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Created by Administrator Account in 3/14/2010 5:06:01 AM


...My name is Anthony Dankowski... Is Dankowski a common Jewish name? And what does Dankowski mean? I do not know anything about my grandparents but I am told they were killed during the war...

Names ending in -owski usually started as a reference to an association between a person and a particular place, and the names of those places generally end in -i, -y, -ow, -owo, etc. I would expect Dankowski to mean "person from Dankow, Dankowo," something like that. There are at least 8 villages named Danków, plus several more named Dankowice that the surname could conceivably derive from. So unfortunately the name Dankowski does not narrow things down much, families coming from any or all of those places could end up being called "Dankowski." The names of those places, in turn, come from names meaning "of, belonging to Danek or Danko," and would refer to some connection between the place and men named Danek or Danko who owned them, founded them, were prominent in them, etc. Danek in turn is a nickname or short form of such first names as Daniel and Bogdan.

Dankowski can be a Jewish name, but it doesn't have to be; Jews or Christians could have a first name Daniel or Bogdan (which means "God-given" and is thus a Slavic translation of Hebrew-based Biblical names such as Nathaniel or Jonathan), so a "Danków" or "Dankowo" could be a place where either religion lived, and thus Dankowski could be a name used by Christians or Jews. There just isn't anything about the name that gives a clue either way. There are some names that by their very nature are unlikely to be borne by Jews or Christians, but this isn't one of them. As of 1990 there were 2,539 Polish citizens named Dankowski, living all over the country. The largest numbers lived in the provinces of Bydgoszcz (233), Poznan (268), Torun (173), and Wloclawek (324), so the numbers are particularly large in north central and west central Poland; but those are provinces with large populations anyway, so I don't know that there's much to be concluded from that pattern.

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





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