Origin and ancient history
Domatschevo, Domachevo) – everyone, who’s interested in the history of this
West Polesye og near-Boug town, has a completely logical question concerning
the name of it: what it stands for, where it came from, in what way it was
changing during the history and why. The more important it is since it’s
connected with the origin of the place itself.
There are only 3 principal theories of it, that most of researchers tell .
1. The name was given after a last name (Domash, Domashevich), or, rather, after a name (Domash, Tomash).
2. The second possibility is the local name of a home made dress or skirt.
3. After the pronunciation of the German „Dolmetscher“(translator, interpretor) .
If someone is interested in short information only without any commentaries, one can stop reading right here and go to bed, or, what is even better, omit the middle part of the tale and get acquainted with the latest authors’ theories.
Well, if a Dear reader is really interested in speculations and eager to find out something else about the origin of the name and about the issue, where the town could emerge at all, you are very welcome to stay here and join to our speculation trip.
So, who in the world was this Domash or Domashevitch? The founder of the town? Or the owner? Or a close acquaintance of the owner? The theory in its own is quite credible, since names of places like that are often given after the names or last names of their owners. It’ll suffice to remember the villages of Nikolskaya and Lanskaya in the neighboring Malorita region that were named after the father of the General’s wife Nikolay Lanskiy. On the other hand, the village of Tomashovka, or many other Polish villages with the similar naming in honor of local Polish historical celebrities. The drawbacks of this theory are the absence of names like that in this area, though one can hardly meet people of the kind in Lanskaya and Nikolskaya. Moreover, the owners of these areas were often strangers (the Polish or Russians).
Similarly, towns and villages have been named with last names for not so long a while, since according an old tradition the name had a number one priority. Possibly, the problem lay on the fact that there wasn’t any owner of Domachevo registered, or there was no person at all connected with the owner. If the place bore a name of Vitgenshteynovka or Radivilovka – the theory would be 100% true, but the name of “Domashevitch” can hardly find a concrete historical proof, without which our speculations are simply colorful historical hypothesis.
Secondly, what a naked eye can spot is that namings like “Tomashovka”, “Tomashuvka”, “Tomashevo”, “Domashevo” are widely spread on Slavonic and not only lands. They were highly replaceable (even the Tomashovka in the neighborhood was often called in all these manners). It’s much easier to figure this name out, for historically we can trace the namings to people’s names Tomash, Thomas, Domash and Foma.
Here’s a small list of similar namings :
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Domaševo – to the South from Sarajevo;
- Germany – Thomashof (in German – “Tomash’s manor”); in Germany there are a couple of names like that: only near Berlin one can find at least 2 places with the name, which proves the idea of the Slavonic origin of it, since the territory around Berlin is the area of settling of Serbs);
- Ukraine - Domashev (Domashuv, Domashov, Domashiv), 300 miles to the East from Kiev;
- Slovakia - Tomášová (Òomásfalva) - Slovakia – 130 miles to the West from Bratislava; Tomášov (Fél) - 10 miles to the West from Bratislava;
- Russia - Tumashevo – can be met a number of times to the North form Moscow, just like, for instance, Tomyshovo, Staroye Tomyshëvo, Tomazov, Tomizawa Lyutovskaya, Domashëvo, Domasheva, Domashova and Domachëvo do.
- Poland - Tomaszów (more than 10 towns and small towns have a name like that); Tomaszewo (more than 5 cases); Tomaszew (at least, 3, among which 1 is a colony of settlers); Domaszew, Domachowo, Domachau;
- Montenegro - Tomaševo;
- The Czech Republic - Tomášov (used to be “Thomasdorf”); Domašov (former Domaschow, Thomasdorf) – met twice;
- Belarus - Domashëvo (the Northern East from Minsk) and Tomashovka, near our Domachevo and the Polish border.
- Kazakhstan - Tumashov (obviously, a former German colonists settlements).
This list was made a bit in haste, without any special preparations and total enumeration of the data. But, at the same time it demonstrates a curious system: all the names are typical for the Western Slavonic region (and they spread similarly within border areas (such as Ukraine, Germany), or in places of German and Slavonic settlements or colonies (for instance, in Siberia, or in Kazakhstan). The name of Foma (Thomas) is more spread forPoland, Germany or Slovakia, for the Czech Republic – Domash.
