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OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
8 Apr 2009 #121
My mother's maiden name was Fabiszewski. My grandmother's maiden name was Wieczykowski. Any info would be great. Thanks

Fabiszewski = toponymic nickname for native of the locality of Fabiszew (probably from the hypocoristic or endearing form of Fabian -- Fabiś, Fabuś, Fabek)
Więczykowski = toponymic nickname for native of the locality of Więczyków or Więczykowo (probably from "więcyk/więczyk" -- an archaic dialectic from of the word "więcej" = more).

my ancestors were from Poland and i'm looking for my roots.
My last name is Kavtievski. From where i am and what does my last name mean

Kavtievski or its Polish phonetic rendering Kawtiewski (except for the -ski which could be of other-Slavonic origin) does not look Polish nor does anyone in Poland use it. It may have been misspelt.


Niemczura might be roughly translated as that "kraut *****", "Teutonic slut", "Hitlerite hag", etc.

Re Niemczura -- yes, -ura is usually a pejorative suffix as in "szlachciura" -- old, broken, down, good-for-nothing, set-in-this-ways petty nobleman.

Stankiewicz. Also, my mother's maiden name: Samsel.

Re Stankiewicz -- patronymic nickname meaning Stanek's boy (Eng. Stanson)

Re Samsel -- German/Yiddish hypocoristic of Samson, less likely Samuel.

My username is Narodowiec that is my mothers madien name..... I traveled to Poland and couldnt really get the whole history of my family but I know it means something about the people.

Re Narodowiec = nationalist; rather strange for a nickname-turned-surname.

paleski. what does it mean?

Re Pałęski -- topnymic nickname for someone from Pałęgi in the Świętokrzyski Mts; a pałęga is a clearing or not overgrown section of a garden.


Re Czwakiel -- obscure. Possibly from szwak (archaic term for brother-in-law) or German/Yiddish adj. schwach (weak), ergo a weakling? But this is all very dubious.
Bratwurst Boy 12 | 11,815
8 Apr 2009 #122
Niemczura might be roughly translated as that "kraut *****", "Teutonic slut", "Hitlerite hag", etc.

But these family surnames are so much older than anything "Kraut", or "Hitlerite"...
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
9 Apr 2009 #123
Indeed, these concocted examples were intended only to convey the general flavour of negativity to English speakers. One could have added something like szwabska zdzira and translated it as Teutonic tootsie.

No sweat about Niemczura and its etymology. With the exception of the most outrageous or obscene-sounding names (Moczymorda, Pierdoła or Kutas), the meaning of most surnames in all lanmgauegs has undergone lexicalisation. That means they are treated simply as surnames regardless of their original meanings. In English too if we meet someone named Baker, Cooper or Cartwright we do not usually ask them how many loaves, barrels or carts they have produced that day, because these are only names.

That also applies to words, and the Russian word for hair-dresser (perukmacher) comes to mind. It's original meaning was wig-maker but today it means only hairdresser.
Bratwurst Boy 12 | 11,815
9 Apr 2009 #124
That is totally different!

As the surnames became fashion several centuries back the actual profession like baker or cartwright played a big role also often the place of living or outstanding characteristics like height and such.

But denigrating nicknames don't make logical family surnames because those families most likely already had proper surnames as they came into contact with a hostile, foreign population.

Also when one looks at the link about the "Niemczuras" in the US they seem to be polish families, not german ones...
Sasha 2 | 1,083
9 Apr 2009 #125

What does it mean in Polish, Polonius? I know one man with that last name here. Is it any related to "kutak"? :))


Is Russian it's spellt "parikmacher". I think it's originally German word. Die Perücke + the verb "machen".
Seanus 15 | 19,674
9 Apr 2009 #126
Kutas means penis or is an insult. Like calling sb a dickhead.
Sasha 2 | 1,083
9 Apr 2009 #127
Oh... I see... this was my guess.Thanks, Sean. That's why I asked about "kutak". To the best of my memory it's the same in Serbian or else wise I don't know from where I remember the word.
Seanus 15 | 19,674
9 Apr 2009 #128
It looks Hungarian. I saw a town name called Kutas there.
Gregrog 4 | 100
9 Apr 2009 #129
"Słowo kutas to rutenizm, pochodzący z drugiej połowy XVI wieku, oznaczał ozdobny pędzelek - wisiorek z nici jedwabnych.
Drugie znaczenie - czyli penis - pochodzi z wieku XVII lub XVIII."

