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Surnames Gall / Figura / Odrowaz

angeline 1 | 3
2 Feb 2008 #1
Hi there-

I just stumbled upon this site this morning. My mother is 100% Polish and was born in Chicago. Both of her parents were also born in Chicago (I believe), but their parents came here from Poland, surnames being Gall and Figura. Unfortunately, both of them passed away quite some time ago before I really had a chance to find out much about my Polish ancestry. One of my uncles believes that one of the families could have lived in what was once considered Austria??? I have no ideas but am very curious about my Polish roots. Any thoughts?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,369
2 Feb 2008 #2
One of my uncles believes that one of the families could have lived in what was once considered Austria???

Do you mean Poland under partition ?

Have a quick look at Polish history for the period in question. It will help you to understand the Austrian connection.

Check the Genealogy threads for links and then get back to us if you would like more help.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,148
2 Feb 2008 #3

5528 people in Poland.


268 people in Poland.

One of my uncles believes that one of the families could have lived in what was once considered Austria???

During the partitions late 18th century-1918 the south eastern part was a part of Austria-Hungary.
OP angeline 1 | 3
2 Feb 2008 #4
Thanks so much- will do! I'm a history lover as it is so I'll find some books on it.

Ironically, as I was taking a look around here at some of the other threads- I think I may 'know' someone here- to that person- odd isn't it that we meet again & yes, I know that Figura is the name of an actress in Poland. ;)

So you're saying I have a better chance of finding out about the Gall side since there are fewer?

Thread attached on merging:
Surnames Petin, Zmuda, Cepil, Gall, Figura, & Stafiera

I have the least Polish sounding surnames in my family! Here's what I do know, I have a Zofia Zmuda marrying a Jan Stafiera and a Anastazje Cepil marrying a Wincenty Figura.

Bronislawa Stafiera was born in 1887 in Odrowaz, Poland and Jozef Figura was born in 1882 also in Odrowaz. They were married in 1905 in Chicago and had my grandfather.

The Petin and Gall sides come from my grandmother- my grandmother's maiden name was Gall. Her mother, we believe was named Mary and she was married to an Alexander Gall but it was her second marriage. My own mother says that she was told growing up that the first husband's name was Gall as well.

If anyone has any information to share or suggest, please send it my way!
Koach 16 | 128
24 Feb 2008 #5
I wrote to a relative who has info on my Zmuda branch of the family. She doesn't want information from the Zmudas to appear in online inquiries, so it would be done over the email.
Andrewf - | 1
26 Feb 2008 #6
I'm Andrew Figura 29 yrs old... My Dad was born in Zakopane, Poland and from a stong line of Figura's in the southern Poland/German/Austro-Hungarian areas. That region of Europe has been claimed by many counrties over the last 200 years but the native mountain dwelling people (Figura's) have stuck to thier roots. Please feel free to contact me.
OP angeline 1 | 3
27 Feb 2008 #7
Excellent, will do!
Wow! Zakopane is really south- a friend told me that there are 2 places considered Odrowaz- soooo confusing!
Polonius3 990 | 12,349
17 Apr 2008 #8
There are more than 5,500 Figuras in Poland, the major stronghold beiong in southern Poland's contiguous Bielsko-Biała. Katowice and Nowy Sącz areas. Figura is obviously of Latin origin and in Poland meant a religious statue or a bigshot /celebrity).

Gall is used by only 268 Poles. It means Gaul, ancient forerunner of the Frenchman. The first chroncler of Poland was called Gallus Anonimus (the Anonymous Gaul).
Polonius3 990 | 12,349
17 Apr 2008 #10
The surname Petin probably started out as the French Pétin. Most likely many wounded Napoleonic soldiers were nursed back to health by Polish maidens and decided to settle down and start a family. The name appears derived from the French verb péter (roughly pronoucned payTAY) which means... to give off a loud cracking sound, let 'er rip or, to put it mildly, to break wind. The related word péteur means farter or sorry individual, a miserable excuse for a human being. On Polish soil the etymology was not widely known, as only the upper classes knew French.

