It really is quite fun
Yes, I think it's quite interesting and you can find out sth not only about your family but also about the history of the country or region :)
so it was probably originally something very different
It could be, I guess. Either way, I tried to think of some surname that would end with "-chra" and I googled "Czuchra" and here's what I found on a site with etymology of Polish surnames:
"CZOCHRA < czochrać 'czesać len, wełnę' Sstp (SSNO Czuchra, Czychra) 1448, odap., s. 186"
It comes from a word for "brushing flax or wool".
So your great grandfather's surname could very well be a Polish one, maybe it even means something in Polish. You could try to find it on this site:
"Nazwiska na literę" means "Surnames starting with the letter...".
That's an interesting find, good job! :D
they sometimes had "contemporary German names" I don't know if its refering to first or last names
If you mean this fragment: "Władysław Bełza, podając wiele współczesnych mu nazwisk o niemieckim brzmieniu." then "nazwiska" in modern Polish means "last names".
Like Atch said, maybe Wilhelm had a German parent(s).
I guess it's possible. If one parent was Polish and the other German, for example, they could decide to give their child a German first name if he had a Polish surname anyway in order to honour also his German roots or a German grandfather or sth. An example from today's Poland - Bronisław Wildstein - he had a Jewish father, hence the surname and a Polish mother and probably that's why he got a very Polish first name (unlike his father, I'm guessing - Szymon Wildstein).
It made me think that since Gluchoniemcy roughly means "forest people" (or Germans?)
"Niemcy" means "Germans" :) According to an article in English Wikipedia 'Głuchoniemcy is a sort of pun; it means "deaf-mutes", but sounds like "forest Germans'. The name for Germans in Polish (Niemcy) comes from the word "niemy" (mute). They were called this way because they didn't speak Slavic languages and in this sense German tribes were "mute" to Slavic people. According to an article on Polish Wikipedia about Głuchoniemcy that you linked people described by Maciejowski called themselves "głuchoniemcy" ("głuchy" means "deaf", so it could mean "deaf Germans") because they didn't hear nor understand German language but at the same time they weren't the same as local people.
it would explain why I always, always, loved hiking in the woods and generally just being around them, hehe. =P
The first part of this name (głucho) could be derived from the word "głusza" which means "a desolate place" and is most often associated with big, desolate forests. So, yeah, I guess it could mean "Germans who don't understand German language and live among forests" :)
The region where your great grandfather came from, Podkarpackie Voivodeship (or simply "Pokarpacie") is full of forests and mountains. ("Podkarpackie/Pokarpacie" means "by/under the Carpathian Mountains").
So I guess you have forest in your blood :)
You'd probably love it there - look (Sanok is shown in first video):
An evening flight:
And during winter:
Btw, I also love forests (minus spiderwebs and spiders... and ticks... and mosquitoes, haha ;D). I live in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Province - it takes its name from the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) mountain range). My city is surrounded by those small old mountains covered with forests. Mu mum comes from the countryside and she would always take us to walks in the forests, we would pick wild forest mushrooms (mushroom hunting is popular in Poland, btw) and we would hug birches ;D According to folk knowledge/tradition, I guess, hugging birches drives out toxins out of your body or some bad energy, I don't know, either way, it's supposed to be good for you ;) It definitely was relaxing - each of us would hug one tree, relax and listen to the sound of the forest :) My Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship borders with your great grandfather's Podkarpackie Voivodeship so we're basically kin! ;)
So next time when you're on a hiking trip in the woods find a birch tree, hug it and think of Poland ;D
I hope I can help you with your own research someday to repay you!
Oh, thank you, that's kind of you :) But for now I think it would be enough if I simply moved my ass and dig up some documents in local archives ;)
In my country, German names are now popular for dogs and cows.
Oh, go away, Crow...