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Bujewicz
Created by Administrator Account in 12/28/2009 5:14:26 AM

 


Can you please enlighten me on the origin of my surname Buewicz.

The suffix -ewicz means "son of," and appears not only in Polish but also in Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, etc. Of course in those other languages it is spelled differently, but it is the same Slavic ending meaning "son of." So the obvious answer is that this name means "son of Bu."

However, I can find no Slavic name Bu. Names exist beginning Bud-, Buj- Bug-, Buk-, etc., but no Bu.

But since Russian may be involved here, let me suggest one possibility. In Russian, of course, this name would be spelled in the Cyrillic alphabet, in which the letter E usually begins with the sound Poles spell as J. In other words, a Polish name Bujewicz would be written in Russian with the Cyrillic letters that look like Буев.

Thus I wonder if the name in question would be spelled BUJEWICZ in Polish, but its Russian form might be mistakenly rendered in the Roman alphabet as BUEWICZ, ignoring the J sound? The root Buj- appears in names often, meaning "rapidly growing, full of energy and strength," often with the added sense of "violent, turbulent, wild."

If my analysis is correct, the name you're asking about probably began as a reference to the son of one who was large and strong, or received a name beginning Buj- in hopes he would be large and strong. Vladimir Dahl's Dictionary of the Great Russian Language mentions a term we'd spell buyevo in the Roman alphabet (more like Буево in Cyrillic) that means "violently, wildly, with great energy." In this instance the Russian and Polish meanings of the root are very similar -- both refer to one bursting with great energy and strength, and often using that energy to cause an uproar.

That appears to me the most likely explanation of the name: that it meant "son of the brawler, son of the wildly energetic one." Perhaps you can determine whether it makes sense or not.

In case the data is any help to you, 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 84 Polish citizens named Bujewicz. They were scattered all over Poland, with no significant concentration in any one area.

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

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