water wind & stars <shiralunacy@...>
Derek Apanovich: << The family lore is that it is a Lithuania surname.
Our great grandfather changed= the spelling >from Apanowicz to
Apanovitch sometime after arriving in America in the late 19th century.
Howard Margol: << APANOWICZ is the Polish spelling and APANOVITCH is
the Russian spelling of the same name. For towns in the Suwalki Gubernia
that are in present day Lithuania, most of the records prior to about
1857 were recorded in Polish and, after 1857, in Russian. >>
Howard's point about Polish vs Russian spelling is well-taken
ken. Since Polish uses the Latin alphabet, Apanowicz is indeed the
actual Polish spelling. Since Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet,
however, Apanovitch is not the actual but rather the transliterated
spelling, which most likely resulted >from Yiddish being turned into
Russian as recorded by a non-Jewish census-taker (often on an aural
basis), and >from the Cyrillic alphabet being turned into the Latin
alphabet (handled in a multitude of possible ways), which is what we
In the case that Derek describes, the great-grandfather changed his
surname after he came to America--I would guess because the
Russianized form was more common and easier for English-speakers than
combos such as "...wicz."
Since Derek asks about Polish vs Lithuanian, it's relevant that
Lithuanian, like Polish, uses the Latin alphabet. The surname of my
grandfather's family >from Troskunai, Lithuania appears in an 1810
record as IZAKOWICZ; in my great-grandmother's 1924 Lithuanian
passport as ICIKOVICIENE, which is the feminine form of ICIKOVICUS
("c" has the sound "ts"); and in the intervening years in census and
other records of the Russian Empire as ITSKOVICH, ITSYKOVICH,
ITZIKOVITZ, ITZKOVITZ (Russian transliterated into English).
Same town: Poland > Russia > Lithuania.
In a nutshell, in addition to being aware of changing borders,
the researcher must take every spelling of a personal or place
name with a grain of salt.=A given spelling may carry the solution
to a puzzle or may be a red herring. Remain open to every possibility
without excluding any until there is a good reason to exclude it.