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Created by Administrator Account in 2/8/2010 9:33:15 AM


My grandfather was born in Biavestake (sp?), Poland. Do you know anything about this surname [Formanski]?

In Polish it is spelled with an accent over the N and pronounced roughly "fore-MINE-skee." As of 1990, according to the best data available (the Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych, "Directory of Surnames in Current Use in Poland," which covers about 94% of the population of Poland), there were 169 Polish citizens by that name. They were scattered in small numbers all over the country, with no significant concentration in any one area.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it is a variant of Furmański, from furman, "coachman." So Formański or Furmański would mean "of the coachman," presumably referring to the kin of one who made his living that way.

I can tell you there is no place in Poland named "Biavestake" -- that name has been badly mangled somewhere along the way. I don't know what it would have been originally. It might, possibly, have been Białystok, written with a slash through the L and pronounced roughly "b'yah-wee-stock." It is a sizable town in the far northeastern corner of Poland. One problem with this theory, however, is that the Surname Directory shows no one named Formański living in the province of Białystok as of 1990; so if your kin did live in the area once, it appears they no longer do.

Copyright © 2002 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.



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