tracking down proper family name

tracking down proper family name

fred vance
fred vance

April 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm #1

if anyone has any imput, would aprriciate it.
i was always told by my family we were of Lithuanian descent of which the surname is zinkarvitch.
a year or so ago I met a Lithuanian barmaid who told me, upon hearing me say my name, that it probably was Polish in origin as there are a lot of Polish residing in Lithuania.
upon doing rearch, mostly checking census reports from when my great grandparents and grand parents, the spelling of my last name changed considerably depending on the census.
i'm pretty sure they are my family as all the first names and age dates are the same. in a 1909 birth record of my grandfather's sister the last name is spelled zinkovwith. on the 1920 census it was spelled Sinkvich. on the 1930 census my grandfather, who was married by that time, shortened it to Zink. Finally on the 1940 census it had the spelling used today by my cousins, Zinkarvitch.
There are no other people in the world with that name and it has obviously been distorted over the years as evidenced. I also read that this could be a patronymic name (son of) and not a surname in places like Belarussia and Russia which has me baffled even more.
Confused as I am, I believe it to be Russian descent and perhaps my great grandparents resided in Lithuania prior to coming to America.
I know this is long winded but any input woyuld be helpful.
thanks,
Fred Vance
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Gee Jay
Gee Jay

April 5th, 2017, 3:17 am #2

As you may know, prior to the 20th century in the "Western World," not only the borders of countries but also people's surnames were much more fluid than they generally are today. Borders changed much more readily and many people were rather casual about their names. And spelling in particular was much less regimented. In addition, even today we see some differences in the way names are Anglicized. Remember when Beijing used to be called Peking?

Lithuania has variously been part of (or considered to be part of) either Poland or Russia in the last several centuries, and depending on who was in charge of a particular area, Lithuanians often changed their name to be more Polish or Russian.

The Lithuanian spelling of your family's name was probably Zinkavičius or Žinkevičius. Between the wars, that name was most prevalent in Kėdáiniai, in Kaunas county.

http://pavardes.lki.lt/

Zinkevicius is not an uncommon name today. Here's a guy on Facebook who's even from Kėdáiniai. https://www.facebook.com/viliu.zinkevicius
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Gee Jay
Gee Jay

April 5th, 2017, 3:27 am #3

if anyone has any imput, would aprriciate it.
i was always told by my family we were of Lithuanian descent of which the surname is zinkarvitch.
a year or so ago I met a Lithuanian barmaid who told me, upon hearing me say my name, that it probably was Polish in origin as there are a lot of Polish residing in Lithuania.
upon doing rearch, mostly checking census reports from when my great grandparents and grand parents, the spelling of my last name changed considerably depending on the census.
i'm pretty sure they are my family as all the first names and age dates are the same. in a 1909 birth record of my grandfather's sister the last name is spelled zinkovwith. on the 1920 census it was spelled Sinkvich. on the 1930 census my grandfather, who was married by that time, shortened it to Zink. Finally on the 1940 census it had the spelling used today by my cousins, Zinkarvitch.
There are no other people in the world with that name and it has obviously been distorted over the years as evidenced. I also read that this could be a patronymic name (son of) and not a surname in places like Belarussia and Russia which has me baffled even more.
Confused as I am, I believe it to be Russian descent and perhaps my great grandparents resided in Lithuania prior to coming to America.
I know this is long winded but any input woyuld be helpful.
thanks,
Fred Vance
If you're on Ancestry, here's a guy researching that name. https://www.ancestry.com/connect/Profil ... 0000000000
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vancevisuals
vancevisuals

April 5th, 2017, 9:26 pm #4

if anyone has any imput, would aprriciate it.
i was always told by my family we were of Lithuanian descent of which the surname is zinkarvitch.
a year or so ago I met a Lithuanian barmaid who told me, upon hearing me say my name, that it probably was Polish in origin as there are a lot of Polish residing in Lithuania.
upon doing rearch, mostly checking census reports from when my great grandparents and grand parents, the spelling of my last name changed considerably depending on the census.
i'm pretty sure they are my family as all the first names and age dates are the same. in a 1909 birth record of my grandfather's sister the last name is spelled zinkovwith. on the 1920 census it was spelled Sinkvich. on the 1930 census my grandfather, who was married by that time, shortened it to Zink. Finally on the 1940 census it had the spelling used today by my cousins, Zinkarvitch.
There are no other people in the world with that name and it has obviously been distorted over the years as evidenced. I also read that this could be a patronymic name (son of) and not a surname in places like Belarussia and Russia which has me baffled even more.
Confused as I am, I believe it to be Russian descent and perhaps my great grandparents resided in Lithuania prior to coming to America.
I know this is long winded but any input woyuld be helpful.
thanks,
Fred Vance
thanks for the imput
not many people left in my family to ask and have been going crazy trying to research this
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Jankasukas
Jankasukas

