This surname of HORAK is a Polish and East Ashkenazic Jewish topographic name for someone who lived on a hillside or in a mountainous district. The name was derived from the Polish word GORA, meaning mountain. It was also a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Gregory', a derivative of Gregorein, meaning to be awake or watchful, but at an early date the Latin form GREGORIUS was associated by folk etymology with Grex, meaning flock or herd. This corresponded with the Christian image of the good shepherd, and several early bishops adopted this name as appropriate to their calling. The Greek name was borne in the early Christian centuries by two fathers of the orthodox church, St. Gregory Nazianzene (c.325-90) and St. Gregory of Nyssa (c.331-95). Another eminent member of the name was Saint Gregory (240-332) the 'Illuminator', said to have been of the royal Persian race of Arsacidae, who became patriach of Armenia. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GORAL, GORNY, GORAK, HORA, HORAK, ZAGORNY, ZAGOROWSKI, ZAGORKSY, ZAGURKSY, ZAHORA, and ZAGORAC. Between 1880 and 1914, almost three million Jews left Eastern Europe, representing the most extensive migration in Jewish history since the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Most of the emigrants fled from Russia, where pogroms had raged, and where the laws of Czar Alexander III had oppressed Jewish life. Most of the emigrants departed from Hamburg and went to the United States, but some emigrated to Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. While the vast majority of the immigrants to America came through Ellis Island from 1907 to 1914 thousands of East European Jews participated in a little known episode in American Jewish history. They migrated through the port of Galveston, Texas and then were routed to towns throughout the Midwest where lodging and jobs awaited them. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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