This Ukrainian and Russian surname of VAVRA was a baptismal name 'the son of VAVARA' a form of Barbara. This was originally a Catalan habitation name from a place in the province of Tarragona, so called from the Latin Barbarianum meaning 'the place of Barbarius'. The name was borne by an enormously popular but almost certainly, non-existent saint, who according to legend was imprisoned in a tower and later put to death by her own father for refusing to recant her Christian beliefs. Occasionally the name was used of a foreigner, in particular for a Moor or one from the Barbary coast, and hence was applied to a man of swarthy appearance. The Ukraine has been a constituent republic of the south east USSR since 1923. It was a State by the 9th century, and under Polish rule from the 14th century. Russia absorbed east Ukraine in 1667, and the rest in 1793 from Austrian rule. It proclaimed itself a people's republic in 1919, and from 1923 it has formed one of the republics of the USSR. The Ukrainan language is a member of the Slavonic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Russian and is sometimes referred to by Russians as 'Little Russian' a description which Ukrainians generally do not find appropriate. Communities speaking Ukrainian are also found in Canada and the United States. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate, and granted 355 armorial bearings in the 18th century.
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