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Created by Administrator Account in 12/30/2009 3:13:56 PM


My maiden name is Adams. I am 3rd generation born in the United States. My great grandfather Joseph Adams, moved his wife and two kids from Poland to Minnesota and there had 4 more children. When he moved here, he realized that his last name might be too hard for his children to say and spell, so he shortened it. There are two of the 6 children still alive and neither one of them know how to spell the last name my great grandfather shortened. I was hoping you might be able to help. This is how we think it might be spelled based off of how we know it to be said. "Adamachevski"

The most likely form is Adamczewski, which would be pronounced roughly "ah-dahm-CHEFF-skee." According to Polish name expert Kazimierz Rymut's book Nazwiska Polaków [The Surnames of Poles], that name generally means "one from Adamczewice," a village now called Adamki in Blaszki district of Lodz province. It is also possible it might refer in some cases to Adamczowice, in Klimontow district of Swietokrzyskie province. Surnames ending in -ewski can come from place names with -ew- or -ow-, as that vowel can change very easily, especially when further suffixes are added.

So this surname refers to the name of a place with which the family was connected at some point centuries ago. As often happens, there's more than one place this surname could refer to. The only way to find out which one your particular Adamczewskis came from is through detailed research into the family history. Such research might establish whether the family came from near Lodz, in which case the connection with Adamki is more likely, or from the Swietokrzyskie area, in which case Adamczowice is the more likely connection. There might even be some other place I haven't found -- because the Adamczew- or Adamczow- part basically means "[places] of little Adam," and thus could potentially refer to any village or settlement owned or founded by an Adam.

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 and is now online as a searchable database), there were 5,955 Polish citizens named Adamczewski. They lived all over the country, with particularly large numbers in the following provinces: Bydgoszcz 312, Konin 411, Lodz 1,177, and Poznan 467. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses, so I can't tell you how to find that info.

That's what I consider the best match with the name you mentioned. If you'd like to see other possibilities and evaluate them for yourself, go to this site:  

In the box type ADAM*WSKI and press
. That will bring up all surnames borne by Polish citizens as of 1990 that begin with Adam- and end with -wski, with any combination of letters in between. That should allow you to see the most likely matches and check if any of the others make more sense.

If you need help understanding the data and what the abbreviations mean, I wrote an article on the subject in the latest issue of Gen Dobry!, the free e-zine of PolishRoots.

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