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Niemoj - Niemojewski
Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 9:44:04 AM


...I was looking thru your Polish Surname book, which I recently purchased, for a translation of a family name, Niemojewski. I tried matching up with all possible variations for a meaning but I didn't have any luck. Can you please help me out?

People who bought the book and want to contact me with requests for more info are welcome to do so! There are so many Polish surnames I couldn't hope to include them all, and I could not include all the info I have on the ones I did list. But E-mail and the Web allow me to share some of the info there was no room for in the book.

As of 1990 there were 175 Polish citizens named Niemojewski (one reason it wasn't in the book, as a rule I didn't have room for names borne by fewer than 300 people). They were scattered all over the country, with the largest numbers (20 or more) living in the provinces of Warsaw (30), Lodz (20), Radom (21), and Skierniewice (22). This suggests the name is most common in the central part of Poland (in its current borders).

Names ending in -ewski usually derive from a place name, especially ones ending in -ew, -ewo, -ewice, etc., so Niemojewski probably started out meaning "one somehow connected with a place named Niemojewo/Niemojow," etc. Unfortunately, there are several different villages in Poland with names that could yield this surname, Niemojewo, Niemojewice, Niemojki, Niemojow, etc. One was an estate called Niemojewo near Inowroclaw in modern-day Bydgoszcz province; it was served by the post office in Parchanie, about 5 km. away, and the Parchanie Catholic parish church is probably the one to which people in Niemojewo went to register births, deaths, and marriages. As of 1583 this village was owned by a Mikolaj Niemojewski. I mention it to prove that this is at least one place the surname could come from; but as I say, there are several others, and without much more detailed info on your family there is no way to know which one applies in your family's case. However, with luck and perseverance you may uncover enough info to settle the matter -- if you trace your ancestors back to a specific area and one of these Niemojewo's or Niemojki's or Niemojow's is nearby, that's probably the place!

The root of these place names is interesting. Niemoj is an old Polish first name; Niemojewo and Niemojow just mean "Niemoj's place." Niemoj could have arisen in a couple of different ways, one from a term meaning "mute," but one meaning is literally "not mine" (nie = "not," mój = "mine"). Sometimes in olden days when parents had lost one or more child and ascribed it to evil spirits, they would name a child "Niemoj" in hopes of convincing the evil spirits to leave it alone -- "This one's not mine, no point bothering it, I don't care." Probably later on people just named kids that without thinking about what it meant, but that is one way we know the name got started! ... I wish I'd had room for more info like this in the book!

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



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