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Polish Gypsy Seliga (Szeliga) and Bunk (Bak) ...Need opinions


scottyg354 1 | 5
10 Jul 2013 #1
Hi All,

I am attaching some pics here of the first generation of my polish side who came over here around 1895-1900. We are not your typical looking Poles as we have fairly olive skin and dark hair and eyes. Many people actually think some of us are Italian/Greek. Anyways, I was just wondering if anyone can shed some light on the Roma in Poland. I have attached pictures of the first gen that were born in the USA so you can see what I am talking about. Everyone in the first pic (black and white) except the bride is related to me by blood. My grandmother is the 5th person in next to the bride. The second pic everyone except the woman in the light blue dress is related to me by blood. The color pic really shows the type of complexion and hair I am talking about.

The surnames related to this side of my family are Seliga (Szeliga) and Bunk (Bak).





Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Jul 2013 #2
They look like run-of-the-mill Poles to me... Lots of Polish people have dark hair and olive skin.
OP scottyg354 1 | 5
10 Jul 2013 #3
There was just some rumor of Roma blood. I figured some people directly from Poland could identify.
newpip - | 140
10 Jul 2013 #4
There are a few in those photos that look a bit Roma, Mediteranean or possibly Jewish. I don't think they are completely Slavic. I think there is a mix in there somewhere down the line.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Jul 2013 #5
I don't think they are completely Slavic.

Most Polish people are not completely Slavic.
newpip - | 140
10 Jul 2013 #6
yes, but a lot are. And dark hair and dark features are not Slavic so based on those photos I would say they are mixed. I am not saying they are not Polish. But they are definitely mixed with some other group.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Jul 2013 #7
And dark hair and dark features are not Slavic

Really? So I am not Slavic, nor is a vast number of other Polish people I know ;-)
Actually, Slavic does not equal blonde and blue-eyed, while most Poles are a very mixed bunch, genetics-wise, so I don't think it would be wise to say that the people in the photos are definitely mixed with some other (non-Polish) group. They might be, but their facial features don't seem particularly "foreign" to me, while the women's fashions and hairdos, plus their free mingling with men in a social situation, somewhat exclude the possibility of their being Roma (or at least Roma who would be conscious of their ethnic identity and cultural heritage, and who would see themselves as a distinct group, different from the Polish).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavs#Physical_characteristics
OP scottyg354 1 | 5
10 Jul 2013 #8
Please note guys that the group in the photos are the first generation born in the US. My great grandparents moved here from southeastern Poland (wola mileca I believe was the town) when Poland was still part of the Austro Hingarian empire.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
11 Jul 2013 #9
Everyone understands the difference between citizenship and nationality in Eastern and Central Europe :-)
OP scottyg354 1 | 5
11 Jul 2013 #10
Got ya. I am actually visiting poland in September. Only for a day and a half but that's good enough. Going to Oktoberfest first.
newpip - | 140
11 Jul 2013 #11
Sorry, those people in the photo look as though they have a mixture in them. He is saying they are from south west former Austro Hungarian, so it makes sense. I am also not talking about a recent mixture but something that has happened quite some time ago.

you have your opinion and I have mine.
Harry
11 Jul 2013 #12
plus their free mingling with men in a social situation, somewhat exclude the possibility of their being Roma (or at least Roma who would be conscious of their ethnic identity and cultural heritage, and who would see themselves as a distinct group, different from the Polish).

That is very much the point.

Personally I'd say that those people all look pretty Polish to me (with perhaps a splash of Hungarian thrown in).
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
11 Jul 2013 #13
Newpip:

Are you a trained anthropologist?

He is saying they are from south west former Austro Hungarian, so it makes sense.

What he did say was that they came from southeastern Poland, which then formed a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Saying they came from the

south west former Austro Hungarian

is like saying an English person comes from the "northeastern European Union" - that would make about as much sense ;-)

IMHO, the only trace of possible "foreign" origin could be found in the family's surnames.
As for Szeliga:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szeliga_coat_of_arms

This does not necessarily mean that Scotty's ancestors were nobility, it might also mean that they were peasants who were given the surname (and possibly the coat of arms as well) by their master when he freed them (not an uncommon practice). An example of this is to be found in the conclustion to Pan Tadeusz.

As to Bak / Bunk: the spellings suggest it was Bąk in Polish, with the Bunk spelling variation trying to preserve the nasal vowel of "ą".

The surname Bąk is also associated with nobility, with the same reservation as above:

genealogia.okiem.pl/bak.htm

All in all, good Polish surnames with ne'er a trace of foreign influence ;-) Which is not to say it can't be there, but you would have to dredge up other names - maybe from church records?
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,719
11 Jul 2013 #14
Here in UK I would definitly associate the surname Selig with Jewishness
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
11 Jul 2013 #15
Selig and Szeliga are two completely different names... and yes, Selig is a Jewish name.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,719
11 Jul 2013 #16
they look v similar - Selig being an 'easier' Anglicised version of Szelig perhaps?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
11 Jul 2013 #17
Selig being an 'easier' Anglicised version of Szelig perhaps?