You may be interested to know that Odrowąż is the name of a Polish coat of arms whose origin is quite unusual. In genral Polish coats of arms are surrounded by medieval legends explaining the circumsatnces of their emergence. The rather gory legend surrounding the Odrowąż coat of arms is said to go back to a hand-to-hand encounter that took place in the Middle Ages in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) between a Polish knight and a pagan warrior. The knight became so frustrated that he could not topple the resisting pagan that he grabbed him by his bushy moustache and ripped it off, nose and all, impaled it on an arrow and presented it to his lord as a trophy. The lord was so revolted at the sight of the mutilated noseless pagan that he forced the knight to use the Odrowąż coat of arms which means something like "moustache-ripper" and depicts what is supposed to symbolise a white moustache impaled on a stylized arrow set against a blood-red shield. The heraldic device may be viewed online at:
oliver 1 | 5
8 Aug 2009 #11
Dear Koach,
please, could you give me a contact on your friend who has a ZMUDA relatives? I have quite a good genealogy of Zmuda family from Odrowaz so am curious if I am related to her...

Thanks a lot,
Polonius3 990 | 12,349
9 Aug 2009 #12
GALL - from Latin name Gallus or the ancient Roman name for France - Gallia.
FIGURA - from Latin/Italian, in Polish means figure in the sense of a statue.

STAFIERA – parade-dress coachman (from Italian staffiere)
ŻMUDA – time-waster
CEPIL – flailer (someone beating grain with a flail to separate kernels from husks)
GALL – Gaul
PETIN – ??? (from Piotr???)
FIGURE – statue
adlernews 1 | 2
22 Aug 2009 #13
My uncle married a Gall from Cicero, IL....Any connection?
OP angeline 1 | 3
13 Sep 2009 #14
Petin...The related word péteur means farter or sorry individual, a miserable excuse for a human being.

So one of my family surnames means to break wind??? How wonderful :(
26 Sep 2009 #15
My surname is Gal and my father was born in Odrowaz Poland near Nowy Targ. This is a small viallage in the foot hills of the tatry mountains and long ago during the partition prior to WWI was part of Galicia Austria. There are many people living there with the surnames of Gal or Gall. So you may be on the right track.
Pawelek1 - | 24
30 Sep 2009 #16
I used to work with a couple of polish people who's last name was Gal but I am not sure of what region of Poland that they had came from though.
Shellie 1 | 11
24 Oct 2009 #17
Hi Angeline,

Are you still watching this thread? I see that my cousin also left a message on this thread about Zmuda families. I have some Gal, Figura and Stafira info that I collected this past summer while I was in Odrowaz (Odrowąż).

Figura, Michał, born in 1899
Czepiel, Anastazja
maternal grandparents: Czepiel, Józef and Knup, Katarzyna

father: Figura, Wojciech
paternal grandparents: Figura, Jan and Gal, Anna

I don't see the name Petin in my notes, but I do have a few Pitoń.

I am trying to locate other's who have ancestors from this small village Odrowąż in Malopolskie, near Nowy Targ. I am especially interested in seeing old photos taken of people, buildings, farms, and anything else in the village of Odrowaz.

My family names are Kulawiak, Kadłub, Stafira, Pagacz - all from Odrowąż, and surname Figura, from Czarny Dunajec.

Does anyone have any historical info to share?
mbelanger - | 5
21 Nov 2009 #18
I'm looking for my grandfather's family Gal/Gall that emigrated to chicago area in 1901;Frantiszek,Mary,Anna,GeorgeAgnes, adult siblings and Tomasz Glab married to Anna or Mary.They came from Gliczarow Dolny and were Gorale. My grandfather came to Canada in 1903(Frank/Frantiszek Gall) and homesteaded in Saskatchewan maybe with brother George,in Vanguard. Other Gall connections by marriage are Galdyn,WujastykPollus,Spleas/Spreadman in the past in Chicago area. I was in Poland in 2008 and found some Gal relatives in Bialy Dunajec. Also my grandmother was a Szostak from a little info on her family. Anyone have connections to this branch of the Gal family??
4 Jan 2010 #19
There are Figura's from Pulawy on the Wistula who came to Ch1cago around 1913. Their names were Francis and Tekla Figura. One of their sons was named Henry. Anyone related? email me at
Shellie 1 | 11
5 Jan 2010 #20
Zmuda, Cepil, Gal, Figura, & Stafiera are all surnames from Odrowaz and nearby villages.
There are several members at Polish Origins who are also researching these names

