Greetings from France and Canada!
I am a Canadian studying at the University of Paris IV - Sorbonne and I was hoping someone might be able to help. My surname is of Czechoslovakian origin: I say Czechoslovakian because my family immigrated to North America prior to 1992-3, and have thus always been told it is 'Czechoslovakian,' as opposed to Czech or Slovak. That being the case, my grandfather has done genealogical research and determined that our family originated from a village called Betlanovce, near Poprad, in what is now Slovakia.
I was just hoping that there might be someone who could help clarify the meaning and pronunciation of our family name. My grandfather's family immigrated to Ohio in the North-Eastern United States, and from there my grandfather immigrated to Canada after marrying my Canadian grandmother. Understandably, with all of this moving around, over the years I am sure the pronunciation has changed from the original, or what it should be.
It is spelled Marecak, and it is my understanding that in the original language it is spelled with the following accents: Marečák
The Americanized pronunciation sounds like: "Mare-uh-sack" with the emphasis on the first syllable. The spelling was never changed, only (I presume) the pronunciation.
My mother's father is British, and he along with every other Briton I have met pronounces it: "Mare-uh-chack" with a slight emphasis on the third syllable.
My grandfather himself pronounces it "Mar-sack" with the emphasis on the first syllable.
Does anyone know what the name means? How it would be pronounced in Czech or Slovak? How it should be pronounced properly in English, or how to anglicise it? I'm sick and tired of not knowing how to pronounce my own name!
Any and all help would be enormously appreciated. As you can imagine, it is particularly difficult to pronounce in French and I was hoping to get a definitive answer. Thank you very much in advance for your time and consideration.