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Filipowski - Nowacki - Odachowski - Pieściuk - Plaski - Puszynski - Rzentkowski - Wisniewski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/17/2010 11:28:09 AM

 


... I just discovered your surname meanings ... web page. It was wonderful to find that someone else had been searching for my surname (Odachowski). I was wondering if you might know anything about some other surnames in my family: Filipowski, Nowacki, Pieściuk, Plaski, Puszynski, Rzentkowski, Wisniewski.

Names ending in -owski, such as Filipowski, usually indicate association with a place name, often ending with -ew, -ewo, -ow, -owo, etc. I'd expect Filipowski to mean "one from Filipow, Filipowo, etc." Those names, in turn, mean "Philip's place," Filip is the Polish form of our name "Philip." Unfortunately there are at least eight such places in Poland, so there's no way to know which one your Filipowski's might have been connected with. As of 1990 there were 4,138 Polish citizens named Filipowski, living all over the country.

Nowacka is just a feminine form of Nowacki, and that comes from the word nowak, "new guy in town." Names from nowak are exceedingly common -- as of 1990 there 24,910 Polish citizens named Nowacki, scattered all over the country.

According to Polish surname expert Kazimierz Rymut, the name Pieściuk comes from a root meaning "to fondle," perhaps it was a nickname for someone who was very demonstrative in showing affection, with lots of body contact. As of 1990 there were only 87 Piesciuk's in Poland, living in the following provinces: Warsaw 8, Gdansk 6, Jelenia Gora 2, Katowice 1, Koszalin 14, Olsztyn 3, Ostrołęka 1, Suwałki 4, Walbrzych 3, Wroclaw 1, Zielona Gora 10. There's not really enough data there to give a useful pattern of distribution, they really are scattered all over the country.

Plaski appears to come from the Polish word plaski, "level, flat," perhaps referring to the area where a family lived or perhaps to some quality or feature of their appearance or personality. As of 1990 there were 551 Poles by this name, w)th the largest numbers in these provinces: Warsaw 176, Katowice 50, Kielce 59, and Lodz 45.

Puszyński comes from a basic root meaning "to preen, prance, strut," or from an archiac word meaning "tuft of feathers." However, names ending in -iński and -yński are also usually associated with place names, and Puszynski probably indicates connection with a town or village. I can only find one likely candidate in my atlas, Puszyna in Opole province, so the Puszyński family in this case may have come from there. However, there might be other villages named Puszyn, Puszyna, etc. that were too small to show up on the maps. As of 1990 there were 273 Polish citizens named Puszynski, with the largest numbers living in the provinces of: Bielsko-Biala 45, Kielce 58, Warsaw 26, and Wroclaw 19. This seems to indicate the name tends to be most common in southcentral Poland.

Rzentkowski probably indicates origin in a village named something like Rzentkow, Rzentkowo, Rzentki - I can find no such places in my atlas, but that may just mean they were too small to show up. This is a tricky name because there are several different ways to spell it in Polish: it could be Rzętkowski (ę stands for the Polish nasal vowel written as an e with a tail under it and pronounced like en, ą stands for the other Polish nasal vowel written as an a with a tail under it and pronounced like on, or Rzędkowski, or Rzendkowski, or Rządkowski (the nasal vowels often switch), and so on. To make things worse, in Polish rz and Ż (dotted Z) are pronounced exactly the same, so for each of these spellings you also have to consider variants with Ż instead of initial Rz. In Polish names, if there are several different ways of spelling the sounds of a name, you should not be surprised to see several different spellings of the name... As of 1990 there were only 25 Poles named Rzentkowski, 46 named Rzędkowski, 1,265 named Rządkowski - this makes it very tough to say exactly which form of the name is relevant, and also what place name spelling we should be looking for.

The ending -ewski on Wiśniewski tells us this is another name indicating place of origin -- in this case, from any of a jillion villages named Wiśniewo or Wiśniew, all taking their names from the root wisznia, "cherry-tree." When a surname comes from a place name this common, you'd expect the surname to be common also, and Wisniewski is: as of 1990 there were 104,418 Polish citizens by that name, living in huge numbers all over the country.

... One last question. Could you recommend any web sites where I could look up the addresses of family members in Poland?

No, I'm afraid so far there are no such web sites. They're just starting to get Polish phone directories on the Web - so far as I know, the Poznan directory is the only one up and running - and phones in private homes are less common in Poland than here - so even when all the directories are on- line, they won't be very complete listings. As of now I don't know of any way, on-line or not, to get addresses, other than to use the phone directories. The PGSA and its sister society PGS-Northeast (8 Lyle Rd., New Britain CT 06053) have sets of such directories and will search them for specific names for a fee; contact them if you want to know more. It's kind of a long shot, but I don't know of any other source of the info you want. Sorry!

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

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