Kaznocha - Madej
Created by Administrator Account in 7/4/2010 1:05:54 PM


... I am interested in any information you have on the origin of my paternal grandparents names Kaznocha from Rola Cicha, Rzeszów and Madej, Rudna Mala Rzeszow.

Madej is a name seen in records as early as 1415; it comes from the Latin first name Amadeus ("love-God"), famous mainly as the middle name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but it was a moderately popular first name in Poland and other European countries. Names beginning with Mad- can also come from the name Magdalena, but in this case I think it's pretty likely Amadeus is the source. A great many Polish surnames come from first names, often referring to children by their father's names -- "There goes Madej's son" could eventually generate the surname Madej, or it could simply be a first name that came to stick as a surname. As of 1990 there were 16,799 Polish citizens named Madej, living all over the country (413 in Rzeszów province alone), so it's a pretty common name.

Kaznocha is tougher -- none of my sources mention it -- and also rarer; as of 1990 there were only 90 Poles by this name. They lived in the following provinces: Bielsko-Biala 3, Gdansk 5, Gorzów 7, Katowice 21, Kielce 2, Kraków 2, Krosno 1, Lublin 12, Rzeszów 9, Szczecin 17, Tarnobrzeg 5, Wroclaw 6. (I'm afraid I don't have access to further details such as first names and addresses; what I've given here is all I have). A look at a map will tell you that the name is scattered in small clumps all over Poland, but it is possible this was not so before World War II -- the dislocations caused by that war, and especially by post-war forced relocation of massive numbers of people from eastern Poland and western Ukrainian to western Poland, may have muddied the waters considerably. Looking at this distribution, it strikes me as entirely possible that before 1939 this name might have been concentrated mainly in southeastern Poland (including Rzeszów province and those surrounding it). I can't be sure, I have no source of pre-war data, but it is at least possible.

It seems clear that this name comes from a root seen in Polish and Ukrainian, kazn-, which means "to scold, chastise, punish"; kazna is also a term used in Ukrainian to mean "public funds, treasury," and also in terms such as kaznokrad, "embezzler," and that may be relevant, but I suspect the other meaning is the one behind the surname. We see such terms as kaznodzieja in Polish, literally "chastise-doer" but used in the meaning "preacher," especially in the sense of one who chastises the sinful and brings the wrath of God down on his listeners. We see a number of names in Polish that come from a root plus the suffix -och or -ocha, which don't have a clear-cut meaning but are just suffixes added to form names. Such names were popular in Poland, especially before the country was Christianized and Christian names such as Jan, Piotr, Stefan, etc. supplanted the old native Slavic names; thus the name of the city of Czestochowa means "Czestoch's place" (the root means "many, much, frequent"), and I know a man named Zimnoch, from the root meaning "cold," etc. My best guess is that Kaznocha meant originally "the scolder, the chastiser." It would make a pretty good name back in the old days, meaning perhaps an intimidating fellow who punished anyone who got out of line.

I am just speculating here -- as I said, none of my sources mention this name -- but going by analogous names, I think it's pretty likely that's how this name started.

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