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Czerny - Krzemiński - Rostow - Sędek - Szczepanek - Witek
Created by Administrator Account in 9/27/2010 6:16:14 AM

 


… my mother and I are trying to complete some family history for our family. Both my parents came from Poland but from different parts and it has been very hard trying to find all our ancestors. Here is the surname list and maybe you could help us out:

Sedek, (Edek, Wladek, Andrzej, Stanislaw)
Szczepanek (Ania, Eva, Maria-Kristina)
Czerny (unknown, Eugenia)
Krezminski (Stanislaw)
Rostov (unknown)
Witek (unknown)

We would like to know what the name means where our family orriginated and if their is any tree or if you could design a family crest!!!!!


Well, all I can do is tell you whether my sources give info on the linguistic origin of specific names; and occasionally a name will be associated with a particular area of Poland. I'm afraid that isn't true of any of these names, so I hope you won't be disappointed.

Szczepanek just means "little Stephen," although it would often have started out meaning "son of Stephen." As of 1990 there were 4,058 Poles with this name, living all over the country, which just makes sense -- this name could get started any place there were guys named Szczepan who had sons. You wouldn't expect it to be associated with any specific region.

Czerny means "black," probably referring in most cases to the color of one's hair or eyes. It, too, is quite common -- there were 1,638 Poles named Czerny as of 1990 -- and appears all over the country.

Sedek probably started out as Sędek -- the ę is the Polish nasal vowel pronounced like en. Sędek comes from a root meaning "judge, court," and the -ek suffix is a diminutive, meaning "little" or (as with Szczepanek) "son of." So the name probably meant "judge's son" originally. As of 1990 there were 747 Poles with this name, with the largest numbers living in the provinces of Warsaw (336), Kielce (159), Krakow (52), and Siedlce (40), roughly in central to southcentral Poland; but there are smaller numbers scattered all over the country.

Witek is a diminutive of the first name Wit, so it probably started out meaning "little Wit" or "Wit's son." The origin of the first name Wit is somewhat unclear, but in English we know it as "Vitus" -- this name is little used in English, and is probably familiar only from the name of the illness called "St. Vitus' dance." As of 1990 there were 13,222 Poles named Witek, living all over the country.

Krezminski is a variant or misspelling of Krzemiński, which means "from a town or village named Krzemin or Krzemien." Unfortunately, there are quite a few places by those names, so from the surname alone it's impossible to tell which place a given family was associated with. As of 1990 there were 14,154 Poles named Krzemiński, living all over Poland. There are probably more by this name living in Russia and Ukraine, too, because there are places with similar names in those countries; they all derive from a basic Slavic root meaning "flint."

I suspect Rostov may not have been Polish originally. Polish doesn't use the letter V, it uses W to stand for that sound, so the spelling isn't Polish. Also, Polish does not often form surnames ending in -ow, it prefers endings like -owski or -owiecki. Rostov may well be Russian, because I know there's a city in Russia called Rostov on the Don. The name could show up in Poland, spelled as Rostow, but it'd be rare -- as of 1990 there was no Polish citizen named either Rostov or Rostow. The root of the name is an old common Slavic verbal root meaning "to grow."

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

 

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