The Ultimate Guide to POLAND
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21 Apr 2010  #871

hello my name is Błażej
what can you say about surname Świerdza
it is also a rare polish surname? or maybe not? is it related to Italian name Sforza?

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
21 Apr 2010  #872

ŚWIERDZA: Since so many different things have happened to Polish names, including many unique-case scenarios, there may be an off-chance that Świerdza may have originated centureis ago as a Polish peasant adaptation of Sforza.
More likely is its derivation from świerdziołek (dialectic for świderek) or even świerg -- a bird of the sparrow family (Anthus aquaticus).

Kusztelak: possibly from kosztela, a Polish variety of apple; kosztelak might have been someone raising or dealing in such apples and kusztelak would be a variant dialectic pronunciation
Sadowski: topo nick from Sadów or Sadowo (Orchardville)
Jasinski: topo nick from Jasin (Johnstown)
Prill, Pryla, Prylla: most likely from German name Prill or Brill but possibly also from Polish place-names Prylin or Pryłowo
Czaplewski: topo nick from Czaple; root-word czapla (crane), hence Cranton or Craneville
Görgel, Gergel: definitely Germanic but of obscure meaning; in peasant dialect Gör means a small child or brat; Gergel may contain the Old German root ger (spear) found in such names as Gerhard and Gerald.
Pacek, Pazek: diminutive of Lithuanian name Pac meaning little Pac or patronymic (Pac's son); Pazek is a German spelling of Pacek
Grzymski: patronymic nick from now obsolete first name Grzymisław or topo nick from Grzymki, Grzymisław, Grzymały, etc.
Wierzba: Indeed, this is the Polish word for willow.

22 Apr 2010  #873

Thanks Polonious, I never knew Kusztelak had anything to do with apples but I find that very interesting. I assume Bartkowiak and Jankowiak have to do with sons of first names?
I have a few more I remembered:
Szulist or Schulist (German also?)
Stroik or Stroyk (also Kashubia)
Kasperzak (from first name?)

I really appreciate your help!

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
22 Apr 2010  #874

Please note the qualifier 'possibly'. The apple connection was simply one hypothesis, not a dogma. Back when most people were illiterate and handwriting was shaky, we cannot rule out that someone did not close the top of the letter 'a' in kasztelak and someone else copied it down as kusztelak. A kasztelak would be the son of someone (caretaker, gardener, handyman) attached to a castle-town (kasztel), maybe even the son of the castellan (kasztelan) himself.
Yes, BARTKOWIAK and JANKOWIAK are patronymic nicks meaning Bartson and Johnson respectively.
SZULIST: possibly from szul (Yiddish for Orthodox synagogue)
STROIK: friom stroić się (to dress in a fancy way), hence = fancy dresser
DOMOGA£A: regional pronunciation of Domagała from domagać się (to demand); hence a demanding person
KASPERZAK: patronymic nick from Kasper (Casperson)
ICZEK: variant of Icek, endearing form of the Jewish name Izak (English: Isaac).

TomMarAlem1987 Activity: - / 2
Joined: 15 Apr 2010 ♂
22 Apr 2010  #875


1) Wożniak

2) Lech

3) Tusk

4) wiśniewski

22 Apr 2010  #876

I would be very thankfull if you could say anything about surname Gurbała

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
22 Apr 2010  #877

GURBA£A: variant of Garbała (humpbacked person); synonyms include Garbus, Garbacz and others.

WO-NIAK: patronymic nick = court crier's son

LECH: name of legendary founder of Poland; synonymous with Poland itself; Ukrainians contemptuously onced called Poles Lachy. Turks once called Poland Lechistan

TUSK: origin obscure; the current Polish PM claims to be a Kashub so maybe it means something in that dialect.

WIŚNIEWSKI: topo nick = guy from Wiśniewo (Cherryville)

toobusie Activity: - / 1
Joined: 23 Apr 2010 ♀
23 Apr 2010  #878

From Konigshutte/Bismarckhutte the names Koch and Dobrainsky. What is known about these families?

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
23 Apr 2010  #879

KOCH: occupation nick; German-Jewish for cook

DOBRIANSKY: the dobr- root means good, so thsi could be the rough equivalent of such English srunames as Goodwin, Goodman, Goodly, Goodson, etc.

KristenMH Activity: 2 / 15
Joined: 12 Mar 2010 ♀
23 Apr 2010  #880

How about the name Wall? I didn't know this was a Polish name!

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
24 Apr 2010  #881

WALL: As such this does not appear to be a name of Polish origin, although more than 300 people in Poland today use it. It could have originated as a short form of Wałach (Valachian= Rmanian shepherd) or such first names as Walenty and Walerian. The German word Wall means a rampart or embankment and as a loan-word it entered Polish as wał. Only 15 people sign themselves Wał.

24 Apr 2010  #882

whats the meaning of mazurkewich and bachur?

thanks :)

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
24 Apr 2010  #883

MAZURKIEWICZ: patronymic nikc = son of the Masurian

BACHUR: unruly, misbehaved child

24 Apr 2010  #884

What is the meaning of Kęcki?

Please and Thanks!

