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RE: Genealogy and heraldry of the Polish nobility

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  • Jerzy Lucki
    This may be of interest to some of the folks who have run across noblemen or presumed noblemen in their family trees. Several months ago I started hosting a
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 31, 2008
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      This may be of interest to some of the folks who have run across noblemen or
      presumed noblemen in their family trees.



      Several months ago I started hosting a Polish language discussion list for
      members of the Confederation of the Polish Nobility (ZSzP) on
      http://www.herbarz.net/zszp

      It has become quite active (1800 messages in the first 100 days). There are
      some quite knowledgeable people who pop in.



      Alongside the private section for Association members there is a public
      section for Friends (non-members who register for the forum). It has become
      quite active for discussions of genealogy, heraldry, resources as well as
      for social discussions on related and unrelated topics. We realize that many
      folks who are researching their roots are not fluent in Polish and we've
      just opened a section for discussions in foreign languages - that includes
      English. A number (but not all) of the participants understand English, just
      as some Galicia members don't understand Polish but somehow we may help find
      answers to each others questions.

      Unlike this list where responses arrive by e-mail this discussion list is
      web-based. The ZSzP continues to maintain its Polish language email
      discussion list about the genealogy and heraldry of the Polish nobility -
      the two types of forums are complementary.



      If you are interested in trying it out please register (rejestracja) at
      http://www.herbarz.net/zszp

      Use your first and last name as your login and a password of your choosing.
      The forum administrator (that's me or Lukasz Lubicz-Lapinski) will send you
      an e-mail confirming your registration and you are ready to go. The menu
      options are in Polish but once you've registered and logged-in you can go
      into "Profil" (Profile) and from the left side choose "Ustawienia dotyczace
      konta" and then beside "Preferowany jezyk" (preferred language) choose
      English from the drop down list. If this seems too complicated drop me a
      line at glucki@... and I'll do it for you.



      Kind regards,

      George Lucki

      (Jerzy Lucki)





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Robert T. Capp
      I ve enjoyed the frog stories. Imagine when Dad forced us to take Ukrainian classes and one of the first things we discovered is our family name is Billy
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 2 8:06 AM
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        I've enjoyed the frog stories. Imagine when Dad forced us to take
        Ukrainian classes and one of the first things we discovered is our
        family name is "Billy Goat".
        Later, in collage, I was told by a recent immigrant from Romania that we
        couldn't be Ukrainian as the name is Romanian for "Billy Goat".

        As for how the name came about... well from what I've heard of my
        Grandfather & his sister and seen with Dad, brother & sister, the name
        seems appropriate. lol.

        Enjoy being a frog, somewhere it probably reflected something about the
        family member who it was given to.

        Bob Capp

        PS: Of course, leaving Western Ukraine & Cyrillic for Warsaw & Roman
        alphabets the name becomes Cap which when arriving on the shores of the
        US changed us from a goat to a form of hat. My Dad got tired of hat
        jokes and added the 2nd 'p'.
      • ladyguilford
        Thanks, Fred, for all your observations. There are several points I want to throw into this discussion. See what you make of them. 1. It was my own
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 2 8:17 AM
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          Thanks, Fred, for all your observations. There are several points I
          want to throw into this discussion. See what you make of them.

          1. It was my own Grandmother, my Lemko Baba, who first told me and
          her daughters before that, that her maiden name, Dziaba, meant
          bullfrog. Don't you believe everything your mother and father told
          you? :)

          2. The difference between sounding 'dzia' and sounding 'Ża' is clear
          to a fluent Polish speaker and even to me, a struggling student of
          Polish whose ears are getting old (just the ears, thank you, and it
          applies also to English). I can imagine, however, someone hearing me
          say 'Dziaba', knowing it is not a proper word, and deciding I must
          mean 'Żaba', which is a word. [I think I'll ask my Polish tutor how I
          phrased that question again!]

          3. An important consideration is that my grandmother spoke Lemko-
          speak. Although I know that in the early 1930s, a relative in that
          village was studying both Lemko and Polish in school, my grandmother
          left the country in 1906, before Poland became a country again. I am
          99% certain she did not know Polish, the language of a people that
          gave them a lot of trouble. It is, as you say, just marginally
          possible it really is a Lemko language word. Who do we know that
          speaks Lemko? Omniglot shoes the Ruthenian alphabet in cyrillic
          letters, which my grandmother apparently did not use. Both sounds
          seem to be there.

