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Kawka
Created by Administrator Account in 12/27/2009 2:50:43 AM

 


Do you have any information on my surname. I would be very interested to know.

In Polish Kawka is pronounced roughly "KOFF-kah." 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 and can be searched online), there were 5,831 Polish citizens by this name. They lived all over the country with largest numbers in the following provinces: Warsaw 685, Bydgoszcz 381, Konin 215, Lublin 540, Lodz 200, and Zamosc 621. 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 basically tells us a family by this name could come from anywhere in Poland; the name is not associated with any one region of the country.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles], saying it appears in records as early as 1371. He says it comes from the noun kawka, which can be a diminutive of kawa, "coffee," but can also mean "the jackdaw," a kind of bird. I suppose an ancestor might have gotten a nickname meaning "little coffee," but surnames from words for birds are very common in Polish, and I think the jackdaw connection would prove true in most cases. It might mean an ancestor lived in an area where jackdaws were common, or could imitate their singing, or wore clothes that reminded people of their coloring -- some perceived association along those lines would probably account for the name.

Copyright © 2003 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

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