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Kulis - Purzycki
Created by Administrator Account in 1/17/2010 11:19:36 AM


...I am doing research on two branches of my family, with a current goal of determining, hopefully, where each originated from in Poland. I have visited your web page, and would like to ask if you might have encountered either the surname Kulis or Purzycki.

Kulis can come from several different roots: Polish name expert Kazimierz Rymut mentions it in his book on Polish surnames under kul-, explaining that such names can come from the word kula, "sphere, bullet, crutch," or the verb kulić się, to crouch. I have also noted that in a few cases it can come from a nickname for Mikolaj, "Nicholas." In practice most names from kul- mean basically "cripple" (related to that meaning of "crutch" for kula), and that seems the most likely answer here, that an ancestor named Kulis had a deformity that made him lame or forced him to use a crutch.

Names from kul- are very common, and Kulis was the name of 810 Poles as of 1990, with another 1,727 named Kuliś (that ś is pronounced like a soft, hissing "sh") -- either of those could be the Polish form of this surname, and they both would mean about the same thing. The largest numbers of Poles named Kulis lived in the provinces of Warsaw (81), Katowice (79), Krakow (64), Olstzyn (51), Ostrołęka (57), Skierniewice (85), and Szczecin (52) -- there doesn't appear to be any particular pattern to the distribution. For Kuliś, the largest numbers were in the provinces of Warsaw (95), Czestochowa (104), Katowice (146), Kielce (200), Łomża (119), Ostrołęka (102), Piotrkow (108), Suwałki (202), and Tarnow (95) -- again, spread fairly evenly all over the country. (By the way, I'm afraid I don't have access to any more detailed info, such as first names and addresses, what I show here is about all I have).

Purzycki might come ultimately from a term purzyca, "thigh," but the immediate source would be a place name Purzyce or something like it. There is, for instance, a Purzyce-Trojany in Ciechanow province, and the surname probably referred to a family's coming from that or some other village with a similar name (there are probably others, too small to show up on my maps). As of 1990 there were 1,243 Poles named Purzycki, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Warsaw (227), Ciechanow (247), and Olsztyn (136). Probably quite a few of those took their name from that village I mentioned, but there are enough people by this name, in enough different parts of the country, to suggest more than one place gave rise to this surname. So the name means basically "person or family associated with, coming from, working at Purzyca or Purzyce."

This info may not be a lot of help pinpointing a particular area your ancestors came from, but that's generally true of most names. There are just too many different words, and places with similar names, to point unambiguously at a place of origin or clear-cut meaning. The origin of a place-derived surname usually is the most help if your research has established an area your ancestors came from, and if you find a village nearby with the right name. So if you learn where the Purzycki's lived in Poland before coming over, and you find a Purzyce or Purzyca nearby, that's probably the right place! As for Kulis, it could and did originate in many different parts of Poland, there just isn't any clue as to which particular place your Kulis's came from.

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



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