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Brytan
Created by Administrator Account in 5/16/2010 3:46:25 PM


...I was wondering if could assist me in establishing the origins of my surname, which is Brytan. all my family comes from Janow Jubelski in Poland.

I was a little surprised to see that as of 1990 there were 352 Polish citizens named Brytan -- that's more than I would have expected. They lived in many provinces, with larger numbers in the provinces of Elblag (30), Krakow (86), Tarnobrzeg (34), and Zamosc (63). The ones in Tarnobrzeg and Zamosc provinces are the ones most likely to be related to you, since that's the general area of Janow Lubelski (which is in Tarnobrzeg province, near the southern border with Zamosc province). Still, the distribution data shows that the name does appear elsewhere.

None of my sources discuss the origin of the name, but it seems likely to come from the root Brtyan-, "Britain, British." There is a term brytan that means a kind of large dog, and it comes from that root; all the words in the dictionary beginning with Brytan- have some connection with "Britain," usually referring to something associated with the British. Sometimes people got place-derived names because they came from that place, sometimes because they traveled there on business, but that would have been quite a commute! So it seems reasonable to figure the Brytans generally had some British blood in their family tree. This is not unheard of, there were quite a few foreigners living in Poland over the years -- the Scots, in particular, who often came to Poland to work as peddlers. It's not out of the question that a Scot who settled in Poland might end up with the name Brytan, since to Polish peasants the distinction between Scot and British might be kind of nebulous. But a Brytan could certainly have had British ancestors; there were Germans, Swedes, Scots, etc. in Poland, why not a few British?

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

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