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Kilar - Kilarski
Created by Administrator Account in 10/18/2009 8:21:04 AM


...I have been researching the origin of my mother's maiden name Kilar and found no reference to it in your book Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. She came from Obertyn, which was located in eastern Galicia at the time of her birth. We were told by an uncle that its origin is Swedish. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

I imagine you looked in the first edition of my book, because in the second edition I did mention Kilar. I could not find any source that gave firm info on he name's derivation, but it was too common to ignore, so I mentioned it and speculated it is a variation of the name Kielar; as of 1990 there were 2,994 Polish citizens named Kielar, 611 named Kilar, and 654 named Kilarski. Referring to a 10-volume set that gives names and frequencies (but no first names or addresses), we see that the name Kielar appears all over Poland, but with the largest numbers in the provinces of Krosno (590), Przemysl (282), Rzeszow (377), and Zamosc (299). These are all in southeast Poland and thus would have been in Galicia. As for Kilar, they too live all over, with the largest number in the province of Krosno, 196. With Kilarski the largest numbers are in the provinces of Warsaw (50), Opole (38), Tarnobrzeg (52), and Wroclaw (115); the frequency of this name in other parts of the country may have something to do with the forced relocation of Ukrainians after World War II. It certainly appears these names were most common in what used to be Galicia.

As I said, I don't have a firm indication of what the name derives from. I do note that there is or was a village called Kielary in Olsztyn province (northern Poland) which was "Kellaren" in German. This suggests the name Kielar/Kilar may derive from German Keller, "cellar," as a surname often meaning "cellarer, one in charge of the wine-cellar." Since there were large numbers of Germans living throughout all of Poland and Galicia and Ukraine, this derivation is plausible. Also worth mentioning is the root kila, a measure of grain in the Caucasus; it is possible Kilar could also come from this, especially in eastern Galicia. But I don't have enough information to say for sure.

If you'd like to get a more informed opinion on this, I recommend writing the Anthroponymic Workshop of the Polish Language Institute in Krakow.

I hope this information helps -- and if you do write the Workshop and get some info, I'd be very interested in hearing what they say. Most of the time they confirm my theories, but every so often they come up with something I've never heard of. I would love to know for sure what Kilar comes from, if I have this info I'll put it in the next edition of my book.

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



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