Polish Given Names in Nazwiska Polaków

by Walraven van Nijmegen (Brian R. Speer) and Arval Benicoeur (Josh Mittleman)
vespirus@socrates.berkeley.edu and http://www.panix.com/~mittle/SCA

© 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004 by Brian R. Speer and Josh Mittleman; all rights reserved.
last modified 22 Oct 2004

Table of Contents

Masculine names
    Names from the Old Testament
    Names from the New Testament, Christian devotion and tradition, and saints
    Other Roman and Greek names
    German, Frankish, or French names
    Slavic names
    Names from other sources
Feminine names
    Names from the Old Testament
    Names from the New Testament, Christian devotion and tradition, and saints
    Other Roman and Greek names
    German, Frankish, or French names
    Slavic names
    Names from other sources
Bibliography of Slavic naming resources


by Walraven van Nijmegen

This list came into being after I encountered several people who were having trouble finding any information on Polish names. My background in researching Hungarian names made me a target of these people, though I'm still not entirely sure why this was. In any case, I went to the library of the University of California at Berkeley and found a useful little book (see below), and decided to pull out all the first names in the book.

The Disclaimer: I cannot read Polish, and the fact that I was able to create this list neither makes me an expert nor means I am capable of doing detailed research on Polish names. I merely found a useful book.

Source Material

The names in this list were found in: Unfortunately, this book is in Polish (which I can't read), but there seems to be a lengthy introduction to Polish names and the major categories of bynames included in the book. However, the majority of the pages are lists of byname forms, many of them dated.

This list, then, is a collection of those given names which Rymut indicates gave rise to patronymic or metronymic bynames, that is, those that indicate the name of the father or mother. In other words, I have reconstructed the given names from which these surnames were formed. I have restricted myself to surnames dated in period, but the spellings I have chosen for the given names are not necessarily period ones and in some cases are simply the standard modern forms. The appearance of a name in this list proves that some form of it was used in period Poland, but not necessarily the form that I've chosen.

It is often difficult to find a period Polish spelling of a name. Records in medieval Poland were usually in Latin or German, and the scribes who wrote those documents commonly used the standard form of a name in the languages they were using rather than a typically Polish spelling.

About this list

Generally, names appearing together are equivalent forms, but because of the manner in which they appear in the source material, I may have made some goofs, particularly where the protheme is identical, but the deuterothemes clearly are not.

Most of the names in this list fall into one of two general categories: those of Slavic origin and those common to European Christendom. The Slavic names are dithematic, consisting of two elements which could be mixed and matched to create names. Example first elements (prothemes) include Stan- and Rad-, while example second elements (deuterothemes) include -slaw and -mir. These could be combined to create Stanislaw, Stanimir, Radoslaw, and Radomir.

There are not many feminine names in the list, and most are of Christian derivation. I do have evidence, however, that those Slavic names ending in -slaw may be made feminine by changing the ending to -slawa. For additional Slavic feminizations, see A Dictionary of Period Russian Names by Paul Wickenden of Thanet.

Forms in parentheses are Latin/Greek/German forms which are given by Rymut; I do not know whether the Poles actually used these forms in any given case, though I suspect that they used at least some of them. Forms in square brackets are familiar forms that I have added for the reader's benefit.

Typographical Notes

  • z' means there is a dot over the z. / means that there is an accent over the preceeding letter (s, z, or o mostly).

  • I began to notice certain diacritical marks while doing this that my eyes didn't pick up on at first. Because of this, crossed-L (L\) is not generally indicated except as an initial letter, and some other diacritical marks may have been missed. Anyone making use of the list is encouraged to check against the source material.

  • e, and a, represent a diacritical mark that looks like a hook or tail hanging off the bottom of the letter. It indicates a nasalized vowel. English doesn't use nasalized vowel; they are common in French. The exact pronunciation of these vowels is context-sensitive; I recommend that the interested reader find a good Polish grammar or pronunciation guide to get the details.


    Thanks to Talan Gwynek, Antonio Miguel Santos de Borja, Paul Wickenden of Thanet, and Predslava Vydrina for their suggestions.

    Masculine Names

    Feminine Names



    Below is a list of additional sources on Polish names. Descriptions of these works appear on the Academy of Saint Gabriel Bibliography of Polish Names and Armory. For additional information about Slavic names, we recommend An Annotated Bibliography of Slavic Names and Naming Practices, by Paul Wickenden of Thanet.

    Editted and published by Arval Benicoeur