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Kasprzykowski - Werra
Created by Administrator Account in 5/17/2010 3:21:38 PM


...I am interested in any information you could pass on to me regarding the surname Kasprzykowski ("Kasper-kush-key"), the maiden name of my paternal grandmother, or Werra (GGM's maiden name). Frank Kasprzykowski & Martha Werra emigrated to Milwaukee from Poland in 1892...

The name Kasprzykowski probably originated as a reference to a place the family came from or was otherwise connected with; I'd expect the place to have a name something like Kasprzyków, Kasprzykowo (meaning, essentially, "the place of Kasper's son, probably referring to someone who founded it or owned it at some point). Offhand I can't find any place by either name on the maps, but that's not unusual. Often surnames were generated from the names of places that were quite small -- the names may have been used only by locals, and never appeared on any map or in any gazetteer -- or that have since changed their names. If your research leads you to a particular area of Poland and you find any reference to a nearby village or settlement with a name beginning Kasprzyk-, that's probably the one your family's name came from... As of 1990 there were 530 Polish citizens named Kasprzykowski, living all over Poland but with the largest numbers in the provinces of Bydgoszcz (74), Katowice (55), Torun (92), and Warsaw (43). (Unfortunately, I don't have access to further details, such as first names or addresses).

Werra is a tough one. It's not rare, as of 1990 there were 490 Polish citizens by that name, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Bydgoszcz (78), Gdansk (155), and Slupsk (163), all in northcentral and northwest Poland, roughly in the areas that used to be the provinces of West Prussia and Pomerania under German rule. The origin of the name is not clear, however; there is a Werre river in Lippe, and the name used to be Werne; there is also a German surname Werres which comes from the first name Severus (Latin, "strict, stern, severe"). So the surname could well come from one of those two names; many names in those areas are of German origin, as Poles and Germans mixed to a considerable extent there. But none of my sources mention it, so I can't give you a firm derivation, only my guess that it might be connected to one of the two names I mentioned.

(Of course, it might always turn out this is connected with the Slavic root vera, "faith, belief," or Latin verus, "true." This is possible if that -rr- spelling is not integral to the name, and Wera was the original form.)

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

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