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  • Lithuania surnames

    Hi guys. I'm really excited because I just discovered the surname of my father's paternal grandmother. I can't believe it has taken me this long to find it out as I have been on the website that I found it on before, and had no luck. So not sure how I got lucky today!

    Anyway her name was Josephine Mutyar. Her last name does not look like a typical Lithuanian surname. When I try searching for the name in Lithuania I come up with Lithuanian names on Wikipedia. I see nothing there for it. Then in the search if I just put in Mutyar, it appears to be a name associated with Pakistan or India?? So I am a little confused.

    On my grandparents marriage license she is listed as being born in Lithuania, as her husband is listed as being born in Lithuania as well. No towns mentioned of course. Thanks in advance if anyone has insight to this last name being in Lithuania.

  • #2
    I had trouble exploring my Lithuanian roots until I found out the village name, and then hired a genealogist based in Lithuania.

    I wouldn't worry so much about whether Mutyar "sounds" Lithuanian. The spelling of surnames changed slightly but often depending on who was controlling the country. That said, a quick search on ancestry.com shows a Slovak named Mutyar emigrating from Hungary:


    Name:
    Josef Mutyar
    Arrival Date:
    6 Jun 1907
    Birth Date:
    abt 1849
    Birth Location:
    Hungary
    Birth Location Other:
    magy iolra
    Age:
    58
    Gender:
    Male
    Ethnicity/ Nationality:
    Slovakian
    Port of Departure:
    Bremen
    Port of Arrival:
    New York, New York
    Ship Name:
    Grosser Kurfurst

    I'd try to find the village name on ship manifests, draft registrations, naturalization documents. This can take time and concentrated effort.

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    • #3
      I checked with a Lithuanian-American friend of mine whose parents immigrated to the U.S., and he said that Mutyar is not a Lithuanian surname.

      "Last names often end in suffix -as or -is or -ys (male or generic), or -iene (female married), or -yte (female single)...My first guess was something Hungarian, but that's only because of resemblance to 'Magyar'."

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      • #4
        I'd guess Hungarian as well, but mainly because it sounds like it, not because I've encountered the name before.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you so much to everyone for your replies. Like I said I was really thrilled to find her name today. She was the only great grandparent that I had no last name for. Yes the names always seem to get the spelling jumbled up somehow, but this name really did not seem to have any of the hallmarks of the different endings that are used for Lithuanian surnames.

          I really wish I could find the village of my paternal grandparents. My father's side of the family in general is really difficult to deal with for research. I found this record on Family Search today. I have been on that site hundreds of times, and could only find the same and only record that I have found for my father's father's family for the 1930 census. That 1930 census record I had found on Ancestry when I was a paying member. I was never able to find anything else there for this family. On the census record it reports that the place of birth for both my paternal grandfather's parents is Poland. On the marriage license that I found today for my grandparents, both of my great grandparents are listed as being born in Lithuania. My grandfather always said they were Lithuanian and Polish, but the name is really Lithuanian. My great grandparents are buried in a Lithuanian cemetery with the Lithuanian spelling of our last name on the headstone. My grandfather told me they used the Polish spelling because a census taker had changed it to being Polish. He said his father went with it because the neighborhood was predominantly Polish, and he thought they would fit in better.

          I was just on the Ellis Island site and found the name Maria Mutyar, ethnicity Hungary,Maygar! Of course I can not find any other Mutyars here, nor can I find the correct Krakaukas. So perhaps this great grandmother of mine is really a Hungarian and not a Lithuanian? Does anyone out there know how common it was for the Hungarians to be moving in with the Lithuanians? If at all? I understand about the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It covered parts of today's Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Estonia, Poland, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.
          Last edited by Táltos; 8 April 2013, 09:18 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 1796 View Post
            On my grandparents marriage license she is listed as being born in Lithuania, as her husband is listed as being born in Lithuania as well. No towns mentioned of course. Thanks in advance if anyone has insight to this last name being in Lithuania.
            Something else to consider is that just because she was born in Lithuania, doesn't mean that her parents were born there as well. Also, you should take into account the transcription from cursive to printed; I've found some really off the wall spellings and transcriptions of spellings in the Ellis Island records because the volunteer transcribers didn't know how or were unable to accurately read the cursive. Familiarity with the origin of names is needed to know how they were most likely originally spelled, if there was indeed a standardized spelling for a given name.

