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Schalwig, Grittner, Schulz, Schmit, Szot, Bernat, Szwarc - were my ancestors Germans in Silesia, or Silesians?

28 Oct 2014 #1
My family tree has surnames like for example:



And there's people with names like for example

"Franz" and "Johan"

But they married with people with surnames that sound Polish. I'm confused.
TheOther 5 | 3,711
29 Oct 2014 #2
Some parts of Silesia came to Poland after WW1, but much of it was German until the end of WW2. So maybe you had ethnic German ancestors who were catholic and who married ethnic Poles? Or you had ethnic Polish ancestors who were protestants (quite rare) and who married an ethnic German?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
29 Oct 2014 #3
SCHALWIG: German name probably derived from the word Schall (sound, noise), so it could have meant noisy, loud, resonant;
1 such person in Poland (Silesia), 120 in Germany).

GRITTNER: probably an occupational tag for a sandstone worker; 40-some Grittners in Poland, some 600 in Germany.
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
26 Nov 2015 #4
Merged: Polish surnames of German origin?

Hello, I'd like to create an open discussion in which everyone can contribute.

List surnames in Poland that are of Germany origin, here is the following list;

1) Szulc (Schulz)

2) Szmit (Schmit)

3) Szot

4) Bernat (Bernhardt) - My surname is actually Bernatowicz so my surname is obviously of German origin

5) Szwarcowicz (Schwartz)

Please contribute!
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
27 Nov 2015 #5

1) Szulc (Schulz. Schultz) village mayor - contraction of Schultheiß; the latter produced the Polish Sołtys.

2) Szmit (Schmit, Schmidt, Schmied) blacksmith

3) Szot (Schott) Scotsman

4) Bernat (Bernhardt) - The Bernat element could be of Polish, Czech, Hungarian or German origin, whilst the patronymci ending -wicz is exclusively Polish.

5) Szwarcowicz (Schwartz) patronymic from Szwarc

6) Miller, Miler (Müller) miller)

7) Sznajder (Schneider) tailor

8) Fiszer (Fischer) fisherman

9) Majer (Meyer) freeholder

NOTE: When borders got shifted and a new set of rulers took over, some people found it expedient to translate their names. During the Nazi occupation a Krawiec, Rybak and Kowal might have chosen Schneider, Fischer and Schmidt respectively. After the war a reverse process ensued.
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
27 Nov 2015 #6
So in this case, Szwarcowicz and Bernatowicz are used in the same context, as both are patronymics? Is there anything that you can tell me about the surname Grad? It's my cousin's last name and a quick search suggests that it is Slovak and means 'Castle', just need verification on that ;).
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
27 Nov 2015 #7

Grad in Polish means hail (frozen balls of ice); the word for a castle-town in Polish is gród (pronounced: groot).
27 Nov 2015 #8
Polonius what is the meaning of the first name Tekla in polish
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
27 Nov 2015 #9
A quick search may suggest that Tekla was a nickname given to females in Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Russia and more rarely Poland. The name hasn't been given out in Poland any time recently due to the embarrassment, it means nothing in Polish; it's just a nickname.
28 Nov 2015 #10
Thanks Bartkowiak it was one of my relatives names (polish) interesting thank you
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
28 Nov 2015 #11
No problem ;) Glad I could be of assistance
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
28 Nov 2015 #12

TEKLA: from Greek Thekla, a shortened form of Theokleia meaning "glory of God". Once quite popular in Poland and elsewhere in Europe, it is now regarded old-fashion.
28 Nov 2015 #13
Thanks Polonius , that explains why i have never heard of anyone with that name , apart from my relative, she died 20 years ago aged 80, end of an old polish line maybe,

She was born in a place called brody pod kamien ( not sure about my spelling) , now in Ukraine,

Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
28 Nov 2015 #14

I should have added that St Tekla was a 1st century martyr (disciple of St Paul thrown to the lions) regarded as equal to the Apostles.
28 Nov 2015 #15
Thanks Polonius I will pass on this info to the rest of my my family.
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
29 Nov 2015 #16
Polonius, does this mean that the surname 'Bernatowicz' could be from Polish, Czech, German or Hungarian origin?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
29 Nov 2015 #17

Bernatowicz like Bartkowiak are purely Polish surnames. Full stop.
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
30 Nov 2015 #18
Of course they are Polonius, nobody is denying that. I am asking if patronymic surnames based on names of FOREIGN origin are of non-Polish origin themselves.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
30 Nov 2015 #19
are of non-Polish origin themselves

They can be. Point is with surnames anything is possible. Polish root, foreign ending; foreign root, Polish ending; also third-language roots and endings. Names are not necessarily indicative of nationality. One example is Szmitkowski -- German root, Polish patornymic ending. Border shifts, inter-marriage, voluntary or coerced name changing, illiteracy, alternative spellings and a host of other cimcumstances often buried in the mists of time have all impacted the field of onomastics, making it frequently impossible to determine why a specfic family uses a given surname. The easiest is a linguistic analysis of a surname, and that too is not always all that straightforward.
Bartkowiak 5 | 114
30 Nov 2015 #20
I see, thank you Polonius. I was finally able to explain to you what I meant, excuse me.

What's your last name? ;)

Polonius, could the root 'BERNAT-' also be of English/French origin as 'BERNARD'?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
4 Dec 2015 #21

I've already explained all this. I will say no more.
Atch 16 | 3,297
4 Dec 2015 #22

Once quite popular in Poland and elsewhere in Europe, it is now regarded old-fashion.

How interesting. In an English book I read, published in the 1930s one of the characters was a Prussian girl called Thekla Von Stift.I remember it was said of her that 'she had imbibed much of the spirit of Young Germany' meaning I think the Hitler Youth movement.

Home / Genealogy / Schalwig, Grittner, Schulz, Schmit, Szot, Bernat, Szwarc - were my ancestors Germans in Silesia, or Silesians?
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