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Polish Surnames Anglicized?

karturn 9 | 20
30 Jul 2007 #1
I was just wondering how many of your last names have been anglicized?
When my husband came to the US the INS changed it from Domal(l w/line)eczny to Domakeczny.
beckski 12 | 1,611
30 Jul 2007 #2
I was just wondering how many of your last names have been anglicized?

Many of my ancestor's surnames have become butchered. Not by choice, they blame it in on Ellis Island.
OP karturn 9 | 20
7 Aug 2007 #3
This was really not how I wanted this post to go. I was more interested in seeing some examples.
hello 22 | 890
7 Aug 2007 #4
It's an interesting question. Why would they Americanize surnames in the first place? There are lots of Polish surnames that are hard to pronounce (Mike Krzyzewski - a famous American basketball coach, for example). Unless it had something to do with political immigration (or it was done a long time ago for some reason).
OP karturn 9 | 20
7 Aug 2007 #5
Not Americanize but Anglicize. There are some characters in the Polish alphabet that are not in the English alphabet. Like I said in my original post the INS took the L with a line thru & made it a K. So now our last name is pronounced Domakeczna instead of Domaweczna.

witek 1 | 587
7 Aug 2007 #6
Not Americanize but Anglicize

In America foreign surnames were willingly or unwillingly Americanized just like in Poland some Ukrainian, German, Lithuanian and Jewish names were Polonized. In England Irish, Scottish and Slavic names were Anlicized.

There are lots of Polish surnames that are hard to pronounce (Mike Krzyzewski - a famous American basketball coach, for example).

that is why they call him "Coach K"
Koach 16 | 128
8 Aug 2007 #7
Well, I noticed that the 'ie' in my surname has been changed to 'ha' by certain people.
13 Aug 2007 #8
I can give you a number of specific examples: On his 1896 marriage certificate, my grandfather was Theophil Cyman. In the 1900 federal census, he had become Charles Ceman. By 1920, he and all his relatives had anglicized the last name to Seaman. Apparently, during the first world war a lot of German and Prussian sounding names got anglicized--NPR ran a story on this a few years ago. Another example is Theophil's father. On his son's 1896 marriage certificate, he was Ignatius Cyman. On his 1908 death certificate, he was Ignatz Seaman. On his wife's death certificate in 1935, he was Nicholas Seaman.
GrandeSande 2 | 119
13 Aug 2007 #9
Unless it had something to do with political immigration (or it was done a long time ago for some reason).

I believe that when immigrants came to the US, they could not read and/or write. When they were asked their names, they could only speak them. The people recording the names did not speak their langusge and wrote what they heard.

As for later on, once the immigrants were in the us for awhile, they chose to change their names to make them sound "more American". It wasn't till a few years ago that I discovered what my last name really was.
19 Sep 2007 #10
Zapatoczny was changed to Zepp. Glowka was changed to Glufka.
Peter 3 | 248
19 Sep 2007 #11
One thing I discovered in my research was that 2 branches of my family (close cousins and distant cousins) both "chopped" the family surname in half and called themselves "Konas".
terenowiec 1 | 29
19 Sep 2007 #12
my name zygmunt bogdanislaw barankierowczek

was changed to "ted brown" when i came to america
osiol 55 | 3,921
19 Sep 2007 #13

Why did anyone pick such a dull colour?

Actually brown is the colour of all the best things:
wood, beer, chocolate, tobacco, meat, tea, coffee...
20 Sep 2007 #14
meat, tea

meat's red.
and tea's green (or golden as a beverage)
Peter 3 | 248
20 Sep 2007 #15
changed to "ted brown" when i came to america

I like it!

One of my cousins migrated to Canada and changed his surname from Przystawski to Preston.
kwiatkovskikid - | 2
24 Sep 2007 #16
my family's name was changed to Kaye from Kwiatkovski . That was in the maybe...1920s.
SSpringer 5 | 55
24 Sep 2007 #17
Many of my ancestor's surnames have become butchered. Not by choice, they blame it in on Ellis Island.

same here, went from Romanowski to Roman
katfish 1 | 5
29 Sep 2007 #18
My grandfather's surname "Grzych" was changed by his sons to "Grish" for business purposes. Prior to that, in Poland, my grandfather's family name was "Mroz".
8 Feb 2008 #19
my families name is coccia

in italy it was pernounced kocha (long o)
here ellis island changed it to kosha (long o)

they thought that the sha was better than cha
GrandeSande 2 | 119
8 Feb 2008 #20
Even when the census was taken, the people recording the answers were only writing what they heard, if the person giving the information didn't know how to spell it.
osiol 55 | 3,921
8 Feb 2008 #21
in Poland, my grandfather's family name was "Mroz".

If he had been given the Ellis Island treatment, what then?

