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Dąbrowski - Dombrowski - Litwiński - Milko - Ruszczyk
Created by Administrator Account in 9/27/2010 9:11:36 AM

 


… I wonder if you have any information on my parents names: Milko and Dabrowski/Dabroski? or the grandmothers - Letwinski/Litwinski and Ruszczyk?

Dabrowski/Dabroski is an extremely common name, as of 1990 there were 92,945 Polish citizens named Dąbrowski (ą is normally pronounced like "own," but before b or p pronounced like "om"). The version without the -w- is less common, but does appear, and is due to the fact that in some areas of Poland they pronounce that W so lightly that it virtually disappears, so spelling it Dabroski makes sense. It's also often spelled Dombrowski/Dombroski because the pronunciation of the nasal vowel makes it sound like that, so it can also be spelled that way -- there were 2,786 Dombrowski's in Poland as of 1990. The surname comes from the term dąbrowa, "oak grove," so that it means "one from the area of the oak grove," but Dąbrowa is also any extremely common place name in Poland, so the surname could also be interpreted as meaning "one from Dąbrowa" -- and as I say, there are literally dozens of places by that name.

Litwiński is probably the standard spelling and Letwinski a variant. As of 1990 there were 2,035 Polish citizens named Litwiński. The name comes from the term litwin, which means "Lithuanian," so that Litwiński means roughly "person from Lithuania, kin of the Lithuanian," something like that.

Milko is a rather rare name, as of 1990 there were 190 Polish citizens named Milko, and another 36 who spelled it Miłko (with ł pronounced like our w). The largest numbers of Milko's lived in the provinces of Białystok (37), Jelenia Gora (29), Legnica (21), and Pila (16), in other words, scattered all over the country; the majority of the Miłko's (27) lived in Warsaw province. In some cases this name might come directly from the root mił-, "dear, beloved, nice," but usually it would derive as a short form or nickname for someone with old pagan compound names with that root -mił, such as Bogumił ("dear to God") or Miłosław ("one to whom glory is dear"). Miłek is a rather common short form of such names, Miłko or Milko was less common, but as we see, it did generate the surname in some cases. It probably started as a reference to a prominent member of the family and became a kind of shorthand, "Miłko's kin," and thus became a surname.

Ruszczyk is a moderately common name, as of 1990 there were 2,038 Ruszczyk's in Poland. The basic root of the name is probably rusz-, "to move," but it's worth noting that there is a noun ruszczyk meaning "pin-clover, pin-grass, Erodium cicutarium," and many plants and grasses served as the origin of Polish surnames. Finally, the name Rusek or Ruszek is often seen given to a person of Russian or Ruthenian (Ukrainian) origin, and Ruszczyk might sometimes develop from it, meaning "son of the Russian." In a given instance it's impossible to say which of these derivations would prove relevant; for one Ruszczyk family the grass might be the connection, for another it might be Russian or Ukrainian origin, etc.

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

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