Prof. Dr. Kazimierz Rymut
(December 18, 1935 - November 14, 2006)
Scholar and teacher
Kazimierz Rymut (was born 18 December 1935 in Chechly near Ropczyce - died 14 November 2006 in Krakow, buried in Brzezie, near Zabierzow). Professor doctor hab., onomist, historian of languages, editor. Organizer of academic life and educator of many Polish onomists has departed. Decorated with the Gold Cross of Merit and Order of Cyril and Metodius.
He studied at the famous Jagiellonian University in Krakow, in 1968 wrote his PhD. He became a professor at the University in 1972. He was long-standing Director of the Polish Language Institute PAN and Chief of the Polish Onomastic Department, chairman of the Slavonic Onomastic Commission in the International Committee of Slavs, chairman of the Commission of Location Names and Physiographical Objects in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.
Obituary: "Gazeta Krakowska," ul. Wislna 12, 31-007 Krakow.
Introduction to CD-ROM (2002) version of
Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych
by Kazimierz Rymut
In the years 1992-1994 I published a ten volume "Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" [A directory of surnames currently used in Poland]. The basis for this directory was the data base of the Government Information Center PESEL at the end of 1990. My publication found wide interest in various places. It became the basis for some scholarly publications, a source of data for students writing various reports and masters' thesis in the field of Polish language studies. But the thing that makes me most happy is the fact that the Directory is consulted by people who are not doing any analysis of Polish surnames, but are looking for the history of their family, and the distribution of persons who have the same family name. I have received many letters from people who are searching for their family roots in Poland, but are living in various countries around the world. Especially many of these letters come from our countrymen in America.
In 1990 when I prepared the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" the data base of PESEL was not fully complete. At the end of 1990 Poland had 37,397,600 inhabitants. In the PESEL data bank at the end of 1990 there was information for 34,428,900 names, so outside of this collection there were the names of 2,968,700 persons. Quite likely in this group of nearly 3 million people there were names that did not appear in the Slownik. It should also be mentioned that in the year 1990 during the compilation of the PESEL data base there were many errors, including visible errors in the transcription of names. A part of these errors I was able to remove during the editing work before the publication of the Slownik. But also many of the errors remained in the text.
In preparing the printed version of the Slownik in 1990 I had to take into account the problems associated with publishing such a large work. It was necessary to introduce certain simplifications. Thus I introduced two major changes. Names ending in -ski, -ska, -cki, -cka as well as -dzki -dzka of the type Kowalski-Kowalska, Prabucki-Prabucka and Wedzki-Wedzka i simplified to the form ending in -i (Kowalski, Prabucki, Wedzki) including all the data from the form ending in -a. This made the Slownik smaller, but by introducing this change I made a very major error. Only later did I realize that the Slownik was deprived of male surnames like (he) Zaluska, (he) Nedzka, which are variants of male names (he) Zaluski, (he) Nedzki. Another way of shortening the size of the Slownik was the exclusion of names that were clearly foreign, mainly of Asiatic origin (for example: Vietnamese) and African (also Arab). From an analysis of Polish family names and their history this may be understood, but the owners of these foreign sounding names have Polish citizenship and in time will undergo Polonization. Their names will also be Polonized into the Polish language. In time the names that now sound foreign will undergo the natural processes that will integrate them into the structure of the Polish language. Because of the huge interest in the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" I wished to expand and correct the Slownik. Therefore I decided to create a new compilation of the set of Polish surnames using the same, but much improved, data bank of the PESEL. The basis for this was data in the PESEL in September 2002. After twelve years the demographic situation in Poland had changed significantly. The information in the PESEL is much more reliable than in 1990. The rapid evolution of information systems allows for the use of less expensive methods of publishing, such as CD-ROM disks or computer diskettes, which also allows the inclusion of a greater volume of information.