So, what can we say in relation to our Domachevo? It has always been spelled with the initial „D”, not „T”. So, in this way namely, it differs from the neighboring „tomashevkas” and „tomashuvkas”. The variations of spelling Domachevo appeared, most likely, under the influence of nationality and the own language of geographical maps creators or travellers, who mentioned this place. Therefore, they bear no significance for the origin. The most important thing is the initial „d” that has always existed it the name of the town.
So, if the name of the town does come from the name Domash or Tomash, we should note that it appeared under Czech or German influence. There’s more than one (the most obvious) explanation to it, moreover there’re, as we see it, two of them:
- The neighboring colonies Neudorf and Neubrof could totally encourage the emergence of such a variant of pronunciation and spelling like that. This is the most obvious explanation, but it can’t stand any reasonable criticism, as you’ll see later.
- The name could be brought by Jews, who also inhabited Domachevo since it had been founded. They came here, most likely, in the XVI century, moving to Western territories from the lands of Germany, Czech and others. They were looking for a place for themselves, settling and founding settlements or assimilating with the local population, bringing their linguistic changes of names with them. It can be that Domachevo appeared near a market place or an eatery, the owner of which was a Domash. This version is much closer to the Version 3. There it looks more logical. We should note that each and every town or settlement we mentioned above (in various countries), were Jewish settlements (all those settlements made it possible to find the list of the towns).As we said, this version can be quite true, even if we don’t know in honor of which Domash or Tomash this town was named or under whose influence it happened. As long as what I can suggest on the basis of this hypothesis is my own version, but a patient and an attentive reader can find it at the end of this article.
The existence of this version appears to be encouraged by the name of Damatkanovichi (a village in Minsk State) and, simultaneously a wide spread in Polesye word “domotkivka”, which stands for a home-weaved fabric (esp. subtle weaved skirts).
The problem is that such names of villages are quite unique, special, that can be met very rarely and, most likely, take after something really special in this area. When weaving was especially popular in and people were famous for their art, hence there could appear a name like that. Although the word “domotkivka” was typical for Polesye-Volyn area, at the moment there’s no information about well-known Domachevo weaving specialists.
Similarly, we could look for likeness among other unique names of Belarusian towns, such as, for instance: Domanovo, Domashany, Domashevichi, Domashkavichi, Domniki, Dymnovo and many more, or we can connect the names with the similar unique words.
Besides a partial connection of this name to the name of Domachevo, we can hardly can say any more than that.
The twisted and assimilated German word “Dolmetscher“ is akin to the Slavonic word translator or interpreter.
The author of this version is Ivan Matskevitch, who was the 1st one (according to our data) to mention this possibility in 1980-s within his recollection, the manuscript of which can be found in the personal archive of the Avdeyuks in Domachevo. The manuscript found its way to the „Zaria nad Bugom” newspaper, sent by the author of the article in 1990-s.
In accordance of Matskevitch’s recollections, when the 1st German colonists appeared near Boug, they had to encounter the local population of the neighboring villages, who didn’t understand the German language. Due to it, in close proximity to the colonies, an interpreter could settle in order to help out in trade contacts with the neighboring villages, that had existed already (by the way, the village of Chersk had existed for sure). Germans called the interpreter „Dolmetsher”, the locals – traditionally, translator, or, in a twisted manner, „Domachev”. Next to the lodging of the interpreter, there logically appeared a market place, where other people started to settle (as, for instance, Jewish settlers). That was the way the town itself appeared, which kept its name „Domachev”.
This version explains the historic realities and the origin of the town, and it sounds quite credible, if we take a closer look at that. Since, at first, in Ukraine and in Poland there are numerous towns with the similar name of the same origin: such as, Tolmachev, Tolmachevo, Tlumachov. That means that the version is quite possible and absolutely credible and there were historical occasions of the kind.
