Polish surnames are known from the Middle Ages, but only 200 years ago did the inherited surnames become compulsory. Starting in the late 18th century Polish Jews were officially given names by the new administrations. Those who could afford it could choose names that could be considered beautiful or august. Poland in 100 Words, Every name – and surname in particular – has a story of its own.

Considering that most Poles have their roots in rural areas this may be an even more apt candidate for the most “Polish” type of Polish surname. This basically means that one could tell whether a woman was married or maiden just upon hearing her last name. The Polish -ski suffix was originally used to denote topographic location or possessive relation. Marniok, Przybylok, Garbaciok, Basista, Korfanty, Godula, Widera, Piszczek, Szafranek, Trąba, Jezusek, Przybyła, Brzonkalik, Buła, Drabiniok, Paterok, Gorzelik, Pyrtek, Hachuł, Uszok, Dyrda, Grziwocz, Wypchoł, Wywioł, Suchanka, Hołomka.

This page was last edited on 15 August 2020, at 20:38. In fact, the Polish suffix -wicz is of Ruthenian origin (the more ancient Polish form terminates in -wic; you can find it in early modern names of Polish poets: Szymonowic, Klonowic), where it was used for many centuries by the local nobility. The adjectival suffixes would add another handful: Piotrowski, Piotraszewski, Petrażycki, Piestrzyński, Pietracki, Pietruszyński, Pietrykowski, Pietrycki, Pietrzykowski, and many more.

Where do we start? example: (s)(s)ra will match names which have two syllables and then the sound rah BRZOZA Polish Topographic name from brzoza meaning ‘birch tree’.

It's also the most popular type of surname in the country today: structure-wise, surnames with the -ski suffix (and the cognate -cki and -dzki) comprise some 35% of the 1000 most popular Polish names. In terms of their class origins most of these names were once considered peasant or bourgeois surnames. Patronymic – usually derived from a person's given name and usually ends in a suffix suggesting a family relation.

Jews were the last group of Polish society to acquire proper family names.

Importantly, these were originally names used by Polish nobility – noblemen were obviously landowners and as such had all the right to use their land (and its name) as a way of distinguishing themselves from others (that's what surnames are all about, right?). suffix. This is especially conspicuous with such names as Iwaszkiewicz or Wańkowicz, which both derive from the name Ivan (a Ruthenian/Orthodox variant of the name John), definitely not a name you would encounter in ethnic Poland. In fact, all these patronymic names stem from first names as well as their local variants typical of Ruthenian locations. Jan = John), Wańkowicz < son of Van’ka < a diminutive formed from Ivan (Pol. For example, the word for the profession kowal (meaning blacksmith, compare English last name Smith) in Polish gives Kowalczyk, Kowalik, Kowalski, Kowalewski, among others and along the original Kowal, which is also a popular last name. Simon), Iwaszkiewicz < son of Ivashko < a diminutive formed from Ivan (Pol. Polish names gives in parentheses, where they. As Jan Bystroń explains, the same person could function under a different name depending on whether he was addressing a Jewish or Polish community: “A Jew from Poznań could speak of himself in Yiddish as Pozner, but in Polish he would call himself Poznańskim (the same goes for such pairs as Warszauer/Warszawski, Krakauer/Krakowski, Łobzowski/Lobzower, Pacanower/Pacanowski),” explains Bystroń. This name appears in the cult Polish movie How I Unleashed World War II when a Polish prisoner pretends to be thus named in order to thwart the Nazi officer who has to keep track of prisoners’ identities.

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