Mr. Oz?
zaleski - | 10
8 Feb 2008 #22
my family's name was changed to Kaye from Kwiatkovski

The letter 'v' in Kwiatkovski is an obvious mistake. The Polish alphabet doesn't use the letter 'v', it uses the letter 'w' to produce that sound. The only time a 'v' is use when writing in Polish is to transcribe a surname other then Polish or a foreign word containing the letter 'v'. The root of your surname Kwiat, as you may already know, means 'flower'.
Polonius3 986 | 12,343
17 Apr 2008 #23
The barred £ was apparently mmisread by some non-Polish INS official as a K. Early on, I saw the Polish pope's name in some Anglo-publication given as Karol Wojtyka. Same confusion no doubt.
6 Jun 2010 #24
Currently, my surname is FOX. My grandparents were married in the land before it was known as Poland, and were given passage to America as a wedding present around 1910. They landed in Windsor, Ontario. My grandmother's maiden name is Neisenbaum. My grandfather's name is not FOX, as there is no such word in Polish...however, 'liska' is polish for FOX.

Someone has already mentioned that often times the foreigners could not speak English, so the phoenetic (sp) sound was used. Or, they 'translated' the name.

So, my name could have 'sounded like 'fox' when my grandfather spoke, but the true spelling could have been a variety of similar sounding names, such as 'fuchs' foks, etc...

However, fuchs and foks are not polish names.

They migrated to Detroit, in 1932. My father was only five, and he became a naturalized citizen. I have actually seen the passport/visa documentation for such passgae, and it gave the actual name of the town where my grandparents hailed from.

How's that for some info, karturn?? It's been an interesting journey through the land of geneology to find out more about people I barely even knew.
Chicago Pollock 7 | 503
6 Jun 2010 #25
my name zygmunt bogdanislaw barankierowczek

was changed to "ted brown" when i came to america

Makes perfect sense to me. Why have such a difficult Polish name if you're living in America?

I'm sure whenever groups migrated they changed their names to fit their circumstances. Heck I am sure that a lot of people didn't even have surnames until the last two or three hundred years.
shush 1 | 212
6 Jun 2010 #26
Sometimes surnames change simply coz there is no letter in English for polish one, like Załęcki becomes Zalecki
kaniecki2009 2 | 4
8 Jun 2010 #27
My Grandmother's family name was Kaniecki, or atleast that is how we knew it. Sometime in the 1920s they changed it to Crane, all except the women (who married and got rid of it) or those who died young. I've seen it spelled Kanieski, Kaniewski, Canecki, Carnecki, Kornetzky and those are all American sources. We have accepted the spelling as Kaniecki as everyone in our family who still uses the name has adopted that spelling.

My G-Grandmother's maiden name was Romanski. Her nephew married her step-daughter, he changed his name to Roman as well, as SSpringer mentioned about Romanowski.

As far as changing letters, I have seen Danielewski spelled Danielebski, then eventually shortened to Daniels. I think the replacement of letters (or lack there of) are actually dictation mistakes on the behalf of Americans. I would venture to say that a Polish immigrant who could read and write would still use accent marks or £ in their name, just the sounds would lead many to write them down wrong.

On a humorous error, I have heard Wielgosz pronounced "Wild-goose."
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,222
8 Jun 2010 #28
Well my family changed from Schultz --> Szulc
It happens everywhere, adapting? :)
POLENGGGs 2 | 150
9 Jun 2010 #29
Mr Grunwald; is your story real, because if it is then you have bad imagination; hell you migfht even be a robot like them Germans , the thing to do would be change names to Szulkowski ,

I am guessing that is why your family changed surname, under polish legislation for not wanting a non-polish sounding surname.

Btw; it wasnt until a decade after the soviets claimed Berlin that the government made it a pain in the backside to change your Polish surname - this is because they all fearing us like we the devil, and having a typical hard pronounce surname is like branding someone evil.

In my opinion that Ellis Island myth is really bs myth made by those feelin guilty that they defaulted or whats the word, chose to integrate.

The civil servants certainly could Read n Write , I will not buy any BS that they all these folks had no ID, or even such a thing as a luggage receipt with their correct name ?

I bet most of them changed those names in Hamburg already, because I don't suspect the German's being so devious to be changing peoples names, as far as the world knows the Germans are good with keeping lists with names and such, but then again I been hearing from those robot people that Schindlers list was written up in 1946, some even said that it got written up in the late eighties and that it was written up in the US, fo sho - the Germans can't make such a mistake, the fact that some BMW's are crappy is cos most dem be made in South Africa, and in some backward place too with baboons as workers, not JHB or CT(even tho I hate that place).

Oh, I also think there was some Jewish people at that Ellish Island, and them ugly looking Jews they left with a hard 2 pronounce /ugly sounding in English surname because they came from the East............ of Europe. Now thats where it get nasty

things like that, and then things like Polish Americans avoiding people with Polish names. Its been documented it happens in Europe.... ! !
3 Nov 2010 #30
Does anybody know if the surname "Haste" could be an anglicized Jewish name?

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