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Opat
Created by Administrator Account in 5/12/2010 6:03:14 PM


...What can you tell me about the name of Opat. I undersand that it means "abbot" and that it may have been given to certain people for their work. It has not been shortened from another name in at least 4 generations. My in-laws came from the kepino area and have family there in Kaliz. Most of the other people we have found with the Opat name are Czech.

There's not a great deal I can add to what you already know. Opat probably does come from the term opat, meaning "abbot," but such names don't necessarily refer to the man himself. Just as a name meaning "king" might refer to a servant of the king, or someone who was the "king" of a group and called that as a nickname, a fellow might be called "abbot" in jest, as a nickname, or because he worked for or served an abbot, etc. We sometimes think of abbots as simple men of prayer, but in medieval times, an abbot was actually a person of considerable power. He often owned vast estates, technically the property of the monastery but in fact run by him; he might have all kinds of retainers and servants. So we can't say for sure exactly what "Opat" might mean as a surname, except that it was somehow connected with "abbot."

As of 1990 there were 184 Polish citizens named Opat, living in the following provinces: Warsaw 2, Biala Podlaska 2, Białystok 5, Bydgoszcz 5, Chelm 9, Ciechanów 3, Elblag 1, Gdansk 14, Gorzów 11, Katowice 12, Konin 9, Legnica 5, Leszno 26, Lublin 27, Lodz 3, Olsztyn 4, Ostrołęka 5, Pila 5, Poznan 16, Torun 2, Zielona Gora 10. I'm afraid I don't have further details such as first names or addresses, and I have no data on Czechs at all, so I can't shed too much light on that.

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

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