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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 2 months ago

Where do surnames that end in -sky come from?

Without proper records, how do you determine whether a surname ending in -sky is Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish, Czech, etc.? I'm really interested in finding out the origin of an ancestor with a name like this but cannot find any information beyond her (can't find records of her parents, grandparents, etc., only her husband and children). Thank you so much for the help.

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Have you checked the Ellis Island records? They don't always tell you the town or village that someone came from, but they'll often tell you the country (although the country's name may have changed). But it can give you a place to start. You can also try, which is a free site run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. They have many records here in the U.S. that you can access, as well as church records from much of Europe.

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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    You don't determine anything on any surname, any surname was a choice or given when taken from the language used/heard, so any surname is just a clue about where to look for many decided when they migrated to change their surname or change the spelling  as spelling until the 20th century was not relevant as most people couldn't read/write so surnames were spelt how they sounded and written down by people who could read and spelling of a surname is irrelevant.

    The ONLY way to find out where your ancestors came from is to follow the record trail if they migrated you find ALL the records in the country they moved to and finding their passenger ship lists will tell you where they travelled from, including other information which is a clue to find out if they travelled from the country they live in/originated in or if they just travelled from there and previously they moved and lodged waiting for their ship passage.....Sky as a suffix is more common in western parts of Russia and, most probably, came from the Polish langauge ....Ski is likely to be eastern European more likely Polish again.....neither tell you religion.

    You need to look at census returns, see what nationality they say they are( which is only a clue as many lied), see what year they claim they migrated and then research where passenger ships from that country they claim they are a national of and what port those ships came into...then look 10 yrs either side that date to see if you can find them

    So most Polish immigrants to the United States arrived in New York, Baltimore, Galveston, or New Orleans. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of arrival records for these and other U.S. ports and arriving immigrants from Russia at the ports of Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia

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  • 2 months ago

    names ending in -ski or -sky tend to be Polish.

    However, the USA, when it came to refugees and immigrants had a tendency to shorten many central European names to how they sounded to their ears, sometimes adding the -sky or -ski because they thought it was the right thing to do. Since many or the immigrants/refugees couldn't write in English (or even their own language), they had little idea of what their legal names had become. 

    Examples: one of my relatives was surnamed Maktavorich and so became a MacTavish; a family friend named Brunevich became a Brown; a third family friend (from Hungary) became Mayorski...

    So, it's extremely hard to trace back further than the immigration records.

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