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Created by Administrator Account in 10/15/2009 1:40:58 PM


Sir, I was unable to locate my family name of Kurzydlo. I am told we originated either in Poland or Austria. Any help you might be able to give would be greatly appreciated.


This is a Polish name -- if the family lived in "Austria," most likely they lived in that part of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that Austria seized during the Partitioning of Poland. It was called Galicia and consisted of what are now southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. When a Pole is said to have come from "Austria," that's what it usually means -- he lived in southeastern Poland or western Ukraine, but at the time that area was ruled by the Austrian Empire (roughly 1815-1918).


The l in Kurzydlo is not plain l, but the Polish l with a slash or crossbar through it. Kurzydło is pronounced roughly "koozh-ID-woe."


Prof. Kazimierz Rymut's book Nazwiska Polaków [The Surnames of Poles] lists this name among those coming from the basic root kurz-, "dust." But he specifically mentions that the name Kurzydło appears in records as early as 1401, and is from the dialect term kurzydło, "decayed wood used to smoke bees away while collecting honey." So apparently when you wanted to collect honey from beehives, you used a kurzydło to help smoke the bees out. An ancestor would probably have been called by this name because he collected honey and used this kurzydło to do it.


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 876 Polish citizens named Kurzydło. The largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Krakow 135, Tarnow 133, and Katowice 99. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses, so I can't tell you how to find that info.


This data tells us the name is found all over Poland but is most common in the southcentral to southeastern region, near the cities of Katowice and Krakow and Tarnow.


Copyright ©2006 W.F. Hoffman




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