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Baziński - Hejza - Kołton
Created by Administrator Account in 5/1/2012 1:06:43 PM


… I am the only person in my family that knows how to use the Internet. I am the first generation that was born in the United States. I am 17 years old from troy michigan and want to desperately find my ancestors and family tree. I cannot use a program from the store since my mom and Dad are born in Poland and I am afraid that a lot of the records were lost in the War.

First off, I don't do research; I have all I can do translating records and editing and typesetting various publications. But I can suggest some organizations that might be able to help you quite a bit with your questions.

I would strongly advise you to visit the Website of the Polish Genealogical Society of America
. There's a lot of free info on there that can help beginners. The PGSA also has a handout on genealogy software -- I'm not sure whether it's on the Website, but you could look. If it's not, I'm sure you could buy a copy for a few dollars; I believe it's also included in the packet of info people get for free when they join the PGSA.

Another organization that might be able to help you a lot is the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan.

With your family's Michigan roots, PGS-MI might really be able to help you find some excellent leads; you might want to consider joining -- I think their dues are either $15 or $20 a year -- and since they specialize in Poles who settled in Michigan, they're probably your best bet for making valuable connections.

There is also a book you might want to look for at a library or bookstore. It's by Rosemary Chorzempa, and it's called "Polish Roots," 1993, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore MD, ISBN 0-8063-1378-1. Many, many people have told me it helped them enormously when they were getting started, and it's relatively easy to find -- the Barnes & Noble just up the road from my house sells it. I believe it's $20 or less, and lots of folks swear by it.

The reason I'm giving you this info is because surnames, in themselves, very rarely offer any real help with tracing a family. They're just too common. Thus as of 1990 there were 1,012 Polish citizens named Kołton, and another 2,689 used the variant Kołtun. It comes from a root kołton meaning "twisted hair, shaggy hair." Obviously this is a name that could develop independently in many different places all over Poland. Knowing what it means is nice, but doesn't do a thing in terms of helping you find your ancestors.

Other names, such as Baziński, are not so common, but don't really help a lot either. As of 1990 there were 113 Polish citizens named Baziński, but they were scattered all over the country, with larger numbers in the provinces of Bielsk-Biala (25) in southcentral Poland, and Tarnobrzeg (37) in southeastern Poland, and a few here and there in many other provinces. (I don't have access to further data such as first names and addresses, what I've given here is all I have). Polish name experts believe the name comes from the first name Bazyli = English Basil; Poles often formed names by taking the first part of a popular first name, dropping the rest, and adding suffixes, thus Baz- + -in- + -ski. This means nothing more than "kin of Basil," or "person from Basil's place."

Hejza is not listed in any of my sources, so I don't know what it comes from. As of 1990 there were 123 Polish citizens by that name, again scattered all over, with larger numbers in the provinces of Bydgoszcz (32),

(20), and


(23) -- which means it appears mainly in northcentral and northwestern Poland. That suggests it might be of German origin, since a great many Germans have lived in that part of Poland, and if so, it probably comes from German Heise, which originated as a nickname for "Heinrich" = English "Henry."

As I say, this is how it goes with the vast majority of Polish surnames -- it's nice to know what they mean, but they don't provide much in the way of real help. And that's why I think the information you can get from the sources I mentioned is your best bet. Or, if you can afford it, you might hire a researcher who specializes in Poland; but that gets expensive, and you can do a lot of that yourself, with a little assistance from the PGSA, the PGS-MI, and Chorzempa's book.

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



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