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Created by Administrator Account in 10/18/2009 12:45:51 PM


... I was given your name recently as the "expert" in Polish surnames. Would you know if the name Aviza is Polish, Lithuanian, etc.?

I'm pretty sure Aviza can't be regarded as a Polish name -- as of 1990 there were no Polish citizens by that name, and I can find no Polish root that fits. There is a root in the Latin-derived languages, e.g., aviso in Spanish, "notice, advice, announcement," but that seems unlikely to be relevant here. However, I see that there is a word in Lithuanian, aviža (upside down caret over the Z), which means "oat," and that is entirely plausible as the source of a surname. In Lithuanian (and those other languages as well) we often see names based on plants or edible items. In this case, perhaps an ancestor dealt in oats, grew them, loved to eat them, etc. -- there are several ways such a name could get started.

Interestingly, there were in 1990 some 144 Polish citizens named Awiżeń (dot over the Z, accent over the N), with the largest numbers in the provinces of Gorzow (18), Olsztyn (30), and Szczecin (15). A. Beider's Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Kingdom of Poland mentions Awizański, saying it derived from the village of Awiżańce near Sejny. I cannot find that village on the map, but in Lithuania there are several villages named Avižieniai and one named Avižonys. Most likely all these names took their origin from the Lithuanian word aviža, presumably because they were somehow associated with the growing and dealing of oats. This may not be directly relevant to your research, since it appears the name you're interested in is simple Aviža, with no suffixes. But I thought I'd mention this other info, just in case it proves interesting.

I have no data on how common a name Aviža is, but I know someone who may be able to provide that info. Dave Zincavage is interested in Lith. names, and has a dictionary with info on them. I suggest you e-mail him to ask what he can add to what I've told you. I'll be very surprised, however, if the word for oat doesn't turn out to be the source of this name.

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





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