Surname MORKUS Ayragola Lithuania

Surname MORKUS Ayragola Lithuania

Jankauskas
Jankauskas

March 9th, 2012, 3:24 pm #1

I recently received a copy of my Grand Uncle's (August Yankowski) social security application. He was born in Ayragola, Lithuania, in May 1889 and came to Philadelphia, Penna, in 1910. On the application he lists his mother's name as Anna MORKUS. My question is: Would MORKUS be a true Lithuanian surname or an Americanized version of MORKEVICIUS or something like that? I note that when he came to America he changed his surname from Jankauskas to Yankowski. Carl J
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John Peters
John Peters

March 10th, 2012, 2:28 pm #2

Carl,

Both Morkus and Morkevic^ius are found in the online found book for Lithuania and are spelled using today's Lithuanian rules. Morkus is not an Americanized version of the name, though some immigrants to the U.S. named Morkevic^ius might have shortened it to Morkus. The ending "-vic^ius", a Lithuanianized form of the Polish ending "-wicz", means "descendant or sone of someone named Mark", so the shorter form is probably the older one.

Names do not have ethnicity, only people do. Names can be spelled using various languages. For example, Vilnius is the Lithuanian version of the city name which to Russians is Vilna, to Poles, Wilno, to Germans, Wilna. So the surname Morkevic^ius might well be spelled Markowicz in a Slavic tongue.

The letter "j" in Lithuanian is pronounced like the letter "y" in the English word "yellow" so it is common for names beginning with "j" in Lithuanian to become a phonetic "y" in English. The ending "-ski" is the Polish ending for the Lithuanian "-skas," "-skis," or "-skys."

"Ayragola" is most likely Ariogala in the Raseiniai district, northwest of the city of Kaunas.

John Peters

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Jankauskas
Jankauskas

March 10th, 2012, 11:43 pm #3

Tom, Thanks for the information. I also found an Alexander Morkus b. 1892 (WW 1 & 2 draft card) in Illinois who states he was born in Ariogala, Lithuania. Possibly a relative of Anna Morkus given that Ariogala was and is a small town. I've found Ariogala spelled several different ways. Carl J
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