April 6th, 2017, 1:14 pm #5

if anyone has any imput, would aprriciate it.
i was always told by my family we were of Lithuanian descent of which the surname is zinkarvitch.
a year or so ago I met a Lithuanian barmaid who told me, upon hearing me say my name, that it probably was Polish in origin as there are a lot of Polish residing in Lithuania.
upon doing rearch, mostly checking census reports from when my great grandparents and grand parents, the spelling of my last name changed considerably depending on the census.
i'm pretty sure they are my family as all the first names and age dates are the same. in a 1909 birth record of my grandfather's sister the last name is spelled zinkovwith. on the 1920 census it was spelled Sinkvich. on the 1930 census my grandfather, who was married by that time, shortened it to Zink. Finally on the 1940 census it had the spelling used today by my cousins, Zinkarvitch.
There are no other people in the world with that name and it has obviously been distorted over the years as evidenced. I also read that this could be a patronymic name (son of) and not a surname in places like Belarussia and Russia which has me baffled even more.
Confused as I am, I believe it to be Russian descent and perhaps my great grandparents resided in Lithuania prior to coming to America.
I know this is long winded but any input woyuld be helpful.
thanks,
Fred Vance
Fred, What were your greatgrandparents and grandparents full names and where did they live. This info would be helpful in tracing your ancestry. Carl J
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vance visuals
vance visuals

April 6th, 2017, 6:39 pm #6

that is part of the problem.
my greatgrandparents, depending on the report, were born in either russia or Lithuania.
Not sure if they lived in the same neighborhood as my father did growing up, but the census sights Brooklyn, NY.
the other issue that the spelling of the name changed from census to census.
the earliest spelling I have been able to find was in 1909 on my Grandfather's Sisters birth record, that being Zinkovwitch.
the 1920 census had it listed as Sinkvich. The first names and birth dates add up so I believe this to be my Greatgrandfather's household.(could not find anything on the 1910 census).
by the 1930 census, my grandparents were married, and the name is shortened to Zink. I am 99% certain these were my grandparents as there names were right as well as my two uncles' names and ages.
By the 1940 census, the was listed as Zinkarvitch. That is the one that stuck with my family from that point on as all my known relatives, all fisrat cousins, have that last name.
That spelling of the last name was also used on a death report of one of my uncles who died as a teenager after 1940.
I tried doing global sesrch of the name. Zinkarvitch appeares no where other than America, yet it is the closest to the spelling of the earliest form of the name I was able to locate.
I was always told I was of Lithuanian descent on my father's side. It it perhaps Russian that were residing in Lithuania or Lithuanian residing on Russia.
I am not sure. I know census reports were hand written and the people taking them probably had long days and doing the best they could writing it they they thought they heard it and neither my greatgrandparents, grandparents or father were educated men to question anything or if they were changing the spelling themselves.
it's funny, I went into this looking for an answer and only got more questions.
I know I've made a short story long here, just venting I guess.
Could find out where in eastern Europe my great grandparents were from or even the proper spelling of the family name.

thanks;

Fred Vance

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Gee Jay
Gee Jay

April 6th, 2017, 7:55 pm #7

Fred, your situation is precisely the same as my own and that of the children and grandchildren of many immigrants. I know for a *fact* that my grandparents were born in Lithuania and I know *precisely* what their surnames were. But different records say different things. Some documents say they're from Russia, some say Lithuania. Sometimes their surnames are shortened, sometimes spelled different ways. Even first names vary.

In addition, until somewhat recently many people used their ethnicity rather the place of their birth when asked their nationality. So a person who was an ethnic Lithuania who was born outside of the formal borders of Lithuania at that time might still say they were Lithuanian.

When you are working with records prior to 1900, this is just how it is.

Borders were fluid. Spelling was fluid. Many immigrants weren't literate. People often Anglicized their names in order to fit in.

In the case of my family, we used an educated guess as to the village in Lithuania they came from and we wrote to the state archives and paid for a search, using the correct Lithuanian surnames. We got some amazing records that took us back a couple of generations.
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vancevisuals
vancevisuals

April 6th, 2017, 11:01 pm #8

Thanks for the support.
I guess that would be my next step
The fact that I have very vague starting points concerns me that I won't get very far.

Fred Vance
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Jankauskas
Jankauskas

April 6th, 2017, 11:07 pm #9

Fred, What were your greatgrandparents and grandparents full names and where did they live. This info would be helpful in tracing your ancestry. Carl J
Fred, What were their first names?
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vancevisuals
vancevisuals

April 7th, 2017, 12:19 am #10

greatgrandfather was Martin
Greatgrandmother was Mary
Grandfather was Martin and/or Anton
Brother was Charles
Sister was Margaret and/or Maggie
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