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Created by Administrator Account in 10/15/2009 1:30:20 PM


Have you ever come across the surname Antolak? I've always been told that it's a Polish name, but I've never been able to confirm.  Thanks!

In Polish this name is pronounced roughly "on-TOE-lock." You can see data on its frequency and distribution in Poland as of 2002, and a map illustrating the data, here:

It shows as of 2002 there were 1,784 Polish citizens by this name. The largest number, 362, lived in the far southeastern county of Nowy Targ; there was also a sizable concentration in the county of Warsaw (177) and the county of Ryki (southeast of Warsaw). The rest were scattered in small numbers all over the country. So as is often the case with Polish surnames, this name is not so concentrated in one area as to allow us to say

"An Antolak family must have come from here." We can only note that the name shows up most often in the area near Nowy Targ and in the area near Warsaw --  but a given family by this name could have come from many different places in Poland. It's also unlikely there's one big Antolak family; more likely, the name developed among a number of different families independently (although of course there's no way to know that for sure without actually tracing the history of every Pole by this name).

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says the earliest mention scholars have found of this name in Polish records dates from 1768, but I think it's pretty sure the name has been around longer than that -- it just didn't happen to show up in any documents studied so far until then. Rymut lists it among the many surnames from the first name Antoni, the Polish version of the name we know as "Anthony." He lists ANTOL as another surname from Antoni, saying it appears in Polish records as early as 1566. ANTOLAK most likely started out as a way of saying "son of Antol."

So ANTOL developed as a nickname from Antoni, and once Antol existed, ANTOLAK could be formed from it. It would mean something kind of like "son of Tony."

You might want to consider posting this name in PolishOrigins' Surnames Database. Who knows, you might hear from others looking for the same name!

That's about all I can tell you. I hope it's some help, and wish you the best of luck with your research.

Fred (officially "William F.") Hoffman
Author, Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings

Copyright ©2008 W.F. Hoffman




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