I started a discussion thread about Odrowaz.
10 Feb 2010 #21
I am Robert [patr. Stanley] Gal (b. 1947 Jersey City, NJ) and my father was Stanley [patr. Frank] Gal (b. 1918 Jersey City, NJ). His father was Frank [??] Gal (b. 1887 Gliczarow, Galicia). My father teased his father about being "German" as the surname Gal was spelled with a barred-L (pronounced W) which made it sound like Gow. My grandfather would fume and steadfastly (it appears in all the papers I can find) insisted that he was a 'Galician' and a Pole. Gliczarow is located south of Novyy Targ, way up in the mountains. I have a sheepskin vest that is consistent with that location and is similar to one in a picture of my grandfather's mother, father and brother.

My grandfather (1907) and his brother both emmigrated to the US to avoid serving a second time in the Austrian Army as WWI was brewing. My grandfather's brother located somewhere other than New Jersey and the family, whenever they travelled, looked to find relatives. They never did.

I use and from NYC ship arrival manifests suspect that my grandfather's father's name was Jendozy, his mother was Antonina, and the brother who migrated to the states may have been Pawel.

I am still plugging away at research but I have very little to go on.

19 Oct 2010 #22

I am bruno ZMuda living in France .
My roots are also in Poland . My great father was Joseph zmuda born 1896 in Biala
He was the son of Zofia Zmuda . Zofia stayed single in Poland and has migrated to USA
SHe let her son Josef ( 4 yo ) in Poland to her family .
I am searching about my great grandmother Zofia zmuda . She was regetered decembre 28th 1900 at Ellis island . The boat was olfdenburg .

PennBoy 76 | 2,432
19 Oct 2010 #23
surnames being Gall and Figura

many Poles have the name Figura, including one of our actresses, Gall might be a configuration of something else maybe Galla
Renee15 - | 1
16 Aug 2011 #24
I'm sooooo glad this topic is still here! I was the original poster (Angeline) and had stopped with my genealogy search a few years back. I just got restarted and found this thread through a search for something related on Google!! Wow! Lots of great information now and hopefully this will help put me back on track! Thanks for all who replied and also Shellie for the very specific information! I'm going to become a more regular searcher now so I plan to check back often!!
Shellie 1 | 11
30 Oct 2011 #25
[Moved from]: Anyone here from Załuczne, or Odrowaz Podhalanski?

We are a group of American friends who have discovered that our families came from Załuczne, Odrowaz, and nearby Podhale villages. We would like to meet people who live, or once lived in these villages. Thank you!!
pawian 223 | 24,567
30 Oct 2011 #26
2 Mar 2012 #27
Hey I am trying so hard as well to find my family figura and most my family lived in Austria but I am finding nothing. Have you found anything that can help this search?

Crashmatrix - | 1
18 Dec 2012 #28
Hi, my dad is from Czarny Dunajec!! I am Andrew Figura... Email me for more info
14 Sep 2013 #29
hi I'm from Odrowaz currently I live in Chicago
9 Apr 2018 #30
has anyone heard of amy galinski's that came to america around the late 1800's early 1900's that changed their name to Gall? Im a gall and was told that my great grandparents were galinski's then changed it to gall when the came to america...I dont have any info or names, i dont know where or how to start...My grandfather was John Gall lived most of his life in washington state and Michigan...I have heard rumors that he worked for Al Capone...caontact me with any help..spidy36@hotmail

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