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Swenski. Can any one tell me about the meaning of this name?

p3undone 7 | 1098
5 Aug 2012 #1
Can any one tell me about the meaning of the name Swenski?
boletus 30 | 1356
5 Aug 2012 #2
This is just my speculation because the answer is not as simple as it might seem.
+ Swen is the Old Norsk version of Sven, meaning a lad, a boy.
+ Svensk (neuter), Svenske (plural) are adjectives meaning "Swedish"; Svenska means the Swedish language. But there is no word Sven-ski or Swen-ski in Swedish or Norwegian, as far as I can tell (I do no speak these languages, just speculate). So this seems to be a wrong track.

+ Schwen in German comes from Danish-Swedish. It means a boy, a lad; or from Middle German swën, swëne - a shepherd, particularly a swineheard.

+ Schwine in German means "świnia" in Polish, meaning a swine, a pig. Evidently, Poles borrowed this and related words from German.

+ There are about fifty or so Polish surnames, which derive from the nouns "świnia" (swine) or "świniopas" (a swineherd) or the adjective "świński" (porcine, swinish)

+ Two of them are: Świnski and Świński
OP p3undone 7 | 1098
5 Aug 2012 #3
boletus,thank you once again;Are there many Swenski's in Poland that you know of;is it a common name?
boletus 30 | 1356
5 Aug 2012 #4
I did not find any direct statistical distrubution of surnames Swenski, Swinski or Świński currently living in Poland. But there was once Świnka coat of arms,, first mentioned in early 14th c. One of the families using it was Świnka family. Known people of this surname were: Gniezno archbishop Jakub Świnka(?-1314) and a Polish-Latin poet (?-1434), cathedral canon and king's secretary Adam Świnka z Zielonej (Adam Suinca de Zelona)

Other noble names, derived from the noun "świnia" are:
Świnarski, Świniarski, Roraj coa
Świniowski, Rawicz coa
Świniuski, Korczak coa
Świnka, Świnka coa
Świński, Lubicz coa

If I find something more on the subject I'll let you know.
OP p3undone 7 | 1098
6 Aug 2012 #5
boletus,thank you,I'm wondering if maybe my grandmothers family may have changed the name to Swenski as it would be more easy for Americans to pronounce as well as spell than say;Swiniuski.This is something that was commonly done by immigrants.
boletus 30 | 1356
6 Aug 2012 #6
That's seems to be the most likely scenario.
OP p3undone 7 | 1098
6 Aug 2012 #7
boletus,I agree,My grandmother's brother was a wrestler in the Mid 30's through the mid 40's,he later became a wrestling promoter and was quite popular in the professional wrestling circuit and the WWE.His name was John Swenski.How do you think I could go about finding out what their real name was;if in fact this is the case?Thank you for taking the time to provide what you have.This is a kind service you do and I for one really appreciate it.Just so you know.
Polonius3 980 | 12277
6 Aug 2012 #8
As far as I could determine, no-one in Poland uses such spellings as Swenski, Sweński, Swęcki or Swędzki, but the Święcki surname is known. Couild be that the immirgant ancestor or soemone for him respelled Święcki to Swenski. If left intact, Święcki would come ouzt Anglo-mangled into Swicky (rhyming with sticky).
OP p3undone 7 | 1098
6 Aug 2012 #9
Polonius3,Thank you for the info.I think this was done when they emigrated here by an immigration official which was quite common at the turn of the century.He was born here so my great grandparents would have had this done when they came here.I think this is the most likely scenario.I always remember my grandmother saying that we should have our name shortened as my grandfathers last name was longer than her maiden name.He was Polish too..
Polonius3 980 | 12277
6 Aug 2012 #10
It miught have been even longer than Święcki - Święcicki or Świętochowski.some to mind.
boletus 30 | 1356
9 Aug 2012 #11
So this seems to be a wrong track.

