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Barniŝkis - Krawiecki - Siekierka - Ŝnarpunas
Created by Administrator Account in 5/3/2012 8:08:36 AM


… I am interested in the names of: Siekierka (Anastasia- b.May 1829 ) in Ksiestwo Poznanskie, Poland…

Siekierka comes from the term siekiera, "ax, hatchet"; the -ka suffix is diminutive, so that the name means "little ax," possibly a name given the son of a man known for a connection with this weapon (perhaps he made them, was especially handy at using them, etc.). As of 1990 there were 1,026 Siekierka's in Poland; they lived all over the country, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Bielsko-Biala (136), Katowice (130), and Opole (140), all in southcentral and soutwestern Poland. There were only 17 in the modern-day province of Poznań; unfortunately, I don't have access to first names or addresses or any other details beyond what I've given here. By the way, "Wielkie Księstwo Poznańskie" means "Grand Duchy of Poznan," it was the name of a political entity that existed 1815-1918, of which the city of Poznań (German "Posen") was the capital.

… Sznarpunas or Sznapunas, Sznaspunas ( Joseph- b.Feb 1864) Littan, Poland…

There was no one by any of these names in Poland as of 1990 -- we are almost certainly dealing with a Lithuanian name here. I wonder if "Littan" might not be Littau, German for "Lithuania," or Litwa, the Polish name for that country? This surname and Barniszke are almost certainly Lithuanian, or at least influenced by Lithuanian. Lithuania was an integral part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for centuries, and many Poles lived there. It's possible the records are saying these people came from Lithuania, Poland, which makes sense because Lithuania was long considered part of Poland (although Lithuanians would disagree!), and you often see Lithuanian names referred to as "Polish" by those who didn't know any better.

There is a known surname in Lithuania, Ŝnarpunas (the little caret over the first S gives it the sound of "sh" in English, which is spelled sz in Polish); it is apparently found mainly in the area of Vilkaviŝkis (Polish name Wilkowyszki). According to Lith. experts, it comes from a verb ŝnarpti, meaning "to gulp soup, make a rather unpleasant sound clearing one's nose." A person might have gotten this as a nickname because of a habit, and it stuck -- there are many, many names in Polish and Lithuanian that are uncomplimentary, even insulting; compared to some, this is mild!

… Barniszke- Litan, Poland…

There was no one by this name, or anything like it, in Poland as of 1990. As I said, this name, too, sounds Lithuanian; it could be a Polonized form of Lithuanian Barniŝkis, from Lithuanian forms of the first name "Bernard."

…Kraiviecka- also from Littan, Poland…

Well, if this is a Polish name, it's misspelled -- Polish doesn't use the letter V. It may well be a misreading of Krawiecka, the feminine form of Krawiecki, or it could be a Lithuanian-influenced spelling. Krawiecki is a moderately common surname, borne by 1,090 Polish citizens as of 1990. It comes from the word krawiec, "tailor," and is literally an adjective meaning simply "of, from, pertaining to a tailor."

You might wish to learn more about this possible Lithuanian connection by going to this address:

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