I wanted to know if a surname could develop from an expression
that a person muttered and the expression had no meaning (i.e. it
wasn't a word in the language). For example, what if a person in
town never addressed other people by their first name but called
everybody "juju". When a surname was established for that person a
surname Jujuenko was coined.
--- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com
, "Jane Diederich"
> Logic would say that surnames came from a variety of sources.
Names like Johnson are related to being the son of John.
Taylor/tailor - that was your profession maybe even a
hobby/interest. Or your name could relate to where you lived....a
particular town or near the river or church. How about how you
looked...short, tall, fat, redhead. So why couldn't they also be
based on a trait (ie talks to animals). When you think how far back
in time we are talking about, and the modifications made over the
years -- not just immigrations to America -- and let's add into the
mix (mis)spellings even within the same language let alone trying to
translate into another. Heck it's amazing that we can follow a line
(surname) back more than a few generations.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: krupniak
> To: Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:03 AM
> Subject: [Galicia_Poland-Ukraine] Re: Surname Szeszol from
> Are there any cases where a surname came from an oral expression
> that a particular person used and the expression had no meaning?
> example, say a person talked to animals (like cows, horses, etc.)
> used an expression that nobody knew what it meant and people used
> that expression to form a surname.
> I talk to my car and the kids in the neighborhood call me by the
> words that I use.
> --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "Fred Hoffman"
> <wmfhoffman@> wrote:
> > Hi,
> > Regarding my analysis of the origin of the surname
> > SZESZOL, Lavrentiy wrote:
> > > Give us the whole ten yards. Most of us like
> > > reading your
> > > detailed explanations and often insertion of
> > > humor. But, becare
> > > about humor because many people interpret humor
> > > in different ways.
> > > There is an art in writing humor, but then humor
> > > depends on the mood
> > > that the reader is in.
> > If you really want to see what I wrote to Julie,
> > I've pasted it in below.
> > As for humor, I can't live without it, and I mix
> > it into everything I do. If people don't like it,
> > they're entitled to their opinion -- and I'm
> > entitled to ignore their opinion.
> > Fred Hoffman
> > ==========
> > Actually, I saw your notes on the
> > Galicia_Poland-Ukraine list, and would have
> > responded there, but I've been pretty busy the
> > last couple of days. But I have a moment now, and
> > thought I'd go ahead and answer you, rather than
> > let your request join the list of queries that
> > date back three months.
> > Miroslaw's suggestion is ingenious, and with
> > surnames you never say "Never." But I seriously
> > doubt the name has anything to do with
> > chinchillas. Polish surnames generally developed
> > centuries ago, and a check of a very thorough
> > Polish dictionary from the 19th century showed no
> > entry for _szynszyla_, the Polish word for
> > "chinchilla." I'm pretty sure the word only came
> > into the Polish language comparatively recently --
> > too late to be a plausible source for a surname.
> > I know you've already checked the database at
> > http://www.herby.com.pl/herby/indexslo.html, so
> > you know how many Polish citizens bore this name,
> > and variant forms of it, as of 1990. I won't waste
> > your time repeating that data.
> > Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions
> > this name in his book _Nazwiska Polakow_ [The
> > Surnames of Poles]. He says that surnames
> > beginning SZESZ-, whether with plain E or nasal E
> > (the one written with a little hook or tail under
> > it), can have several different origins. This is
> > sometimes the case: some surnames, such as
> > KOWALSKI, have only one possible derivation (in
> > that case, from the Polish word for "smith").
> > Others have no one clearcut origin; there are
> > several roots that may apply, and from the name
> > alone there's no way to tell for sure which one is
> > relevant to a particular surname -- or even a
> > particular family, since sometimes the same
> > surname can be associated with more than one
> > independent family. In such cases, research into
> > the family history is the only way to learn
> > anything that might shed light on how that name
> > came to be associated with that particular family.
> > Rymut says names beginning SZESZ- can be
> > associated with the root seen in a term _szeszek_,
> > "coward" (compare the Belarusian word _sheshok_
> > meaning the same thing), or from Eastern Slavic
> > personal names such as Siesa and Sisa that
> > developed from Siemion, the Eastern Slavic version
> > of the name we know as Simon; or from the German
> > personal names Schiess and Sess. For that matter,
> > depending on where the family came from, the
> > surname could also be associated with the
> > Lithuanian noun _s^es^elis_, "shade, shadow" --
> > I'm using S^ to stand for S with a little V mark
> > over it, which is pronounced like the sound we
> > spell SH and Poles spell SZ.
> > In your case, given where your ancestors came
> > from, I doubt the Belarusian or Lithuanian words
> > are relevant. Besides, SZESZOL is probably
> > connected more with the dialect term _szeszula_,
> > which Rymut mentions; it means "egg shell," also
> > "shell of a nut," and we see the same basic root
> > in a word meaning "fish scale." The key point here
> > is that your surname has that L in it, and
> > therefore is more likely to be connected with a
> > root word that has the L as well as the SZESZ-.
> > So the best guess I can give you is that the name
> > probably came from a dialect word meaning
> > "eggshell" or "nutshell." It probably started as a
> > nickname for an ancestor whom people associated
> > with eggshells or nutshells. Exactly why that
> > nickname got started is harder to say. Maybe he
> > was always eating eggs or nuts, and the nickname
> > referred to the fact that whenever you saw him,
> > he'd made a mess with eggshells or nutshells.
> > Maybe he was tall and so thin that it was like he
> > was hollow, and the nickname was comparing him to
> > a shell. It's really impossible to say now,
> > centuries later, what a nickname meant back when
> > it got started. But those are the best guesses I
> > can make.
> > Sometimes, if you make contacts in the same area
> > where your ancestors came from, the locals can
> > give you an idea what a name meant. They might
> > say, "Oh, yes, that's what we call X around here."
> > But in this case you've talked to Miroslaw, and
> > all he came up with was the suggestion of
> > chinchilla -- which I don't mean to laugh at, but
> > it does seem unlikely. It's entirely possible the
> > word _szeszula_ or a variant such as _szeszol_
> > meant "eggshell" at one time centuries ago, but
> > the word has long since passed out of current use.
> > It's kind of like the way some words Shakespeare
> > uses don't mean the same thing now that they meant
> > in his day; and some have even disappeared from
> > the langauge. Over time, languages change; a word
> > that meant something back centuries ago, when
> > surnames were developing, may have long since
> > dropped out of common usage. That's where
> > scholars' come in handy, because they look through
> > old writings to try to say what words existed back
> > then and what they meant. That's where Rymut's
> > suggestion of "eggshell" came from.
> > To sum up, I'd say the most plausible explanation
> > I could find is that the surname SZESZOL --
> > whether spelled with plain E or nasal E, and
> > whether with plain O or accented O -- probably is
> > connected with the dialect word _szeszula_,
> > "eggshell, nutshell." That word is more clearly
> > connected with the surname SZESZULA, and the one
> > thing that bothers me is that SZESZULA shows up in
> > Poland mostly in the Poznan area, quite a long
> > ways from where your ancestors lived. Still, a
> > connection with that basic meaning strikes me as
> > more likely than a connection with chinchillas, or
> > with Lithuanian shades or Belarusian cowards.
> > That's about all I can tell you. I hope it's some
> > help, and I wish you the best of luck with your
> > research. With luck, maybe your research will turn
> > up something that tells you more about the name. I
> > hope so!
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]