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Klocko - Kloczko - Kłodzko
Created by Administrator Account in 12/23/2009 7:28:53 AM


...Dear Mr. Hoffman, you were kind enough to provide me with a wealth of information about my own surname, Basinski, and I am most grateful to you. With some trepidation, therefore, I wish to impose upon you again with a request concerning the origin of my mother's maiden name, Klocko. My understanding is that her parents came from Białystok. Any help will be much appreciated. By the way, I think you are doing a wonderful service to the Polish community...


I appreciate your kind words, and am glad you think so! And you're not imposing on me -- people who ask politely about one name at a time are welcome to any info I can give. It's the folks who send me a dozen names, expect immediate answers, and never offer to pay a penny -- they are the ones who impose, and they are the ones I ignore.


Klocko is kind of a tough name to be sure about, because it could come from a couple of different sources. Prof. Rymut mentions it in his book on Polish surnames, saying it appears in records as far back as 1385, and comes from the term kloc, "log, large piece of wood." This is probably correct, but I can't help thinking that if the L is the Polish slashed L, Kłocko sounds just like Kłodzko, the name of a fairly good-sized town in Walbrzych province. I can't rule out the possibility that the surname might also have gotten started as a way of referring to people who came from Kłodzko. The ultimate root is the same in either case, from the word for "log"... Of course, if your ancestors came from the Białystok area it's somewhat unlikely their name would refer to a place clear across Poland (Walbrzych is in southwestern Poland), so Rymut's derivation seems likely to be right in your case; the other possibility would more likely be relevant for Klocko's from southwestern Poland.


If the spelling of the name is Klocko with the normal L, there were only 41 Polish citizens by that name in 1990; they lived in the provinces of Warsaw (4), Bydgoszcz (2), Gdansk (5), Katowice (5), Krosno (3), Nowy Sacz (2), Przemysl (4), Rzeszow (5), Siedlce (1), Torun (4), Walbrzych (3), Wroclaw (2), and Zielona Gora (1). None showed up as living in Białystok province.


There is also a name Kłoczko, and in Polish the cz often is simplified to c, especially in Mazuria, so this might be relevant. The name appears to come from the term kłoczek, "hay-binder," although I can't be sure of that derivation; if it's not from that, it, too, is probably from the root meaning "log." This name is more common, as of 1990 there were 845 Kłoczko's in Poland, with the largest numbers living in the provinces of Białystok (90) and Suwałki (362). I wanted to mention this one because it sounds as if it's most common in the right part of Poland for you, and the others aren't. And Kłoczko = Kłocko is very plausible, especially in that part of the country, where the local dialect has a definite tendency to change the "ch" sound of cz to the "ts" sound of c... If I were you, I'd keep my eyes open for Kłoczko, you may well run across that spelling, too, in some records.


Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.




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