The name Skaskiw

Skaskiw (or Skaskiv) is a somewhat rare name. Amazingly, I’ve met six or so Skaskiws besides my immediate relatives.

There’s also partisan leader Yaroslav Skaskiw whom I read about on Wikipedia.

The name seems to come from the village Bozhykiv (also transliterated as Bojekiv).

The name means God-village. God was banned in the Soviet Union, so it’s name was “Pryvitne” which means welcoming, until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I’ve been to Bozhykiv a couple times. It was a really touching visit the first time. I remembered my dad’s story about visiting in 1974 (on his honeymoon) and sneaking away from the Intourist tour to arrange a car for a visit to the village. He ran up the hill and enjoyed the panorama he hadn’t seen in thirty years, but just briefly. He hurried back to the car, lest the authorities

The neighbor’s remembered my grandparents (whom I’ve never met). They recalled how they used to be invited over when my grandparents received letters from my father in America.

As I understand it, my grandparent’s house was sold to them shortly before my grandmother died, because they had no heirs other than my dad who was in America. Their two-room house is now a woodshop. I was touched almost to tears when they offered to give me the property, should I want to live there.

I estimate that 20% of the tombstones in Bozhykiv’s cemetery had the name ‘Skaskiv.’ It’s a small village. A few hundred houses. This past year, some guy wrote a big book about the village history. I was shown a .pdf, but it’s in Ukrainian, which I read very slowly. The .pdf had 340 pages, and it’s setup so one .pdf page equals two book pages. I need to read this book some time, or have it translated.


See also, UPA organizer Halyna Skaskiw:


  1. Ed K

    So yea who traced much genology, is this guy
    Yaroslav your grand uncle?

    In your trapsing around Ternopil, there is one guy
    who is my second cousin. I met him on one visit
    to Ternopil.

    On my first visit to Ternopil I had Alex try to locate
    him and Alex said there must be over a hundred
    with his surname in Ternopil.

    I my second trip I was able to gather more details
    about him from his first cousin who had met him,
    my second cousin, and told Alex that he had
    graduated from Ternopil Economic University.
    Then alex realized he had worked with my cousin
    in the early 1990’s.

    And apparently amoung the other hundred are
    other cousins who I do not know of. Most do not
    know of American branch of family.

    So, maybe this Ukrainian nationalist guy is your
    grand uncle or cousin. Gee, do you see some of
    the same personality in the mirrow? What is your
    background? Does it sound like this guy?


      1. Ed K

        Language is great issue. I have no facility with languages
        other than English. It was a great trial for me to meet the
        language requirement of a liberal arts degree.

        And thanks to my service to Uncle Sam, my hearing or ear is
        not what is needed to discern verbal differences? I have
        noticeable hearing loss since my time in a communications
        control center.

        My wife while technically retired, still maintains her
        skills teaching on line and consulting with former associates,
        so I have issues with her schedule.

        The problem I had in my two visits was going thru interrupters.
        I speak colloquial southern English verses their school English.

        And I want to do some quite off shore sailing… Follow Columbus?
        Leif Erickson? John Cabot? Magellan?

        Marco Polo will be on the list, yes.

  2. Lynne Skaskiw

    My name is Lynne Skaskiw and I am just starting to research my geneology which includes my grandfather who came from the old country in 1914 on the ship the Grosser Kurfurst. I would be interested in find out more about what you have discovered about our name.

  3. Beauregard


    You are asking the right guy. Roman was so interested in his family
    name he went to cemeteries in Ukraine following the trail and reading
    ancient inscriptions on tomb stones. Ask him to send you pictures of them….

    Consider buying plane ticket and flying to Ukraine to visit with Roman,
    his wife and progeny. Roman is authority on your last name. Visit the source …

    —- // —-

  4. Beauregard


    Roman is supposed to keep eye on this forum, he pays the rent!

    Type your request in capital letters, eventually he will respond!

    Since he got married and created progeny, he shows up here less often.

    He is probably in Carpathian Mountains teaching Dan how to ski.

    I have question, are you originally from Vermont?

    1. Lynne Skaskiw

      Ok. I understand that he is busy. No, we are from New York. However, two of my brothers and I have lived in Vermont. One brother still lives there,. one brother lives in Sweden, one in New York, and I am in New York as well.
      Are you related to Roman? You are Baureguard? If so, nice to meet you.

      1. Beauregard


        Beauregard is a INTERNET pseudonym. I was born in New Jersey
        a long, long time ago. I got into using it because of my extreme
        conservative views. My grandfathers family originated in Eastern
        Ukraine and I inherited his love of freedom. So, my views are often
        cause of angst among the majority.

        I settled in Georgia and South Carolina over 50 years ago. I also
        inhabit coastal North Carolina.

        Roman is from New York City.

        I know about Skaskiws near Rutland, Vermont. My daughter
        became a Vermonter near Middlebury.

        And with your background you are Roman’s cousin.

        He will comment and jump with joy about you commenting.
        Yes, he has direct Urls that would get you direct contact, but
        does not use them on the open internet. Just like I use Beauregard.

        Bye the way, you and I have communicated in the past…

  5. RomanInUkraine Post author

    Thanks for writing, Lynne.

    Vermont —

    I’ve been aware for a long time that there was (is?) a “Skaskiw Case & Cabinet Company” in Vermont. And I remember my parents talking about a priest named Skaskiw who may have had a distant relation to us, but nothing immediate.