I found the following passage in "Lechicki początek Polski, szkic historyczny, skreślił Karol Szajnocha, we Lowowie, nakładem Karola Wilda, 1858", original PDF image + the OCR-digitized version by Google,

As to adjectival Polish suffix -ski, it agrees with the Norman's -ske, once probably also -ski, and therefore it is one of the prehistoric monuments of commonality of both languages. Honorable meaning of noble surnames ending with -ski, has probably its roots in customs of ancient Normans - having the habit of giving honorable nicknames to illustrious people, originating from places of origin or countries heroically visited or conquered.

The ancient sagas refer to series of quasi-Polish names, ending in already forgotten suffix -ski (instead of -ske), going back to prehistoric terms of Nordic mythology: such as Oski (Grimm Myth. 390), Grenski, Swenski (Snorro 183), Liwski (Munch Her. Zeit 77), Tronski (Saxo Gr 92), Kolski (Grim Myth. 941), Haukdalski (Rafn Ant. 8), Hwinwerski (Snorro 14), etc.

was a self taught historian, historiographer, writer and a proponent of various theories regarding the prehistoric beginnings of Poland. In 1858, refreshing the old theory of Count Thaddeus Czacki, he published the work "Lekhian (Lechian) beginnings of Poland". Szajnocha believed that the first Polish state was organized - in line with the so-called. invasion theory - by the the Scandinavian tribe of Lechians, forerunners of the later Polish nobility.

In many countries Lach, Lachs is also a common name referring to the Polish nation as a whole, or its parts, while Lechistan refers to the state of Poland. For example:

East-Slavic languages: Lach
Wallachian: Ljach
Bysantine: Lechoi
Hungarian: people Lendiel (Lengyel), country: Lengyelország
Persian: Lachistan or Lahestân,
Lithuanian: country: Lenkija, Lenkas - people
Turkish: Lehistan
High Icelandic: Læsialand
Armenian: Lehastan
Crimean Tatars: Lehistan/Лехистан
Kurdish: Lêhistan/Леһьстан or Lohêstan/Лоһестан,

We also know that Scandinavians used to refer in XI c. to Poles around Gniezno as "Laesar" (Lechici). According to Karol Szajnocha and Scandinavian historians the names Lach and Wareg mean the same: companion, ally.

The ancient sagas refer to series of quasi-Polish names, ending in already forgotten suffix -ski

Apparently Karol Szajnocha was right stating that the suffix -ski existed in Old Norse language. That suffix still exists in one of the closest cousin of Old Norse - the Faroese (Føroyskt) (another one is the nearly extinct Icelandic).

Here is an excerpt from the ballad "Long Serpent", in Faroese language. Below it there is a similar fragment, taken from English Wikipedia. It is evident that the Faroese uses the masculine forms of Polish-like adjectives in "svenski", "danski" and "norski".

Kvæðið um Ormin langa er yrkt eftir frásøgnini í Heimskringlu um tann tiltikna sjóbardagan við oynna Svøldur ár 1000, tá ið tann danski kongurin Sveinur Tjúguskegg, tann svenski kongurin Ólavur Skeytkongur og tann norski jallurin Eirikur Hákunarson herjaðu á Ólav Trygvason

The ballad Ormurin Langi (Long Serpent) takes its subject matter from the account well given in "Heimskringla" ('The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway') of the famous sea battle off the island of Svolder in 1000, when the Danish king Sveinur Tjúguskegg, the Swedish king Ólavur Skeytkongur, together with the Norwegian earl Eiríkr Hákonarson, attacked the Norwegian king, Olaf Tryggvason, while he was on his way home from Wendland to Norway on his ship, the Long Serpent, accompanied by his fleet.

[They attack in turn and King Olaf repulses the assaults of the two kings, but is defeated by his countryman Eiríkr Hákonarson.]
The outcome of the battle is known; when Olaf realises that the battle is lost, he leaps overboard together with his surviving men.

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