          4. Your point about the greater likelihood that people were given
          surnames rather than selecting one leads me in two directions.

          a. When? The death records of the village of Polany Surowiczne are
          available from the LDS lot and in an original version at the Przemysl
          archives, where I have reviewed them for hours. The earliest records
          date from 1784, and from that time there are Dziabas aplenty dying.
          At this time, the family was 100% purebred serf.

          b. How? Based on information in the occasionally-accurate Wikipedia,
          the adoption of surnames began in the aristocratic class in Poland
          and took until sometime in the 19th century for everybody to have
          one. I don't see a date when it became law that you had to have a
          surname, either before the Austrian Empire or after, though either is
          credible. I know, for example, that it was not until quite late --
          1901 -- that Swedes had to have one; perhaps remote-dwelling serfs
          didn't get the news too early. Isn't it likely that the owners of
          the serfs decided the surnames? If a man working there was lazy,
          then I could believe he was assigned a Descriptive Surname, with
          which his descendants are stuck for all eternity. It's worthwhile
          for some aspirational descendant to decide on an improved origin for
          his name. Who will ever know.

          I like the Krzywosika/Krause and Stodup anecdotes. The latter sounds
          as though the serf owner thought of it. Some vodka might have been
          involved.

          Sandra

          --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "Fred Hoffman"
          <wmfhoffman@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi,
          >
          > In response to the question about DZIABA, it's
          > interesting that so many people said the name
          > means "bullfrog." Kazimierz Rymut, a pretty smart
          > guy who spent his whole life studying Polish
          > surnames, says it can come from an old Polish or
          > dialect verb _dziabac'_, "to cut down, cut
          > slowly," or from a dialect noun _dziaba_, "a lazy
          > worker." He mentions nothing about it being
          > related to any word for frog or toad. I also
          > checked the so-called _Slownik warszawski_, a huge
          > 7-volume dictionary specializing in archaic and
          > dialect terms, and it gives the same info as Rymut
          > (probably because Rymut used that as one of his
          > main sources). No connection at all to any word
          > for frog -- which is pronounced essentially the
          > same way in Polish, Belarusian, Russian, and
          > Ukrainian, namely, "ZHAH-bah." Whereas DZIABA
          > would sound to English speakers much like
          > "JAH-bah."
          >
          > So that leaves me wondering: were all these people
          > who equated the name with "frog" wrong? Is this a
          > dialect usage that doesn't appear in any of my
          > books? Am I missing something? Could be....
          >
          > I have to admit the sounds in question are fairly
          > closely related in terms of linguistics, so it's
          > not out of the question that some dialect might
          > take the ZH sound used by other Slavs and modify
          > it to a J sound, which Poles would spell DZI-. I
          > can't recall seeing this in any other case, but I
          > can't rule it out. Still, if you ask me, I think
          > these folks were wrong and the word doesn't mean
          > "frog, toad"; it means an ancestor was nicknamed
          > Dziaba because he was a lazy worker. At least,
          > that's the derivation that would apply in most
          > cases. There can always be exceptions.
          >
          > Important point: I do NOT know all that much about
          > the Rusyn language, and should say so. If Rusyns
          > tell you the word means "frog," I certainly won't
          > dispute it.
          >
          > > 4. My original question was, why on earth would
          > > anybody take a
          > > bullfrog as a surname?
          >
          > People didn't always "take" names; sometimes they
          > got stuck with them. It's difficult to imagine how
          > calling someone a toad or frog could be meant as a
          > compliment. I haven't heard much about how Poles
          > use this word, but I've been told that in
          > Lithuanian, calling someone a toad (_rupuz^e_) is
          > one of the worst possible insults. I know if
          > someone called me a Zaba (dotted Z), I would
          > attempt to persuade him to stop doing so
          > immediately.
          >
          > But you'll have to take my word for it: there are
          > jillions of Polish surnames that come from
          > insulting terms. I've lost track of how many times
          > I've looked up a name and found that the experts
          > say it comes from a word meaning "lazy
          > good-for-nothing" or "tramp" or "loafer" or
          > "idiot." And that's just referring to surnames
          > that don't have to be translated with four-letter
          > words! It's really kind of striking how often you
          > see Poles bearing names that, if translated into
          > English, would get you a punch in the mouth.
          >
          > Some of these names were borne by fairly prominent
          > people. I mean, we have the former President of
          > Poland and founder of Solidarnosc, Lech Walesa,
          > whose name means "one who wanders around,
          > vagabond." A priest very prominent in
          > Polish-American history, Fr. Leopold Moczygemba,
          > had a name meaning "drunkard." I remember seeing
          > at least one Polish-American named Mierzwa, a term
          > for the filthy straw, full of animal dung, that
          > you muck out of a stable. There are quite a few
          > folks named Bzdawka, which means "little fart,"
          > and I've also run into folks named Pierdzioch,
          > which means more or less the same thing. And of
          > course there's one of my favorites, the Stodup
          > family in Kolno county, whose name comes from a
          > combination of _sto_, "hundred," and _dupa_,
          > "butt, ass." (I guess when these guys get
          > together, they sing, not "Sto Lat," but "Sto
          > Dup"!)
          >
          > You must not assume people always bear names their
          > ancestors approved of. Have you never met someone
          > saddled with a nickname he despised? Once people
          > get it into their head to call you a particular
          > name, you usually can't stop them. The name may
          > stick to you even harder precisely because people
          > know you hate it.
          >
          > So if your ancestors were called by a name meaning
          > frog, they probably weren't wild about it. And
          > there was probably very little they could do about
          > it. Unless, of course, they emigrated -- and I've
          > heard of people who did exactly that. I've told
          > the story before, so forgive me if you've heard
          > it, but one lady asked me what her father's
          > original name, Krzywosika, meant. While I
          > personally think it started out meaning "son of
          > the cripple," it SOUNDS like it means "one who
          > pees crooked," presumably because of a kink in the
          > equipment. This lady said when her father was
          > young, he kept getting in fights when the other
          > boys teased him. When he came to America in the
          > early 1900s, he said "Finally I can get rid of
          > this miserable name!" He chose to go by a short
          > name he heard, Krause, a German name meaning
          > "curly-haired." Little did he know that soon World
          > War I would start, and the newspapers would be
          > full of stories about German atrocities. So the
          > people where he worked started beating him up
          > because his name convinced them he was a German!
          > These stories don't always have happy endings....
          >
          > Anyway, that's about all I can contribute. I'll
          > leave dance moves and frog butter and other
          > flights of fancy to those whose predilections run
          > in that direction.
          >
          > Fred Hoffman
          >
        • ladyguilford
          I suppose jokes about getting your goat are also out? Anyway, I ve decided that I am proud to count Kermit the Frog amongst my ancestors. ... that we ...
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 2 8:20 AM
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            I suppose jokes about 'getting your goat' are also out?

