How do you know your last name?

Is your last name Sorbian?

In the earliest times people only had first names, as the name researcher Walter Wenzel writes in his book "Lusatian surnames of Slavic origin". First names, also known as nicknames, were used to identify a specific person. The first family names finally emerged in Central and Eastern Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries. Many Slavic first names were also used as surnames over time and have been preserved in this or a similar form to this dayas old writings show (Wenzel, 1999, p. 17).

The meaning of the surname shows where the first person who received this surname earlier, used has what you job or typical characteristics were. So knowing the origin of your last name will tell you more about your ancestors. Is your last name one of the following?

1) Buk, Buck, Bucke, Bugk

If you Buk, Buck, Bucke, Bugk with surname, your name means "beech". The name was recorded as early as 1396. It has a West Slavic origin (baked means beech), under which Walter Wenzel summarizes Polish, Slovak, Sorbian and Czech and was either the name for someone who lived in the scenic surroundings of beeches or whose character or appearance was equated with a beech.

2) Czornack, Tschernig, Zarny, Zerny, ...

Czornack, Tschernig, Zarny, Zerny- You have probably heard one of these surnames in Lusatia. They all rely on the Upper Sorbian word čorny (in German: "black") lead back. The origin of these surnames dates back to 1400. This name was also given on the basis of physical characteristics or habits and behavior (cf. Wenzel, 1999) - maybe your ancestor had black hair or something similar?

3) Doman, Domann, Dommach, Domusch, ...

We write the year 1136 as the surname Doman or Domann first appeared. This surname was derived from nicknames like "Domaslav“Which differs from the ancient Slavic word dom for home respectively doma made for home. This surname has a particularly large number of variants. Of Dommach to Domusch: all lead you to the meaning of "house, at home".

4) Heidusch, Hejda, Heiduschka, Heiduscke, Hejduska

Your last name is Heidusch, Hejda, Heiduschka, Heiduscke or Hejduska? Then you have a surname that can be directly assigned to the Sorbian language. you

come from the Sorbian word for buckwheat or heather "hejduš“From. In Upper Sorbian the word also means "grits". The many variants of the surname were created between the 16th and 18th centuries.

5) Kowal, Kowar

The exciting thing about these surnames is that the last letter of Kowal and Kowar reveals whether your surname has Upper Sorbian or Lower Sorbian origin.

While "Kowal"In 1388 from the Lower Sorbian, Polish and Czech word"kowal for Schmied is "kowar“The Upper Sorbian name for a blacksmith and became a surname in 1568.

6) Kortschmar, Kretschmar

Another last name that suggests an ancestral profession is the last name Korschmar. The surname, given in 1639, comes from the Upper Sorbian wordkorčmar"Which translates as" innkeeper "or" innkeeper "means. The very similar name Kretschmar is a little older, was borrowed from Old Czech in 1425 and has the same meaning.

7) Kral, Krahl

All that Kraal or Krahl with surnames had kings as ancestors? That at least suggests the meaning of the word. The Upper Sorbian or Czech word for king is namely kral. In fact, Walter Wenzel describes in his book (1999) that the name, which originated in 1374, can be interpreted ambiguously. Your ancestors may have been servants of a king or had a higher social position.

8) Krawc, Krautz

Are you interested in fashion? Then the last names Krawc or Krautz from 1374 might suit you well. The Upper Sorbian word krawc tells you what profession your ancestors probably had: It means tailor.

9) Lieschka, Lieschke, Lischka, Lischke, Liszka

Have you ever been called "a clever fox"? So it can also be one of the first bearers of the surname Lieschka, Lieschke, Lischka, Lischke, Liszka or similar variants in the 15th century. The name can be traced back to the West Slavic word liszka, which means fox and was also used earlier as a surname as a transference for a particularly clever person.

10) Noak, Nowak, Nowy, Nauck, ...

Your last name is Noak, Nowak, Nowy, Nauckor similar? Then it comes from the West Slavic word nowy which means "new". In a figurative sense, this surname was given to beginners, newcomers, resettlers or someone who has adopted a new faith, as Walter Wenzel describes. The different variants of the name emerged over several centuries.

11) Schmoler, Schmoller, Smola

In 1600 these namesake had a profession that no longer exists today: the names Schmoler, Schmoller, Smola can be derived from the West Slavic word "smołar", The Lower Sorbian word"smolaŕ"Or the Upper Sorbian version"smoler“For a pitch burner, boiler or dealer.

12) Witschas, Witschask

The surname variations are in the 16th and 17th centuries Witschas and Witschask originated. "Wićaz"Is an old Upper Sorbian word for" Freibauer "," Lehnbauer "or" Lehngutsbesitzer "(in German: Lehmann). Fief farmers use a piece of foreign land by paying taxes to the owner. “Leaning” is linguistically related to the more common word “borrow”. The property or the field was therefore "borrowed".


Post picture: Is your last name Sorbian? (Photo: editorial office)

Your name wasn't there? Then you can browse through Walter Wenzel's book “Lusatian surnames of Slavic origin” (ISBN: 978-3742026484).

If you want to search for Lower Sorbian surnames, you can do so with the name service at The portal was prepared by linguists from the Lower Sorbian branch of the Sorbian Institute in Cottbus and was funded by the Foundation for the Sorbian People.