The word "kutas" - 2nd half of XVI century - decorated pencil(?), pendant(it appears in "Pan Tadeusz" As a penis - XVII - XVIII century.

Re Czwakiel -- obscure. Possibly from szwak (archaic term for brother-in-law) or German/Yiddish adj. schwach (weak), ergo a weakling? But this is all very dubious.

Pity, that you don't know:)

In fact, I know some ppl with surnames as "Niemczyk" and I didn't hear any complain about it.
krysia 23 | 3,058
10 Apr 2009 #130
In fact, I know some ppl with surnames as "Niemczyk" and I didn't hear any complain about it.

That's because Niemczyk is not a degrading form like Niemczura. Like polonius said, the "ura" is a form meaning broken down, good for nothing, "czyk" is kinda cute and nice.

We don't know why a person was named Niemczura or for what reason, but that is what it means. It could have been a Polish woman who liked Germans and not liked in Poland or a German woman not liked in Poland.

And it does sound funny when a man's last name is Niemczura.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
11 Apr 2009 #131
The -czyk ending usually indicates a patroynmic nickname-turned-surname, so Niemczyk probably originated to mean "son of the German" or (toponymically) "son of the bloke from Niemce, Niemcz, Niemczewo, Niemcowizna, Niemczyn or Niemcówka" (all those localities exist in Poland).

In Poland my last name is Szczyglinski. In America it's slightly different (when my grandpa joined the Navy in WWII they "Americanized" it. Can anyone tell me about my last name? There is also Yanas, which I believe was Janas in Poland.

The root is szczygieł (goldfinch, bird species), but Szczygliński originated most likely as a toponymic nickname traceable to a locality called Szczyglin (Goldfinchville).

Janas is one of a plethora of surnames derived from Jan (John). Others include: Janek, Janik, Janiak, Janda, Janczak, Jasik, Jasiak, Jaśkiewicz, Janowicz and many more.

My last name is Witko and my family came from Poland. Do you know what Witko means?

Witko, Witek and Wituś are hypocoristic (endearing dimunituve) forms of the first name Witold.
In America, it might have been a shortened version of Witkowski, which would be a toponymic nickname identiying soemone as a native of Witków or Witkowo.
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
19 Apr 2009 #132
Marzec-March, like the month
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
20 Apr 2009 #133
Marzec (March) and other months as well as days of tenved as nicknames marking someone's time of birth or conversion (usually from Judaeism to Catholicism). It could have also orignated as a toponymic nikcname traceable to such localities as Marzęcin, Marzecice, Marzewo or Marcówka.

Bejma? I've got no clue what it means or where it derives from. My Polish grandfather was put in a concentration camp at 14...

Bejma most likely originated from one of the following two sources:
1. As a version of Bem or Bema which came from German Böhme (Bohemian, Czech).
2. The Yiddish word bejm (tree) from German Baum.

i would like to know what is the meaning of my grandmother's maiden name-------SPEJCHER--------

Spejcher is the Polish phonetic respelling of the German word Speicher (granary). There is no-one in Poland by that name at present, but there is one person who spells his/her surname Spejchert. Incidentally, the Polish language borrowed the German word to create spichrz which subsequently evovled into spichlerz (granary).
ksawery 1 | 9
24 Apr 2009 #134
how 'bout latuszeski anyone know dat?
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
24 Apr 2009 #135
Toponymic nickname for an inhabtiant of Latuszew or Latuszewo. Possibly translatable as Summerton, Summerville, Summerburg?

