Simainski? Szimanski? Simanski?
November 8, 2005 1:53 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I am looking for the spelling of the surname of my great-grandfather. He lived in Opatija (Croatia) during most of the first forty years of the twentieth century. The town was called Abbazia then, reflecting the Italian influence at the time. Surnames were also Italianised; his became Simainski. I have seen variations such as Szimanski, Simanszki and various "y"s instead of "i"s. Since most archives seem lost in Opatija, I was wondering if somebody can point me to sources where I can find out more. Thanks! Marco
posted by mbotta to Human Relations (10 answers total)
Not sure this helps, but there was a famous German TV detective by the name of Schimanski.
posted by muckster at 6:31 AM on November 8, 2005

It's a Polish name, Szymanski. There's a RootsWeb page on the family, but I have no idea whether the mailing list is active. The Polish spelling is SzymaƄski (like here), and the n-with-an-accent is palatalized (giving it a tinge of y, like Spanish ñ), hence the -i- stuck into the Italianized form.
posted by languagehat at 7:02 AM on November 8, 2005

The word you're looking for is "soundex." Google it. This will open whole worlds of genealogy archives and searchable databases.
posted by evariste at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2005

Wishing you very good luck--recently did some family history (digging through old papers, Ellis Island records, baptismal certificates, etc.) for people from the same general area, and came up with 10 different spellings for the last name just on the official forms (both here and in the Old Country).
posted by availablelight at 5:08 PM on November 8, 2005

mbotta, since you don't list an e-mail address on your userpage I'll ask you here: could you drop by the thread and let us know whether we've given you what you're looking for? It's a little frustrating to go to some effort to try to help somebody and have it drop into the depths without a ripple.
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on November 10, 2005

languagehat, my apologies for not logging back in; I have been away for a week now. i am going to look into the comments now and let you know shortly.

to all: thanks for your feedback, will be back with reactions soon!
posted by mbotta at 11:29 PM on November 10, 2005

muckster: yes, i know about the detective series :) if nothing else, it reassured me that there are more people with that name. thanks!
posted by mbotta at 11:41 PM on November 10, 2005

languagehat: thanks for your detailed feedback, i truly appreciate it. i will look into this further.

in fact, i know that either my great-grandfather, or his father before him, moved south to slovenia and croatia, allegedly after a family feud.

i'd be interested to find out more about his period in Slovenia and Croatia, if only archives were more accessible.
posted by mbotta at 11:44 PM on November 10, 2005

evariste: that site is bloody marvellous! thanks a bundle; i was not aware of its existance, but i will definitely keep it in my bookmarks. it immediately pointed to szymanski, exactly what languagehat suggested.
posted by mbotta at 11:46 PM on November 10, 2005

availablelight: i'd be interested to learn how you went about doing that. care to share? thanks!
posted by mbotta at 11:47 PM on November 10, 2005

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