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Kudla
Created by Administrator Account in 12/23/2009 7:31:31 AM

 


... I am e-mailing you with a request to find any information on the surname Kudla. I have been able to find the surname Kudla in various phone books and through certain resources, but I have been unsuccessful at finding anything out about the Kudla origin, meaning, family crest, etc. as it pertains to Polish history. My father is a first-generation American and my grandparents were born in Poland, but moved to the U.S. I am curious to find out if the surname Kudla was "Americanized" and could have been spelled differently in Poland...

 

 

Well, let me say first that even the greatest expert can not look at a name such as Kudla and say for sure it has never been shortened or anglicized. Only your research can establish whether the name was altered somewhere along the line. However, I can tell you that Kudla is a perfectly good Polish name in its own right, and there's no reason to suspect that it's been changed. We can't rule out the possibility that tomorrow you'll find a document from the old country that proves it was originally, say, Kudlacik. But there are thousands of Poles with the name Kudla, so the odds are it hasn't been tampered with.

 

As of 1990 there were 3,761 Polish citizens with the name Kudła; here ł is how we represent on-line the Polish l with a slash through it, which sounds like our w, so that this name is pronounced roughly "COULD-wah." There were another 383 with the name spelled Kudla (no slash through the L, which is pronounced like a normal L). From a linguistic point of view Kudła is probably the standard form, and Kudla is the variant, perhaps due to slight differences in pronunciation influenced by dialects, something of that sort. The Kudła's lived all over Poland, with the largest numbers (over 200) in the provinces of Czestochowa (241), Katowice (430), Kielce (260), Radom (215), and Tarnow (212). The distribution pattern shows the name is somewhat more common in southcentral and southeastern Poland; but it is not so pronounced as to be really helpful in any practical way.

 

Polish surname expert Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book, saying that Kudła appears in Polish legal records as far back as 1399, and it derives from the term kudeł, "mop of hair." So it's one of many names that derived as a reference to a particular physical characteristic; the name Kudła was likely to be given as a nickname to someone with a fine, thick head of hair (or, in some cases, to one with little or no hair, as we'd call a big man "Tiny"). The name stuck and became a surname. It's not surprising the name is fairly common all over Poland, since this name could get started anywhere they spoke Polish and there were guys with thick hair, i. e., anywhere.

 

I'm afraid when it comes to nobility and family crests I can't be much help. There is a group you might try contacting, the Polish Nobility Association Foundation, Villa Anneslie, 529 Dunkirk Rd., Anneslie, MD 21212-2014. I believe they offer a service by which, for a moderate fee, they will search their sources and see if a particular family was ever recognized as noble. So I can't help you, but perhaps the PNAF can.

 

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

 

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