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Lasowski
Created by Administrator Account in 12/27/2009 12:52:49 PM

 


I am hoping you can give me any information on the last name of Lasowski. This is my mothers maiden name and I am trying to gather as much information as I can on it. I would also appreciate any information you could give me as who to go to in researching the history or genealogy of this particular name. My grandfather says we are of noble lineage, my grandmother would just roll her eyes at him.

In Polish Lasowski is pronounced roughly "lah-SOFF-skee." 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 71 Polish citizens by that name. They were scattered in small numbers all over the country, with no significant concentration in any one area.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it comes from the root in the noun las, "forest, woods." It would mean basically "of the woods," and as such probably began as a reference to a place where the family lived. It might very well refer to a specific village or settlement named Lasy or Lasow or Lasowo or Lasowice, but the only way to establish that is through detailed research into the history of the specific family in question. From the name alone there's no way to tell.

Surnames in the form X-owski mean literally "of the X's _," where the blank is to be filled in with something so obvious it didn't need to be spelled out -- usually "kin" or "place." So in some cases X-owski can mean "kin of [the] X." But most often it refers to the name of a place where the family lived at some point centuries ago, a place name beginning with the X part, which may have various suffixes that were detached before the -owski was added. If the family was noble, they owned an estate there; if not, they lived and worked there. So while X-owski can just mean "kin of X," it generally means "one from the place of X." That's why I say the name probably means "one from Lasy or Lasow or Lasowo or Lasowice." There are quite a few places with names that qualify, which is why it's impossible to say which one your particular Lasowskis came from.

At one time centuries ago anyone with a surname ending in -owski was noble. In fact, anyone with any kind of surname was noble. But by the 17th century peasants were beginning to use surnames, too, and from then on the form of the name tells us nothing about the social status of the people bearing it. So if you have records from the 1500s, say, mentioning your Lasowskis, it's virtually certain they were nobles who took their name from the name of their estate, which had a name beginning Lasow-. But by the 1700s Lasowski could mean nothing more than "one from Lasy or Lasow, etc."

I'm afraid genealogical research is almost always a do-it-yourself project, unless you're pretty wealthy and are willing to pay a professional to do it for you. I don't know anyone who does that, and don't know the names of any researchers; but you can find some online if you search. For instance, there's a list of pros on Cyndi's List at http://www.cyndislist.com/poland.htm#Professional.

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

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