            Anyway, I've decided that I am proud to count Kermit the Frog amongst
            my ancestors.

            --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "Robert T. Capp"
            <ppacbob@...> wrote:
            >
            > I've enjoyed the frog stories. Imagine when Dad forced us to take
            > Ukrainian classes and one of the first things we discovered is our
            > family name is "Billy Goat".
            > Later, in collage, I was told by a recent immigrant from Romania
            that we
            > couldn't be Ukrainian as the name is Romanian for "Billy Goat".
            >
            > As for how the name came about... well from what I've heard of my
            > Grandfather & his sister and seen with Dad, brother & sister, the
            name
            > seems appropriate. lol.
            >
            > Enjoy being a frog, somewhere it probably reflected something about
            the
            > family member who it was given to.
            >
            > Bob Capp
            >
            > PS: Of course, leaving Western Ukraine & Cyrillic for Warsaw &
            Roman
            > alphabets the name becomes Cap which when arriving on the shores of
            the
            > US changed us from a goat to a form of hat. My Dad got tired of hat
            > jokes and added the 2nd 'p'.
            >
          • Fred Hoffman
            Hi, Sandra asked some very interesting questions, and I didn t have time to answer them till now. ... Sure! And that s why I m not dogmatic about saying they
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 4 9:11 AM
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              Hi,

              Sandra asked some very interesting questions, and
              I didn't have time to answer them till now.

              > 1. It was my own Grandmother, my Lemko Baba,
              > who first told me and
              > her daughters before that, that her maiden name,
              > Dziaba, meant
              > bullfrog. Don't you believe everything your
              > mother and father told
              > you? :)

              Sure! And that's why I'm not dogmatic about saying
              they were absolutely, definitely wrong.
              Linguistically, the sounds we write as ZH and J
              are not all that far apart, and there are
              instances where they could be switched. The
              "Dzukish" dialect of Lithuanian involves something
              similar, though not exactly the same phenomenon. I
              don't think it's out of the question that some
              local dialect variant, in a limited area, might
              use _dziaba_, beginning with a J sound, to mean
              "frog," even though the word is usually pronounced
              with a "zh" sound at the beginning.

