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Czerniejewski - Lamczyk - Łamczyk
Created by Administrator Account in 5/1/2012 12:41:44 PM

 


… My father's full name was Lamczyk, and he lived his life in the town of Radom, in the southern part of Illinois. . . my mother's maiden name is Czerniejewski. I know absolutely nothing about if and when the Lamczyk name was shortened, changed, etc.

This name is hard to pin down, none of my sources mention it specifically, and there are a couple of different ways it could have developed, theoretically. I will say this, there is no reason to assume it was changed or shortened -- the name Lamczyk was borne by 508 Polish citizens as of the year 1990, so it's a perfectly good name. The Lamczyk's lived all over Poland, with larger numbers in the provinces of Bydgoszcz (87), Gdansk (59), Katowice (81), Kielce (98), and smaller numbers scattered in numerous other provinces (unfortunately, I have no access to further details such as first names or addresses). It's interesting that the name is more common in areas once ruled by the Germans, where German language and names tend to show up often, so we can't rule out some German connection.

The suffix -czyk in surnames usually means "son of," so the question is, what does Lam- or Lamc- mean? There are several possibilities. The name Lamm exists among Germans, from the German word for "lamb," and we can't rule out the possibility that this meant "son of Lamm," perhaps referring to a shepherd or a man who had that name because he reminded people of a lamb or was somehow associated with lambs. It could also derive from a shortened version of a first name, perhaps Lambert; Poles often formed short names or nicknames from first names by taking the first few sounds, dropping the rest, and adding suffixes, so that "son of Lam[bert]" is plausible. The root lam- also shows up in a verb lamować, "to trim," that is, "edge, pipe, add a border"; it seems somewhat unlikely that this surname might refer to the son of a fellow who added borders or piping to clothes, etc., but it's not out of the question.

If the name was originally Łamczyk -- the Polish l with a slash through it is pronounced like our w, but often left simply as l when Poles emigrated -- it could mean "son of a łamacz," a person who broke or crushed stone for a living. The problem with that is, the named Łamczyk is virtually unknown in Poland these days, so the odds are we're dealing with Lamczyk, which is a moderately common name.

On the whole, with no firm data to base my analysis on, I would tend to think either "son of Lamm" or "son of Lambert" is the most likely derivation. But I can't be certain.

If you'd really like to know, you might contact the Anthroponymic Workshop of the Polish Language Institute in Krakow. They don't do genealogical research, only research on the origins of names. They charge US$10-20 for analysis of a name, and they can correspond in English.

Czerniejewski is a name meaning "person from Czerniejew or Czerniejewo or Czerniejow," and there are several Polish villages by those names, so without further info on the family we can't say which of those villages the name originally referred to in your family's case. It's a fairly common surname, as of 1990 there were 1,616 Poles named Czerniejewski, living all over the country.

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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