eet the Kowalskis, Nowaks, Mickiewiczs and Lewandowskis – and find out out how these names came to be the most popular, symbolical, typical and strangest Polish surnames.
Every name – and surname in particular – has a story of its own. However, the naming system as a whole must also have its history, rules and particularities, which in the case of Polish surnames makes it a fascinating story of social, ethnic, and cultural intricacy. For the start, let's remember that most Polish surnames were originally formed as one of these three categories (however, as you will you see, with surnames nothing is simple):
Cognominal – created from a nickname, usually based on occupation (so-called occupational surnames), a physical description, or character trait. Compare Kowalski, Głowacz or Bystroń.
Toponymic – these names are derived from place of residence, birth or family origin. Like: Brzeziński.
Patronymic – usually derived from a person's given name and usually ends in a suffix suggesting a family relation. Think of: Piotrowicz or Staszczyk.
We'll use them to show you that a surname is a quite complicated thing. Where do we start? Of course with the most popular Polish name suffix – the -ski
amd the map of the most popular last names in Europe