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Kumiega
Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 11:43:58 AM

 


...I am not big into genealogy, just interested in my heritage. I have not been able to obtain any information on my name or history from relatives or informal sources. The information that I have been able to obtain indicates that my grandparents came to the US in the time period of 1897-1902 from the area of Tarnow in SE Poland. I would be happy with any information you might be able to provide, even if it is only to put a meaning to the surname, much like the surname "cooper" refers to the barrel makers trade.

I can't provide as much info as I'd like on Kumiega, but I have a little info that may be relevant.

First, the frequency and distribution of the name. There are two forms, Kumiega and Kumięga (here the ę represents the Polish nasal vowel written as an e with a tail under it, pronounce much like en). As of 1990 there were 215 Kumiega's; the overwhelming majority (168) lived in the province of Tarnow, with small numbers in a few other provinces. Kumięga was a bit more common and more spread out, there were 568 Kumięga's, but again, the huge majority lived in the neighboring provinces of Tarnow (271) and Tarnobrzeg (96) in southeastern Poland. This strongly suggests that your ancestors came from the heart of Kumiega country, and that the area you've identified is likely to be the area where this name originated and is most common.

Unfortunately I have no access to any further data, such as first names, addresses. If you want such data, you might try seeing if you can find someone to do a search of the Tarnow province phone directory; the Polish Genealogical Society of the Northeast, 8 Lyle Rd., New Britain CT 06053, does this at reasonable prices, but I'll warn you, there are problems. The way these books are organized, a search for a particular name tends to take several hours, plus phones in private homes are not as common in Poland as they are here -- so there's no guarantee any of the Kumiega's listed would be any kin to you, or at least not close kin. Still, it's the only way I know of to try to get specific addresses. If you want to go this route, you'd probably be better off pursuing your research to find out first what specific villages in Tarnow province your ancestors came from, since the name is so common in that area -- focusing on a specific village or two would narrow the focus of the search and increase the chances of a respectable pay-off.

As to the origin of the name, the only root I can find in Polish (or any other Slavic language) is the word ... which means "godfather," also "crony, pal." Poles (and Russians and Ukrainians) often use this term to refer to close buddies, guys you hang around with, as well as an actual godfather. There is a related verb kumać się, "to hobnob." The -iega suffix is not an extremely common one in Polish names, but we do run into it occasionally. In this context Kumiega or Kumięga would probably refer to "my buddy's kin," something like that. So if someone was regarded in the village as a good old boy, everybody's pal, the name Kumiega might get attached to his family as a kind of nickname, eventually becoming their surname.

That's the best explanation I can come up with. None of my sources discuss this name, so I'm having to make an educated guess, so to speak -- but I think the chances are good this is reasonably close to the truth.

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

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