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Maurycy - Osielski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/23/2011 7:36:57 AM

 


… My wife has recently become interested in her Polish origins. I have been unable to find any mention of her paternal side, Osielski, or her maternal side, Maurycy, in my initial search. Any help would be appreciated.

The surname Maurycy almost certainly comes from the first name Maurycy, which is a Polish version of the name we know as "Maurice." Usually when first names were used as last names, it was as a reference to a father who was well known in the community, so that "Maurycy" would be a short way of saying "Maurice's kids, Maurice's kin." As of 1990 there were only 58 Poles with Maurycy as a surname, of whom the largest number by far, 38, lived in the southeastern province of Tarnow. (I'm afraid I don't have access to further details such as first names and addresses.)

Osielski comes from the word osiel or osioł, "ass, donkey"; the surname, like all names ending in -ski, is adjectival in form, and originally would have meant simple "of, from, pertaining to a donkey." It may have been uncomplimentary, but I don't think it had to be. Perhaps it was simply a way of referring to people who raised or sold donkeys, worked with them, that kind of thing; or, of course, it may have referred to someone who reminded folks of a donkey by being hard-headed or making a noise like a donkey. It could also have started as a way of referring to someone who came from a place with a similar name, for instance, Osielsko in Bydgoszcz province or Osielec in Nowy Sacz province.

Osielski is not an overly common name in Poland, as of 1990 there were only 151 Osielski's, scattered in small numbers all over the country; the only provinces in which more than 10 Osielski's lived were Bydgoszcz (10), Gdansk (13), Katowice (18), Lublin (11) and Wloclawek (45) -- Wloclawek is in central Poland, Bydgoszcz and Gdansk in the northern to northwestern part, Katowice in the southcentral part, and Lublin in the southeastern part, so the name is really scattered!

So neither of these names is very common, and neither provides much of a lead to help you track a given family down, although with Maurycy it would make sense to focus on the Tarnow area as the likely origin (no guarantees, just a matter of playing the odds). That's not unusual, by the way -- relatively few Polish surnames offer any real help in tracing a particular family's roots.

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

 

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