Celebrate Your Name Week – Where did my Name come from?

This topic is going around the genealogy blogosphere, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I know for a fact that there are other people out there with the name Brian Zalewski and even including my middle name, James. I’m pretty sure there is even one in this state. Growing up the only Zalewski (besides family) in the area, you always thought there were no more. It turns out the Zalewski really isn’t an uncommon Polish surname. Milwaukee is filled with them and so is Detroit, Michigan. I have yet to connect to any of them, but that is another topic.

Over at Behind the Name, it says:

BRIAN, m Irish, English. The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre meaning “hill”, or by extension “high, noble”. It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.

That probably explains why I haven’t seen many Brians in my genealogy research. More information over at Is This Your Name? says:

According to the US Census Bureau, 0.737% of US residents have the first name ‘Brian’ and 0.0016% have the surname ‘Zalewski’. The US has around 300 million residents, so we guesstimate there are 35 Americans who go by the name ‘Brian Zalewski’.

I’m not sure how I was given my name. I doubt I was named after any family members, since I have no people with the name Brian or even James in my research. I do know that if I was born a girl my name would’ve been Sarah.

Published by Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.

One comment on “Celebrate Your Name Week – Where did my Name come from?”

If there’s more than one Brian Zalewsky, I wonder whether it’s just a coincidence or whether the name Brian is pleasing to the Polish ear or phonetically similar to a Polish name.
Evelyn in Montreal

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