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Chlebowski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/1/2010 6:20:40 AM

 


I wonder whether you are able to give me any information about the surname Chlebowski.

In Polish the "ch" and "h" are pronounced the same, as a guttural somewhat like the "ch" in German "Bach." Keeping that in mind, Chlebowski is pronounced roughly "chleh-BOFF-skee." 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 3,271 Polish citizens by this name. They lived all over the country, with no significant concentration in any one area.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it appears in documents as early as 1399, and refers to a family connection with any of a number of villages, settlements, etc. named Chlebów or Chlebowo or Chlebówka. There are quite a few of these, and the only way to tell which one a given family was connected with would be through genealogical research. The surname itself just doesn't tell us anything about that.

The basic root of the name is chleb, "bread." Chlebowo etc. would mean "[place] of bread." Thus Chlebowski would mean "[one] of the place of bread." But as I say, normally it should be interpreted as simply "one from Chlebowo/Chlebów, etc." In isolated instances it might mean "kin of the bread guy," but usually with surnames in the form X-owski the reference is to a place with a name beginning with the X part. It generally means the family lived or was otherwise connected with such a place at some point centuries ago. If they were noble, they owned an estate there; if they were peasants, they lived and worked there.

To sum up, there is probably not one big Chlebowski family, but rather a number of separate ones that came by the name independently, due to an association centuries ago with any of a number of places named Chlebów or Chlebowo or something similar, meaning "[place] of bread." Only genealogical research might help you pin down which one your particular family came from. I have no sources of info on individual families, so there's nothing I can tell you about your Chlebowskis beyond this.

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

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