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Created by Administrator Account in 10/16/2009 9:14:54 AM


...My daughter has a Family Tree Project to do for her history class. Our surname is Lesiecki. I would appreciate any information you could provide on its origin and meaning.


Lesiecki is a difficult name to pin down, because it could have originated in several different ways. The one thing that is reasonably certain is that the ultimate root is the Polish word las, "forest"; the surname probably arose in connection with a name or word derived from this root. Forests covered much of Poland at one time, so names from the root las- are numerous and common. Lesiecki could well have originated as an adjectival form of the word lesiak, "forest-dweller," or as reference to a place name such as Lesica (there are several villages by this name) or Lesiaki (in Sieradz province). As a rule names ending in -iecki did originate as referring to the place a family came from, or an estate they owned (if noble) or worked on (if peasants); but derivation from a common noun such as lesiak is also plausible. Polish surnames ending in -ski, -cki, or -zki are adjectival in nature, meaning literally "of, pertaining to, coming from __," and when the suffixes were added the end of the root word often changed; this often makes it difficult to reconstruct exactly what place, occupation, first name, or distinguishing characteristic a surname refers to without detailed info on the family background.


Lesiecki is not an extremely common name in Poland, but it's not rare either. As of 1990 there were 486 Lesiecki's, living all over Poland but with the largest numbers in the provinces of Warsaw (48), Katowice (47), Lodz (40), and Sieradz (62). I see no particular pattern to the distribution, which is not surprising: such a name could start almost anywhere Polish was spoken and forests were prominent, i. e., anywhere in Poland.


Without detailed data allowing us to focus on a specific area in Poland, it's difficult to say exactly what the surname derives from. But we can say with considerable confidence that it refers to the family's dwelling-place at the time surnames were being established. It might refer to the fact that they were living in a forest (lesiak), or it might refer to a specific place that took its name from surrounding forests (Lesica, Lesiaki, etc.). So in practical terms this name is much like the English names Woods, Forest, Forester, etc. -- we can tell basically that the name refers to woods or forests, but there's nothing in the name that offers clues as to a specific place.


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



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