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Koprowski - Kosel
Created by Administrator Account in 3/7/2010 1:43:53 PM

 


... Can you tell me about my maternal ancestory names, Kosel and Koprowski?

Koprowski comes ultimately from the roots koper, "dill," or kopr, "copper." But usually names ending in -owski derive from place names, so we would expect Koprowski to mean "person or family associated with Kopry, Koprow, Koprowo," something like that. I can't find any places by those names in my atlas, but that may just mean they were too small to show up, or have had their names changed, or have since disappeared or merged with other villages -- it's not uncommon to come across surnames derived from places of names we can't find any more. As of 1990 there were some 4,921 Polish citizens named Koprowski, so it's a pretty common name.

Kosel isn't necessarily Polish in origin, but if it is Polish it probably comes from the roots kos, "blackbird," or kosa, "scythe." As of 1990 there were 331 Polish citizens named Kosel, scattered all over Poland but with the largest numbers in the provinces of Katowice (99), Łomża (33), Radom (31). I can't see any pattern to the distribution (and, since many people ask, I should explain I don't have access to any further data such as first names or addresses). The similar name Kosela is more common, there were 913 Poles by that name.

I should add that I recently received a book on Polish names of German origin, and it mentions Kosel as a Germanized form of a Slavic name, from Polish Kozieł or Czech Kozel, presumably from the root kozioł, "goat." It also says the name can come from a number of places in Silesia called Kosel, of which the largest was Kosel, now called Koźle, in Opole province -- here again a connection with the root meaning "goat" appears to be relevant. So the name could be Polish from the roots for "blackbird" or "scythe," but in a lot of cases it's probably a Germanized form of a Polish name from the word for "goat."

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

 


 

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