The German surname "Gallwas"
My grandmother's family had the surname of "Gallwas." They were from Germany and she had family that she said had recently (in her lifetime) come from Germany. However, in all German records I cannot find any place, anywhere, that documents a family with this surname actually lived in Germany aside from a single name on a ship registry. I have been told that a Friedrich August was sired in 1829 by a Philip Gallwas who was a potter in Dresden. I have no understanding of why I cannot find this name absolutely anywhere in German records, neither can I find any name anywhere in Germany that had this surname in the 19th century! There are now numerous families of Gallwas in the U.S. but none that were found before this date! I do not know the background for this name since now almost all my relatives on this family side are now dead. Does anyone have any ideas if this name Gallwas was actually a distortion for an entirely different looking surname??
Tags:  German
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There are Gallwas all over Germany as you can see at tinyurl.com/h75jn9b. According to the data at tinyurl.com/zqg5fhq and tinyurl.com/znmap5k, Gallwas is an alteration of the French name Gallois which is from Old French galois 'fun-loving, bon vivant'.
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Thanks for your reply!Today there is in Germany the surname "Gallwas," but in the thousands of archives I have looked through, there were no Gallwas in the 19th century. Thus, I am not able to trace the person on my family tree. The URL you sent me I have seen before, but I have been mystified over the present day usage of this name since there are none in ANY archive within the years of the 1800's -1900's for which I am searching.Also, I have seen the French variant for Gallwas, but since my grandmother's familly only ever spoke German and never considered themselves of French blood I wondered if there was another variant of the spelling for Gallwas that would apply to my family.Thanks for your help!
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A French surname in Germany need not be of recent immigrants. Many French Huguenots settled in Germany in the 17th century, long enough for a spelling to develop more acceptable to German speakers. At one time (18th century?) Berlin's population was 25% Huguenot.
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Thank you! That is very interesting. It sure does widen the possibilities.
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