To date, the earliest documented evidence of the Galinovsky surname dates back to 1724 when Pavel Galinovsky was granted nobility by King August II, The Strong of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1709-1733); with connections to the Vitebsk/Witebsk region of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The commonwealth existed from 1569 until the final partitioning of Poland in 1795. In addition to the Vitebsk region, there is also evidence of the Galinovsky surname and connections to the Mogilev region, both regions are now located in present day Belarus.
The following is based on three documents that were found in the archives of St Petersburg Russia by a professional genealogist hired by Andre'; Galinowski MD of Versailles France; who was kind enough to share them with me. I attempted to have the documents translated into English. But due to the facts that these documents are from 19th century Russian, the variations in spelling and the use of terms that are no longer used today, coupled with the fact that two of the documents were handwritten, and all are copies of copies made translation somewhat difficult and only a summary of their content was obtainable.
This document appears to have been written by the head of the Mogilev Noble Counsel, Mogilev (Gubernia) Provice (present day Belarus) and addresses the nobility status of Ivan Galinovsky and Anton Galinovsky who insist that they are direct descendants of Stepan Galinovsky, son of Pavel Galinovsky. They also stipulate that their common relative Iosafat Galinovsky, a son of Stavislav Galinovsky, was bestowed a noble on 10 March 1792 by the Mogilev Province (Gubernia) Noble Council. They also claim that their relative, Ilia (Il'a) Galinovsky, a son of Petr Galinovsky was enrolled to the noble class on 28 Nov 1835. Ilia was named as a second cousin of Iosafat Galinovsky. The head of the Mogilev province Noble Counsel sent this document to the temporary Governmental Noble Revision Office. This document also states that the Polish Coat-of-Arms Szeliga was adopted as the families coat-of arms.
This document appears to be written by Iosafat Galinovsky, who was reference in the 1844 document, to the Governmental Noble Revision Office. Requesting that a higher authorities of the Russian Empire register the family coast-of-arms, the Szeliga in the Coat-of-Arms register. He also mentions that he resides in Russian province of Tverskaya on the estate name Marinino, located near the village of Gorodenskaya. According to the state archives of Tverskaya province, the family owned the Marinino estate until the Russian Revolution of 1918-1919
This document clearly states that Pavel Galinovsky was granted nobility by King August II of Poland in 1724 for his services as Vitebsk's cheshnik (cellarer – someone in charge of provisions). In 1738 Pavel’s estate Vushchinichi, as it was named, with 10 households of peasants were bequeathed to his son Stepan who had four sons. In 1777 the estate was sold to Dominic Sokolovsky for 25,000 zlotys. 19,000 zlotys was paid in ready money with the balance to be paid over time. It appears that in 1796 the balance was paid in full to Pavel's descendants. The document goes on to identify the descendents of Pavel and Stepan. The purpose of this document was to prove the nobility of the Galinovsky family so that Iulian Avgustinov Galinovsky could get approval from the Mogilev Assembly of Deputies of the Nobility to place his son Mikhail in an educational institution which required a person to be from a noble family in order to attend. The document has a signature date of 1 August 1879 by the provincial marshal of the nobility. It also has a stamped and signature date of 1 May 1896 by the Mogilev District Court.
To date, I have not found any Galinovsky's listed as Polish noblemen; but have found the surname GALINOVSKII listed as a nobleman of the Russian Empire with references made to the regions of Tul'skoi and Tverskoi (present day Tulskaya and Tverskaya Oblast of Russia near Moscow). In addition, there exist a book established by Empress Catherine II of Russia (1762-1796) listing families who had been recognized as nobles prior to 1785 and going back 100 years. The title of this book is the VIth (6th) Book of the Most Ancient Nobility in Russia.
The family coat-of-arms, the Szeliga is a classical and ancient Polish coat of arms and has been shared by several families. There are several variations of the Szeliga. Some are very simple and others are very fancy. But they all have the “charge” in common which depicts the cross and the crescent; with the coronet, which is the sign of nobility. The peacock feathers were added at a later date to bring the arms into line with the rest of Europe, especially Germany.
There exists a spelling variation in the surname. Apparently Galinovsky or Galinovskii is the
Russian spelling, while Galinowsky is the Polish spelling. The letter "V" does not exist in the Polish alphabet,
however the letter "W" is pronounced like the "V" as in vat. In addition to the question of the alphabet,
it is also important to understand the history of Poland and Lithuania, and the influence the Russian Empire
played on it's history. As a result of the partitioning of
Poland in 1772, 1793 and finally in 1795 between
Prussia, Austria and Russia; Russia annexed much of the eastern portion of Poland and all of Lithuania which included
the regions of Vitebsk and Mogilev. From 1795 until the end of World War I, Poland and Lithuania ceased to exist as
an independent republic.
A side note; as of January 2005 there were 35 individuals with the Galinovsky surname living in 11 different Polish provinces, indicating that Galinowsky is a rather unique surname in Poland.