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Dzierżanowski - Kowalczyk - Podowski - Rutecki
Created by Administrator Account in 5/5/2010 3:37:23 PM

 


...I found your page on the net which explains name origins and am interested in finding the meaning or origin of my families original name. If you have time any assistance would be appreciated...

The name Dzierżanowski, like most surnames ending in -owski, almost certainly began as a reference to a person or family's connection with place names -- in this case we'd expect it to mean "one from Dzierzanow, Dzierzanowo," etc. In older Polish when they added the suffix -ski prior endings had a tendency to drop off, so quite a few different places could yield the same name. I see on the map a village Dzierżanów in Kalisz province and villages Dzierżanowo in Ostrołęka and Płock provinces, and there could easily be more too small to show up on the maps. All these place names, in turn, derive from an old first name Dzierżan, from a root meaning "to hold, keep," so the villages originally meant something like "Dzierżan's place" (Dzierżan was probably the name of a founder or owner at some point), and the surname means "person from Dzierżan's place. It's a common surname in Poland, as of 1990 there were 1,526 Poles named Dzierżanowski, scattered all over but with the largest numbers living in the provinces of Warsaw (241), Białystok (138), Ciechanow (164), and Katowice (113).

Kowalczyk just means "smith's son," and is very common -- as of 1990 there were 87,690 Poles by that name, living all over the country.

Rutecki is a moderately common name, as of 1990 there were 1,526 Poles named Rutecki. This is probably also derived from a place name such as Rutka or Rutki, and there are several villages by those names in Poland. The ultimate origin of the name is either ruta, "rue" (a kind of plant) or a variant of rudka, a place where iron ore could be found.

Podowski is a tough one, I'm not sure what that comes from. If you write the Institute in Poland, this may be the one they can help you most with, if the form is correct -- it may be the name was originally spelled otherwise, but it was mangled somewhat over the course of years or during immigration. As of 1990 there were 216 Poles named Podowski, so the name is not unknown in Poland; the largest numbers lived in the provinces of Warsaw (30), Ciechanow (53), Gdansk (20) and Olsztyn (48), with a few others scattered here and there. But I've never run across it before, and my sources don't give any clues what it might come from.

... I will also take your advice and contact the institut in Poland...

That's a good idea. But don't waste their time with Kowalczyk, that's just too common and they wouldn't be able to add much to what I've said. Dzierżanowski is probably also a little too common to be much good. But their notes on Rutecki and Podowski are especially likely to prove informative.

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

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