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10 Feb 2016 #1
My name is Giovanna Zofia Chmielewski, and my ancestors came from Poland. My Grandfather was Harry Chmielewski. His parents were born in Poland and were named Stanislaus Chmielewski and Rosalia Pacewicz. I believe they were from PoznaƄ, but they were married in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, USA.

I am very curious to find out a little about the meaning of the Polish names in my family, especially since while traveling in Poland a few years ago, a lady at a hotel I was checking into said to me, "Ah, Chmielewski. What a sad, old, Polish name." After that moment, I was very curious about its meaning. I googled it and learned that "chmiel" means "hops" in Polish. This was interesting to me particularly as I work closely with beer in my career here in the states, and have a deep love of growing hops, brewing beer, etc. before I even knew what my last name meant! This brought me closer to my Polish heritage since I feel that some innate love of hops and strange connection came through the generations somehow.

I'm curious: were my ancestors farmers or brewers? Did they sell beer or just grow the elements? What about my Grandmother's side of the family? What does the "wicz" and "ewski" mean?

Any information you might have would be wonderful. I am learning Polish but am nowhere near fluent.
Thanks so much!
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
10 Feb 2016 #2
-SKI and -WICZ are usually patronymic endings, in this case both meaning 'Son of'. My own surname ends in -WICZ, also certain -WICZ families originate in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Ukraine, Russia or Lithuania).
InPolska 11 | 1,821
10 Feb 2016 #3
I have often heard that names ending in "wicz" are ... Jewish? Is it so?
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
10 Feb 2016 #4
No, not really. -SKI is more popular amongst Jews than -WICZ. My particular lastname though, is supposedly of 'Armenian' origin.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
10 Feb 2016 #5
Ah, so ok! :). I thought so...
Wulkan - | 3,251
10 Feb 2016 #6
"Ah, Chmielewski. What a sad, old, Polish name."

Looks like the lady at the hotel was sad. There is nothing sad about this surname, chmiel means hops and hops are for beer, is beer a sad drink? doesn't make any sense because it's the other way round. Maybe the hotel lady was simply jealous.
3 Dec 2017 #7
This is also my ancestors name. When they came to the states, they settled in Hammtrammack Michigan and Howell Michigan and that area. Changed their name to Hopkins. Interesting!!
3 Dec 2018 #8
My mother's maiden name was Chmiel. Her parents (the CHmiels) settled in Hamtramck, Michigan. I was told they changed their name from Chmielowski.
Lyzko 25 | 7,139
3 Dec 2018 #9
"Chmiel" is a kind of grain, I think, used in among things, beer.
Ironside 49 | 10,171
4 Dec 2018 #10
After that moment, I was very curious about its meaning. I

Those are just names people. They don't have some special meaning.

Chmiel" is a kind of grain,

hops, yet that has very little to do with the name. Most like it is derived from a place named after Hops, like a hamlet or such.

nobody cares or think about it in Poland it just a name.
Lyzko 25 | 7,139
4 Dec 2018 #11
"Hops" as in "I'm mad as hops!"? Oh, I see. "Hops" as in "malt", "yeast" or that sort of stuff:-)
Got ya!

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