Created by Administrator Account in 10/17/2009 2:26:46 PM


...I am interested in any information you may have on the surname Basinski, which is my own name. I have been told that it may not in fact be Polish at all since the name is not apparently known in Poland. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

I keep hearing from people who have "been told" this or that about Polish names, and all too often what they've been told is a load of rubbish. I wish these people who don't know what they're talking about would shut up! For instance, as of 1990 there were 3,171 Polish citizens named Basiński . So much for the notion that the name is not known in Poland!

The Basinski's lived all over the country, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Warsaw (139), Bydgoszcz (237), Gorzow (135), Kalisz (219), Katowice (164), Leszno (113), Lodz (148), Poznan (347), Wroclaw (204), and Zielona Gora (207). I don't see any real pattern to that distribution, the name apparently arose independently in many different places at different times, so all the Basiński's are probably not related.

As for the likely origin of the name, names ending in -iński can come from several sources, but very often they originally referred to a place that the family owned (if noble) or worked at (if non-noble) or came from. The interesting thing is that with a name this common you'd expect to find quite a few towns or villages that qualify, yet the only really good match I see is Basin, a village in Skierniewice province -- Basiński could well mean "coming from Basin," but it seems unlikely the name would be so widely scattered if one little village in central Poland was the source... There are also villages named Basinów in Ostrołęka and Radom provinces, under the right circumstances Basiński could refer to them.

However, I suspect that in a lot of cases Basiński developed from something more common. I note that the place Basin got its name from the first name Basia, a short form or nickname of Barbara (there's a Polish singer named Basia who's fairly well known) -- Basin just means "Basia's place." This makes me wonder if the surname sometimes arose just as a way of referring to "Basia's kin." This seems plausible, because the surname is just too common to be explained only in terms of the few places that seem likely candidates... It's also possible Basiński is a variant form of other names such as Baszyński and Bażyński.

All in all, however, I suspect the surname Basiński refers in most cases to tiny villages or hamlets named something like Basin, or to the kin of a woman named Basia. There may be other derivations in particular cases, but the link with places or kin of various Basia's strikes me as the most probably explanation for the surname's origin.

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.