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Okopny
Created by Administrator Account in 12/23/2009 1:23:23 PM

 


... My grandfather Maksym and his brother Peter came from Narajow Austria in 1913. I believe this is now Narayiv Ukraine.

In general I would agree we'd expect Polish "Narajów" to be "Narayiv" in Ukrainian. However, I notice in Brian Lenius's Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, he says there were two places named Narajów, Narajów Miasto [i. e., the town of Narajów] and Narajów Wies' [the village of Narajów]. Lenius says in both cases the modern Ukrainian name is Naryiv, which looks like this in Ukrainian Cyrillic: Нарїв

According to Lenius (who says he used official Ukrainian sources), the "town of Narajów" is called simply Naryiv, and "the village of Narajów" is Naryiv Selo. Lenius lists both in the district of Brzezany (dot over the second z), and says Narajów was served by on-site Roman and Greek Catholic parishes.

Most sources I saw mentioning either of these places did use either the Polish form Narajów, the Russian form Narayev, or the Ukrainian form Narayiv. So I'm not sure what the "correct" version is; in fact, in the case of some places there is still disagreement over exactly what the "correct" form is. It might be helpful to have that other form, Naryiv, just in case it shows up in your research sometimes.

… There are 30 Okopnys in Canada and United States. Via the internet, I have found 1 person with the name Okopny in Poland (Wroclaw), Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, and Brazil. All seem to be from this western Ukraine location. I have been told my family originates from Krakow area. I understand that in Russian this surname indicates "one who digs military style defensive trenches". But this was not a professional opinion.

To get to the point, have you ever seen this surname in your work? Could you help me in discovering it's origin? Or point me in the right direction?


This is a pretty rare name in modern Poland (unfortunately I have no sources for Ukraine). Okopny is adjectival in form, which means a male would be called Okupny and a female Okupna. 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), there were 19 Polish citizens named Okopna, scattered in tiny numbers all over Poland. There were 25 Poles with the masculine form Okopny, and they, too, were scattered all over (neither form of the name showed up in Krakow province). 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.

The root okop- comes from the verb okopać, meaning "to dig in, entrench," etc., and is also seen in the noun okop, "trench." The same root appears in Ukrainian, meaning almost exactly the same thing. So an Okopny may very well have been one who dug trenches or earthen fortifications. I would add that there is also a Polish dialect noun okopnik meaning "worker who works on roads, digs trenches or ditches, gravedigger." So it seems highly likely an Okopny worked as a digger -- it's just a question of exactly what kind of work it was. He may have dug graves or trenches, or he may have helped dig out and maintain roads.

Copyright © 2000, 2001 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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