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Created by Administrator Account in 10/17/2009 2:05:22 PM


...I ran across your web site, and am wondering if you might have any information on the surname Liberko? I believe the derivation is from a "wheel maker," but have not confirmed this.


The "wheel maker" notion is interesting, I can't find anything like that -- I'd be interested in knowing where you heard that. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that I can't find any connection, and I'd like to know if I'm missing something.


Polish surname expert Kazimierz Rymut doesn't mention Liberko specifically in his book on Polish surnames, but he does mention the root liber and several other names that are closely related, including Liberek and Liberkowski. According to him they derive either from the Latin term liber, "free," or from the German first name Lieber, which basically means "dear one." Either is plausible: Germans settled all over Poland and many of their names came into use by Poles; and since for centuries the language of record-keeping was Latin, a person who was a free man -- not a noble, not a peasant, not a serf, but one who owned his own land -- could easily be referred to in records by this term liber, and it could get attached to him as a name. The -ko is a diminutive suffix used in Polish, Ukrainian, etc., basically meaning "little," so that Liberko could mean "little Liber" or "Liber's son."


As of 1990 there was no listing of a Polish citizen named Liberko, but there was a listing for Liberek (398 Poles by that name), Liberka (125), and Liberkowski (420). So similar names are not rare, though not really common either. The Liberka's lived in the provinces of Czestochowa (44), Jelenia Gora (3), Katowice (57), Legnica (1), Opole (5), and Wroclaw (15), all in southcentral and southwest Poland (Silesia). This tends to support the German Lieber theory, those are regions where large numbers of Germans live and German-influenced names are common. (Unfortunately, I do not have further data, such as first names and addresses).


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