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Kissel - Zając - Zajonc
Created by Administrator Account in 5/11/2010 1:58:19 PM

 


Is it possible that the name Kissel was originally somthing else but changed when the family arrived. Also the same for Zajac. I've grown up being told that both are of Polish origin.

Zając (pronounced "ZAH-yonts") probably has not been changed, except for one slight difference: in Polish the second a is written as an a with a tail under it, and pronounced much like on, so that this name is often spelled Zajonc. It comes from the word zając, "hare," and is a very common name in Poland; as of 1990 there were 48,349 Polish citizens named Zając, living all over the country... When people named Zając came to this country, in many cases the tail under the a was dropped and no further change was made. It is thoroughly plausible that that's the case here.

Kissel is harder, there's no basis on which to decide for sure. It certainly could be changed, for instance from Polish Kisiel, which would sound a little like "KISH-el" -- this is a common name from a word for a kind of fruit jelly; and as of 1990 there were 9,893 Poles by that name. But we can't rule out the possibility that this was a German name Kissel or Kuessel, or a Polish name Kiszel, etc.. In terms of numbers, Kisiel is by far the most common, so the odds are the name was originally Kisiel. But you can see that we don't have enough info to conclude that for sure.

Copyright © 2000 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


 

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