my son and i are trying to collect as much information as possible about our family. there is polish on both sides; krysiewicz, sobieski, and grohocki. as niether of us speak polish and those relatives that did have passed away, we were hoping information about the last names would be a good place to start. for instance; does "krysiewicz" mean "son of krysie"? and if so, what does "krysie" mean. that particular branch of our family tree is from the northeastern part of Poland, just outside of Białystok. could the family history be Lithuania given the old borders? any help or direction would be greatly appreciated!!
Krysiewicz means "son of Krzysztof", or "Christopher". This name is very specific for the area immediately surrounding Białystok, as seen on this map:
Grochocki comes from Groch, which means "peas" (the vegetable). It is more spread out throughout Poland. Grohocki is a English spelling.
Sobieski is a famous historical name that every Pole recognizes because it was held by one of their kings:
It's a very old surname, and comes from the name of the town of Sobieszyn in eastern Poland, but most popular in Mazowia in northeastern Poland.
All of the names are very Polish names, and there is no reason to look for Lithuanian roots unless you have firm documentary evidence to prove otherwise. Lithuanian vs. Polish vs. Ruthenian ethnicity is a very, very complicated topic that you need not bother with at the moment.
Krysiewicz may be derived from Krzysztof/Christopher or from 'krysa' - a scar usually from a sabre. The -wicz ending is typical for Eastern Poland. Krysiewicz is listed as a name found in 18th century Bielsk Podlaski (Jan Krysiewicz, a carpenter to be precise) in a paper by Michal Mordan available online. The author states most of the surnames were typically derived from first names.
Nowadays -wicz surnames can be found all over the country due to migration. In the past there were a lot of Poles in what is now Lithuania (if you have any such information).
Dominic is right about Sobieski and Grochocki.I would also add that Sobieski might be derived from Sobieslaw - a Polonised version of Sebastian. Grochocki may be derived from places like Grochow, Grochowo, Grochowce.