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Created by Administrator Account in 5/12/2010 11:09:52 AM


... I saw your address on a website and you said that you'd be willing to help people found out a little about their Polish surname. I'm hoping you can help me with the name Jarek.

This is one of many surnames that derive from old first names dating back to the days when the Poles were pagans. Before they were converted, the Poles generally gave their children names formed by taking one or two basic roots and putting them together to form a kind of simplified wish or prophecy for their children's future; thus the root jar-, "sharp, strict, severe" + the root gniew, "wrath, anger" could be combined to make the first name Jarogniew, meaning something like "may his wrath be harsh" (i. e., may he be such a tough guy that no one will dare mess with him). There were several such names with that root jar-, which could also mean "robust, young," and there were also several nicknames or short forms from those names, including Jaroch, Jaron, Jarosz, and Jarek.

Jarek is actually that root plus the diminutive suffix -ek, meaning in effect "little Jar" or "son of Jar," where "Jar" stands for any of those nicknames for names beginning with the root Jar-. Many surnames started this way, and have remained fairly common in Poland -- as of 1990 there were 2,403 Polish citizens named Jarek. In Polish the J is pronounced like our Y, so Jarek would sound like "YAW-rek" (rhyming with "law" + "wreck"). There is no one part of Poland where this name is concentrated, you run into it all over the country, so it offers no clues as to where an individual family named Jarek might have come from.

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



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