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Leśny - Wiatrak
Created by Administrator Account in 1/1/2010 7:21:24 AM

 


… I am working on a family tree searching for any information about my grandparents who came from Posna in the year 1890. His name was John Wiatrak and his wife's name was Mary Lesna or Lesney.

Wiatrak is a reasonably common name in Poland, as of 1990 there were 1,129 Poles by that name. It comes from the root wiatr, "wind," and especially from the term wiatrak, "windmill." A person might have originally gotten such a name because he made windmills, worked at one, lived near one, etc. The name doesn't give us enough clues to be any more specific, we can only figure there was some association with wind and especially windmills that was obvious enough at the time to lead people to call a person by this name, and eventually it stuck as a surname. Some 17 of the Wiatrak's living in Poland in 1990 lived in the modern-day province of Poznan. The name is more common in the provinces of Kalisz (234), Krakow (128) and Radom (174). Kalisz province is southeast of Poznan, and it may at one time have been in the older, larger province of Poznan, so it's possible some of those Wiatrak's in Kalisz province were relatives of yours. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names and addresses, so this is about all I can tell you.

Lesney is probably an Anglicized form of Polish Leśny (ś , pronounced like a soft "sh") -- Leśna would be the form used when referring to a female by the same name. The word leśny means "of the forest, woods," and might refer to a woodsman or a person who lived in the woods. It, too, is moderately common, as of 1990 there were 1,489 Poles named either Leśny or Leśna; 291 of them lived in the modern-day province of Poznan, and that general area seems to be where the name is most common, although you find people named Leśny all over the country.

Copyright © 2000 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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