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Bondel - Wiciński
Created by Administrator Account in 12/27/2009 3:17:39 AM

 


... Within the past year I've become acquainted with some distant relatives from Poland... He insists that the Wicinski family is Polish nobility...originally coming from an area near Lithuania and then fleeing, while wounded from some war around 1840 or so, to the area near Tarnobrzeg. Do you have any information about Wicinski? ...

Wiciński probably derives ultimately from a short form of a first name such as Witold or Wincenty; most likely it comes directly from a place named Wicin, Wicina, or Wicie (there are several), meaning a person who came from that place, and the place in turn got that name because it was owned or founded by a fellow named Witold, Wincenty, etc. It is a pretty common name in Poland. As of 1990 there were 1,936 Poles with this name; they lived all over the country, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Warsaw (172), Bydgoszcz (148), Lodz (110), Lublin (144), Płock (202), Radom (103), and Tarnobrzeg (122). I don't see any real pattern to that distribution. Most likely the name arose in several different areas independently, and as I said, you'd expect it originally indicated some association of a person with a place named Wicin, Wicina, Wicie, etc.

Your particular Wicinski family may well have been noble, but I have no way of knowing. When anyone shows interest in Polish nobility, about which I know little. The editor of White Eagle, the Journal of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation, has an extensive library on European and especially Polish nobility. He does not do genealogical research, he is a heraldic artist by avocation. But he will look in his library to see if he can find anything that might be applicable. If he spends any significant amount of time researching for you, it would be only right to offer him some monetary compensation (from what I hear, his rates are quite reasonable).

... Also, my one grandfather's surname was Bondel. He was from the village of Kepice near Radom. (I understand there is more than one Kepice) He was 1/8th French. I've met other people of Polish descent with French surnames, is this common? ...

As of 1990 there were some 176 Poles named Bondel. The list of provinces they lived in is fairly short, so I will repeat it: Warsaw 17, Gdansk 1, Gorzow 1, Katowice 16, Kielce 2, Koszalin 3, Legnica 1, Lublin 66, Opole 4, Radom 24, Siedlce 14, Skierniewice 4, Suwałki 9, Szczecin 1, Walbrzych 4, Wroclaw 9.

It is not extremely common to find Poles with French surnames, but it happens often enough that scholars are not surprised when they run into it. Often French names have changed spelling to fit the way they sound according to Polish phonetic values, rather than French (e. g., Descourt -> Deskur). Poland has always been a country willing and eager to maintain ties with the West, so it's not too unusual to find Poles with names of French or Italian origin (though, as I say, sometimes you'd never know by the spelling!).

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

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