Created by Administrator Account in 7/4/2010 1:41:36 PM


... I apologize for misleading you and wasting your time... My family name was not Kochanski, rather it was Kochanowski and, if my father can be believed, Kochanowska. The question I should have asked is... I was wondering if you had any information readily available for the last name Kochanowski and/or Kochanowska?

Actually, no harm done, because the answer is almost the same. First of all, names ending in -ska are the same as names ending in -ski, except that the -ska is the ending used for females. So the husband would be Kochanowski, but the wife would be Kochanowska. To Poles this is the most obvious thing in the world, but when they came to this country they eventually stopped doing it when they found themselves among English-speakers because they realized Brits and Yanks didn't understand and thought those were two different names.

As for Kochanowski, the key is in my previous note: "I don't see any place by that name, but some might have existed centuries ago, when surnames were being formed -- there are several villages named Kochanów, but that name would tend to generate a surname in the form Kochanowski, not Kochański." The surname Kochanowski began in most cases as a way of referring to a person or family who lived in or came from a place called Kochanów, Kochanowo, Kochanówka, or something similar. There are several villages named Kochanów and Kochanówka, so a Kochanowski family could have come from any of them, and thus there's no way to pin down which one a specific family came from without detailed data on the family. In other words, the most I can do is tell you what kind of place name to look for, and then with any luck you can use what you learn about your family and where they came from to see if there's any place nearby that qualifies.

As of 1990 there were 4,728 Polish citizens named Kochanowski, and they lived all over the country, so I'm afraid the surname itself doesn't offer much in the way of clues. About all we can know of it is that it originally referred to some connection between a family and a place called Kochanów or Kochanówka or something like that, and there are several places that qualify.

Copyright © 2000 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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