    What I know about our name is summarized above. There really isn’t much more.

    My own genealogical research along my father’s line was stymied by a church fire in Bozhykiv in which many birth records were destroyed. I have not read that gigantic 600 page tomb about Bozhykiv, but from what some other Skaskiw’s have told me about it — there were four families with that last name.

    I should double check.

    I did meet the author of it once. He’s a doctor and he found me in Lviv after a little panel discussion I participated in, in a bookstore in Lviv (Bookstore Ye: Роман Скасків/Андрій Дрозда. 14/04/14 Afghanistan, Iraq, Literature & Crimea –

    We should work toward a Skaskiw reunion. :-)

  6. Beauregard

    Roman trying to weasel out of proving Lynne really cousin. Imagine that…

    Lynne, what you have not told Roman is how far back you know your side of family. And where they came from? Does anyone have any documentation? Old U. S. census documents usually indicated city of birth. Was it your grand parents to came over? What city did that initially settle in? Census documents might indicate place of birth. That is they often gave country and place of birth. And often gave different spellings of surnames of immigrants because the census workers transcribed phonetically.

    Your ancestry might give any number of countries of birth because the borders changed many times.

    Do you know any Mormons? They have access to the best genealogy library in world.

    1. RomanInUkraine Post author

      Lynne, this is Ed. I’ve never actually met him in person, though we have a couple mutual acquaintances. Ed is full of ideas about what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my time, life, etc. ;-) He seems to have a good heart, though.

    2. Lynne Skaskiw

      It is possible that Roman and I are distant cousins, which would be interesting. I tried messaging him but I’m not sure he got it.
      I don’t believe we have communicated before as I’ve only just started researching my name.
      It’s funny that you asked if I know any Mormons. I have some very dear friends who are Mormon and I am in fact at their church doing my research. I am so thankful that they are kind enough to let me use their resources to search for my family. It’s been a wonderful experience.
      Hoping you had a good new year,

  7. Beauregard


    Everybody is distant cousins. What was that study that showed you
    could find relationships among most people within 6 degrees? From
    his postings of ten years ago, I would say you are cousins. Ask his
    mother since he does not have time to share his thoughts with you.

    Roman is trying to make up for lost time he spent a wondering and
    as soldier of fortune.

    Roman has business in Kiev or so he tells us, business buddies in Kiev, a wife, a son, and
    close relatives in USA. He might be trying to teach his son to ski? Is he really in Carpathians?

    You might search his several web sites…

    Get a plane ticket and fly to Kiev and meet with him in person.

  8. Beauregard


    In looking back at your previous postings, I see that you are from New York.
    Does that mean New York City?

    Roman is from New York City. He was associated with St. Georges’s Ukrainian
    Catholic Church. Are you familiar with the Church? Do some research in
    the Church’s records.

    Also there are other pockets of Ukrainian heritage in New York Area.
    Consider Brooklyn, New York,

    Find a group of church’s that are Ukrainian Orthodox. Many Ukrainians who came here not only wanted to separate themselves from the Czar of Russia or the Emperor of the Austro Hungarian Empire or Prussia also want to separate from Roman Catholic domination and went to Orthodox Churches, especially the Autocephalous Ukrainian and Polish Churches. The Autocephalous churches are fearlessly independent of Popes and Patriarchs, while being very similar in theology.

  9. Lynne Skaskiw

    My grandparents were definitely Ukrainian Orthodox. He and my grandmother settled near Little Falls, NY after living in NYC for a while. I will check some church records to see what I can find. I live near Albany, NY.
    It would be nice to meet Roman someday. Who is his mother and would she mind someone that she doesn’t know contacting her, even a possible distant relative?

      1. Beauregard

        So you want to cut the rest of out of a family squable?

        I want to know if Lynne is related to Lauren Skaskiw?

        —- // —-

  10. Stewart

    My name is Stewart Cranston. My mom’s stepfather’s name was Michael Skaskiw. To me, he was my real grandfather. We were really close as I would spend my summers with him in Vernon, British Columbia Canada. I met a cousin of his from Ontario when I was young, and another relative from down east came to his funeral in 1999? 2000?

    Papa Mike was from Ternopil, and was a shoe maker. He dropped out of school to apprentice after grade 2. He was of age to be drafted into the German army in WW2, and said he never saw battle, but only worked on fixing boots. After the war, he and a friend were captured by Russian authorities while sleeping in a barn. They were imprisoned in a Russian prison camp. At Christmas, there was an important official coming to the camp, so a truckload of prisoners were trucked to a location to cut down trees to decorate the camp. His friend and him escaped into the mountains. It took two months for them to reach either the British or American controlled Germany, and they turned themselves in.

    They lived in Austria for a time, and eventually got hired to work on the railroad in Canada to gain citizenship.

    He left family in Ukraine, and was unable to contact them directly.

    1. RomanInUkraine Post author

      Mike was a fellow Skaskiw. Thanks for sharing the fascinating bio.

      My dad was also drafted in the German army. There was an anti-aircraft unit made up from logs of young men from Galicia (my dad was 15 at the time!) The story goes that he never saw combat, and that the American guards of the POW camp saw that my dad was still a kid, and told him to leave, but after three days of wandering around hungry, my Dad returned to the POW camp.

      Some other parallels with my family — both my mom and dad went through displaced person camps after the war. Both went 20-30 years without knowing the fate of the loves ones left behind.

      Thanks for writing.



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