AFAIK the name Selig coexisted alongside Szeliga in Poland. They might both ultimately have come from the same Germanic word, as both Polish and Yiddish share a lot of German influence, nevertheless - they are distinct names. Also, Selig seems to function as a given name, while Szeliga is definitely a surname only.

thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Selig
newpip - | 140
11 Jul 2013 #18
right, ok, so you are still going to argue with me that they look Polish? Now you have decided based on the name that they could have some Jewish influence? Go back and read my original post. They could be Roma, Mediterranean or Jewish. I said it from the beginning but instead of saying that I could be right you decided to be a condescending b1tch and was adamant that I was wrong.

Sorry, this group of people does not look typically Polish. And I realize that not all Slavs have the same features, they do have some Slavic features but I actually think they look like a Greek family.
OP scottyg354 1 | 5
11 Jul 2013 #19
On the Bak ( Bunk) I know my great grandmothers moms maiden name was Czaja. If the gives you anything.

Just wanted to throw this out there as well. In my opinion prime examples of typical looming Slavs would have be Pope John Paul II or Vladmir Putin. I don't really see that in any of the people in the picture. That's why I am asking.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
11 Jul 2013 #20
right, ok, so you are still going to argue with me that they look Polish?

Yes. They could be Polish, no questions asked.

Now you have decided based on the name that they could have some Jewish influence?

Please quote me saying that.

you decided to be a condescending b1tch

Why, thank you for the compliment, it's really appreciated.

my great grandmothers moms maiden name was Czaja.

Another typical Polish surname :-)

In my opinion prime examples of typical looming Slavs would have be Pope John Paul II or Vladmir Putin.

I am afraid there are almost as many types of Polish "looks" as there are Polish people themselves. I only realised this after moving to London though ;-) I would see people from all over the world who would often have facial features like my friends and relatives back home (even though they might have a completely different skin colour!) ;-)
WaterDroplet
30 Apr 2014 #21
Harry and Magdalena are right. My grandpa's side side of the family is 100% Polish, they come from the south west exactly like yours, and they also have darker skin, but despite their dark complexion, they are 100% Polish. Also, if you really believe you have non polish heritage, look for non Polish last names/ first names, places of birth outside of Poland or in communities with significant ethical minorities, although southwest Poland doesn't have major minority communities.
OP scottyg354 1 | 5
16 May 2014 #22
I apologize they were actually from southeast poland. Screwed up.my sense of direction.
DebSS
2 Mar 2015 #23
Hello.. I have a query myself in regards to my GGrandmother who was born in Austria c1850, her Father was Michael Seliga or Szeliga, wife Mary. My GGrandmothers name was also Mary. There is confusion about the spelling as, both versions are written on her Marriage certificate. She came to NZ and married another immigrant John Herman August Boyer (with the two dots above the letter o). J H A Boyer was born in Memel.

I would love to find out where the name Seliga or is it Szeliga originates from, if anyone can help me, I would be ever so grateful.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
2 Mar 2015 #24
SZELIGA: Already known in Poland in the 14th century, this was an adaptation of the German name Selig (the German adjective selig means blessed, happy, blissful). Szeliga was also the name of a Polish noble clan whose coat of arms you can view at:

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szeliga_%28herb_szlachecki%29
DebSS
4 Mar 2015 #25
Thank you Polonius3...

I wonder if you could tell me, is it normal that the name Michael is chosen in the 1800's or late 1700's. Or is it an English written version of the name??

I wonder also, is there any way possible that I would be able to track down the concentration of the family/s of Szeliga/Seliga in Austria?

I am in a pickle with not being able to have the availability of Ancestry.com and such wonderful links as those, which does make my searches that much harder.

I am also curious about the name Boyer with the two dots .. above the o. What nationality would this be???

Again most grateful for any info or hints for me to search.... thank you kindly :-)
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
4 Mar 2015 #26
Michał ranks among Poland's most popular Christian names. At present some 350,000 use it. Re Szeliga, nearly 6,000 in Poland use it, with 1,600 using the Seliga spelling. In Germany it is Szeliga 98 and Seliga 69. Unfortunately, I've got no data for Austria.

No idea why Boyer would be written Böyer. This is a French name originally meaning cowherd. It is found in Germany and Scandinavia but not in Poland. Conceivably it could have been a corruption or misspelling of German Bayer (Bavarian) In script someone didn't pull the tail of the letter "a" down far enough making it look like an "o" to the next copyist down the line (?!)
DebSS
6 Mar 2015 #27
Thank you Polonius3, wow amazing isn't it the population of those named Mical/ Michael.

