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Created by Administrator Account in 7/4/2010 4:18:34 PM


... Thanks for your wonderful and insightful work on the internet. I have been looking for some time into my mother's maiden name Kotlowski. Any family members who could give me this information have long since passed away. If you could, please tell me about this name, it will be greatly appreciated.

Names ending in -owski usually began as references to a connection between a person or family and a place with a similar name, generally ending in -ów, -owo-, -owa, -y, etc. Thus we'd expect Kotłowski to mean "person from Kotłowo" or something like that; those place names in turn would derive from the noun kocioł, meaning "boiler, kettle." Without more info it's hard to say for sure, but those places probably got that name either because they were known for making or selling kettles, or because of some local geographical feature shaped like a kettle. Unfortunately, there are quite a few villages in Poland named Kotłów, Kotłowo, Kotłówka, etc., and Kotłowski could have come from any or all of them. Your Kotłowski's might have come from this village, another Kotłowski's family might have come from that one, and so on.

As is generally true when a surname can come from several different place names, this is a fairly common surname: as of 1990 there were 2,269 Polish citizens named Kotłowski. They lived all over Poland, with the largest concentration by far in the province of Gdansk (1,059); however, you find Kotłowski's in virtually every province, so we can't assume any one Kotłowski family comes from the Gdansk region. But that is where quite a few of them would come from.

I know this doesn't offer you much in the way of specific leads, but that's the way it usually is with Polish surnames. Names that give a really useful clue as to their place of origin are the exception, not the rule.

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




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