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The last name is Krzywoszyja. Help? Am I Polish?

julina 1 | -
30 Apr 2010 #1
My family migrated to another continent from "Poland" (so they say). During their time they lived in italy and germany and my grandfather also had lived in poland. However, they do not resemble polish people at all. They have extremely olive skin, the blackest hair and the darkest eyes. The grandmother was born in ukraine whilst my grandfather was born in poland. Their names are not the slightest bit polish (maria, bruno, antonio etc). They do not speak about their past nor share any of the family history with us because they are too "suspicious". they suffered from the war badly and lost basically everything but their lifes.

Growing up in the polish community, i always questioned their polish-ness due to we don't look anything like the other pol's.

The last name is Krzywoszyja.

Can anyone please explain this?! Why does the last name end in A and not ski? Why are we so dark? Could their be other heritage in their mix like turkish or middle eastern etc because thats how we look.

MareGaea 29 | 2,752
30 Apr 2010 #2
Ask yourself a few questions:

1) do I have a natural tendency to complain?
2) do I have a natural tendency to blame everybody else except myself?
3) do I have a natural disliking towards Jews?
4) am I rabiately Catholic?
5) am I inclined to keep on whinging and whining about the past?

If you can answer "yes" to at least three of the above questions, there is a very big chance that you are indeed Polish.


M-G (if I were Catholic or Protestant, I would have made a cross sign for you now)
Lenka 3 | 2,553
30 Apr 2010 #3
Not every Polish last name ends with ski.Your last name really points to Polish roots.As for the rest I don't know.Maybe there's really some other nation in your heritage.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
30 Apr 2010 #4
The last name is Krzywoszyja.

Krzywoszyja is a 100% polish name, it originates from the region of Lesser Poland and is about 250 years old.

You might have Tartars or people from Balkans somewhere into your ancestry, also some ruthenian ethnicities were of darker complexion.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
30 Apr 2010 #5
It's definitely a Polish last name. It means ~crooked neck (hope I got it right?).

As far as the "a" at the end - Polish names often have a male and a female version; for example Kowalski and Kowalska

In this case however it's simply because szyja (neck) ends with an a.

There are blond, light-skinned Poles and there are olive-skinned and dark-haired Poles. Throughout the history the Polish territory has been moved many times and also many people from other lands have settled in Poland in the past.

Your name definitely sounds Polish to us - congratulations and we're glad to have you here in our club. :)

PS. Lots of strange posts here, just disregard them. If you have any questions about Poland, traditions, etc., just bring it on...
Ksysia 25 | 430
30 Apr 2010 #6

this website gives you regions where people with you name live:

In the list of names, you can find yours:


About dark features - not all of us are fair skinned. This is a land without natural borders, we mix a lot. You can have Jewish, Tatar, Gypsy ancestors. Ormian, Bulgarian even. They like to call us bigoted racists, but looking at the gene pool, it's a land where anything goes. That's why people are so handsome in this land - mongrels usually mendel out very well.
pgtx 30 | 3,157
30 Apr 2010 #7
Am I polish?

only if your neck is not straight...

Drac90 1 | 74
30 Apr 2010 #8
surnames with ski ska were reserved for nobles in old times ^^ so you are not from "szlachta"
but if it will cheer you up im not noble too :(
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
1 May 2010 #9
Really? I've never heard that. I found this explanation online which corresponds to what I always heard:

"Not every Polish surname ends in "-ski". Siudek, for example, is Polish, but there's no "-ski" involved. Jankowicz is Polish as well. Lots of Polish surnames don't end in "-ski", but a lot of them to. It's very common.

It indicates where you're from, or "who" you're from - or at least it did, back in the olden days, when they were coming up with surnames. In Polish names, the "-ski" serves that purpose. It means "of", or "connected with," or "from". So, for example, the surname Piekarski means "of the baker (piekarz)". Lipinski means "one from the place of the lindens," as lipa means linden, lipiny means "place of the lindens", and add the "-ski" to the end, and it means "a person from..." or "a person somehow connected to the place with the linden trees."

My own comment: so it's also similar to the German "von", Dutch "van" and Swedish "af" - however i'm not sure...
Chicago Pollock 7 | 504
1 May 2010 #10
Racist is an often misused term on this board. Racist means that a person believes that he or she is superior to another solely due to their race. A Caucasian cannot be racist towards another Caucasian.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
1 May 2010 #11
Sort of unrelated but I've also heard numerous times that blacks cannot be racist simply because of their past as being oppressed. One person who said that was a university professor.. Yeah, right...
Ironside 50 | 10,935
1 May 2010 #12
Anti-polish racist strikes again, lucky for us Poles you're such an idiot which makes you completely harmless:))

I found that musicians are often not quite right in the head ...:)
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
1 May 2010 #13
If your polish name has anything to do with your look, then you should look like this:
scottie1113 7 | 898
3 May 2010 #14
If you can answer "yes" to at least three of the above questions, there is a very big chance that you are indeed Polish.

LOL! This is SO true. Thanks MG for bringing a smile to my face.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
3 May 2010 #15
Julina - as you can tell this forum is overflowing with sarcasm. Your last name is unusual but there's nothing wrong with it. It reminds me of the way the Native Americans (Indians) used to have very descriptive names:

CATORI: Hopi: "Spirit."

CHA'KWAINA: Hopi : "One Who Cries."

CHA'RISA: Hopi : "Elk."

CHAPAWEE: Sioux: "Industrious, Busy"

INOLA: Cherokee: "Black Fox"

ISI: Choctaw : "Deer."

ITUHA: "Sturdy Oak or White Stone"

KACHINA: Hopi : "Spirit, Sacred Dancer."

