Of course name can give you a hint about the "origins" of your family but the family could already change their nationality twice beafore they emigrated...
All too True. Going into this search expecting to find definite answers to ethnic or national identity would be foolish. My surname is considered mostly English, but my roots belie Scottish, Irish, Ukrainian, German, and French-Canadian origins to name a few.
I do however, like you said , think I can get a few hints as to where my Great-Grandparents came from thru their name, and what stood out was the -czuk suffix which ive read is Polish in origin. Now my Great-Grandparents all but confirmed, considered themselves Ukrainian (and possibly Ruthenian) and what hints lead us to them coming from the Western Ukraine also lead me, due to history, looking for a needle in a very large haystack.
For Instance, like you said, thye could have lived in land that was once a part of Poland but could be totally Ukrainian/Ruthenian. On the other hand they could have lived in land that was once Ukrainian, then Polish, then back to Ukrainian (with other Nations claiming rights to the land in between). Ive read that the -czuk suffix is the Polish version of the Ukrainina -chuk. Im not entirely sure if this is correct or not, but it could mean the family once spelled their name differently. Then theres the matter of immigration documents coming thru Ellis Island, for who knows if they decided on the surname based on whatever spelling they chose to interpret. This is all at the moment unknowable but hints are helpful in any way.
Which is why I posted this here. I wanted to see if anyone had any insight into a Polish connection to the surname, wether it be ethnic, national, or simply grammatical, any info is helpful.
I dont have many other clues to offer besides names of regions and towns they were possibly from which are remembered by relatives thru somewhat fuzzy memories. Im pretty sure they were christian, more than likely protestant since ive never heard of any roman catholicism in my family. As for language, alphabet, etc, thats a subject that has my mother and other relatives placing face to palm, regreting not making an effort to remember or ask them. From what ive heard they werent to forthcoming about their pasts as it were. Some family rumors tell they were escaping/hiding from someone, possibly an austrian(or russian) general that my GGF worked for previously.
Also to Trevek, I also read on the net that Bednar is slovakian for cooper, so that substantiates it somewhat.
Thanks to you Lukasz for your candor and insight in responding to my question as well as thanks to everyone else who posted, and if anyone else can shed light on the subject it would be much appreciated.
...And sorry for this post being so long :)