The current edition of the Slownik differs significantly from the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych." It is a compilation of the names of Polish citizens living in Poland on a permanent basis. Of course, some of them may be abroad for a time. In the Slownik there are names of people who are Polish nationals, but also those who belong to other ethnic groups: Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Czechs who are permanent residents, often for many generations. There are also names that come from various parts of the world belonging to persons who have settled in Poland and have Polish citizenship. There will not be any names belonging to foreigners, who may have lived in Poland for many years, but have not obtained Polish citizenship. Poland, on April 19, 2002 had 38,632,453 inhabitants. All their names may be found in this new version of the Slownik. Presently I have included all the names of Citizens in the Polish Republic who were alive in September 2002. I do not present in the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" names belonging to the deceased, or those about whom PESEL has no information. Most often these were maiden names of women who changed their names after being married. In the printed version of the Slownik from 1992-1994 these names had the count of zero (0) assigned. These names, in most instances in 2002, were no longer used, nor were they present in society.
In the new Slownik we indicate whether the name refers to a man or a woman. It is often true that in formal usage certain names vary when used by men and women. Most often these differences appear in connection with names ending in -ski, -cki, -dzki, which I have already mentioned. Likewise such differences appear in names of the adjective type (he) Nowotny -- (she) Nowotna, (he) Gorny - (she) Gorna. But in the recent decades we more often find names of the type: Nowotny, Gorny, that describe women. We already can find women who in their identification documents have names of the type: Gorny, Zagrodny. This is a new type of phenomena in Poland but it is quickly spreading despite the fact that linguistic handbooks consider these forms improper. The new Slownik should supply reliable information about the new forms that are being introduced into official use. In the new Slownik male names are indicated by the letter M, while females have the letter F. These two indicators are often considered superfluous by Poles but are needed , for example, by persons using the German language. In German surnames of the type: Kowalski, ending in -i may indicate either a woman or a man. In the current Slownik I kept a principle used earlier. Names of married women of type Bednarsaka-Gryniewicz are listed only under Bednarski under the assumption that the part -Gryniewicz is already included in the Gryniewicz listing. The statistical data which the PESEL data bank was given under the name Bednarska-Gryniewicz I place under the listing for Bednarska.
In the year 1998 Poland's administrative areas were reorganized. In place of 47 voivodships we now have only 16. Within each voivodship we have districts [powiat or county]. The number of districts in each voivodship is different. The Mazowsze voivodship has the most with 42 districts; while the Opole voivodship has 16, the fewest. In the 1990 edition of the Slownik we gave the number of times that a name appeared in each voivodship, but in the new Slownik of 2002 we give not only the voivodship but also the district. The first two letters in the abbreviation indicate the voivodship, the last two the district. The new voivodship names introduced in 1998 do not maintain the Polish tradition of naming the voivodships with the name of the chief city in that area, and do not have a proper connection to that area, thus are poorly understood by our countrymen living outside of Poland. Keeping these difficulties in mind and at the same time wanting to use a method that was applied in the first Slownik, I used the first two letters of cities which have the voivodship administration. The abbreviation for the district comes from the names of the district towns. The reorganization of 1998 in addition to districts also introduced cities which are district centers of administration. Thus, for example, in the Lower Silesia voivodship there is a district named Walbrzych, but there is also a separate district for the town of Walbrzych. To maintain order within this administrative structure, the abbreviations for cities are preceded by the letter "m" for "miasto" [town]. In such cases there will be two different abbreviations, for example WrWa (= Voivodship Lower Silesia, Walbrzych district) and WrmWa (= voivodship Lower Silesia, the district for the town of Walbrzych).
