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Chmelyk - Juzda - Yuzda
Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 2:53:28 PM


...I really don't like to take advantage, but I have always been curious about the family surnames of Chmelyk and Yuzda from Galicia.

Chmelyk is not tough, that's a Ukrainian form, equivalent to Chmielik in Polish, and it refers to hops, the plant used in beermaking. Most likely the surname started out meaning "hopster" or perhaps "son of the hopster." As of 1990 there were 13 Polish citizens named Chmelik, a spelling variation of Chmelyk. But as I said, Chmelyk is a Ukrainian form, it's probably quite a bit more common in Ukraine, although unfortunately I have no source of data with which to check. (in Poland there are 372 Chmielik's, so it's not a really common name in Poland, but not rare either).

Since the sources I have are mainly in Polish, and Yuzda is a phonetic spelling of a name originally written in Cyrillic, I looked for the Polish spelling Juzda (Polish j is pronounced like our y) -- but I struck out, no Juzda's at all. At first I couldn't find any root it might derive from. But then I noticed in the dictionary a note that helped -- it mentioned, in connection with another word, that sometimes words beginning with J/Y are dialect variants of words with neither. In other words, Juzda/Yuzda can very well be a dialect variant of Uzda; this happens with other words, e. g. the word for "already" in Polish is już (pronounced sort of like "yoosh"), but in Russian and Ukrainian it's uzhe -- the main difference is that one puts a Y sound before the u, the other doesn't. And uzda I can find, in Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian --it means "horse's halter, bridle." That may sound odd as a name, but there are many other similar terms that became surnames, probably starting as nicknames because a man made halters, or sold them, or used them, something like that.

So it's plausible -- not certain, but plausible -- that Juzda is simply a variant of Uzda and meant originally "halter, bridle." Neither name is common in Poland, but might be a little more common in Ukraine -- as I say, I have no data on that.

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

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