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Mochowak - Mokhovak - Mohovak
Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 11:49:10 AM

 


...I have another favor to ask. On my grandfather Mohylowski's death certificate, signed by my father who is now 7 years deceased, I see the maiden name of my great-grandmother. This is written in, everything else is typed. The death certificate is from 1947. It gives her name as Rose Mohovak. I see no Mohovak in your book, and of course, Mohovak with a "v" doesn't seem Polish to me, anyway. What do you think? This is another surname I have never come across. I'll do a search on the Internet -- Switchboard -- to see if there are any occurences of this name in the US.

No, this doesn't make sense as a Polish name. However, it seems there's a Ukrainian connection to your family, and Mohovak could be a rendering by English phonetics of a name such as Mokhovak, which in Cyrillic would look like MOXOBAK. I looked that up in my big Ukr. dictionary, and the root mokhov- deals with "moss" (in Polish the same term is mech). Some words from this root include mokhove boloto, a term for "moss-bog," and mokhovik, a term for the wood grouse, a kind of bird. So a surname Mokhovak makes sense as a reference to where a person lived (near a mossy area) or perhaps as a reference to this or some other kind of bird or animal. (By the way, the word Moch in German means something similar, "marshy place"!). This name is apparently not used by anyone in Poland, though there are a couple of Mochowicz's; and I have no data for Ukraine, but I bet it's not so rare there!

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

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