Lolly Kozak <lolky95@...> wrote:
> My grandmother was a Konopka born in what is now Poland. Is thisThis question is a little tricky, because the basic root _konop-_ exists in
> surname Polish or Ukrainian?
> I have seen the surname in villages in the Stry area of Ukraine.
many Slavic languages, including Polish, Russian, Czech, Ukrainian, etc. It
usually referrs to hemp, although I notice C. H. Andrusyshen and j. N.
Krett's Ukrainian-English dictionary also mentions a term _konopa_,
"uneasiness, unrest, disturbance," in addition to _konopli_, "hemp." The
ending -ka shows up in names of many different Slavic languages, formed by
adding that ending to a basic root such as _konop-_. So while KONOPKA
definitely is a surname used by Poles, I wasn't comfortable making the flat
statement that it's exclusively Polish.
When a question of this sort comes up and I can't find any definitive word,
I try an experiment: I key in the Cyrillic spelling of the name, search for
it on Google, and see how often it shows up on Ukrainian-language sites.
Obviously this isn't scientific or conclusive, but I find it's often
helpful. A name frequently used by Ukrainians will usually show up on at
least a few Ukrainian-language pages.
In this case, most KONOPKA's I found mentioned were on Russian-sites, with
relatively few on Ukrainian sites. What's more, a quick look suggested most
of the Konopka's referred to, especially on the Ukrainian pages, were
explicitly identified as either Poles, or Americans, presumably of Polish
Rymut says the name shows up in Polish records as early as 1393, and the
database at http://www.herby.com.pl/herby/indexslo.html shows 11,121 Polish
citizens bore this name as of 1990. The largest numbers lived in the
provinces of Lomza, 1,622, and Warsaw, 1,278. The numbers in the areas near
the border with Ukraine were much smaller. This is consistent with Polish
None of these individual facts is conclusive. But put it all together, and
I'd say a KONOPKA would usually turn out to be Polish. I wouldn't go so far
as to say every KONOPKA in the world has to be a Pole or descendant of
Poles; but the material I looked at strongly suggests to me that most
KONOPKA's would be. The name's appearance in the Stryi area is not too
puzzling. It's common to see names of Polish linguistic origin in Ukraine,
and Ukrainian names in Poland; these peoples have mixed and interacted for
centuries, and many Poles resettled in Ukraine over the centuries.
So I think your grandmother probably was Polish, not Ukrainian. Hope that
helps a little.
Author, _Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings_