Re: Meanings of Polish Last Names #poland #names

Joel Novis <joel.novis@...>

Mr Friedman,

The sources in Ms Bulwar-Hay's very comprehensive list should get you what you need.   Jewish onomastics is a fascinating field within Jewish genealogy and can become something of an obsession (ask me how I know this).

However, I'd caution against reading too much into the literal meanings of names.  Pomeranc (or its many alternative spellings) has its origins in Slavic (Polish pomarańcza, Russian померанец /pomeranets/), but it was adopted as what might be considered a "prestige" or "pretty" name with no other meaning.  Many of the names on your list fall into that category.  

Names with obvious translations as professions (e.g. Plotnik, from Russian плотник, a carpenter, or its German equivalent, Zimmerman;  Portnoy, from Russian портной, a tailor, in German/Yiddish Schneider/ שנײַדער) would more clearly indicate an ancestor who had that specific profession.  

Joel Novis
Longmeadow, MA
Researching NOVITSKIY (Vasil'kiv, Kyiv, Ukraine), OLSZTAJN (Łódź Województwo, Poland), GEYMAN/HYMAN (Ashmyany, Belarus), POTASNIK/LEVY (unknown)

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