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Created by Administrator Account in 12/24/2009 4:52:36 AM


Dear Sir, I read on the internet that you might be able to explain my mothers surname. It was Cytrynski. We are told that in old times this name was given by parliament to children born out of marriage. We found it back in 1868 when Maryjanna Cytrynska gave birth on the 1.1.1868 to Antoni Cytrynski. On the christening certificate is no name of a father, so it could be right. Do you know?

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He explains that it comes from the noun cytryna, which is the Polish word for "lemon." The form with -ski is adjectival, so that Cytrynski originally would have meant "of the lemon, of the lemons." Presumably it began as a name for one whom others associated with lemons for some reason. Perhaps they sold this fruit, or were very fond of lemons, or even had a yellowish complexion, which reminded others of the color of a lemon. It is difficult to say for sure what such a name might have referred to originally, since people can be very ingenious in such matters -- often it is impossible to determine what the reference was unless you were there when the name originated. The most we can say is that somehow an ancestor must have been given this name because of some connection with lemons.

It is also possible the name in some cases referred to the name of a place. There is a Cytrynowo near Bydgoszcz, and Cytrynski might refer to that or some other place with a similar name. I would expect "one from Cytrynowo" to be Cytrynowski rather than Cytrynski, but that is not necessarily correct. In any case, a place with a name beginning Cytryn- would, in turn, receive that name because of a perceived association with lemons. So one way or the other, a connection with lemons was involved.

None of my sources mention anything about this name being given to illegitimate children. It is, of course, possible that there was a custom of this sort in certain times and places. But none of my my sources mention it. And I cannot really see any reason why an illegitimate child would receive a name meaning "of lemons."

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 251 Polish citizens named Cytrynski. The largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Warsaw 46, Poznan 43, Radom 58, Skierniewice 47. 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 shows that the name is somewhat concentrated in the area just east of the center of Poland.

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



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