              > 2. The difference between sounding 'dzia' and
              > sounding 'Ża' is clear
              > to a fluent Polish speaker and even to me, a
              > struggling student of
              > Polish whose ears are getting old (just the
              > ears, thank you, and it
              > applies also to English). I can imagine,
              > however, someone hearing me
              > say 'Dziaba', knowing it is not a proper word,
              > and deciding I must
              > mean 'Żaba', which is a word. [I think I'll ask
              > my Polish tutor how I
              > phrased that question again!]

              If I had to guess, I'd say there was some
              confusion here. Ask your tutor and see what he/she
              says -- that might clear things up.

              > It is, as you say, just marginally possible it
              > really is a Lemko language word.

              I gather it's not "mainstream" or "standard"
              Lemko. But people oversimplify when they talk
              about "standard" Polish or "standard" English or
              "standard" any other language. There's lots of
              dialect and regional variation in any language,
              and the "standard" form is usually one no one
              actually speaks, but everyone understands. I mean,
              honestly, how many people do you know who actually
              speak "the King's English?" Oh, broadcasters and
              professors may speak "correct" English or Polish
              or Lemko or whatever -- but they don't count ;-)

              > 4. Your point about the greater likelihood that
              > people were given
              > surnames rather than selecting one leads me in
              > two directions.
              >
              > a. When? The death records of the village of
              > Polany Surowiczne are
              > available from the LDS lot and in an original
              > version at the Przemysl
              > archives, where I have reviewed them for hours.
              > The earliest records
              > date from 1784, and from that time there are
              > Dziabas aplenty dying.
              > At this time, the family was 100% purebred serf.

              As of May 29, 1782, all people woke up and lo!
              they had been granted official surnames, and those
              names were perfectly appropriate, perfectly
              spelled, and have never varied in the slightest.

              No, wait a minute, that was on some other planet.
              On this planet, there is no clearcut date for
              surnames, just a period during which they went
              from being rare to standard. Thus among Polish
              nobles, for instance, surnames gradually came to
              be the norm from the 1400s to the 1600s. It didn't
              happen overnight, but they were kind of rare
              before 1400, whereas by the 1600s almost all
              nobles had surnames that were more or less
              established. With peasants, the process went on
              roughly from the 1600s through the 1700s. By the
              early 1800s, most Polish Christians had surnames
              that were more or less fixed (although by no means
              immutable!). About the only people who had not yet
              taken surnames by then were Jews, and the various
              partitioning powers passed laws requiring them to
              take surnames.

              > b. How? ...
              > Isn't it likely that the owners of the serfs
              > decided the surnames?

              In some cases, that might have happened. But it
              seems to me in most cases it was an organic
              process, not just some guy with a sword saying,
              "Hey, you, from now on your name is X." These
              people were being called by names all along, and
              very often those were nicknames, not their formal
              "baptismal" names. As society evolved in a
              direction where surnames proved useful, certain
              names tended to "stick." But that could happen in
              any way of a dozen ways, some of which defy
              rational analysis.

              Have you ever known someone whose nickname puzzled
              you and made you wonder "How on earth did he or
              she get stuck with that name?" I've known people
              nicknamed Skip, Stretch, Weasel, and Tammy the
              Viking. Skip walked with a skipping gait because
              polio had shriveled one of his legs. Stretch was
              long and thin and looked like he had been
              stretched on a medieval rack. Weasel was a weasel,
              also his favorite album was Frank Zappa and the
              Mothers of Inventions' "Weasels Ripped My Flesh."
              Tammy the Viking -- well, you have to realize,
              we'd all been drinking heavily that night. I
              really don't remember how he got that name; and I
              suspect I don't want to remember.

              Often, surnames are nothing more than a snapshot,
              reflecting some peculiarity or trait or
              association that was accurate at that time. The
              relevance of some names persist. I told one person
              her name Nosala meant "big nose," and she
              confirmed that her whole family had enormous
              beaks; the same thing with someone whose name
              meant "red-haired." But consider a name like
              Bystron, meaning basically "Swifty, the quick
              guy." Maybe the original ancestor who inspired
              that name was very quick and active; but his son
              may have been a total slug. It would have made no
              difference, if the name had already "stuck." Of
              course, some names may have been meant ironically;
              maybe people called "Swifty" that because he was
              actually slow as molasses. Either way, what
              relevance does that have generations later, when
              the chromosomes have been doing their dance,
              changing partners every step of the way?

