( because his owner was a Pole or Ukrainian) but you can definately say that it is not Slavic. Baker guys got married with women from neighbourhood (Kowalski, Nowak for example) and Baker girls got married with other neighbourhood guys

    ( with slavic surnames as well). Only the first owners of such surnames were foreigners in the new place. Their ancestors became Indigenous people. Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe are not Slavic but BASED on Slavic culture.

    As for English people. There were not many English people in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine etc. but there were quite large diaspora of Scotisch in the 17th century in those countries.

    In the middle age there was a huge migration of German settlers to the east from the overpopulated provinces of Germany. Most of those people became Czech, Polish, Hungarian etc. after few generations. Poland, Czech Rep., and other countries from that region are full of people with such names (Vaclav Klaus the president of the Czech Rep., for example). Germany are also full of people with slavic names and they are German not Polish, Czechs etc. Even some Polish generals in the WWII had German surnames

    ( like gen. W. Anders).

    Source(s): Im Polish
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