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Falikowski - Falkowski - Chwalikowski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/2/2010 8:05:58 AM


I was hoping you could help me out. My surname is Falikowski. When I researched coats of arms, I found Falkowski, but no Falikowski, with the "i" after the L. Do you know whether the two names are related? Are they derivations of Falk? Any other information that you could share would be most appreciated.

This is a tough call, because FALIKOWSKI (pronounced roughly "fah-lee-KOFF-skee") obviously comes from the same basic root as FALKOWSKI; but that doesn't necessarily imply any other relationship. Just as the English surnames Jones and Johnson both come from the first name "John," but would usually be totally different names borne by different families, Falikowski clearly has that same basic root fal- as Falkowski; but that signifies only a linguistic relationship, not a family one.

I should add, though, that just as Jones and Johnson could conceivably be confused because they're similar names, so Falikowski and Falkowski might be confused. A family properly known as Falikowski might sometimes be called Falkowski by error, and vice versa. But that's a matter of human error, which must always be factored into our research. The names would usually be borne by distinct families, not necessarily connected in any way.

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, available online), there were 104 Polish citizens named Falikowski. The largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Walbrzych, 24, and Wroclaw, 67. 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. This data tells us the name is found primarily in southwestern Poland, in the region called Silesia.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says that like so many names beginning Fal-, this one is a modified form of names originally beginning Chwal-. That root is pronounced with a guttural "ch" (as in German "Bach") followed by "vahl." It's a bit of a mouthful, but Poles can handle it. Still, for some reason, in some parts of Poland there was a tendency to simplify that combination of sounds to a simpler one that sounds much like English "fall."

So FALIKOWSKI is a variant of CHWALIKOWSKI. Professsor Rymut says that name appears in records as early as 1395, whereas FALIKOWSKI shows up as early as 1399. He says Falikowski refers to a family connection with any of a number of places named Chwalikowice and Chwalikowo. There are several places by those names, and from the surname alone there's no way to tell for sure which one a given Falikowski family came from. Only research into the family history might establish that.

Here's where it gets complicated -- Rymut gives FALKOWSKI, appearing in records as early as 1448, as potentially having the same derivation. In other words, both Falikowski and Falkowski can mean "one from Chwalikowice or Chwalikowo." In some cases the surname retained that -i-, in other cases it dropped it over time. This makes it even more possible that Falikowski might sometimes be the same as Falkowski. It would depend a lot on the individual families involved. Some might have gone by either name; others might have insisted on one or the other.

FALKOWSKI, however, clearly can also refer to a connection with places named Falki, Falków, Falkowo, etc., which do not have that -i-. FALIKOWSKI would refer to a place with a name beginning Chwalik- or Falik-. So in some instances the presence of that -i- can indicate a different derivation. The problem is, it doesn't always -- you can't rely on that being true every time.

There's only so far you can go by analyzing name origins. There comes a point where you say, "OK, that's what I can tell you. From here on you're on your own. These CAN be connected -- but only your research can tell you whether they were or were not." That's the point we've reached. Both these names can have the same derivation, but only you can determine whether they are actually connected in your family history.

I wish I could give you a simple, straightforward answer. But sometimes the answer is not simple, and pretending otherwise is a lie. I hope I've told you enough to help you with your research. That's what I try to do -- outline the possibilities, so that you can make informed choices based on what you discover as you trace your family history.

Copyright © 2003, 2004 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.




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