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            • #7
              It's hard to tell whether a non-Lithuanian or non-Polish sounding name is really Tatar (Tartar) but it's possible that an unusual surname of someone who said they were Lithuanian or from Lithuania is really Lipka Tatar, or Lithuanian Tatar, who were originally Muslim.

              Lithuanian names are so fluid when it comes to spelling. Again, your best clue will be the hometown. Look carefully at the next page of a passenger manifest as it might give you information about a cousin or sibling. Order death, marriage, social security application files, naturalization records, whatever you need to get that precious fact.

              It's worth it but it takes time.

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              • #8
                @vinnie, yep that is one theory I am starting to speculate. Perhaps her parents are not from Lithuania, maybe Hungary? The writing on my grandparents marriage license is very clear, and no mistaking the spelling. All other names match up for my father's mother's parents on it. My grandmother's address at the time I have to laugh, her sister is still living there!!!

                @econnore, and yes that is the other theory, Tartar(Tatar) that I started to let myself entertain. With the name being so unusual for the area, that was actually the first thing that came into my mind. Thank you again for your tips on researching Lithuanian roots. I know the best clue is the hometown as certain groups tended to stay in one certain town or area.
                Last edited by Táltos; 8 April 2013, 10:33 PM.

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                • #9
                  Let us know what you find out... this is an interesting puzzle!

                  I don't see any reason a Hungarian family couldn't have ended up in Lithuania, but I don't know enough about the history to know whether it was likely, as my knowledge basically revolves around knowing that Poland and Lithuania were connected for a long time, that Poland was partitioned, and that Lithuanian is an Indo-European language while Hungarian is Finno-Ugric.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 1796 View Post
                    @vinnie, yep that is one theory I am starting to speculate. Perhaps her parents are not from Lithuania, maybe Hungary? The writing on my grandparents marriage license is very clear, and no mistaking the spelling. All other names match up for my father's mother's parents on it. My grandmother's address at the time I have to laugh, her sister is still living there!!!

                    @econnore, and yes that is the other theory, Tartar(Tatar) that I started to let myself entertain. With the name being so unusual for the area, that was actually the first thing that came into my mind. Thank you again for your tips on researching Lithuanian roots. I know the best clue is the hometown as certain groups tended to stay in one certain town or area.
                    As you are aware, Lithuanian names pose a problem because at various times the country was not independent but part of Prussia, Russia, Poland, and Germany (Prussian is a Baltic rather than Germanic language). Thus there may be five different versions of a surname or town name not counting the Yiddish version. Is it possible that the surname is an altered version of 'magyar' which was what my Litvak parents called Hungarians. There would not have to be much migration from Hungary for this to happen.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by econnore View Post
                      I had trouble exploring my Lithuanian roots until I found out the village name, and then hired a genealogist based in Lithuania.

                      I wouldn't worry so much about whether Mutyar "sounds" Lithuanian. The spelling of surnames changed slightly but often depending on who was controlling the country. That said, a quick search on ancestry.com shows a Slovak named Mutyar emigrating from Hungary:



                      Name:
                      Josef Mutyar
                      Arrival Date:
                      6 Jun 1907
                      Birth Date:
                      abt 1849
                      Birth Location:
                      Hungary
                      Birth Location Other:
                      magy iolra
                      Age:
                      58
                      Gender:
                      Male
                      Ethnicity/ Nationality:
                      Slovakian
                      Port of Departure:
                      Bremen
                      Port of Arrival:
                      New York, New York
                      Ship Name:
                      Grosser Kurfurst

