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Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 9:29:22 AM


...Do you have any information on the last name of Ksen?

The letter combination ks is not native to the Polish language, usually it shows up in words or names borrowed from Greek or Latin, especially by way of Ukraine or Belarus, because their ties to the Orthodox church caused them to borrow many names and words from Greek. In this case I'm fairly certain the name derives from either the Ukrainian feminine name Kseniya or the masculine name Ksenofont (for which Ksen' is a recognized nickname, in Cyrillic it looks like K C E H b). The latter name comes from the Greek roots xenos, "foreign" + phone, "sound," so apparently it originally meant "one who sounded foreign" -- but that was in Greek, I suspect by the time Eastern Slavs heard of the name it had become just a name, and few had any idea what it actually meant. The feminine name Kseniya, from the Greek xenios, "hospitable," is a bit more common, and the surname could also derive from it. In Poland and Ukraine surnames formed from first names are very common, especially from a father's name, but in Ukraine names formed from mother's names are not uncommon. So it's plausible to say this surname comes from one of these two first names.

Since Ksen' is distinctly Ukrainian (or perhaps also Belarusian or Russian), I'm not surprised that it's not very common in Poland, at least within its modern borders (back in the days of the Polish Commonwealth western Ukraine was ruled by Poland, and Polish and Ukrainian names mixed to a considerable extent). As of 1990 there were only 72 Poles named Ksen', living in the provinces of Warsaw (4), Elblag (5), Katowice (4), Kielce (16), Koszalin (2), Olsztyn (1), Opole (5), Poznan (2), Rzeszow (10), Szczecin (12), Tarnobrzeg (6), Tarnow (2), Walbrzych (3). They are scattered pretty much all over Poland, but that is probably due to all the forced relocations of displaced persons after World War II; I'd bet if we had data from before 1939 you'd find most of the people named Ksen' lived in or near Ukraine or Belarus. (Unfortunately I don't have access to more data, such as first names or addresses; what I give here is all I have).

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



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