Traces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in surnames: check if your ancestors were Polish aristocrats

By Jurassic JennApr 22, 2024 11:07 AMLast Name Meanings
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How to know if your ancestors were Polish aristocrats
How to know if your ancestors were Polish aristocrats. Source: polishatheart.com

Among Ukrainian surnames, the third most common are those ending in "-skyi", "-tskyi", and "-zskyi". According to some experts, surnames with this ending indicate the place of origin of their first bearer.

Historian Valentyn Bendiuh notes that surnames with this ending found in the regions of Ukraine that were once part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth indicate Polish roots.

It is known that surnames with the endings -ski or -cki are very common among Poles. Such popular and common surnames include Kowalewski, Halicki, Walewski, Potocki, Wisniewski, and others.

According to the historian, initially such surnames were characteristic only of the Polish aristocracy. The latter used them to mark the boundaries of their possessions. Over time, this method of forming patrimonial names spread to the rest of Ukraine.

Similar endings were added to nicknames, which later formed surnames: Khmelnytsky, Verbytsky, Artemivsky, Rudansky, Ivanovsky, Zadnipryansky, Levytsky, and others.

In the regions of Ukraine that were once part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the researcher notes, patrimonial names with the endings -uk, -yuk, -ak, -chuk were also common. These endings were added to baptismal names given during baptism, to nicknames derived from the area of the bearer, his occupation, etc. Over time, surnames with such endings became common throughout Ukraine: Tkachuk, Vasyluk, Havryliuk, Levchuk, Popilniuk, Pohrebniak, Kontratiuk, and others.

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