Genealogy > Mizikar Name
This page is a simple summary of the user of the Mizikar surname. I do have several sourced theories on the origin/meaning of the name and will share them here at some point.
Over the years I have been able to find family documents written in Latin, Hungarian and Slovak - a progression that aligns with the geopolitical history of Slovinky. On Slovak documents my family name typically appears as Mižigár or Mižikár, while on Hungarian documents it usually appears as Mizsigár or Mizsikár - since the Hungarian letter "zs" and the Slovak letter "ž" represent the /ʒ/ sound.
I have yet to obtain any direct ancestors' records written in Cyrillic, but hopefully someone may still have copies of old church records that can help determine the origins of the name and any possible historical meaning. The few samples I have in Cyrillic for possible distant cousins have variances depending on whether it is Ukrainian or Russian and probably whether the name was "heard" or "spelled". Some examples are Miзiкap, Mизикap, Mизигap and Mижигap. While the Ukrainian letter "ж" would be used to represent the /ʒ/ sound, the letter "з" could be used to transcribe the simple Latin letter "z". The same would go for Russian transcriptions - even though the Russian letter "ж" is more accurately assigned to the /ʐ/ sound.
The k/g variance can possibly be traced to changes in the Ukranian alphabet. After the letter "г" diverged and began to represent more of an /h/ sound, and before the introduction of the letter "ґ", the digraph "кг" (/kh/) was often used as a substitute for a Latin "g" (/g/). In many languages and dialects, however, there is little distinction between the /g/ and /k/, especially when modified by preceding and proceeding vowels. The combinations of time, geographic movement and transliteration may have caused the letters to be used somewhat interchangeably. As would happen upon immigration to America, those creating the documents simply attempted to represent the sounds they heard within the confines of the transcriber's language.
Samples from Austro-Hungarian documents in the early to middle 1800s
Originally, my family had a double surname in combination with Magdoš. While what we consider hyphenated surnames is not rare in Slavic languages, it is not truly common either. The rationale for the second name varies from region to region, but in the area of the Carpathian Mountains where my family is from the second name would often be used to allow for distinction among families that had the same name.
Sometimes this was done by adding a "modifier", like a nickname, for example to indicate that they were farmers, miners or blacksmiths. Another option was to combine another name, like the wife's maiden name, so that the second name indicated a branch of the family. Occasionally, if there was the perception that the wife was marrying into a lower "class", the husband would add the wife's maiden name onto his so that the new family could retain her status. One additional note: since the double name appears frequently in records for distinct branches of the family it is most likely not associated with eastern slavic patronymic naming customs.
Upon immigration to America, the name was often misrepresented - with one appearing as a western "middle" name - something most people of Slavic origin would not have. Some confusion on the sequence may be due to the era of Hungarian rule and the eastern naming order. Initially in America the names are used inconsistently, but after time family members settled on a preference for only one or the other. Generally, family that settled in the state of Indiana and around Youngstown/Akron in Ohio used "Magdos" while the rest used "Mizikar".
Samples from American documents in the early 1900s
The last change for my version of the family name occurred in the 1920s. The story passed down by my grandfather is that when he started school and gave his name as "Mizikar" the teacher remarked that "we already have too many of those" and instructed him to spell the name differently. While there is some truth to this - the mining towns of Guernsey County, Ohio were overflowing with immigrants from Slovakia - most likely it was just another effort in transliteration. Since his father had died in 1918 during the Spanish Flu epidemic and his mother could not read or even speak English, the spelling of the name was left to various administrators or government officials.
On documents from that time the name begins to appear as "Mezekor" - which is a reasonable, if ironically Hungarian looking, approximation. While in America the pronunciation of the name has devolved into short English vowel sounds, the original Slavic "i" (/i/) could have been heard as - and therefore transcribed as - an English long "e" (i.e., Mē-zē-kor). It is unknown at what point the middle "r" was introduced, but by the 1940s my grandfather, his brother and sister were spelling the name the same as "Mezerkor".
Samples from American documents in the 1920s and 1930s