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Created by Administrator Account in 1/1/2010 6:15:22 AM


I am interested in learning more about my father's surname: Chetkiewicz as I am trying to piece together a family tree for his family.

In Polish this name would usually be spelled with the first E being the nasal vowel written as an E with a tail under it. This vowel is usually pronounced somewhat like "en," so that Chętkiewicz sounds roughly like "hent-K'YEAH-veech." The initial CH is not quite the H sound of English, it's closer to the guttural "ch" in German "Bach." But that phonetic pronunciation I indicated is pretty close.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. The suffix -ewicz means "son of," so we would figure this name started out meaning "son of Chętko/Chętki/Chętka." Any of those names would produce Chętkiewicz once the ending was added, so we can't tell which one is relevant in a given instance.

These names all come from the root seen in the old term chętki, which in modern Polish is chętny, "willing" (especially in the sense "ready, willing, and able"). The same basic root appears in the noun chętka, "wish, caprice, whim," and in the noun chęć, "wish, desire." So this surname indicates that an ancestor was the son of one named Chętka or Chętki or Chętko, who presumably got that name either because he was always ready and willing to do what needed to be done, or possibly because he tended to be willful and capricious.

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 39 Polish citizens named Chętkiewicz. They lived in the following provinces: Katowice 1, Radom 31, Slupsk 2, Torun 5. 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.

The data indicates this name is usually found in the area of Radom in southeastern Poland, and perhaps was even at one time exclusively found there, so that those Chętkiewiczes in other areas had their roots originally near Radom. I'd hesitate to jump to that conclusion: there's nothing about the name that leads me to think it could only develop in one area. I suppose it's possible it was once more widespread, and for some reason these days it is mostly found near Radom. Still, that concentration certainly suggests a Radom connection is probable in most cases.

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




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