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Created by Administrator Account in 10/16/2009 9:07:57 AM


...Any info on the name Iwanowski would be greatly appreciated.


In Polish, surnames ending in -owski are usually derived from place names ending in -ow, -owo, -owa, -y, something like that. So Iwanowski probably started as a reference to the place the family came from, or an estate they owned (if they were noble) or worked on (if they were peasants). Thus the surname Iwanowski would mean "people from Iwanow, Iwanowo, Iwanowka, Iwany," etc. There are quite a few villages in Poland that qualify, too many to allow us to focus on one without much more info.


An additional point is that such place names are often formed from the first names of people who founded them, owned them at some point, etc. All these different place names I've referred to come from Iwan, which is the Polish spelling of the Ukrainian, Belarusian, or Russian name Ivan, equivalent to Polish "Jan" (John). So the names of these villages, towns, estates, or whatever just mean "John's place." In practical terms, for "Polish" research that means the places in question can also be in western Ukraine, since that region was long ruled by Poland. So the places Iwany, Iwanowka, etc. in Poland aren't the only ones to take into account, places with similar names in modern-day Ukraine are also part of the picture.


Since Ivan is a very common name, places called Iwanowka, Iwany, etc. are also common, and that means the surname Iwanowski would be reasonably common. As of 1990 there were 5,164 Polish citizens named Iwanowski (and that doesn't include Ukrainians by that name, who are probably numerous but would not show up in the database from which the Directory of Surnames in Current Use in Poland was compiled). The Iwanowskis in Poland lived all over the country, with the largest numbers (more than 200) in the provinces of Warsaw (603), Białystok (247), Gdansk (296), Lodz (219), Olsztyn (200), Siedlce (246), and Suwałki (302).


One last note: by the nature of things, you'd expect any name beginning with Iwan- to be more common in eastern Poland, near the border with Belarus and Ukraine, and in fact many of the provinces mentioned above are in the east (Suwałki, Białystok, Lodz, etc.). But some of them (Olsztyn, Gdansk) are in western Poland. This is probably due to the enormous relocation of ethnic populations after World War II, which saw folks from the eastern borders of Poland forced to pick up and move to western Poland, to repopulate the lands Poland recovered from Germany after the war. So if we had data from before 1939, those Iwanowskis would probably show up mainly in eastern Poland -- not exclusively, this is a common name and over the centuries Iwanowskis had plenty of chances to work their way west. But logic says the name should be concentrated primarily near the eastern borders; that it's not is probably due to those post-WorldWar II relocations.


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




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