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Created by Administrator Account in 10/15/2009 1:40:02 PM


A month ago I discovered that one of my grandfather's cousins was from Łomża. He was a catholic priest and I think he was ordained there. That was the only clue to my grandfather's origins that I had after 20 years of searching. The cousin's name was Jasionowski. Is that an important name in Łomża?


Jasionowski is pronounced roughly "yah-sho-NOFF-skee." As of 1990, according to the best data available (the Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych, "Directory of Surnames in Current Use in Poland," which covers about 94% of the population of Poland and is now online as a searchable database at, there were 996 Polish citizens by this name. The largest number, 449, lived in the northeastern province of Suwałki, which is north of Łomża province. 71 Polish citizens lived in Łomża province, and another 71 lived in Warsaw province. So while this name is found all over Poland, it is most common in the northeastern part of the country. It sounds as if your Jasionowskis come from the general area where the name is most common, although the really big numbers show up a little north of Łomża.


Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polaków [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it can refer to a number of different villages with names such as Jasionów, Jasionowa, and Jasionowo. Those places, in turn, take their name from jesion, "ash tree," so that their names mean "[place] of the ash trees" and Jasionowski can be interpreted as meaning "one from the place of the ash trees." But in most cases a Jasionowski family got that name because it came from a place with a name beginning Jasion-. What that place name meant was incidental to the surname's development.


If your relative was a priest, that could be a valuable lead. Priests have always enjoyed a position in high regard in Poland, and the Church tends to keep detailed records regarding them. You might find it worthwhile to write to the Diocese of Łomża (if at all possible, have someone translate your letter into Polish) -- say you're a relative of a priest and ask if they can give you any information on him. Here's the mailing address:


Kuria Diecezjalna
18-400 Łomża
ul. Sadowa 3


They also have an e-mail address, I have no idea whether an e-mail would get an answer, especially if it's in English. But I don't see how it would hurt to try. The priest in charge of correspondence may ignore your note; then again, he may say, "Oh, I'll be glad to help the relative of a brother priest!" You never know till you try.


One last thing I would mention in regard to Łomża. The Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast has a lot of members with roots in that area, and has done more work than anyone else I know to develop resources for that region. You might find it worthwhile to join. If you want to learn more, their Website is at


Copyright ©2006 W.F. Hoffman




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