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Cerkivica - Kunza - Kunze
Created by Administrator Account in 12/24/2009 8:57:55 AM


... I hesitate to ask you this, but after using your 2nd edition I'm still lost on my great grandfather's name. His name was Kunza and his brother was Kunze. My gg Joseph Kunza was "supposedly " born in Cerkivica, West Prussia according to one of his son's birth certificates. I have been painstakingly going through LDS films on any and all villages, towns etc. that even slightly resemble Cerkivica to no avail as of yet... Any suggestions as to a maybe longer name with Kunz in it, or something that might have been Americanized to Kunza/e?

You never say "never" with surnames, but I'd be surprised if Kunza or Kunze was an Americanized version of a longer name. The name originated as a German nickname for "Conrad," as Dave said, and it's short enough, and easy enough to spell -- although with some variation, Kunz, Kunza, Kunze, Kunc, Kuntz, etc. -- that it doesn't seem a likely candidate for mangling. I would expect you'd find the name in records in a recognizable form... If memory serves, there was a Kunz or Kunze who was a big wheel in Chicago's Polish-American political circles back in the early part of this century. I'm not implying he was a relative, the name is too common to assume that, but it does prove the name is one Poles, Germans, and Americans found fairly easy to deal with.

Cerkivica, however, is somewhat mangled. Most likely the Polish name is either Cerekwica or Cerkwica. There are several places by that name in Poland. The Euro-Reiseatalas shows a Cerekwica that might have been in or near West Prussia: it is now in Bydgoszcz province, about 8-10 km. southwest of Znin. I'm not sure this is the right one, however; it may have been far enough south to be in Poznan province rather than West Prussia -- my historical maps aren't quite detailed enough to let me be sure. Still, it's worth mentioning.

Other sources mention a Cerekwica or Cerkwica, called Zirkwitz by the Germans, in Flatow district (Polish name Złotów) of West Prussia. One records a Gross Zirkwitz (Big Zirkwitz) and a Klein Zirkwitz (Little Zirkwitz), both in Flatow district. Gross Zirkwitz had Protestant and Catholic records kept at Kamin (Kamień Krajeński); Klein Zirkwitz had Protestant records kept at Zempelburg (Polish name Sępolno), Catholic records at Kamin. On modern maps these places are called Mała Cerkwica (= Klein Zirkwitz) and Duża Cerkwica (= Gross Zirkwitz), and they're in Bydgoszcz province, just a few km. east of Kamień Krajeński. The Euro-Reiseatlas shows Duża Cerkwica as having its own parish church, but none of my other sources mention this. I suppose Kamin/Kamień Krajeński is where you should look first.

When you have more than one place with a name that might fit the evidence, it's tough to guess which one is right. But I think either Mała or Duża Cerkwica is likely to be the place you want; the name is very close to the form you have, both are in the territory that was West Prussia, whereas most of the other places by that name were not. That's where I'd start looking.

I hope this info turns out to be some help to you, and that I haven't sent you on a wild goose chase!

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