Literski
Created by Administrator Account in 9/27/2010 8:27:55 AM

 


…I would appreciate any info you may have on Literski. I have traced them back to Lipposch, West Prussia.

None of my sources mention this name, so I'll have to speculate a little, and there's no guarantee I'm right; but usually when I do this I find out later I was on the right track. So I'll hope I don't mislead you.

There are two main possibilities: that it derives from a German word or name, or that it is Polish. Your tracing the family to West Prussia suggests we can't ignore a German origin. It was not unusual for Germans living in areas with Polish populations to gradually have their names Polonized, so that something like Liter or Lueter (ü or u-umlaut) might eventually become Literski. It's unclear what the German name might have been, but I think Lueter (a variant of Luther) is a distinct possibility, since the Poles would tend to turn that umlaut-u into the "ee" sound they write as i. So going strictly by phonetics and Polish orthography, it's plausible that Literski derived from some form of Luther or Lueter, which come from ancient German roots meaning "fame" or "people" plus the root meaning "army, people."

The other possibility is that it is Polish; if so, the most likely source is the root litera (borrowed from Latin) meaning "letter." This might seem an unlikely name, but until this century most Poles were illiterate, and it wouldn't strike me as odd if a rare individual who could read and write was designated as a man "of letters" -- which is what Literski would mean literally in this context.

Without research by experts who have traced this name back in documents to its origins, I have to go with the explanations that seem most likely to me. If you find strong German roots in your family, the Luether origin might be more likely; if they were ehtnic Poles, the "letter" connection would carry more weight.

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






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