              All you can do is try to figure out what the name
              might have meant, if it meant anything. If you're
              lucky and your research traces your family back
              quite a ways, you may even find some notation in
              an old record that sheds light on why people
              called them that. Or you may simply find that
              centuries ago, one of your ancestors was a guy
              named Stas'. This is why you're fooling yourself
              if you expect too much of surnames, or if you get
              too dogmatic about them....

              Fred Hoffman
            • kimkrett
              I ve enjoyed both the frog and billy goat stories too. Now I don t feel half as bad having learned that my surname Kret shortened from Kretyk in the oldest
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 5 12:09 AM
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                I've enjoyed both the frog and billy goat stories too. Now I don't
                feel half as bad having learned that my surname "Kret" shortened from
                Kretyk in the oldest records means "mole". It is Lemko too from the
                village of Mecina Wielka.

                Kim Krett

                --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "Robert T. Capp"
                <ppacbob@...> wrote:
                >
                > I've enjoyed the frog stories. Imagine when Dad forced us to take
                > Ukrainian classes and one of the first things we discovered is our
                > family name is "Billy Goat".
                > Later, in collage, I was told by a recent immigrant from Romania
                that we
                > couldn't be Ukrainian as the name is Romanian for "Billy Goat".
                >
                > As for how the name came about... well from what I've heard of my
                > Grandfather & his sister and seen with Dad, brother & sister, the
                name
                > seems appropriate. lol.
                >
                > Enjoy being a frog, somewhere it probably reflected something about
                the
                > family member who it was given to.
                >
                > Bob Capp
                >
                > PS: Of course, leaving Western Ukraine & Cyrillic for Warsaw &
                Roman
                > alphabets the name becomes Cap which when arriving on the shores of
                the
                > US changed us from a goat to a form of hat. My Dad got tired of hat
                > jokes and added the 2nd 'p'.
                >
              • krupniak
                A kret (krit) is a mole. Kretyk was the surname, then it bwas shortened in the US to Kret? Be glad that the surname was not Kretyn...which means idiot or
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 5 3:03 AM
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                  A kret (krit) is a mole. Kretyk was the surname, then it bwas
                  shortened in the US to Kret?


                  Be glad that the surname was not Kretyn...which means idiot or cretin.

                  ______

                  Lavrentiy


                  --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "kimkrett"
                  <lemkogirl@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I've enjoyed both the frog and billy goat stories too. Now I don't
                  > feel half as bad having learned that my surname "Kret" shortened
                  from
                  > Kretyk in the oldest records means "mole". It is Lemko too from the
                  > village of Mecina Wielka.
                  >
                  > Kim Krett
                  >
                  > --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "Robert T. Capp"
                  > <ppacbob@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I've enjoyed the frog stories. Imagine when Dad forced us to take
                  > > Ukrainian classes and one of the first things we discovered is
                  our
                  > > family name is "Billy Goat".
                  > > Later, in collage, I was told by a recent immigrant from Romania
                  > that we
                  > > couldn't be Ukrainian as the name is Romanian for "Billy Goat".
                  > >
                  > > As for how the name came about... well from what I've heard of my
                  > > Grandfather & his sister and seen with Dad, brother & sister, the
                  > name
                  > > seems appropriate. lol.
                  > >
                  > > Enjoy being a frog, somewhere it probably reflected something
                  about
                  > the
                  > > family member who it was given to.
                  > >
                  > > Bob Capp
                  > >
                  > > PS: Of course, leaving Western Ukraine & Cyrillic for Warsaw &
                  > Roman
                  > > alphabets the name becomes Cap which when arriving on the shores
                  of
                  > the
                  > > US changed us from a goat to a form of hat. My Dad got tired of
                  hat
                  > > jokes and added the 2nd 'p'.
                  > >
                  >
                • kimkrett
                  In the US they added an extra t for Krett around 1900 or so. I have been told that Kret was because of Latinization in the church records, they dropped the -yk
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 5 7:08 AM
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                    In the US they added an extra t for Krett around 1900 or so. I have
                    been told that Kret was because of Latinization in the church records,
                    they dropped the -yk after 1800 or so in the church records.
                    I guess it is better to be a mole than descended from the village idiot
                    <grin>.
                    Kim


                    --- In Galicia_Poland-Ukraine@yahoogroups.com, "krupniak"
                    <Lkrupnak@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > A kret (krit) is a mole. Kretyk was the surname, then it bwas
                    > shortened in the US to Kret?
                    >
                    >
                    > Be glad that the surname was not Kretyn...which means idiot or cretin.
                    >
                    > ______
                    >
                    > Lavrentiy
                    >
                    >
                    >
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