Dudzik - Hoffman - Modrzewski - Mroczynski - Ostrowski
Created by Administrator Account in 10/17/2009 2:38:23 PM


...I am inquiring about the origins of several surnames: Ostrowski, Dudzik, Modrzewski, Hoffman and finally, Mroczynski.

Hoffman is a German name from the roots Hof, "manor, court, yard" + Mann, "man." In some cases the name can refer to the modern German meaning of Hofmann, "courtier," but I think that is the source in a relatively small number of cases. Most often this is an occupational name, referring to the manager of estates owned by the nobility or church -- so says Hans Bahlow in his Deutsches Namenlexikon. Bahlow adds that this is an extremely common name in Silesia, right up there with Mueller, Schmidt and Schultz. I have no data on the name's frequency in Germany, but in Poland there were some 2,570 Hoffman's and 5,187 Hoffmann's as of 1990. They lived all over the country, though they were more common in the western areas once ruled by Germany.

Dudzik comes from the root duda, "bagpipes, person who plays the bagpipes" (yes, Poles have bagpipes, too, not just the Scots!) and also "a bad home-bred musician"; in some cases it also meant an idiot who goes around running his mouth and making a lot of empty noise. As of 1990 there were some 7,401 Polish citizens named Dudzik, and that name probably originated as meaning "son of a duda."

Modrzewski is a name derived from a place name such as Modrzew, Modrzewo, etc., and generally such names meant a person came from that place, often travelled there, owned it (if noble) or worked on a farm there (if peasant). There are several places that qualify, including Modrzewek in Piotrkow Trybunalski province. As of 1990 there were 880 Poles by this name.

Mroczyński was the name of some 735 Poles as of 1990. The basic root is mrok, "darkness," or mrokotać, "to squint." But this particular surname probably refers to a place name such as Mrocza, Mroczen, Mroczki, Mroczno, etc. -- there are several villages this surname could refer to, so you'll need more data on the exact area of the family's residence in Poland to make a reasonable guess which of those places the surname derived from.

Ostrowski is also derived from place names such as Ostrów, Ostrowek, Ostrowo, etc., and there are dozens of those in Poland. That helps explain why the surname is so common -- as of 1990 there were some 38,942 Poles named Ostrowski.

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