Zalewski Surname Info

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ZALEWSKI - Polish - topographic name for someone who lived by a flood plain or bay, Pol. zalew, or habitation name from a place named with this element, with the addition of -ski ending, suffix of local surnames. There has been considerable confusion with Zaleski. Cognate: Jewish (E Ashkenazic) Zalewsky

ZALESKI - Polish - topographic name for someone who lived ‘on the other side of the wood’, from Pol. za beyond + les, las wood, with the addition of -ski ending, suffix of local surnames, or habitation name from a place, Zalesie, named with the elements za + les.

var of Zalewski Variations: Zalasa, Zalasik Cognates: Czech: Zálesky; Jewish: (E Ashkenazic) Zalesky

Local Names: Surnames derived from placenames may be divided into two broad categories: topographic names and habitation names. These terms have been used throughout this work in preference to the traditional but vaguer term ‘local name’. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream, or a church. Habitation names are derived from preexisting names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads, or other named habitations. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions, and whole countries. As a general rule, the further someone had traveled from his place of origin, the broader the designation. Someone who stayed at home might be known by the name of his farm or locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another country could acquire the name of the country or region from which he originated.

Habitation Names: It is sometimes difficult, especially in the case of multiple-element names (in England usually a defining adjective plus a generic noun), to be precise about whether a surname is derived from an identifying topographic phrase such as ‘(at) the broad ford’ or ‘(by) the red hill’ or from an established placename such as Bradford or Redhill. It is also sometimes possible that what has been thought of as a topographic name is in fact a habitation name from some minor, unidentified place now lost.

Polish names ending in -owski have consistently been identified in this dictionary as habitation names, in spite of the fact that it has by no means always been possible to identify relevant places named with the base form in -ów or -owo. Others may wish to pursue this task. Placenames with meanings such as ‘oak-tree locality’ or ‘woody area’ were clearly numerous in Poland. (In the case of Jewish surnames, the ending -owski does not normally indicate a habitation name, but has merely been borrowed as an appropriate surname ending to be attached to formations of several different classes. To some extent, this process was probably going on in Polish even earlier: much further research is needed on individual names before the threads can be properly disentangled in each case.)

Topographic Names: It had already been mentioned that topographic names are those that refer to physical features such as trees, forests, hills, streams, and marshes, as well as to man-made structures such as churches, city walls, and castles.

Surnames derived from the proper names of geographical features such as rivers have also been classed here as topographic rather than habitation names, since they refer to a geographic location rather than a particular named settlement .

Some surnames that are ostensibly topographic, such as Hall and Monkhouse, are in fact occupational, for they originally denoted someone who was employed at such a place: for example, at a great house or monastery.

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