JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Surname origins - RAK #general

Tomek Liniecki <liniecki@...>

U┬┐ytkownik <Steinsteve@...> w wiadomooci do grup dyskusyjnych...

One of our family surnames was RAK. This was the pre-immigration spelling,
i.e. this is not an Anglicization or a shortening of a longer name. The
family lived in Bialystok, and the microfilm birth register record I have
found using the JRI-Poland database bears out the spelling.

A friend who knows Russian saw the record, and pointed out that in
Russian, "RAK" means Cancer the Crab, cancer, and crab (I obviously can't
show RAK here in Cyrillic).
That's correct.
>My question is, could a Bialystok family named
RAK have a name derived >from Russian?
That's possible, but not very probable.
>What is "crab" in Polish, and would
it be close enough to Rak to make the Russian/Polish distinction
Crab in Polish is "rak", exactly the same word as Russian.
>How would a Jewish family have a name meaning "crab"?
Why not? If very reputable Jewish family has name Katzenellenbogen (means
the cat's elbow), there's nothing strange in the name Rak.

An odd coincidence, or maybe not, is that the Bialystoker Synagogue on the
Lower East Side of Manhattan has a mural on the ceiling of the sanctuary
depicting the entire Zodiac. Could there be a connection?
Not very likely.
Tomasz Linetzky liniecki@...

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