The introduction into the Slownik of abbreviations to describe the voivodships and districts introduced some inconveniences in the listing of the statistical data. In the printed version of the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" the listing of the abbreviations for the voivodships was alphabetic, but the voivodship names were formed from those of [the chief] voivodship cities. Today in many instances there is a great difference between the [chief] voivodship city and the voivodship itself. The current arrangement of the voivodship names and [chief] voivodship cities is as follows:
1. Dolnoslaskie [Lower Silesia] voivodship; chief city: Wroclaw abbrev: Wr
2. Kujawsko-Pomorskie [Kujawy-Pomerania] voivodship; chief cities: Torun, Bydgoszcz; abbrev: To
3. Lubelskie [Lublin] voivodship; chief city: Lublin; abbrev: Lu
4. Lubuskie [Lubusz] voivodship; chief cities: Zielona Gora, Gorzow Wielkopolski; abbrev: ZG
5. Lodzkie [Lodz] voivodship; chief city: Lodz; abbrev: Lo
6. Malopolskie [Little Poland] voivodship; chief city: Krakow; abbrev: Kr
7. Mazowieckie [Mazowsze] voivodship; chief city: Warsaw; abbrev: Wa
8. Opolskie [Opole] voivodship; chief city: Opole; abbrev: Op
9. Podkarpackie [Sub-carpathian] voivodship; chief city: Rzeszow; abbrev: Rz
10. Podlaskie [Podlesie] voivodship; chief city: Bialystok; abbrev: Bs
11. Pomorskie [Pomeranian] voivodship; chief city: Gdansk; abbrev: Gd
12. Slaskie [Silesian] voivodship; chief city: Katowice; abbrev: Ka
13. Swietokrzyskie [Holy Cross Mtn.] voivodship; chief city: Kielce; abbrev: Ki
14. Warminsko-Mazurskie [Warmia-Mazury] voivodship; chief city: Olsztyn; abbrev: Ol
15. Wiekopolskie [Greater Poland] voivodship; chief city: Poznan; abbrev: Po
16. Zachodniopomorskie [North Pomerania] voivodship; chief city: Szczecin; abbrev: Sz
In the present Slownik's listing of names I wanted to remain in accord with the system used in the official reports compiled by the Government and the Main Statistical Office; on the other hand I wanted to connect with the printed version of the Slownik from the years 1992-94 and stay with the abbreviations of the [chief] voivodship cities. That is why in this documentation I abandoned the use of an alphabetic order and the listing of abbreviations starts with Wr; followed by To, Lu, ZG, Lo, Kr, Wa, Op, Rz, Bs, GD, Ka, Ki, Ol, Po, Sz. In the Listing of Abbreviations I used an alphabetic ordering, to make the finding of individual administrative units easier.
When in 1998 the three-tier subdivision of the country's administrative areas was introduced -- wojewodztwo, powiat, gmina [voivodship, district, township] it allowed me to precisely localize individual names. In the printed version of the Slownik from 1992-94 I only gave the voivodship and the number of individuals with a certain name in that voivodship. In 2002 Poland had 315 districts and 65 cities with district rights. With such a number of districts the localization of names is much more precise. It would be difficult to do this at the gmina [township] level because this would make the sheer size of the directory unmanageable and from the practical side such very precise localization id in most instances unnecessary. It seems to me that the system of localizing the names that I adopted permits the creation of accurate maps showing the geographic distribution of names. For persons involved in the linguistic analysis of last names my localization system permits the preparation of regional antroponimical monographs; for example: for names in the larger cities, or names in small rural regions. The open computer system which we have utilized permits the extraction from the data base of specific districts or names of persons living in the larger cities that have district rights. In the Listing of Abbreviations I have included a separate column giving the number of persons residing in that district. This will allow researchers the possibility of making comparisons as to the frequency that certain names are used on the basis of population numbers. It will make it possible to specify the frequency of names.
The layout of the entries in the new Slownik of names is straightforward and similar to that which I used in the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" (1992-1994) and in the "Slownik imion wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" (1995) [Directory of first-names currently used in Poland]. The title of each entry is the name, which is printed in bold. After the name is the total number of persons using it in Poland, then the abbreviation for the voivodship and district, then after a colon is the abbreviation letter M and the number, which describes the number of males with a given name in each district, then the abbreviation letter F with a number giving the number of females in the district with the name, after the comma there follows similar information for the other districts. Names that are connected with a large number of persons have a correspondingly large amount of data. In this case the open computer system installed at the Polish Language Institute at PAN [Polish Science Academy] allows for various types of sorting and processing on the data in the Slownik.
At the Polish Language Institute (Krakow, al. Mickiewicza 31 [31 Mickiewicz Avenue]) we also have a printed version of the "Slowik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" (vol. I-X, 1992-1994) and the data on computer diskettes in two versions -- alphabetic, and also in he form of an index; the "Slownik imion wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych" (1995) with a diskette, and the full computer version of the present "Slowik nazwisk uzywanych w Polsce na poczatku XXI wieku" [Directory of names used in Poland at the beginning of the 21st century]. We will gladly make these directories available to interested persons.
Translation Peter Obst (December 22, 2009)