In a follow-up to the Latuszeski query, most likely some immigrant to the English-speaking world prudently dropped ther "w". If it had been left Latuszewski, the Anglos would have Anglo-mangled it into some such atrocity as "lotta-SHOE-ski". In primary school a young child with such a name might well get taunted with: "So you've got a lotta shoes, eh?"
gumishu 13 | 6,140
24 Apr 2009 #136
Polonius you are mistaken as for one thing - the rule was such: toponymic names like that were born by noble people - not any inhabitants of the place. Latuszewski or any other ski or cki can be a regular adjective in Polish. The origin of noble class names of that type is from notion of pan latuszewski (Lord of Latuszew) - e.g. Hieronim pan na Latuszewie/pan latuszewski - noble class constituted a large part of Polish society in the end of 18th century (10 per cent) - most of them were not rich, they lived liked peasants but were free. Noble-like names were taken later (made up) by some other people for snobism, and other reasons.
ksawery 1 | 9
24 Apr 2009 #137
so what ur saying is my last name is that of a noble man(mi ancestors)?
gumishu 13 | 6,140
24 Apr 2009 #138
nobility were not as a rule wealthy people - they were just free contrary to peasantry who were in fact half-slaves (serf class) - even had to stay where their masters/lords wanted them,

but as a rule you can say nobility were land owners even if petty.

there is good possibility that some of your ancestors where from nobility but it's not for sure
for the reasons I mentioned in previous post
ksawery 1 | 9
24 Apr 2009 #139
so what would have been my last name if mi ancestors did not come to America?
gumishu 13 | 6,140
24 Apr 2009 #140
Latuszewski (btw it would often be pronounced as Latuszeski in colloquial speech - i don't know what this phonetic phenomenon is called but it does have some seriously looking scientific name to it ) :)
ksawery 1 | 9
24 Apr 2009 #141
so its spelled latuszewski
but pronounced latuszeski i see now
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
25 Apr 2009 #142
It is a myth that -ski names are those of only the gentry. Yes, more famileis of noble ancestry have -ski names than any other single group of surnames, but the vast majority were commoners. Jan Brzeziński could indeed have been Sir John of Birchwood, but all the peasants living in that village would also be called Brzeziński by outsiders, ie inhabitants of surrounding villagers. WHere soemoen was from was ocne an important qualifier. To determine whether your ancestors were Lords of Latuszew or simple, dirt-poor peasants, you need to enlist the services of a professional genealogical firm.
shopgirl 6 | 928
26 Apr 2009 #143
Does anyone know the meaning of the surname Szurpicki?

Nope, but maybe you can find something here..
surname finder:
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
26 Apr 2009 #144
Szurpicki – toponymic from Szurpice (Featherton, Slovenville); probably derived from szurpa (peasant dialect) for a curly-featured fowl or slovenly housewife.
gumishu 13 | 6,140
26 Apr 2009 #145
Polonius maybe I am mistaken but I think only nobility or perhaps city dwellers were called any surnames before say 18th century and only zaścianek szlachta - nobility who had no serfs and worked their own fields would be called a surname after their zaścianek name not being 'lords of the place' just inhabitants (in my family there where Wszeborowscy from Wszebory north of £omża) - these people couldn't be told appart from peasantry already in the second part of 19th century (after the January uprising when the peasants became free and acquired land they were working on for themselves - the big land owners (mostly rich nobles) kept their land until 1921 or even 1944/45)

there were areas in Poland where zaścianki (villages of nobles) were numerous sometimes even occupied most of the land
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
26 Apr 2009 #146
Indeed, dirt-poor Podlasie was known for its inordinate number of impoverished petty gentry, who hitched their old lady up to plough but had a heraldic crest and sword to show they were nobility. That was probably because often entire villages were ennobled for defending the lord's castle or manor house against an invasion or some other service rendered to a prince or king. Do you really believe most Kowalskis, Nowakowskis, Brzezińskis, Jaworowskis, Kapuścińskis, etc.