Secondly, in relation to our town the version looks credible indeed. Germans in their colonies in Volyn, and next to the Black Sea, and in Siberia, almost always lived separately and in seclusion. They never mixed with the local population, and were not especially eager to learn the local language. When at home, they talked and prayed with the help of their native language. The locals also experienced difficulties concerning money and business issues, where special accuracy was needed. When a deal was to be done the Germans used to involve the interpreter – that was they were going to the „Dolmetsher”, whereas the locals could say they had been going to the “Domachev” (initially, to the „Dolmatsher”, then to the „Dolmatshev”, and finally, - to the “Domachev”). It could stay the way it was. Until now, the population of the neighboring villages keep going to “Domachevo”.
On my behalf I can say that this version is the most beautiful compared to the 1st and the 2nd ones, and no less credible. Frankly, the author of the article mainly sticks to this version, which corresponds to historical realities and simultaneously explains to the origin of the town.
The author’s version, generalized.
It’s been a while since that happened. Not that long ago as the early medieval times, but a lot of time had passed. To cut a long story short, it was when Radzivill reigned on our lands, who invited the 1st German protestants from Europe to settle around. They found places for them to live here, as well as their small Motherland. Along with the protestants who were running away from Europe, in the XVI century a lot of Jews followed them. It turned out for them uncomfortable to live there, where more and more often persecution of Jews was taking place. They escaped from it, moving from Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic to Mazovia and Podlashye in Poland, Volhyn, Polesye in Belarus and even farther.
In that way there appeared Lutheran colonists near Boug (on its both banks), separately form others. They named their settlements with their names - “Neubrov” and “Neudorf” (The New Village and The New Household). The Jews, who were better at languages and business, being more opened to the locals, settled a comfortable location between them and the Germans. They organized a market and were helping out with translations (due to the fact that Yiddish was akin to German). The Jews experienced no problems in translation, and being inborn dealers, they founded the 1st tavern within the market to make the live there more vigorous. So, where there is a market and a tavern – a settlement is sure to appear. The locals were moving closer at first (especially, craftsmen: smiths, weavers and tailors). Then the Jewish community built a synagogue and the population was gradually growing. Poles came and constructed a Roman Catholic Church, and Domachevo, as a result, became the way it was until the 30-s of the XX century: multiconfessional and multinational town, where Jews, the German, Poles and locals could live together.
So, what about the name? This could be a well-known (or, perhaps, the 1st) tavern holder, who represented the Czech Jews, Domash, who was often visited by the locals (since Lutherans were forbidden to take alcohol), or Domash was a physician who treated all the local people. In a situation like that they used to say “I’m going to Domash”, after that, when his business was taken over by his son, they were saying that “they were going to Domash’s son (according the Polish and Belarussian tradition it sounds “to Domasheva”, can be compared to Irish “McMurphy” before somebody’s name, meaning “Murphy’s son”). Or, even there wasn’t any Domash, but there was a local translator, who was also often paid a visit to by the people. In this occasion they were going to “Dolmetsher”, what finally transformed into “dolmatshev” and “domachev”.
There is no testimonies left in connection who this was – either a translator “Dolmetsher” or a tavern holder “Domash”, but we’re still grateful to him for a name like that. Thanks to him since we can speculate about the name, tell our kids and grandkids stories, who will inevitably ask us about such a puzzling, yet native word – “Domachevo”.
A local story (of the Matskevitches’):
There was a story among the Matskevitch family members, concerning where the name had come from. Mr. Uljan Matskevitch, a local blacksmith, when asked by his little grandkids, told them a story as follows below:
Once upon a time, some rich man was traveling somewhere, accompanied by his servants. While making his way through woods, he reached his quite expensive watch to see the time. Unfortunately, he dropped the watch down. One can hardly lose such a value just like that. It was in a strong necessity to be found. Everyone stopped and all the servants around hurried in search of the item. It had taken them a long while; the rich man being nervous; before he heard the shout “Domacav” (“I got it” in local Polish). The man was had been so glad that he founded a village at the exact same place, where the watch had been found. The name of it was “Domacava”.
 The 1st 2 versions can be found at all researchers’ works, starting with history and geography classes, to various recollections in articles and some books.
 The 3rd version emerged due to recollections of a local researcher Mr. Uljan Matskevitch. In print it came out in the “Zaria nad Bugom” newspaper in the beginning of 1990-s.
 The list was compiled on the basis of Jewish settlements in Europe: the web source JewishGen (http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/), ShtetlSeeker.
(ñ) Alexander Avdeyuk.
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