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Gaszyński
Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 12:00:04 PM

 


...Hi, my ... maiden name [is] Gaszynski. I am looking for any information you might have on the name Gaszynski. I'm not sure where to start to get ancestor information. I'm not sure if anyone is even left alive in the family that could provide anything.

The name Gaszyński is not extremely common in Poland, but it's not rare either. As of 1990 there were 486 Polish citizens by this name, with the largest numbers living in the provinces of Warsaw (45), Bydgoszcz (63), Kalisz (30), and Poznan (40), and smaller numbers in many other provinces. So they're pretty well scattered, and I don't see any useful pattern in the distribution. Unfortunately, I don't have access to more detailed info such as first names, addresses, etc.

It's tough saying exactly what the name came from. It probably refers to a person with a name beginning with Gasz-, a name root coming from first names such as Gabriel, Gawel, etc. Poles often took the first couple of sounds of a first name, dropped the rest, and added suffixes to form nicknames or by- names, so that the names I mentioned would yield Ga-, the suffix -sz- would be added, and then further suffixes would be added to that. So you can't say it really means anything, it's just a form of a first name, sort of like "Ted" vs. "Theodore," "Jack" vs. "John" in English.

There is a village called Gaszyn in Sieradz province, and there might be more villages with similar names too small to show up on my maps -- chances are your ancestors lived or worked in such places, or owned them if they were noble. Those places, in turn, got their names from the Gasz- I mentioned above. So in most cases I would expect Gaszyński meant "person from Gaszyn," which in turn was named for a prominent citizen who had a name beginning with Gasz- (or possibly Gach-, that's also a root that could yield Gasz-).

I know this isn't really a lot of help, but that's not unusual for Polish surnames. Sometimes they give you a helpful clue, most of the time they don't. If, however, you have some luck with your research and trace your ancestors to a specific area, then you learn that there's a nearby place with a name beginning with Gasz-, chances are reasonably good you've found the place they took their name from.

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

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