Let's imagine there were a number of people named Jan in a hamlet called Jaworów. One was Jan Kowal or Kowalski (blacksmith or native of Kowale), Jan Ciemięga (clumsy oaf), Jan Stasiak (Stan's boy), Jan Piekarczyk's (the baker's son or helper), etc, etc. But to residents of surrounding villages any of those might have been called Jan Jaworowski. At the nickname stage (before surnames took root) one person might be called different things: Adam Garbed (humpbacked), Adam Gwizdała (the whistler), Adam Jasiewicz (Johnny's kid) or Adam WiIkowski (the bloke from Wilkowo). Which name ended up as his surname that got passed down to his children is a good question. The whole area of surname emergence is full of meanders, complexities and confusion.
gumishu 13 | 6,140
26 Apr 2009 #147
is this your theory or is it based on some studies Polonius - i guess it did happen from time to time but I don't think it was any significant thing - but still I have never studied the issue

so you may actually be right
yes there can be a lot of confusion - many Jews adopted the surnames of nobility they worked for (as tenants etc) - this is just one example - I'm sure it was quite complex
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
26 Apr 2009 #148
No, I haven't got a doctorate in szlachtology, but I have inforamlly studied this and other aspects of Polish history and culture for years. Podlasie was a place they called "laski, piaski and karaski". The latter is the cruceon (karaś -- a small fish that can survive in evaoporating, very-low-oxygen pools. They can be all head, tail and backbone covered with skin but little if any meat). Little more than potatoes grew in the sandy soil. "Boso lecz w ostrogach" (barefoot but in stirups) was also applied to the impoverished, soil-tilling gentry. Probably the percentage of szlachta in Podlasie was higher (12-15%) at different times in centuries past.

Gumishu -- I think you may find this item about the pettry gentry of Podlasie interesting.:

Sopneski please

No-one by that (Sopneski) spelling in Poland. Someone probably changed the spelling so it wouldn't get Anglo-mangled into sop-NOO-ski. Must have originally been Sopniewski -- toponymic nickname describing somerone from the village of Sopniew or Sopniewo. Possible etymolgogy: sopel (icicle) or sopeń (dialectic for supeł -- knot); hence Icicleville or Knotbury.

What about Kuzdeba? I made a thread about that, I'm not sure if it's Polish or not, I'd assume so - most of my father's side of the family was from Poland, but they immigrated to Russia later, so I don't know if it got changed or Russofied.

KUZDEBA: Could well be Russian. There are no suitable localities in Poland as possible toponymic sources, and the only word anywhere near that in Polish is kuzdroń, a dialectic name for common ivy (a plant).

There is only 1 Kuzdeba in Poland who lives in SW Poland's Opole area.

Re:Zak. ŻAK from the Clan of Trach 1500

ŻAK: Etymology could incldue the following:
1. żak -- schoolboy, student, scholar
2. Żak -- Polish spelling of French Jacques
3. Zak -- Jewish rabbinical name from Hebrew contraction meaning "holy seed"
4. Toponymic nickname for someone from Żakowiec, Żakowo, Żakowice, Żaków, etc.

What does Szczepaniuk mean?

Eastern Polish patronymic nickname-turned-surname -- the equivalent of Stevenson.
The ethncially indigenous version would be Szczepaniak.
LKoontz - | 1
2 May 2009 #149
Anyone know about whether the last name Guminey and Dusek or Ducek are Polish names? My grandfather and grandmother were from Poland near a town called Pinsk. Census records show them from Poland
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
2 May 2009 #150
Duszek and Duczek are Polish names (the first meaning little ghost, the 2nd -- a lidded barrel for storing flour, groats, etc.). Dušek or Duèek would be their equivalents in Slovak and Czech and in the Cyrillic tongues it would be Душек and Дучек respectively.

Pińsk was part of eastern Poland until Stalin annexed one-half of Poland's territory. It became part of the Belarussian Soviet Republic and after the collapse of the USSR -- the Republic of Belarus.

Discussion is closed.