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Created by Administrator Account in 12/28/2009 3:39:04 PM


I am looking for the meaning of Duda. This was my grandmother's maiden name and she was born in Poland and came to this country in 1902.

In Polish DUDA is pronounced roughly "DOO-dah." 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, available online), there were 38,290 Polish citizens by this name. They lived all over the country, so that a family by this name could come from anywhere.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it appears in records as early as 1392 and comes from the noun duda, which means "bagpipes," also "a bad musician" (i. e., one who plays the pipes but isn't very good at it). The name could have begun as a nickname for an ancestor who played the bagpipes, or for one who was a bad musician. It could also have been used in a transferred sense, with the meaning "one who goes around making a lot of pointless noise." There's no way to tell exactly how this name came to be associated with an individual family, unless detailed research into that family's history turns up some old document that sheds light on the matter. Absent such info, all we can say is that the name surely began as a nickname for one who played the pipes (probably not too well), or for one who made a lot of needless noise. At some point the name came to be applied to that person's descendants, and eventually "stuck" as a surname.

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



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