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Paciuszko
Created by Administrator Account in 1/23/2011 7:50:43 AM

 


… Could you send me some information on my wifes maiden name of Paciuszko?

I'm afraid I don't have a lot of information on this name. As of 1990 there were only 7 Polish citizens named Paciuszko, all living in the province of Radom (I'm afraid I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses). The name is pronounced more or less like "pah-CHOOSH-ko," and that ending -uszko generally suggests a name is likely to be Ukrainian in origin, which may explain the scarcity of the name in Poland -- my sources deal only with Poland in its modern borders. The name may be more common in Ukraine, but I have no way of checking that. So even though the spelling of the name is by Polish phonetic values, I suspect the name is of Ukrainian origin. This is not at all unusual -- Poland ruled western Ukraine for centuries, and Polish and Ukrainian names have mixed to the extent that it can sometimes be quite difficult telling which a particular surname is, especially since the Polish and Ukrainian languages are pretty similar in the first place.

The origin of the name is probably as a kind of nickname or by-name. Poles and Ukrainians both loved to form new names by taking popular first names, chopping off all but the first couple of sounds, and adding suffixes. So someone might be called Pawel or Pavlo (Paul) or Pakoslaw (an ancient Slavic name meaning "may he gain greater glory"); they'd chop off all but the Pa-; and then start adding suffixes: Pa- + -ci- + -uszko. So the surname Paciuszko probably started out meaning little more than "son of Paul or Pakoslaw" or some other name starting with Pa-.

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

 

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