NOTES ON SURNAMES (HULL) 65
TICHIAS This name puzzled me for a long time until I found a directory entry for a fruit importer named Tomasso Tichiaz. Was this the same surname? If so it appeared that there was an Italian connection, though the surname did not look Italian.
I managed to trace Tomasso elsewhere and found that he was born in “Austria”, c. 1825, settled in Hull between 1852 and 1861, and had an Irish wife named Kate (his second wife?). He also had a son born “Austria” c. 1852, named Carlo.
The Hull Register of births marriages and deaths has records of the name Tichiaz from 1875 to 1916, and of Tichias from 1920 onwards. Was this the same family?
More information was found online at a family history website –
where the marriage at Costrena, Croatia, of Antonius Tichiaz and Catharina Maranic is noted; as is the birth in 1830 of their son “Matthiae Tikjac”. So we learn that Tichiaz is likely to be an Italian spelling of a Croatian surname. As pronounced by an Italian Tichiaz would sound like teak yachts, and Croatian pronunciation of Tikjac would very similar, perhaps with emphasis on different syllables.
Costrena, or Kostrena, is today a suburb of Rijeka (Italian name, Fiume) on the Dalmatian coast. Interestingly, in the census of 1891 Tomasso Tichiaz gives his birthplace as “Austria Costrena”, while Carlo in one census gave his birthplace as “Fumie” in Austria. Fiume/Rijeka is not in Austria but it was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and for purposes of national identification its inhabitants would have been classified as Austrian.
Why the Italian given names? Italian, Venetian dialect, was one of the languages of the Dalmatian coast, and may have been the first language of our Tichiaz family. In the old Austrian Empire different ethnic groups lived side by side and it might be necessary to know more than one language, and one’s name might change according to the milieu in which one found oneself.
So what is the meaning of the probably Slavic Tikjac? all I can say is that it is not in the Croat dictionary, or the Slovene. I thought it might identify someone from a place called Tikja, but I haven’t been able to find any such place name.