Bialakowski - Fischer - Rojewski
Created by Administrator Account in 1/23/2011 8:14:16 AM

 


… I am trying to research my father's genealogy. As a young immigrant, he and his siblings were orphaned. I know he was born in Lemberg/Lvov in 1912, and his parents came from the Wiesenberg, Vyshenka area. His surname is Fischer, but his mother's maiden name is Rojewska, and he thought his grandmother's name was Bialakowska (I'm not sure of the spelling). He thought this, translated means "White", but wasn't sure.

Names ending in -owska or -ewska are just feminine versions of names ending in -owski and -ewski, so that the wife of a man named Rojewski would be called Rojewska. Such surnames usually derive from similar names of places, so that we would expect Bialakowski to have started out meaning "person from Bialakow or Bialakowo or even Bialaki," something like that. I couldn't find any places that were exact matches, but if the name was Bialikowski, there is a village Bialiki in Łomża province; or if the name was Bialachowski, there are several places named Bialachowko and Bialochowo that might be relevant...

The problem with this surname is, the root bial-, which means "white," has generated a great many names, so without really firm knowledge exactly what the form of the name was originally; there are a lot of possibilities, Bialikowski, Bialachowski, Bialkowski, etc. They would all mean something like "Whitey's place," but it's hard to say which one we want. Also, if the family came from the Lvov or Vyshenka area, we're talking about Ukraine, whereas my sources deal more with Poland in its current boundaries - Ukraine used to be part of Poland, but that was some time ago, and I don't have as much info on that region as I do for Poland.

Anyway, based on the info you gave, all I can really say is that the surname probably comes from a place name, originally referring to the place the family came from, and those place names probably came from the root meaning "white" - and there are a jillion places from that root in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, etc. If you get some more precise info on the exact form of the name, let me know and I'll see if I can tell you more.

Rojewski comes ultimately from the root roj-, "swarm, teem, hive," and there are a number of villages called Rojewo - the surname probably started out meaning "person from Rojewo." This is a moderately common name in Poland, as of 1990 there were 3,162 Rojewski's, living all over the country; and there may well be more living in Ukraine, but I have no data for that country.

By the way, Fischer is, obviously, a German surname meaning "fisherman." But that can be misleading - a great many people of German ethnic origin settled in Poland and Ukraine, so we often run into German names in those areas. There aren't many names more German than Hoffman, and there are literally thousands of Hoffman's and Hofmann's and Hoffmann's in Poland.

So I'm afraid that's all I can tell you. Most Polish surnames don't provide anything very specific in the way of clues as to where or when they originated, and these are no exception. They come from basic roots meaning "white" and "swarm"; they probably began as references to the names of the villages the family came from; and the names are fairly common. I know this probably isn't as much info as you hoped for, but I hope maybe it helps a little. And I wish you the best of luck with your research!

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

 






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