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Lichniak
Created by Administrator Account in 5/8/2012 9:36:51 AM

 


… My grandfather Lichniak came from Nowominsk, Poland, Russia. My mother thought he made up this name. Apparently, he was the black sheep of the family. Is Lichniak a surname - or could it have been made up. Since I am attempting to do my genealogy, I think I need this cleared up.

Lichniak is a real name, although not a particularly common one -- as of 1990 there were only 81 Polish citizens named Lichniak. They lived in the provinces of Warsaw (52), Jelenia Góra (1), Siedlce (20), Skierniewice (2), and Suwałki (6) -- unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names and addresses... If I'm not mistaken, Nowominsk would be the town now called Minsk Mazowiecki, in Warsaw province -- this area was under Russian rule for most of the 19th century until about 1918. So the facts fit together pretty well, and it seems likely some or most of the 52 Lichniak's in Warsaw province are relatives.

I wouldn't think Lichniak is a name most people would make up or voluntarily adopt, because the root lich- means "bad, evil" in Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, etc.; in Polish it means "bad" less in the sense of "evil" than in the sense of "miserable, shoddy, lousy." The -iak suffix usually means "son of" in names, so Lichniak would seem to mean "son of the miserable one." I guess a black sheep might take a name like that, just to spite people or be different. But it's not a name most people would go out of their way to adopt, so I'd be inclined to think it's real and treat it as such until you have good reason to think it's made up.

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

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