KAI: Navajo : "Willow Tree."

KAKAWANGWA: Hopi : "Bitter."

KALISKA: Miwok : " Coyote Chasing Deer."

KOLENYA: Miwok : " Coughing Fish."

KOSA: Cheyenne: "Sheep"

NITA: Choctaw : "Bear."

NITTAWOSEW: Algonquin : "She Is Not Sterile."

NITUNA: "Daughter"

NIYOL: Navajo: "Wind"

OHCUMGACHE: Cheyenne: "Little Wolf"

TSIISHCH'ILI: Navajo: "Curly Haired"

TACI: Zuni: "Washtub"

At least your name isn't Coughing Fish, or She Is Not Sterile! LOL

So be proud of being Polish and having an unusual name.

Ps. That's a very long name though, I'm sure you see all kind of spelling errors? You could always shorten it to Krzywo or Szyja ;)

You could even "correct" it to Prostoszyja - Straight Neck... LOL
Eurola 4 | 1,906
3 May 2010 #16
Julina - as you can tell this forum is overflowing with sarcasm. Your last name is unusual but there's nothing wrong with it.

Exactly, some poster's mind works in a mysterious ways and it might be because their brain being contaminated with all the additives in the food...please forgive them. There is nothing wrong with your last name. It means a 'skewed-neck'. Is it so bad? Not really.
vetala - | 382
3 May 2010 #17
LOL! This is SO true.

I beg to differ...
18 May 2010 #18
It sounds to me like a classic Ukrainian (Ruthenian) Cossack name -- Kryvoshyia. Western Ukrainian territories were under Polish (and Austro-Hungarian) rule at the time your family emigrated, and so their identity and travel documents would have been issued with the Polish transcription. The Ukrainian churches follow the Byzantine rite, so if your Krzywoszyja family in previous generations was Orthodox or Greek-Catholic, that would confirm a Ukrainian rather than Polish nationality -- or possibly a converted identity ... there are known and respected long-standing Armenian, Greek, and Italian minorities in Ukraine. Good on you for being curious about your heritage, and your family story, though undoubtedly frustrating to you, is not surprising.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
19 May 2010 #19
This is a very logical and a possible explanation. So you're either Polish or Ukrainian. Both are great nationalities with very rich histories - congrats.
richasis 1 | 420
19 May 2010 #20
As discussed in another thread, this just may prove to be accurate. BTW, I am indeed Polish. :)
Krzywoszyja - | 1
22 Jun 2013 #21
Hi !!
I'm 100% sure You are my family.
My name Grzegorz Krzywoszyja I'm 56.
My fther Zygmunt Krzywoszyja
My grand father Bronislaw Krzywoszyja -> his brather by Germany pest WW2 was emigrate to Australia.
Hi has like Bronislaw sons with same name ->Kazimierz, Zygmunt, mey be Michal.
Zygi Krzywoszyja some times mailing me.
All the best for You and Your Family.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
22 Jun 2013 #22
KRZYWOSZYJA: This is a Polish name in terms of spelling and word formation and means crooked or bent neck. There are a number of such descriptive nicknames-turned-surnames in Poland including Krzywonos (crooked nose), Nosal (big nose), Paluch (big finger), Paluszek (little finger), Kuternoga (clubfoot), £okietek (pint-sized), etc. Sometimes body parts are without a qualifier such as Głowa, Oko, Noga and Ręka but they probably emerged because of someone's prominent or unusual features.

There are a couple dozen Krzywoszyjas in Poland, the most living in southern Poland's Beskid Mt area near Bielsko-Biała bordering Slovakia.
The swarthiness and raven hair you have described may suggest Wallachian or Gypsy roots.
18 Mar 2015 #23
Merged: Surname Krzywoszyja; any alternate spellings?


My great-grandmother's first husband was Stephen Horwath (on his American papers). However, the few family members of mine who were old enough to know my great-grandmother say that he changed his name when he immigrated, because his original name meant "crooked neck".

Now I know that his name must have been Krzywoszyja or some close variant thereof. But I cannot find any naturalization papers for him under this name (or Horwath). His draft card indicated that he was in fact naturalized before 1917.

My question is how the name might have been written, if it was misspelled or "Americanized". Maybe searching under a different spelling would give me better results.

Thank you
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
18 Mar 2015 #24
CHORWAT/HORWAT: This is the Polish word for Croatian and is one of many nationality-rooted surnames. Others include Niemiec, Liwtin, Prus, Czech, Węgrzyn, Żydek, Szwed, Szot et al.

The correct spelling is Chorwat, but Poles have always had problems with the letters ch or h in many names and words. Horwath looks to be an anglicised spelling.

KRZYWOSZYJA: Yes, it means crooked neck. It exists in Poland as a surname but is on the rare side.

For more information please contact me.
Hrvatwithapolak 1 | 23
18 Mar 2015 #25
as a chorwat myself i'm very interested to see where this goes :) Hope you find what your looking for @stephanie1981
6 Sep 2020 #26
The name wizbek originated. Is that polish or Jewish
kaprys 3 | 2,503
7 Sep 2020 #27
Probably a Polonised transcription of Wiesbeck.
8 Oct 2020 #28
I'm a Krzywoszyja too I am in the US and have cousins in AU.
8 Oct 2020 #29
I was told Crooked neck as well. We were peasants and were given that name.
pawian 176 | 14,299
8 Oct 2020 #30
Yes, your landlords gave you that surname behind your back, while you were toiling in the fields like slaves, doing mandatory pańszczyzna service. Fortunately, we got rid of those leeches who sucked your precious blood - there are no more wicked landlords in Poland and all people are equal. God bless democratic Poland.

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