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
25 Apr 2010  #885

KĘCKI: one of the toponymic nicks from Kęty (root-word kąt); hence Corners, Cornerville.
Variant from is Kącki.

yabw Activity: - / 1
Joined: 25 Apr 2010 ♂
25 Apr 2010  #886

Gidday from australia.Could any one help with the meaning of the surname-GONTARSKI -CHEERS, stan

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
25 Apr 2010  #887

GONTARZ: shingler - someone who makes or fits roofing shingles: Gontarski is an adjectival derivative meaning of, about, descended from the shingler, in otehr words a patronymic nick meaning the shingler's son.

csienicki Activity: 1 / 7
Joined: 23 Mar 2009 ♀
27 Apr 2010  #888

I would appreciate any help determining nationality of the name Zukovsky.
Starting to begin genealogical search for mother's lineage. I've seen Zukovsky spelled Zukowsky; Zukousky and always was under the impression it was Polish. I have discovered my grandfather's marriage cert that states birthplace and nationality as Russian with the Zukousky spelling (married in McNaughton, WI). My grandmother's naturalization cert (she was born in Chicago) states Lithuania even though she's Polish (nee Czarmonski and Polish was spoken in the home). I can't locate ANYTHING regarding my grandfather's immigration other than marriage certificate and death certificate. I don't know yet where he hailed from other than maybe immigrating in 1911. I've pored over ellis island records and census to no avail. Any input is most appreciated since I've hit a dead end. Thank you in advance.

soilderofwar Activity: - / 2
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 ♂
27 Apr 2010  #889

My last name is Shiminski, what does it mean?

is there anyway i can find my family crest or coat of arms?. My last name is shiminski, if someone could give me a link or a picture it would great. thanks

KristenMH Activity: 2 / 15
Joined: 12 Mar 2010 ♀
28 Apr 2010  #890

How about Folwarczny? I've heard that it comes from the German word "folwark," which supposedly means farmer, though I've heard other explanations. What do you think?

28 Apr 2010  #891

Anyone know anything about the surnames "Skoryk" and "Wyskiel"?


yehudi Activity: 1 / 436
Joined: 27 Jul 2008 ♂
28 Apr 2010  #892

BACHUR: unruly, misbehaved child

Bachur in Hebrew means young man. (Bachura means young woman).
Maybe it made its way to Polish through Yiddish, where it is pronounced "Bochur".

28 Apr 2010  #893

My last name is Lorkowski. Do you know what it means?

elliegirl Activity: - / 1
Joined: 29 Apr 2010 ♀
29 Apr 2010  #894

Would anyone happen to know the meanings of the surnames:


I'm also trying to determine if they are also all of Polish origin. Andruszkow I believe is Ukrainian and the o would be ó at least so I was told. Any help is greatly appreciated.

RequiemInori Activity: - / 1
Joined: 29 Apr 2010 ♂
29 Apr 2010  #895

What about the last name "Każimierski"?

Thank you in advance.

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
29 Apr 2010  #896

KA-MIERSKI (note the accte accent over the ź, not a dot as in ż). It is also spelt Kazimeirski.
It may have originated as a patronymic (Casimir's son) or topopnymic nick (someone from Kaźmierz, Kaźmierzewo, Kazimierz, Kazimierówka, etc.)

leyenda Activity: - / 1
Joined: 29 Apr 2010 ♀
29 Apr 2010  #897

I would like to know the background of my Polish last name: Kozlovitz

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
29 Apr 2010  #898

KOZ£OWICZ: patronymic nick meaning son of Kozioł (someone nicknamed Billy Goat); the spellign you gave could be tranliterated Cyrillic or Jewish.

£ATA: patch
PESTA: multiple possible sources: pesta (agumentative for fruit pit or stone; normal form pestka); pest or pęst (archaic term for a flower bud); peste (Italian for plague); Pest (one of the two cities forming Budapest)
PODHAJSKI: Ukrainian influenced pronunciation of Podgajski (someone living at the edge of the grove); Podchajski is a misspelling
ANDRUSZKOW: probably of Russian origin derived from Andrei (Andrew); Ukrainian would be Андрушків (Andruszkiw). In Poland both the Andruszków and Andruszkow spelling is used.
LORKOWSKI: probably topo nick from Lorki in Masuria. Masuria was an area of Polish-Gemran interaction, so someone with the first name Lorenz (Polish: Wawrzynieec) may have been called Lorek and that eventually eovlved into a surname. When the Lorek kids grew up and built a few homesetads next to one another, we had the nucelus of the fututre hamlet of Lorki. Hard to prove, but it makes a good story, innit?

ŻUKOWSKI: base-word żuk (beetle); topo nick from Żukowo or Żuków (Beetleville). Zhukovsky would be the transliteraed Russian spelling, Zhukousky -- Belarussian and Zhukivsky -- Ukrainian.

29 Apr 2010  #899

Does "Beres" or "Ludera" mean anything to you?

thanks for the help...

OP Polonius3 Activity: 958 / 11,679
Joined: 11 Apr 2008 ♂
29 Apr 2010  #900

BEREŚ: This is a hypocoristic (endearing pet) form derived from the first name Bernat (formed under Czech influence) or Biernat (the Polish equivalent), both of which are traceable to the German Bernhard or Bernard (orignally meaning strong as a bear); in soem cases it could have been a topo niccfrom such places as Beresie, Bereśś or Berest.
LUDERA: As well as Luder and Luter are variant forms once used to indicate a Lutheran in the period following the Reformation; possible topo alternative from Lutry or Lutrowskie.

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