Re: Earliest Use of Surnames in Europe/Romania? #general #romania #names

Jill Whitehead

When surnames were introduced depended on who the occuping power of the country was and their policy in this regard. In my ancestral area of the Suwalki Lomza gubernias in NE Poland on the borders with Lithuania, East Prussia and what is now Belarus (where the border kept changing), surnames were introduced in the 1820's and 1830's, when new rulers took over after various wars, land grabs and border changes. All my family's ancestors came from this area. 

Some of the names chosen by my family were Brin (said to be named after Brno in Moravia, where they may have come from), Rubenstein or Berenstein (which means red stone after amber which was the major gemstone found in the Baltic area), Serwianski after Lake Serwy, Karpowitz (after the shtetl of Carpowicze), Ceglarski which has a meaning to do with brickwork/building, Karobelnick which means a pedlar, Guttenberg which just means pretty hill, and Plotnovsky which according to whom you listen to could mean a person from Plotsk or a potter or a metal worker. 

As a number of these opted for their patronymic nanes on migration, some of the surnames were shortlived e.g. Ceglarski which was reverted to Abrahams/Abrams.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

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