                      I'd try to find the village name on ship manifests, draft registrations, naturalization documents. This can take time and concentrated effort.
                      I also found a Mutyar in Kobylnice in northeastern Slovakia. The name sounds Hungarian rather than Slavic and Kobylnice is not that far from Hungary. It is also quite near southeastern Poland.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                        I also found a Mutyar in Kobylnice in northeastern Slovakia. The name sounds Hungarian rather than Slavic and Kobylnice is not that far from Hungary. It is also quite near southeastern Poland.
                        'ar' is a fairly common suffix in Hungarian as in Bodnar, Kalmar and Mulnar.

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                        • #13
                          Josh,

                          You assume she was Jewish. As far as I know she was not. Amy found out she has some Jewish heritage but whether it is from this woman is not known. Thus the Yiddish name would not come into play.

                          However, my ggrandfather was from Abruzzi and only spoke Italian when he arrive in the US in Philly. My ggrandmother Maria Dorothea Adelaide Stegemann spoke only German as did her parents. She married Settimio Antonio Péca despite this and they lived with her parents. So I don't think it would be that odd for someone from Lithuania or Poland to marry someone from Hungary despite a language barrier.

                          If they were Jewish it would be very common place.

                          Maybe one of her parents was Lithuanian or one of his had Hungarian ties. Do you know where they married? Did they meet at a church? Maybe they shared a similar religious faith or in my family's case an occupation. I come from a long line of tailors. No doubt my grandfather- the only non- Jew ever to marry into my grandmother's family- met her bc his father, Settmio, was a ladies tailor and her father was also one.

                          I know this doesn't exactly answer your question but I think you need to do a little more research


                          Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                          As you are aware, Lithuanian names pose a problem because at various times the country was not independent but part of Prussia, Russia, Poland, and Germany (Prussian is a Baltic rather than Germanic language). Thus there may be five different versions of a surname or town name not counting the Yiddish version. Is it possible that the surname is an altered version of 'magyar' which was what my Litvak parents called Hungarians. There would not have to be much migration from Hungary for this to happen.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Amy I went on Ancestry and did a quick search and substituted an "a" for the "u" and there was a Josephine Matyarz in Wisconsin in the 1905 census. For place of birth it says Austria-Hungary. She is single but there is a younger 17 yr old John Matyarz with her. Maybe a brother.

                            Not sure if that is a completely different person.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mollyblum View Post
                              Josh,

                              You assume she was Jewish. As far as I know she was not. Amy found out she has some Jewish heritage but whether it is from this woman is not known. Thus the Yiddish name would not come into play.

                              However, my ggrandfather was from Abruzzi and only spoke Italian when he arrive in the US in Philly. My ggrandmother Maria Dorothea Adelaide Stegemann spoke only German as did her parents. She married Settimio Antonio Péca despite this and they lived with her parents. So I don't think it would be that odd for someone from Lithuania or Poland to marry someone from Hungary despite a language barrier.

                              If they were Jewish it would be very common place.

                              Maybe one of her parents was Lithuanian or one of his had Hungarian ties. Do you know where they married? Did they meet at a church? Maybe they shared a similar religious faith or in my family's case an occupation. I come from a long line of tailors. No doubt my grandfather- the only non- Jew ever to marry into my grandmother's family- met her bc his father, Settmio, was a ladies tailor and her father was also one.

                              I know this doesn't exactly answer your question but I think you need to do a little more research
                              I am not sure where you got that impression. I only mentioned Yiddish in passing.I never suggested a language problem where someone who is Hungarian in origin could not speak Polish or Lithuanian. Given the location in Slovakia that I mentioned, it would be likely that the person spoke some Polish. People in that region often spoke two or three languages. It is possible that there might be a Jewish connection but I was hardly certain of it. If it is not clear, my guess is that the surname is Christian Hungarian.
                              Last edited by josh w.; 9 April 2013, 10:04 PM.

                              Comment

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