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Created by Administrator Account in 12/27/2009 12:43:43 PM


My great-grandmother came from Poland with my grandfather and his sister. Their surname was Kondratowitcz. That is the spelling on my great-grandmothers holy card from her death. I have heard it spelled Kondratowicz. They shortened it to Conrad in the US.

Any help you can give me with this would be great.

The standard spelling of this name in Polish would be Kondratowicz, pronounced roughly "con-drah-TOE-veech." The -owicz part means "son of," so it means "son of Kondrat." Name experts argue over that name; some say it comes from ancient Greek Kodratos, later adapted into Latin as Codratus and Condratus. It may actually have started out originally as Latin Quadratus, "square." Other experts dismiss that, saying it is a variation of the Germanic name we know as Conrad (which appears historically in a variety of forms, including Kondrad, Kondrat, Kindrat, Kunrat, etc.).

Whichever origin is technically correct, I think there's no question at some point people began to associate this name with German Konrad and English Conrad. When your ancestors changed it to Conrad in the U.S., they were picking the English name that most closely corresponded with their Polish name. Kondratowicz means "son of Conrad," just as Conrad does in English. So there was a good reason for them to change it to what they did.

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 2,086 Polish citizens by this name. They lived all over the country, with some concentration in the nrotheastern provinces of Białystok, 163, Olsztyn 232, and Suwałki 248. 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. So a family by this name could come from anywhere in Poland, although northeastern Poland is just a little more likely than anywhere else in the country.

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




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