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Kelijan - Kieljan - Kilian - Killian
Created by Administrator Account in 12/27/2009 12:38:11 PM

 


Have you any information on the meaning or origin of the surname Kilian? Alternate spellings with which I am familiar would include Killian, Kieljan, Kelijan.

I have been unable to locate any information on the name but I have been told that it is an old Polish name. I know that there are Kilians living in Krakow and my family came from southern Poland.


In Polish the name is pronounced much as it is in English, roughly "KEEL-yahn" or "kee-LEE-yahn." 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), there were 3,232 Polish citizens by this name. They lived all over the country, with the largest numbers in the following provinces: Gdansk 147, Katowice 249, Kielce 181, Lublin 145, Opole 206, Rzeszow 141, and Tarnow 558. 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 does indicate that the name tends to be more common in the south than in the north, but there are Kilians living all over the country. The Directory says there were 55 living in Krakow province.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it comes from the first name Kilian, which is thought to be of Celtic origin. It appears in Poland as early as the 13th century, and its variants include Kilijan and Kielijan. So all the name signifies is that an ancestor went by this name.

Copyright © 2002 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

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