I have been relying on my memory of a photo of my GGG Grandfather who was wearing a particular hat. I only just identified it 'out of the blue'.. after weeks of trolling sites and youtube clips of folk dancing. I stumbled on this one video clip by pure accident and 'wow' here were the male's wearing the exact hat style, shape, 'size', and with the type of patterning/embroidery/decoration round it. It is the hat worn by the 'Khazan Tartar', (my spelling maybe incorrect sorry).

I recall my mothers 'huge' love of the Russian dancers and Cossacks. Now this GGG Grandfather states he was born in Memel and c1850, he left and immigrated, came to New Zealand c1875 as he married his wife here in New Zealand c1876, His wife Anna Maria Theresa (nee Szeliga/Seliga) has her birth place somewhere in Austria. Her fathers name is spelt Michael Seliga on her death certificate and her mother only as 'Mary', no surname mentioned, (shame).

I have just seen another version of the spelling of Seliga/Szeliga on a family certificate 'Sckeliga' ?? I am looking at Nationality vs Spelling... would that help me??? lol

Mary is another name that I am confused about. The period, the area etc doesn't show many listings anywhere with the Christian name 'Mary'??

Michael Seliga/Szeliga, has his birth place stated as 'Frankstadt' on another's certificate. His birth date I do not know (yet) but it must be early 1800's maybe??

I am wondering also if Mary and Michael Szeliga/Seliga named their daughter 'Anna Maria Theresa' (in memory of) after the reigning Queen of a period, 'Queen Maria Theresa'... Is this a possible clue to the region they were living before immigrating???

John Hermann August Boyer and Anna Maria Theresa (nee Szeliga/Seliga) bore children here in New Zealand, and they are:
Twin Boys born 1876
1. Julius Boyer
2. Henry August Boyer

Daughters
3. Anna Maria Theresa Boyer
4. Mary Augusta Boyer

I am curious about the naming and spelling of those names chosen. The male spelling August/Female spelling Augusta, which nationality used this type of spelling and is the name August/Augusta German?

I have popped this info up in case maybe others will find it useful, or may even be able to assist me. Ever, grateful.

It is a huge, interesting, confusing, frustrating, even stressful, but also very enjoyable. A great way to gain knowledge and awareness of Cultures and Nationalities. Fantastic 'History Lessons'... :-))

An up date.... I have found the boat and the listing for my Mary Szeliga... She is definitately Marianne on the records not Mary, and she was 24yrs old from Frankstat, where her father Michael also was mentioned to be from.

A correction of the above name... it is 'Marianna' = Mary, Szeliga... Father Michal/Michael Szeliga and her Mother was also called Marianna = Mary
My Marianna Szeliga came to New Zealand, aged 24 yrs in 1874. Brave girl. Single and her occupation was 'Servant'.
slowly getting somewhere now....

And the Boyer chap, well I quess because of his birthdate, c1850's, born Memel, that in that time frame (please correct me if I am wrong), the French were asked to help protect the Baltic coast area of Memel, so I am wondering if there may have been a 'coming together' of a Frenchman and a Russian or German? The area of Memel, now known as Klipaedia, Lithuania.

Somewhere between the two families.. ' the Szeliga and the Boyer', is the wearer of a Tatar hat.... this is becoming a headache to try and sort out. ?????

From here though it is difficult. If anyone out there has any knowledge of the Szeliga family/s of Frandstadt, or the Boyer family/s of Memel, I would be eternally grateful for any information or hints on how to make progress on my quest for answers. Marianna Szeliga and the chap Boyer are my only family connections to that side of the world. Brave folk to uproot and come so far. We are only a very small line decended from them directly, sadly we have no photo's or paperwork, and the only photo that was in existence went up in flames with all others.

Sorry I do not speak or write Russian/German/Polish etc only English.
silesia
15 May 2015 #28
hi first of all sorry for my broken English !
this name it comes from 9 century and the German name is Scheliga , the Polish Szeliga and the people with noble origin is Scheliha,i know there exist a Czech name too but i don't remember ,the difference of the name is between the country is because is another branch of the family ! ,the history teacher of my father made a research and he discover that even in France the family existed but until French revolution!
ddddddd
13 Dec 2015 #29
Anyone know Bernadette and Monique Szeliga born 1941 in Southern France??
Iolanta
6 Aug 2019 #30
Hello, I"m Iolanta from Latvia. My ancestors were Szeliga-Korecki, nobles from Subate, Liepāja (Libau), Aizpute in Latvia. I would like to share my family tree.I've researched a lot. My ancestors are of Polish-German descent. I will be happy if you answer.


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