Re: Help with Russian/Ukraine city name #general

David T Mason <dave_mason@...>

Subject: Re: Help with Russian/Ukraine city name
From: "nathen gabriel" <uy9p1@...>

Cherckos is most likely Cherkassy, 97.5 miles SE of Kiev. Two other
likely possibilities are Cherkesy, 300.7 miles S of Kiev and
299.3 miles W of Kiev.
"Cherckos" could be a phonetic spelling of any of the above, perhaps by
an immigration official. At least In Russian, unstressed A's and O's are
pronounced the same, like "uh". Also the final Y in Cherkassy is an
inflection that changes according to whether the word is being used as a
subject or various kinds of objects in a sentence, so it looks like this
bit of confusion was simply dropped.

And then there was no common alphabet. Your arriving ancestor most
likely knew the Cyrillic and Hebrew alphabets while the immigration
official probably only knew the Roman alphabet. If the immigrant wrote
out the word, the official could not have read it, so there was nothing
to do except pronounce it for the official to write out phonetically and
hope for the best.

Dave Mason

Moderator's comment: Dave makes an extremely important point about the
different alphabets here. If I might add that the different dialects and
the pronunciation also affected the "spelling" of the written version of a
town name. Please keep this in mind when searching - and be creative with
the spelling.

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