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Chojnowski - Hojnowski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/2/2010 7:50:36 AM


Would you have any information as to the names Choynowski or Chojnowski? The only information I could find is that its associated with the Polish clan Lubicz. Any info would be appreciated.

Chojnowski could also be spelled Choynowski in older Polish, but in modern spelling that "y" sound would be represented with J. Other likely spelling variations are Hojnowski and Hoynowski. In Polish the H and CH are pronounced exactly the same, so either spelling is possible; within the last century or so, though, spellings have tended to become somewhat standardized, and the standard spelling of this name these days is Chojnowski. You want to note the other spellings, however, because spelling wasn't always reliable in old records, so you might find the name spelled any of the ways I've mentioned.

The H or CH is a little more guttural than the English H, it sounds somewhat like "ch" in German "Bach"; that said, the name is pronounced "hoy-NOFF-skee," however it's spelled.

As of 1990 there were 7,211 Polish citizens named Chojnowski (only 161 who spelled it Hojnowski). The Chojnowskis lived all over Poland; there were particularly large numbers in the provinces of Białystok, 350; Łomża, 1,957; Olsztyn, 299; Ostrołęka, 548; Suwałki, 347; Torun, 322; and Warsaw, 712. So the name is most common in northcentral to northeastern Poland.

The ultimate root of the name is the noun chojna, "fir, spruce." Names in the form X-owski usually refer to the names of places with which the families were connected. If a Chojnowski family was noble, at some point they owned an estate with a name beginning Chojn-, so that the surname meant essentially "of the place of the firs or spruces." If they were peasants, they lived and worked at a place with an appropriate name somewhere along the line.

There are a number of villages and settlements in Poland named Chojna, Chojnów, Chojnowo, etc., so without more specifics on an individual family there's no way to know which of those places the surname refers to in a given case. As I said, I can't even say for sure the family was noble, because originally -owski names were used only by nobility -- X-owski meant "[lord] of X" -- but as time went on peasants took such names as well. In their case, X-owski simply meant "one from X."

So to be sure your family was of the noble Chojnowskis, you'd have to trace the bloodline back and establish a connection with a recognized noble. I'm not saying your family is or isn't of noble origin. I'm just saying you can't tell from the name itself. Only genealogical research would establish the point.

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



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