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Bycofski - Bycowski - Byczewski - Bykowski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/16/2010 4:26:03 PM

 


...I am a second generation American. My grandparents came from Warsaw. Their last name is Bycofski. They took up the surname Cuba. They settled in Athens, Ohio. My grandfather died in the worst mine disaster in the history of Ohio ? the Pittsfield mine explosion. I'm trying to piece my lineage together. Can you shed any light on the name Bycofski?

The first problem here is to get the original Polish form of the night -- Bycofski has clearly been anglicized. The w in the ending -owski is pronounced like an f, so Bycowski is a plausible spelling. Unfortunately, there was no one in Poland with this name as of 1990, which suggests -- although it doesn't prove for sure -- that that form is not likely to be right. The c is the next problem. If it is pronounced like a k, the Polish spelling was probably Bykowski; but sometimes c and cz alternate in names, so Byczowski is also possible. But that name doesn't show up in Poland either. There is Byczewski, a name borne by 59 Poles. Bykowski, however, was the name of 2,778 Poles as of 1990. Without more info to go on, I'm inclined to think Bykowski was the original Polish spelling. As I said, there were 2,778 Poles by that name, living all over the country, with the largest numbers in the provinces of: Warsaw (166), Białystok (163), Lodz (181), Piotrkow (153), and Wloclawek (197). I can't see any real pattern to the distribution, the name appears to be spread all over the country.

Whether byc- or byk- was the original beginning of the name, it probably derives from the term byk, meaning "bull," diminutive byczek, "bullock." The -owski ending usually means the name was formed from the name of a village or town ending in -ow, -owo, -owa, or something similar. There are quite a few places named Bykow, Bykowo, Bycz, Byczow, and so on, and the surnames Bykowski or Byczkowski could theoretically come from any of them. Those places got their names from a connection with a fellow with the nickname Byk ("Bull") or with bulls -- probably cattle were raised there. So your surname probably started out meaning "person from the place of the bulls or Bull's place." But since there are so many places that might be the source of this name, there's no way to guess which particular one the name started in. It could have started in any of them, and probably did arise independently in a number of places. That explains why Bykowskis now live all over the country.

I know I haven't answered all your questions, but without lots of detailed info on your particular family, there just isn't enough data to draw any specific conclusions. Still, I hope this info is some help to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your research!

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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