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What does your Polish name mean?
By Robert Strybel, "The Polish Answer Man" What does your Polish name mean?

What does your Polish name mean?

By Robert Strybel, Polish/Polonian Affairs Writer

            Szymanski came from Szymany (Simonville), Pawlak was Paul’s boy, Mazur hailed from the forested Mazurian Lake District, Wojcik was the village mayor’ son  and Nowak was the new guy in the village.

            For a custom-researched analysis of the meaning and derivation of your Polish last name, how many people share it, where they live and whether it is accompanied by a noble coat-of-arms, please airmail a $19 check (adding $10 for each additional surname) to:

Robert Strybel
ul. Kaniowska 24

01-529 Warsaw, Poland

(A list of useful root-tracing leads to facilitate your ancestral quest is included.)

What’s in a name?

Do you know what your Polish name means?

          Have you ever wondered how your Old World ancestors acquired the Polish surname they brought over with them to America? Many started out as nicknames indicating someone’s occupation including Kowal (blacksmith), Piekarz (Baker) and Kolodziej (wheelwright). Others were based on someone’s characteristic: Garbaty (hunchbacked), Chudy (thin), Paluch (big-fingered) and Glowacki (big-headed).

Typical peasant names were derived from common household objects, farmyard tools, foods, and animals including Lopata (garden spade), Wrobel (sparrow) and Sloma (straw). A great many people were named on the basis of who their father’s were. Kowlaczyk was the blacksmith’s son, Stasiak was Stan’s boy and Pawlak was Paul’s kid.

The majority of Polish names ending in “-owski” are of toponymic origin, meaning that they described people on the basis of where they lived. Wiśniewski came from Wisniewo (Cherryville), Dąbrowski was a native of Dąbrowo (Oakville), Zaleski lived on the other side of the forest and Mazur hailed from the forested, lake-studded Mazury region.

If you would like a custom-researched analysis of the meaning and derivation of your Polish surname, how many people share it, where they live and whether the name is accompanied by a noble coat-of-arms, please airmail a $19 check (adding $10 for each additional surname) to:

Robert Strybel
          ul. Kaniowska 24

       
01-529 Warsaw, Poland

            Speedy service is guaranteed! You will also get a contact sheet of handy genealogical leads (root-tracing Web sites, organizations and firms) which has helped many Polish Americans get started in their ancestral exploration. Chances are you too will find it helpful.

If you yourself are not interested in your surname’s origin, perhaps you know someone who might be. Ordering a surname analysis for a relative or friend might make an interesting and unusual birthday, anniversary or Mother’s/Father’s Day gift or simply a token of general friendship. When ordering, please provide the intended recipient’s name and address, relationship and the occasion (if any) being celebrated.

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