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Motowidlak - Motowidło
Created by Administrator Account in 2/8/2010 12:30:42 PM


I was wondering if you can give me some history on my last name, Motovidlak. I'm curious how old it is and the nationality of it.

Also, how many Motovidlak's there are. Thank you.

In Polish this name is spelled Motowidlak, pronounced roughly "mo-to-VEED-lock." 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 10 Polish citizens by this name. They lived in the following provinces: Katowice 4, Rzeszow 6. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses.

There's one thing you might try. In the July 2000 issue of the Polish-American Journal, the PAJ Answerman suggested one can find individuals or families "by contacting the one office in Poland that has on file the addresses of all people currently living in Poland: Centralne Biuro Adresowe, ul. Kazimierzowska 60, 02-543 Warsaw, POLAND." I have no idea whether this works or not, and it's of no help if a name is scattered all over the country. But in instances where a name is highly concentrated in one area, I pass the info along, because if this Central Address Office does succeed in providing you with addresses, chances are very good those addresses belong to relatives. It's worth a try.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. It comes from the noun motowidło, "a reeling-machine, spool." An ancestor presumably got that name because he made or sold or worked with such a machine. The suffix -ak in surnames generally means "kin of, son of, one associated with," so it seems likely this surname began as a way of referring to the son or kin of one called Motowidło because of a connection with reeling or spooling. The name Motowidło is more common, borne by 361 Poles as of 1990; a diminutive, Motowidełko, "little reel, little spool," was borne by 59 Polish citizens as of 1990.

I am assuming this name is Polish. It could develop in other Slavic languages; I don't know. I deal mainly with Polish names, so that's all I can talk about. Thinking about it, though, it's certainly possible the same name, spelled with a V instead of a W, could develop in other languages, too, such as Czech. It would presumably mean more or less the same thing, however.

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



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