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Created by Administrator Account in 2/7/2010 3:13:26 PM

... I have been recently searching for my grandmother's maiden name to begin the quest of tracing my heritage. Her sister in law has tried, in the past, however, to no avail. Finding your website may give me a better chance at understanding just who I am, and possibly give my grandmother the gift of better knowing hers. The surname that I am looking for is Ogitzak.

I have looked through all my sources, and I'm afraid I have to admit I'm stumped. I can find nothing that appears to be related to this name. To start with, that is not a Polish spelling, although the name definitely appears to be Slavic; in Polish the tz would be spelled c, so I tried looking for Ogitzak or Ogicak, and found neither. There was no one in Poland with either name as of 1990, and none of my books shed any light on them. The only possibility I can think of -- and it's pretty far-fetched -- is that the family with this name might have lived in the part of Poland ruled by Russia, and the name was changed. Russian doesn't use the sound h, and Russians regularly turn h into g, so that in Russian I am called "Goffman" instead of "Hoffman." If that's relevant, the name might originally have been something like Ohidzak or Ohydzak; phonetically speaking, that is at least plausible. There is a Polish root ohyda that means "something horrible, dreadful, frightful, monstrous," and it is theoretically possible that a surname Ohydzak might derive from that and then turn into Ogitzak due to Russian phonetic influence. If so, the name would mean something like "son of the frightful one, hideous one." This is not a particularly pleasant name -- although I've seen plenty of Polish surnames that meant things like this, and worse. I wouldn't blame you a bit if you don't take it this too seriously, especially since I've had to make several stretches just to get to it; also, there was no one in Poland with this name or any likely spelling as of 1990. So it's far-fetched, as I said. But it's the only thing close to an explanation I can find!

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



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