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Kostka
Created by Administrator Account in 8/22/2010 10:20:08 AM

 


... I am interested in learning more about the Kostka Surname I know that my great grandmother was born in Austria-Poland and would love to know about the origins of this name.

Kostka appears as a name in Polish documents as far back as 1318, and is particularly famous among Poles as the name of St. Stanislaw Kostka, a Polish saint who has been venerated for centuries as one of the most illustrious figures in Polish history; he died in 1568, and is the Polish patron saint of the young.

The name can derive either from kostka, "little bone," which can mean "dice" or "ankle" or any small bone, or --probably more often -- from a diminutive of the name Konstanty, "Constantine." Poles and Ukrainians both liked to take first names, drop all but the first part, and add suffixes, so that Kostka would be "little Constantine" or "son of Constantine." The the same basic derivation applies for the name Kosciuszko, as in Tadeusz Kosciuszko, hero of Poland's fight for independence and also of the American Revolution. So in some cases the name might refer to "little bone," but in most cases it probably started as a nickname for a fellow whose "proper" name was Constantine. This is especially likely if there is a Ukrainian connection, but that derivation also applies for many ethnic Poles.

As of 1990 there were 4,554 Polish citizens named Kostka, so it's a pretty common name. It is seen all over Poland, with particularly large numbers living in the provinces of Katowice (1,392), Bielsko-Biala (319), Opole (325) -- all in southcentral to southwestern Poland. But as I say, you run into Kostka's in virtually every province, so the name's too common to point to one area and say "That's probably where your family came from."

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

 

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